INDIANAPOLIS – When the Colts earned a 31-7 win at Carolina on October 28, 2007, running back Joseph Addai had a huge hand in a winning effort with 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Indianapolis hosts Carolina on November 27 in Lucas Oil Stadium, and Addai hopes to make another big splash again.
Addai has been limited to six starts in 2011, after suffering a hamstring injury against Kansas City on October 9. In actuality, the injury occurred early in that game, and he missed a great majority of the action. It was the same scenario in New Orleans two weeks later when he started, but exited early.
With his contributions factoring more toward four appearances in 2011 than six, Addai hopes to be back in full form when the Colts meet Panthers in just less than two weeks.
"Hopefully, I have the week to relax and kind of let the hamstring rest," said Addai. "I was kind of hoping I would be back for the Saints game, but hamstrings as we know kind of linger, kind of goes on. The bye week will let me rest a little bit."
During the week leading up to the Jacksonville game, Head Coach Jim Caldwell did not dismiss the possibility of Addai playing, but he indicated it was more likely that Addai would return for the game against the Panthers.
Addai says he did not suffer a setback last week like he did in the New Orleans game when competing caused a recurrence. It was a matter of healing that kept him out against the Jaguars.
"I don't want to say I re-injured it during the week, but it didn't feel like it could go (for) another week," said Addai. "At the skill positions – quarterbacks, defensive backs – you have to be able to take off. If I'm in practice I can monitor that. Game situations, that's totally different. That's the part I was having trouble with. I don't want to just say, 'I'll be ready.' The bye week will help me out a lot."
Addai has been effective in his action in 2011. The sixth-year pro holds a 4.4 rushing average with 257 yards on 58 attempts. His yardage total ranks third behind Delone Carter (327) Donald Brown (276), while Brown leads the backs with a 4.5 average. Addai's rushing high this year was 86 yards against Pittsburgh in the third game. It was his six-yard scoring run with 2:09 remaining that tied the contest, but the club fell at the gun by a field goal.
Recently, the team has had troubles offensively. After having 399 net yards at Tennessee on October 30, Indianapolis had 186 yards against Atlanta and 212 against Jacksonville. The offense did not record a touchdown in either game at home. Addai feels the open week is coming at a good time for the team so it can relax, reset its sights and look at areas that could improve.
"It's always good, win or lose, to get a bye week," said Addai. "It's always good to go back and start over again. You get the chance to go back to Football 101. I think it will be a good thing for us as far as trying to re-focus and get back on the right track."
As far as the offense having uneven performances, Addai offered no excuses. He believes the team could be in a bit better sync and that the matter can be targeted with a few extra days of attention.
"I think everybody is just on different pages, just throughout the whole team," said Addai. "I think when you have something bad going on, everybody's not connected as far as being as one. We'd love to have Peyton (Manning). I think everybody knows that, but that's not the reason why we're losing. That's far from the reason. When things are not going well, it's easy to point the finger. I think that's the easiest thing to do. You say, 'Don't do it,' but with human nature you do it. … I don't know what the situation is. I think the bye week came at the right time so we can kind of look at that (situations that need to improve).
"Six games is a lot to play, no matter win or lose or playoffs or not. Six games is a lot to play. We can still do a lot of things as far as getting better now (for) kind of going into next year."
This is the second straight season Addai has had to view a significant portion of the action from the sideline. After playing in 16 games as a rookie in 2006, he started 15 games in 2007 and 2009, while starting 12 outings in 2008. Last year, he suffered a nerve injury in his shoulder area in the sixth game. He opened seven of eight appearances after healing, and now he has been a spectator in four full games and in the majority of two others. He has been surprised with everyone else of the offensive output.
"It's a whole bunch of different things," said Addai. "When you're in a bad situation, you can point the finger at so many different places. … When you're winning games, you can find a lot of bad things going on also, but you overlook those things when you're winning. As far as getting those things worked out, I feel like this bye will help us out.
"It is shocking. Like any other thing in life, you go through things. It's hard while you're going through it but at the same time, you learn from it. You have to turn a negative into a positive. That's what we're trying to do now. We haven't done a lot on offense. Hopefully, in the Carolina game we can get some things going."
Indianapolis will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in workouts that Caldwell indicated would not be quite to the same level of intensity as those that are held with a game looming on Sunday. The team then will have a four-day break for players. The open week comes after 14 games, counting preseason play, and the team has been going full-speed since training camp opened on August 1.
Addai has no plans to vacate Indianapolis. It is first things first, which means ensuring his hamstring is tended to so a possible return to action is kept on track. His years of experience will keep him grounded as a little free time hits, and his vision is set only for a return to action.
"I'm a veteran now, so it really doesn't matter to me," said Addai. "I have to get this hamstring right. If I was rookie or second-year player, I'd probably be upset. I'm pretty good now."