INDIANAPOLIS – Some of the most mundane clichés the public hears from the mouths of coaches and players are the most vital in getting ready to compete.
The Colts have competed successfully 13 times in the last 19 regular-season games, and they have had the ability to bounce back from each of those six losses with victories.
The point differential in those outings is 137-to-93 in the Colts’ favor.
To be so successful likely means there is a certain system that is followed.
Chuck Pagano may not say it verbally, but the aftermath of each game involves a 24-hour rule where reflection is made from the past game and before work begins in earnest for the upcoming opponent.
As the 24-hour rule expires, what engages is the “process,” a five-day preparation mode for the upcoming opponent.
It is a phase spoken almost daily by players because it has become such a part of the club’s culture. Respecting the steps to be ready each week is one of the keys of succeeding.
“There are feelings after every game. When you lose, you’re disappointed. You respect the next-day process,” said
“When we leave the building Monday, we have everything cleaned up. Monday night, you start getting in your IPad, start watching film and start getting ready for (the next opponent).”
Before Pagano attracted the players who would build his monster, he assembled a coaching staff that would fit his style and hammer home truisms to the players.
A year ago at this time, Pagano departed for 12 games with an illness. Bruce Arians, a buddy for years, stepped into the void. In bringing his own style, Arians still enunciated Pagano’s mandates daily.
A word that flowed freely from Arians’ mouth was “process.”
“We tried to stay day-to-day,” said Arians. “We just tried to get to the next day and keep everything on a (structured) basis. As we started winning (and) for us to just stay in the moment, we just (continued) with the process.
“I said every week and it gets boring, ‘You have to respect the process. Today is Wednesday football. This is what we do on Wednesday.’ As long as we continue on that path weekly, we’ll play well on Sunday and have a chance to win. That’s the fun part because if you stick with the process, you can reach (players). If you start looking (beyond), you’ll probably get beat.”
“The process is the things we do each and every day regardless of who the opponent is. You do the same thing trying to get better,” said Freeman. “The process is getting into meetings, watching film you need to watch, understanding the game plan and putting in the time and effort.
“Each day is important. It’s structure, like going to class. This is work, it’s our job. The process is put in place. You see the same people doing the same things, things that need to be done. Coach Pagano says to take care of the change and dollars will come. You respect the process.”
Says Castonzo, “The process makes me think of what you do in the off-season to prepare, what you do during the week leading up to the game to prepare. I feel the game is the end (of the process). The process is what really matters, it’s what makes the game seem easier.
“Football is such a challenging game. Going against the best is so challenging that to give yourself a chance, the process is incredibly important – think about how you’re going to prepare your body in the off-season and your mind during the week. All that preparation put together is what I think of when I think of the process.
“The season is Groundhog Hour, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Week. You know exactly what’s going to happen each hour of each day of each week. That’s how it has to be so you can get into a rhythm and feel good.”
Each year is a 17-week grinder and competing for the duration is the goal.
“It’s a long season. If you don’t respect that process for each game, it’s going to wear on you,” said Castonzo. “Preparation is the most important part because you can’t have peace of mind if you don’t know you’ve prepared as hard as you can.
“If you think you’ve left some stone unturned, come Saturday night or Sunday morning, you’re going to be a mess.”