INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts could be without eight starters for Saturday night's preseason game (7 p.m. ET) with the Philadelphia Eagles due to injuries. That includes six on defense.
Indianapolis offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski understands the reaction from fans who want to see more of a regular-season tempo displayed and a wider choice of plays called during the preseason.
"Preseason is always a mixed bag when you're working with three different groups. Between the first group, the second group and the third group, there may be things that you're happy with and there will be things that you're not happy with," Chudzinski explained.
There weren't many long passes downfield when quarterback Andrew Luck was in the game for the first two offensive series against Buffalo last week. But those type of plays will come in due time, according to Chudzinski.
"We wanted to get the ball out quick, out of his hand. Those are things that we've been working on quite a bit," he said. "We wanted him to open up, be decisive and get to his next progressions. And we really saw some good signs of that. That was good to see."
Looking ahead to this week's preseason game with Philadelphia, Chudzinski thinks that the Colts will open up their offensive playbook a bit more.
"Typically you don't do everything that you're going to do [once the regular season begins]. We don't game plan a lot [in the preseason]. As it goes, maybe this week a little more than other weeks," he said. "You still want to be executing and doing some of the base things. Really, as much as anything, you want to put guys in position to find out what they can do."
--Outside linebacker Robert Mathis has yet to play in a preseason game and will not play in the Colts' final two preseason matchups. Mathis is not hurt, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.
"How old is he? He's 35. A lot of wear and tear on a 35-year-old body that plays like that, so you have to be smart," Pagano said. "It would be just foolish on my part to do something egregious when a guy doesn't have to."
--With a rash of injuries that has hit the roster hard, the Colts coach admits that paring down the roster won't be an easy call over the next two weeks.
"You would like to have 53 guys that are all available. We know right now, for instance, the defensive line we know that there are two players there, one (defensive tackle Art Jones) doesn't count because he is going to miss four games because of a suspension so you can carry an extra guy," Pagano said.
--Recently signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie will not play in Saturday night's game with Philadelphia. Pagano said that Cromartie has been cramming to quickly learn the Colts' defensive playbook and is in good enough shape to play. But he is expected to sit out the Eagles game and next week's preseason finale at Cincinnati. Cromartie is expected to start against Detroit on Sept. 11.
NOTES: Cornerback D'Joun Smith will sit out the Philadelphia game as he continues to nurse an ankle injury. Smith has been on a pitch count during practice. He has seen limited practice time since the start of training camp. It had been hoped that he would make a push for a starting job but that hasn't materialized. ... Rookie G/T Joe Haeg will be sidelined indefinitely with a sprained right ankle. Haeg, who was hurt against Baltimore last week, had been playing well. He had worked himself into position as the Colts' top utility offensive lineman and was being considered for the starting job at right guard. ... Offensive tackle Joe Reitz isn't expected play against the Eagles on Saturday night due to a back issue. He has missed the last two days of practice. Reitz is still expected to start in the season opener with Detroit on Sept. 11 but probably will see limited work at Cincinnati next week if cleared to play. ... Cornerback Jalil Brown continues to battle a foot injury. Brown has been limited in practice and will not play against Philadelphia on Saturday night. He needs to be able to return for next week's preseason finale at Cincinnati with roster cuts coming up soon.