INDIANAPOLIS -- In the aftermath of the Indianapolis Colts' uneven performance on Saturday against Philadelphia, head coach Chuck Pagano doesn't have a lot of time to prepare for Thursday night's preseason finale at Cincinnati.
The Colts' injury issues, which weren't good heading into the Eagles game with 14 players forced to watch from the sidelines, got even worse when starting offensive guard Jack Mewhort left with a knee injury.
Cornerback Darius Butler, normally a slot defender who was pressed into a starter's role due to injuries at the position, went down with an ankle injury.
While the initial reports indicate that neither injury will keep either player out for an extended period of time, the temporary absences of Mewhort and Butler just add to Indianapolis' injury woes.
And with scheduled roster cuts coming up after the Bengals game, Pagano and his coaching staff will be put to the test in order to figure out which players to keep and which to part ways with.
"I know what we are capable of (as a team)," Pagano said. "I think you guys know from a talent standpoint what they are capable of. We've seen their body of work in past seasons. Again, when they haven't been out there and they are not playing day after day, down after down, playing together as a unit and there is continuity there, it's reason for concern.
"I don't know. I know that we have to get back and we have to get them healthy. I know they will play hard. But there is going to be some rust to be knocked off because you haven't been out there. It's hard. It's not easy just to roll the thing out there and show up and be ready to roll without playing time."
The Colts' offensive line, as in past seasons, has become the biggest issue. Prior to Mewhort being sidelined, offensive tackle Joe Reitz, rookie offensive guard Joe Haeg and offensive guard Hugh Thornton were all battling injuries. All three missed the Philadelphia game and will sit out this week's trip to Cincinnati.
The makeshift offensive line struggled most of the night against the Eagles.
"Like I told them, I am disappointed like they are because we are better than that. I know we can play better than that. Again, I'm not going to make any excuses. But we've got some guys out of there right now that (would) have been in there," Pagano said. "So from a continuity standpoint, it makes a difference having five guys in there that have been in there day after day and week after week playing together. You start playing musical chairs again and it's tough."
--The Colts waived WR Justin Berger, S Alden Darby, OG Eric Herman, DT Ricky Lumpkin, TE Mike Miller, RB Chase Price, CB Winston Rose, DE Delvon Simmons, WR Josh Stangby, ILB Junior Sylvestre, WR Daniel Anthrop, OT Keith Lumpkin and RB Trey Williams. Indianapolis also released TE Konrad Reuland.
--Indianapolis signed former Jets and Patriots RB Stevan Ridley. Ridley (5-11, 220) has played in 60 career NFL games (26 starts) and totaled 685 carries for 2,907 yards (4.2 average) and 22 touchdowns. He also has 27 receptions for 144 yards and seven kickoff returns for 152 yards.
--Rookie OT Le'Raven Clark made his first preseason start against the Eagles. He quickly found out what life in the NFL is really like.
"The kid is a tough kid. He cares, he's smart, he's a battler. It's not too big for him. But the speed of the game is a little bit different," Pagano said.
--Veteran OT Anthony Castonzo struggled in 2015 and it looks like he is still having some issues.
"He is very critical of himself. When there is a bad play, one thing we talk to these guys about is you've got to be able to -- no matter what it is and whatever position you are playing -- if there is a bad play, you've got to be able to put it behind you and you can't dwell on it because it will lead to two or three other poor plays," Pagano said.
"Anthony is a smart, smart football player. He is a great left tackle. He just has to play that consistently. He will be the first one to tell you that. I am not worried about A.C. He will get things fixed."