While the starters are expected to play the first quarter — give or take a few plays — exhibitions are about the young guns getting a chance to prove their worth.
The Colts played mostly backups in a 36-10 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. The Bears are coming off a 27-10 home win over the Miami Dolphins, although Chicago was outscored 10-3 in the opening half.
Here are a few Colts to watch in the 7:30 p.m. kickoff:
* Rookie wide receiver Duron Carter — Cris Carter’s son played nervous and seemed somewhat hesitant with a couple of drops and one 16-yard reception against the Eagles. That’s not the same Carter who opened eyes in training camp, particularly in the opening week, as he made the difficult catches look easy and continually scored touchdowns. He’ll get to play a lot in this game, so time to settle down and show what he has in practice.
* Rookie nose tackle David Parry — The fifth-round draft pick out of Stanford was disruptive with a solid push in the second half at Philadelphia. As a result of his two-tackle debut, the Colts gave Parry snaps with the first-team defense during joint practices with the Bears this week. It will be interesting to see how soon he plays in the second preseason game. That the Colts moved up to draft him suggests they aren’t entirely sold on Josh Chapman and/or Montori Hughes at nose tackle. Perhaps Parry can continue to make coaches take notice.
* Running back Vick Ballard — After missing the opener with a tight hamstring, Ballard is eager to get some quality snaps and show his body is healed from back-to-back seasons that ended too soon on injured reserve. After a promising rookie year in 2012, Ballard realizes he has to stay on the field to secure a roster spot. When healthy as a rookie, he eventually earned the starting job based on his versatility as a reliable runner, pass catcher out of the backfield and blocker. He’s one of the most humble guys in the locker room, which makes his story a compelling saga for not just fans but teammates who are pulling for him.
* Rookie inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera — Eyebrows raised when the sixth-round selection out of Georgia showed up as a second-string reserve on the team’s first unofficial depth chart. Herrera have five tackles, one interception and one pass defended in his debut. He played 50 snaps, though, and showed fatigue toward the latter stages of the game, according to head coach Chuck Pagano. The Colts will undoubtedly give him a lot of work again to see how he holds up and if he can be more consistent. While the first team is set at inside linebacker with D’Qwell Jackson, Jerrell Freeman and on-the-mend Nate Irving, Herrera is trying to beat out former Canadian Football League star Henoc Muamba, among others, for a reserve spot.
* Rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett — OK, so maybe we don’t really need to see much more from the first-round draft choice, who was open on about every route he ran against the Eagles and was the Colts’ top pass catcher. But he did lose a fumble, so it would be encouraging to see Dorsett show his stuff again and display a bit more ball security. The team and his teammates have been impressed with the rookie’s play throughout the offseason and this month. The polished speed burner has all the makings of being a solid NFL player, if not an eventual star.
* Nose tackle Josh Chapman — Yeah, we’re mentioning him again because nothing is a given on this defense. Chapman didn’t play much in the opener and wasn’t really noticed, either. He’s shed some weight to improve his foot speed and is confident that he will make more plays this season. He’d better. It’s a contract year and he’s in his third season on the field after mending as a rookie. It’s put-up-or-shut-up time, and that includes preseason.
* Right tackle Jack Mewhort — The second-year pro’s transition from left guard is an ongoing progression, so it’s worth watching him to see how he handles his snaps. There weren’t any noticeable concerns from the opener, but he didn’t play much, either. While there are other spots on the O-line to worry about, Mewhort’s is key. So we’ll keep watching him.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.