Three things to look at this afternoon as the Colts host the Rams in their preseason opener:
The offensive line: It’s tough to gauge a new group at this position in camp, so it’s a big day for a patchwork, beefed up line. Right guard Mike McGlynn and right tackle Winston Justice will be of particular interest. Does this group provide some push and allow the Colts to start to get a god handle on just how well they’ll be able to run it with Donald Brown, Mewelde Moore, Vick Ballard or Delone Carter? Most importantly, does this line provide good enough protection for Andrew Luck to stay upright and pick out his targets?
Luck: Expectations are probably unrealistic. I presume he’ll get the team in and out of the huddle and into the right plays. From there it’s about the level of execution. This offense is based on a lot of timing. Is he on rhythm, and are the people he’s throwing to on the same clock? Watch his tight ends, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, who figure to be huge pieces of Bruce Arians’ offense. What indications do we see about Luck’s chemistry with Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and a kid like T.Y. Hilton?
The pass rush: Here’s our first look at any variation of Chuck Pagano’s 3-4 defensive hybrid. I don’t know that we’ll be seeing just how exotic this defense will be, but we will see Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis moving around. This defense wants to make things complicated for a quarterback and an offense to sort through. So does Sam Bradford have trouble diagnosing what’s going on across the line of scrimmage? If the Rams look at all uncomfortable, if they need to call a timeout at the line, that will be a good sign about what’s unfolding on D for Indy.