Players on the roster bubble talk about their mindset heading into Thursday’s preseason finale
A total of 75 players will take the field Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.
For those players, the 60 minutes of football will serve as one final audition to see if they will survive the 53-player cut that comes less than 48 hours later.
Here’s a look at five Colts who are sure to see plenty of playing time on Thursday:
Outside linebacker Caesar Rayford
Rayford has become the unsung hero of the 2013 preseason with five sacks. The former Arena Football Leaguer would be continuing his job as a juvenile counselor if he weren’t in opposing NFL backfields week-after-week.
“My mindset is like it doesn’t matter what I did last game. I’m just going to go out and compete like nothing happened, make the best of every play, every opportunity I get. What I did last game doesn’t matter about this game. It’s all about Cincinnati and got to go out there and compete, because those guys, they ain’t worrying about what I did last game. It’s what I do now.”
Quarterback Chandler Harnish
Harnish calls the preseason his “Super Bowl” and that’s especially the case in game No. 4 where the third string quarterback will get more than a bulk of the snaps. Last year, Harnish played three and a half quarters in the preseason finale and led the offense on a pair of touchdown drives, thus earning a roster spot.
“This is a big evaluation for myself. Last year, I had the opportunity to play most of the game and I’m expecting a lot of playing time this year too. I’m just going to go out there play my game, have fun, prepare like I’m a starter and just go out and show my value to this team.”
Safety Delano Howell
In Week One of the preseason, Howell played 89 snaps (99 percent of all defensive snaps) against Buffalo. He led the team in tackles and has continued to impress all preseason long.
“This is the one we’ve been looking forward to for the young guys, for guys that are trying to prove something, trying to claim a spot. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity, a lot of snaps and everything. I know all of us, all the young guys and everything, people that are fighting to earn a spot, they’re all going to be taking advantage of it.”
Inside linebacker Mario Harvey
Harvey turned in a strong performance last week against the Browns and he has fond memories of last year’s preseason finale. Harvey recorded six tackles, two for loss and eventually earned a roster spot.
“Every chance you get on the field is very important because you are fighting for a spot on the team, to feed your family, fighting for your legacy, your name so it’s very important.”
Safety Joe Lefeged
As an undrafted free agent in 2011, Lefeged had seven tackles in the final preseason game and earned a roster spot. Injuries have sidelined the third-year safety for much of training camp but he is expected to be out there on Thursday evening.
“It’s big but you don’t want to think about it too much. You want to focus on your assignment and go out there and have fun. If you think about the result and things you can’t control, that’s when the mistakes happen.”