Tomorrow marks the beginning of Colts football in 2017. Finally! After a long, arduous offseason, the day has finally arrived. The Colts play the Detroit Lions at home to open the preseason. Although the final score of these games are unimportant, these games are incredible important. We get to see how rookies will perform in an NFL setting, and begin to watch these teams come together. Here are some matchups to look for tomorrow morning.
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Vontae Davis vs Golden Tate
Vontae Davis is coming off of a down season in 2016, after lighting it up two years ago. Davis is entering his contract year, and will need to prove himself if he wants to get paid. His incredible performance in training camp bodes well for the future. Davis recorded four interceptions in 2014 and 2015, along with being one of the best shutdown corners in the NFL. Throwing at Davis was a very bad idea. He was even ranked the sixth best player in the NFL in 2014 by Pro Football Focus in 2014.
The Lions boast a very talented number one receiver in Golden Tate, who will most likely be defended by Davis throughout the first quarter of the game. I will be watching that matchup very closely. Davis needs to shut down Tate in order to get off to a strong start this season.
The Colts’ Defensive Line vs The Lions’ Offensive Line
The Lions come in with one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, including players such as Rick Wagner, T.J. Lang, and Greg Robinson. The Lions are missing their top tackle, Taylor Decker, for most of the year, and still have a formidable line. The Colts will be playing without recently released Kendall Langford, and will have to rely on some younger guys such as Tarell Basham, Grover Stewart, and Hassan Ridgeway.
Jabaal Sheard has been working with all time great Robert Mathis during camp, and hopes that he can dominate lineman just as Mathis did. Look for that deadly spin move from Sheard. John Simon will also need to get pressure on the other end. Can young an inexperienced players such as Garrett Sickels and Jhaustin Thomas get pressure on the Lions’ quarterbacks? Only time will tell.
Marlon Mack vs Jarrad Davis
Although Davis, the rookie linebacker out of Florida, is starting for the Lions, he will undoubtedly get some reps with the second team. Marlon Mack should also get some first team reps. Davis is one of the best first year linebackers in the NFL, with a great blend of speed, athleticism, coverage skills, and tackling. Marlon Mack is a shifty back who makes guys miss and can be tough to handle as a target out of the backfield. When Mack goes on routes, Davis is one of the candidates to be matched up with him. When Mack and Davis go at it, make sure to have your eyes glued to those two players.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts, and a national writer. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @doctortruthboi and @cover32_IND.