What to Watch For: Colts v Redskins

Tonight’s second preseason game will undoubtedly be over-analyzed. Here’s what really matters from week two of the preseason:

1. Injuries. If no one gets hurt, it’s a win for the Colts.

2. Penalties. I didn’t do a good enough job mentioning last week, but the fact that the Colts were largely penalty free was a GREAT sign. Caldwell makes it easy to criticize him sometimes, but the fact that the Colts have remained focused and light on penalties during his tenure means he has their ear.

3. Castonzo. The line is still in flux, but Castonzo’s progress is of particular importance to the development of the season. He’s still learning, and the whole line can still be shaken up and moved around, but Castonzo and Saturday will are where they are going to be. No one is worried about 63, so that leaves Castonzo as the one to watch. It doesn’t matter if the right tackle or guard don’t look good. At this point, three of five spots on the line are fungible. There’s still time to shake out the right mix.

4. Injuries. Have I mentioned that?

Almost everything else is window dressing. People will scrutinize Painter heavily, but honestly if he matters at all in 2011, the season is lost. Wasting energy worrying about the performance of Curtis Painter is like worrying about how to run solar panels if the Sun suddenly implodes into a black hole. If Curtis Painter becomes an issue in the 2011 season, then something horrible has happened.

I’ll be watching Evans and Spann fighting for a roster or practice squad spot. It’ll be interesting to see if Gonzo, Collie, Harris, or any of the other nicked up guys play.

Mostly, the coaches are looking to see if guys are where they are supposed to be. Does the team play with discipline? 

No matter what happens, don’t overreact. It’s the second preseason game, which makes it only incrementally more important than the first one. The Colts are going to be playing without a number of starters, and the ones who do go will be seeing limited time.