2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things we know from Colts, Bengals in preseason

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:09

CINCINNATI (AP) - Andy Dalton felt good after his only pass was completed and his only drive ended in a touchdown.

The Colts? They just wanted to get off the field without getting hurt.

Cincinnati's 27-10 victory over Indianapolis in the final preseason game Thursday night sent both teams into their final days of roster cutting with a reason to feel good about how they stack up overall.

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Five things we know about the Colts after the preseason:

1. THE 3-4 WORKS: Coach Chuck Pagano wanted the Colts' defense to start looking more like the Ravens. After two years of tinkering, the Colts finally appear to have it right. The Giants went 0 for 4 in red-zone possessions and settled for four field goals in Week 2, and Cleveland managed only two field goals and didn't even get into the red zone in Week 3.

2. STRONG SECONDARY: Indianapolis has bulked up in the secondary, and it's made a difference. Vontae Davis and Greg Toler played like a solid cornerback combination. With Pro Bowler safeties Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry behind them, Indianapolis now has two of the league's better tacklers, too.

3. PATIENCE UP FRONT: Indianapolis signed two starting offensive linemen as free agents and drafted two more linemen. After four preseason games, the group is still a work in progress. Part of the problem has been injuries. It takes time for a line to jell, and the Colts will be watching to see if this group improves over time.

4. RUN, RUN, RUN: Indianapolis hired Pep Hamilton to install a power-running game. It had some problems in the preseason, but the Colts showed they're committed to the philosophy. Getting Ahmad Bradshaw back from injury should help. Indianapolis also should be helped by the expected return of tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener for the season opener. When they're at full strength, the Colts' ground game could look much more efficient.

5. GOOD LUCK: Andrew Luck has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. Rather, he heads into the season with more confidence and more at ease than he was a year ago when he produced one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. The new offense may limit some of Luck's numbers, but at this point, Indy's franchise quarterback appears to be ahead of where he was in 2012.

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Five things we know about the Bengals:

1. DALTON'S READY: Much of their focus is on developing a diversified passing game around their third-year quarterback. He completed 66 percent of his passes in the preseason, using every available receiver. He wanted to finish the preseason sharp and did so, completing his only pass for 18 yards to Mohamed Sanu while leading a touchdown drive on Thursday night.

2. JOHNSON CAN SCOOT: One of their few significant decisions at the end of camp involves the backup quarterback spot. Josh Johnson and John Skelton opened camp competing for Bruce Gradkowski's spot. Both struggled at the outset. Johnson missed some open, short passes. Skelton, who had never run a West Coast offense, was slower to pick it up. Johnson made the biggest impact with his ability to scramble. He ran twice on Thursday for 38 yards during a touchdown drive. Overall, he ran 12 times for 143 yards.

``It's an advantage that I have that I can bring to the game,'' Johnson said. ``I just wanted to be able to show these coaches and this organization everything I can do on the field.''

3. EIFERT CAUGHT ON FAST: Tight end Tyler Eifert, their first-round pick from Notre Dame, caught just about everything thrown his way during training camp. A wrist injury limited him at the end. But his ability to run routes and use his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame to his advantage made an impression. Look for Dalton to find him often.

4. GIO HAS BIG THINGS AHEAD: Second-round pick Giovani Bernard is technically the second-string running back behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he's going to be on the field a lot. His ability to catch a short pass and make defenders miss brings a new element to an offense that's been overly dependent upon A.J. Green the last two seasons.

5. ONE PLAY CAN CHANGE A LOT: When Green bruised his left knee during the first day of training camp, practice stopped and everything looked like their worst nightmare had happened. As it turned out, Green was able to return for the third preseason game and looked fine. Although the Bengals have their deepest roster during coach Marvin Lewis' 11 seasons, Green is the one player who can take the offense to a different level.

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AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is active Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:12p

The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20.

Ahmad BrooksDec 20 07:02p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared LB Ahmad Brooks, OG Andrew Tiller, RB Carlos Hyde, OG Joe Looney, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Stevie Johnson, CB Tramaine Brock inactive for Week 16.

Dennis KellyDec 20 03:32p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, WR Jeff Maehl, S Jerome Couplin III, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, DE Taylor Hart, LB Trent Cole inactive for Week 16.

Leonard HankersonDec 20 03:12p

The Washington Redskins have declared CB Chibuikem Okoro, LB Gabe Miller, DL Jason Hatcher, OG Josh LeRibeus, LB Keenan Robinson, WR Leonard Hankerson inactive for Week 16.

Roy HeluDec 20 03:02p

Washington Redskins RB Roy Helu (toe) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

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Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

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Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

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Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

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Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

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Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

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