INDIANAPOLIS – A two-hour Monday morning practice for the Colts began the early stages of preparation for the 2014 regular season opener on Sunday night.
Pagano will meet with the media three times this week before the team heads to Denver to take on the Broncos at 8:30 p.m. EST in Mile High Stadium.
Here are a few headlines from Pagano's press conference on Monday:
Chuck Pagano on starting the regular season:
"Obviously, excited. It's game week. Nothing like it. We've got to go through the preparation of the offseason, preseason and Training Camp but there's nothing like game week."
Bowen's Analysis:* *There were signs everywhere that this was game week. From the fewer cars in the player's parking lot, to the scout team jerseys on the practice fields and then the opponent specific questions during media availabilities, it gets real on Sunday night.
Some players have changed lockers and numbers, and 46 of the current 53 on the Colts roster will be out there in front of a nationally televised audience on Sunday night. The emotion and buildup of last year's meeting will be hard to recreate but rest assured Denver will be amped up seeing how the Super Bowl ended along with this Colts team giving them their first loss last year.
Chuck Pagano on the offensive line heading into Week One:
"(A.Q. Shipley) taking every snap with the first group out there was pretty much flawless."
Bowen's Analysis: It felt like 2012 all over again with Shipley snapping to Andrew Luck on Monday morning. It is just Monday though, and the hope is still for Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison to return to practice on Wednesday.
Shipley is the guy to watch this week. He was in the building at 6:30 on Monday morning getting the terminology down with offensive line coach Joe Gilbert. Shipley does have familiarity with many of the guys on the Colts offense but the verbiage must be down before a hostile environment awaits on Sunday.
Chuck Pagano on facing quarterback Peyton Manning:
"We know he's going to make some plays. You need to make him go the long, hard way. Don't give up freebies."
"Communication is going to be very, very important….Those guys especially on the outside, they've got to have amnesia. They've got to be able to put it behind you and move on. 60 minutes."
Bowen's Analysis: Mike Adams said it best today when talking about Manning, his former teammate in Denver. There's a reason Manning will be wearing a "yellow jacket" very soon (Hall of Fame jacket). The Colts players and coaches know the task at hand come Sunday night.
Manning tossed seven touchdowns in last year's nationally televised opener and many in Denver believe a similar performance is in the works this week. The Colts did a very solid job in defending the Broncos offense last year. There's some uncertainty at safety but the Colts do have their top three corners back from that October 20th meeting in Indianapolis.
During the open media portion of practice, the following things were observed:
-Both Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison worked on the adjacent practice field, rehabbing their injuries. Neither had a helmet on to participate in practice. Holmes did some snapping with a trainer. Harrison did the same with various Colts quarterbacks.
-Neither Joe Reitz nor Xavier Nixon was at practice on Monday.
-Jerrell Freeman continues to practice in a red jersey. His thumb is wrapped up pretty heavily and one would expect Freeman to play with some sort of protective wrap on Sunday night.
-It looked like Darius Butler and Greg Toler have returned to practice after missing last week. Obviously, their health is extremely key with the prolific Denver passing attack waiting.