Bye Week Allows Chuck Pagano, Colts Staff To Self-Scout Before Stretch Run Begins

Intro: Monday offered a rare chance for the Colts to get on to the practice field for some self-scouting following their bye week. What is the focus for improvements from Chuck Pagano down the stretch?

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INDIANAPOLIS – The schedule read "bye" but the Colts coaching staff didn't spend the entire week away from football.

Instead of focusing all their attention to a specific game plan, the Colts coaches looked back on the first nine weeks of the 2014 season.

While players rested and healed for the final stretch run, the bye week provided a chance for some self-scouting from the Colts staff.

After a 6-3 start to 2014, the Colts certainly have more good to evaluate than bad and that's a pleasant sight for Chuck Pagano.

"Looking at things that we have done well, want to keep accentuating those things in all three phases," Pagano said on his radio show Monday night.

"But really we took a look at the areas we need improvement in. It was a great opportunity, got the guys back in the building (Monday) morning, good meetings, had a really good practice and we went to work on some of those areas."

Two specific areas that Pagano wanted to address comes where the field shrinks and points are at a premium.

Offensively, red zone offense and protecting the football have Pagano's focus heading into the last seven games of 2014.

The Colts currently rank 16th in the NFL at converting 56.4 percent of their red zone chances. It's a stat that doesn't fall in line with the Colts other offensive numbers.

Red zone efficiency was a focus this offseason and will remain one in the second half as the Colts try and take full advantage of an offense that is continually taking drives into opponent's territory.

Sticking with the offense, Pagano would like to see the Colts protect the ball better moving forward, an area they led the NFL in last year (14 giveaways in 2013).

The Colts already have 15 committed turnovers in 2014, a number that Pagano knows cannot repeat itself in the second half of the year, if this team hopes to make a playoff push.

Flipping sides of the ball, Pagano again points to turnovers and the red zone.

The Colts have forced 15 turnovers this year with Pagano wanting to see his defense capitalize on a few more of those chances.

In the red zone, an area the Colts haven't let too many drives reach in 2014, the defense has struggled in allowing a 70 percent conversion rate (32nd in the league).

It's those four areas that have Pagano's interest after an extended evaluation period.

When you're at 6-3 after nine weeks, it might seem like a bit of nit picking with such specific focus but Pagano knows that is needed to achieve the goals he has set.

And that starts on Sunday night against the team currently atop the AFC.

"We talk about the seven games to go, and we talk about playing at home and winning at home, and winning on the road, being able to do certain things down the stretch," Pagano says of his message after the bye week. "You want to play your best football this time of year, especially in December, January.

"We know the ramifications. We know the implications. We know every game gets bigger. I think everybody understands the magnitude of all these ball games coming up, especially this next one. So we've got to stick to the process. We take care of the little things, we prepare, we do all the things necessary throughout the course of the week, that will give us the best chance to be successful and play well on Sunday."

A look at the Colts fashion style on the runway boarding the plane to New York.

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