INDIANAPOLIS – Last week when Chuck Pagano made final remarks regarding a tattered offensive line heading into the Kansas City game, gallows humor and biting sarcasm ruled the moment.
Now with the possibility of an eighth new starting line this season and the certainty of having one for the sixth week in a row, Pagano was a little more light-hearted.
“We could go with (Jeff) Linkenbach, you could go with (Joe) Reitz, you could go with
The Colts started a fifth new lineup in five games, with Nixon, a natural tackle, starting at left guard for the first time and in a second-ever career game with Indianapolis.
At least this week Thornton is likely to return on the left side, and whoever starts at the opposite spot will be hashed out later.
“(In the) National Football League, nothing surprises you. Every day you show up is an adventure sometimes,” said Pagano when asked if he were surprised by another new rotation. “At least we have another day.”
Indianapolis hosts a Jacksonville team that is seeking a third straight road win. If the Colts are to improve on their fourth seed, it only can be done by besting the Jaguars.
With Cincinnati playing at the same time and with the chance Indianapolis could move to the third seed the Bengals could cede with a loss, Pagano will not scoreboard-watch.
“No, not at all,” said Pagano. “We have (a) single focus, that’s on Jacksonville. We have a team coming in here that has won of four of their last seven games. Coach Bradley has done a great job with those guys.
“Since the bye week, they’ve gotten better and better. They’re coming here to win a football game. We’d better be prepared for that. You turn the tape on, and the tape speaks for itself.”
Jacksonville has swept Houston and beaten Tennessee. In year one of a new regime, the only team that never has captured the AFC South crown would love to put a dent in the one worn by the 2013 division champ.
“(We have) one mindset and that’s getting number 11 and beating Jacksonville,” reiterated Pagano.
With a number of players nursing injuries, Pagano will not rest anyone because a playoff berth is guaranteed.
“It would be like if it’s week eight or week nine, if they’re healthy and they can go, they’ll play,” said Pagano.
One such player is
“I finally got to be at practice,” said Toler about this being a good week. “The doctors and coaches say I’m getting back to form. I’m just taking it one play at a time. Last week I got a few reps, only 15, but did pretty good. This week I made it through a full practice, and that’s good for my confidence.
“It’s good to know I get out there and run with the guys. It was good for me emotionally. I think (I) can get it done this week. The secondary is playing good. Wherever I can help the guys, I’m willing to do my part.”
JOB ONE – Indianapolis can move from the fourth to the two seed in the AFC with a win and losses by Cincinnati and New England. The Colts can jump from four to three with a win and a loss by either the Bengals or Patriots.
Those teams respectively are hosting Baltimore and Buffalo, but
“I don’t think we’re caught up in anything but the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s our focus this week,” said Luck. “I know I can speak for every player, that’s what it is.”
PRACTICE REPORT – Did not participate: DT-
INJURY REPORT – Out: Jean Francois; Doubtful: McGlynn, Brown, Redding; Questionable: Bethea; Probable: Toler, Mathis, Thornton, Landry, Butler, Reitz, Linkenbach, Davis.
Reitz has cleared all concussion protocol after missing most of the last two games. Redding was hurt at Kansas City and did not practice this week.