Colts Not Deviating From the Norm Amidst Super Bowl Preparation Week
INDIANAPOLIS – With the Super Bowl on the horizon, and the Colts amidst their preparation, Head Coach Jim Caldwell said the team would continue to iron out any and all creases he deems necessary leading up to the big game.
The Colts are hoping to stay sharp as they prepare for Super Bowl XLIV, which means practicing like it is any other week and not deviating from what has led to success all season.
"The big thing is that our week won't change in terms of our practices," Caldwell said. "How we go about it won't change that much, but like many things, I think the mental is to the physical 10:1. So I think it is a mindset, and that more so than anything else it is how you describe things. I think it has an affect on your temperament, intensity and preparation."
The Colts coach said he would try to emphasize those things during the week because when the team travels to Miami next Monday, things tend to get a bit hectic with media schedules, practices and the various required appearances.
"We won't have the kind of focus and concentration we'd like to have for an extended period of time," he said. "We can have it in spurts, but here we have it for an extended period of time, so we want to take advantage of it."
In discussing the team's plan this week, Caldwell said the Colts would be pretty much be business as usual, with a few exceptions—more film studying, more game planning and more strategizing over the logistics of next week.
That means missing out on other sporting events going on Indianapolis this week, including the Indiana Pacers' matchups against LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
"I might be slightly busy," Caldwell joked.
Caldwell said the two weeks between the NFL's Championship Weekend and Super Bowl Sunday are giving the Colts ample time to prepare for the New Orleans Saints, whom he praised across the board.
The Colts coach said the Saints not only boast one of the best offenses in the league, but a strong defense to go along.
"They are a very talented team that is going to take a lot of work to get prepared for," he said.
Having been to the Super Bowl just four seasons ago, Caldwell stressed to the team the importance of this week and how key the team's preparation will be next week.
The message has resonated loudly among players, even those who were with the Colts during their Super Bowl XLI title run, like quarterback Peyton Manning.
"Having played in this game (before), I can speak to the truth of how important this week is to prepare and really prepare as if the game is on Sunday," Manning said. "We are trying to get ready to play, and the time next week is to get even more prepared. That's important, to have good mental preparation this week and good on-the-field practices."
Manning said it is evident the team has bought into Caldwell's coaching philosophies and added that the coach has been consistent in his message all season.
"We are excited about where is going to lead us," Manning said. "I think he's set out a good plan, and the players now have to follow that plan."
Caldwell said he has yet to determine every detail of next week's itinerary – such as meeting times, curfews and practice schedules – but said the team would benefit from having gone through the motions so recently.
"Those are things you have some control over, but also the other thing about it is that these are men," Caldwell said of the players. "We trust them. They've been good all season. We haven't had a whole bunch of problems or issues. You don't play as consistently well as we have with distractions."
The key, Caldwell said, is to make sure he has a captive audience at all times and make sure there is an environment in which his players can thrive.
"I think we probably have the best available situation for us because we've been through it before," he said. "It does help that, in a sense, 25 guys have been through this process. So that will help, I think, quite a bit."
As the team goes about polishing any last-minute smudges, Caldwell said the coaching staff and players would carry the same intensity to Miami next week.
"It is not like we are going to go back there and pull back the reigns," he said. "We have a real challenge ahead of us, so it is going to take really good preparation to get this done as well."
MANNING RECEIVES MORE HONORS
The awards keep coming in for Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
On Tuesday, the NFL's four-time MVP was named the NFL 101 AFC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, marking the sixth time the Colts quarterback has won the award and making him the most decorated player in the 40-year history of 101 Awards.
Manning led the Colts to a 14-2 finish in the regular season and helped guide them to Super Bowl XLIV, the team's second Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.
The quarterback passed for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns this season while leading the Colts to an NFL-record seven fourth-quarter comeback victories.
In addition, Manning and defensive end Dwight Freeney also were named to the NFL's All-Decade Team, which is scheduled to be announced during ESPN's Sunday's NFL Countdown (5:30 p.m. ET) during the network's Pro Bowl coverage.
BETHEA NAMED TO PRO BOWL
Also receiving recognition this week was safety Antoine Bethea, who was named to this year's AFC Pro Bowl team, making him the seventh Colt to be named to the squad this season.
Bethea joins quarterback Peyton Manning, center Jeff Saturday, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, tight end Dallas Clark and defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the team.
During the regular season, Bethea started all 16 games and registered team highs of 120 tackles and four interceptions.
"I'm excited," he said. "I am a little bit more excited because I won't be able to play in the Pro Bowl, but being named to my second Pro Bowl in four years is something I'm pretty proud of."
Bethea added that having three defensive players named to the Pro Bowl shows just how well the defense has played as a whole this season.
"It speaks volumes about our defense and our entire team," he said.
Bethea said he is happy to be sitting out this weekend's festivities in favor of playing in next weekend's game, Super Bowl XLIV.
"It is much better to be going down there in casual clothes and be ready to suit up the week after that," he said.
The Colts issued an injury report on Wednesday with the following players listed as full participation in practice: RBs-Joseph Addai (shoulder), Donald Brown (foot) and Mike Hart (ankle), LBs-Gary Brackett (knee) and Ramon Humber (knee), DBs-Melvin Bullitt (knee), Aaron Francisco (hand) and Jamie Silva (hand), OTs-Ryan Diem (elbow), Charlie Johnson (foot) and Tony Ugoh (knee), DT-Antonio Johnson (shoulder), DE-Robert Mathis (shoulder), OG-Jamey Richard (shoulder), K-Adam Vinatieri (right hip) and WR-Reggie Wayne (knee).
DB-Antoine Bethea (back) was listed as limited participation, while DE-Dwight Freeney (ankle), DB-Jerraud Powers (foot) and TE-Jacob Tamme (ankle) were listed as did not participate in practice.