INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will have a final walk-through this morning with kickoff just over 24 hours away. Today’s news looks at the Colts new game plan, playing for Chuck Pagano and the health of Chiefs leading sacker Tamba Hali.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, January 3rd.
Colts start from scratch with game plan
By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com
Much of the talk this week surrounded how the Colts would attack the Chiefs for the second time in as many weeks.
“We started from scratch, we didn’t just copy and paste the game plan from a couple weeks back,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. “We went back and we looked at how they played us defensively in the first game and went back and studied some of the earlier games that they played in the season and just hit the reset button. I think it’s important that we do that just so that we have the right mindset going into it and we feel good about the plan.”
You have to like that the Colts are going with the frame of mind that they can’t do the exact same thing this weekend. Doing that would set them up for possible failure because Kansas City’s Andy Reid is too good of a coach to get beat the same way by the same team twice in two weeks.
It’s not to say the Colts won’t repeat some of the same things from that game. They’ll add some different wrinkles, too.
The Chiefs were without linebacker Justin Houston, who tied for the team lead in sacks with 11, during the first meeting. Houston missed the final five games, but told Kansas City reporters that he’ll play Saturday.
“We’re assuming that they’re going to have one of the best pass-rushers in the National Football League back in the mix,” Hamilton said. “So we've got to prepare for their front seven. Not to discount the guys that play on the back end, because [Eric Berry] is a really good football player as well.
Pagano: Coach of trust, loyalty and respect
By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com
The Colts players have routinely said how they love playing for Chuck Pagano and it shows with a second trip to the playoffs.
“We're talking about a guy who fought every day during his battle with cancer,”
Robert Mathissaid. “If he did that, we could definitely go every single day and compete. If he told me to run through a brick wall, I'd do it for him. That's the type of coach he is.”
Pagano's name isn't near the top of the list when it comes to coach of the year candidates, but the job he did this season can't be discounted after they used a league-high 73 players during the regular season.
Here they stand, AFC South champs and days away from hosting the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild-card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium while 20 other teams are on vacation.
“You don't want to let Chuck down,” defensive end
Cory Redding. “That's the biggest thing that will hurt anybody in this locker room if you let Chuck down. Chuck believes in you, so you want to give him everything you've got.”
Don’t expect knee swelling to keep Hali out
By: Adam Teicher, ESPN.com
The Kansas City Chiefs are very healthy heading into Saturday but leading sacker Tamba Hali did not practice all week.
“It’s really just a matter of the swelling coming down in the knee,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “It’s been up, it’s been down. We want to make sure we get it out of there. We’re being a little bit cautious with him today. We’ll just see how it goes.
“We just want to make sure he’s OK to play. We’re not going to put him out there if he physically can‘t play. At this point in the year, he knows the scheme and he’s got it down. The important thing is that the swelling is out of the knee and making whatever is causing the swelling is not hurting him for the future.’’
Hali, who has become one of the NFL’s better outside linebackers because of his relentless effort, has long prided himself on his ability to stay in the lineup. Until last week’s game in San Diego, Hali had missed just one game in his career because of injury, that being in 2008.