The Colts play their first pre-season game a week from today, but they gave fans at training camp in Anderson a preview of things to come during the annual Blue v. White scrimmage yesterday morning. This “game” is a matchup of Indy’s offense against its defense and allows the two sides to blow out the carbon in a more realistic setting than typical practices afford. According to Fox 59, the defense won the contest 27-20, but the real news from this exercise was the performance of several key players.
With Peyton Manning standing on the sidelines and drawing lots of attention from fans, beleaguered backup Curtis Painter led the offense with 16-26 passing for 182 yards. Painter’s favorite target on the day was Austin Collie, who was plagued most of last year by concussions. Collie nabbed six balls for 72 yards and looked pretty confident. A healthy Collie gives Manning a big target to complement Reggie Wayne and opens up a lot of options for the Colts. Similarly, an improved Painter would give the Colts some comfort in the face of Manning’s continuing neck issues. In the end, though, this is just one pre-season scrimmage, and it will take a much bigger sample size for Painter to instill any real confidence in the fanbase.
On defense, Ernie Sims and Melvin Bullitt were the stars. Sims leveled a mean hit on RB Devin Moore which resulted in a bobbled ball that Bullitt nabbed and returned for a touchdown. Both of these guys were free-agent signings this off-season, with Bullitt returning to the Colts and Sims coming over from the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s great to see both of them performing at a high level relatively early in camp.
As always, this pretend game was attended by thousands of Colts fans, who left the stadium excited and hungry for more. Next week, the Rams beckon, and it looks like Painter will lead the Blue and White into the pre-season fire. Even without Manning, it will be great to see some almost-real Colts action.