INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts were back to work on Wednesday with practice beginning for Washington week.
Any hype of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III starting against each other for the first time in the NFL ended with Washington head coach Jay Gruden announcing Colt McCoy as the starter.
Here are a few sound bites from Jay Gruden and Chuck Pagano meeting the media on Wednesday:
The Indianapolis Colts today claimed outside linebacker Shaun Phillips off waivers (Tennessee) and waived outside linebacker Victor Butler.
Phillips, 6-3, 255 pounds, has recorded 554 tackles (397 solo), 81.5 sacks, 22 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and seven interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, in 163 career games (121 starts). He has also posted 48 tackles (32 solo), 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in 11 postseason contests (10 starts). Phillips has totaled at least 7.0 sacks in eight of his first 10 seasons and his current sack total ranks 12th in the NFL since 2004.
Phillips played the first nine seasons (2004-2012) of his career with the San Diego Chargers, followed by the Denver Broncos (2013) and Tennessee Titans (2014). In 2009, he paced the NFL with a career-high seven forced fumbles, while leading San Diego to its fourth consecutive AFC West title. The following year, Phillips earned his first career Pro Bowl selection after starting all 16 games for the Chargers and posting 11.0 sacks. In 2013, he led the Broncos in sacks with 10.0, while adding five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Bowen's Analysis:* *The Colts have added some veteran pass rush help in the 33-year old Phillips. Purdue's all-time sack leader comes to Indianapolis after spending the first 11 games of 2014 with the Titans (19 tackles and 2.0 sacks). Last year, Phillips led the Denver Broncos defense with 10 sacks.
Of course, the pass rush position has been analyzed all season long and has been a major focal point during each of the Colts seven wins (26 sacks in wins). It will be interesting to see how quickly Phillips can get caught up to speed coming in on a Thursday of game week. Phillips has familiarity with the Colts having played for defensive line coach Gary Emanuel at Purdue and playing for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky in San Diego.Jay Gruden on naming Colt McCoy the starting quarterback:
"We're focused in on Indianapolis, and we're going to play with Colt and see how it goes."
Bowen's Analysis:* *On Monday, Gruden told Washington reporters that the "intent" was to start Robert Griffin III against the Colts. That intent was gone by Wednesday when Gruden officially named McCoy the starter, thus ending any matchup between the top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Gruden said that RGIII still needs to get a better understand of Washington's new offensive scheme. The main reasoning for going with McCoy comes from him leading Washington to two of their three wins this season. In relief against the Titans and as a starter versus the Cowboys, McCoy was 36-of-42 for 427 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Chuck Pagano on the starting running back going forward:
"They both practiced well last week. We all know that Trent (Richardson) missed last Wednesday when he was out sick, but they both practiced well. We'll see how they practice this week and make a decision."
Bowen's Analysis: Herron got his first NFL start on Sunday but it was Richardson who saw the most playing time against the Jaguars. Richardson logged 41 snaps with Herron playing 32 on Sunday.
In the Colts first game without Ahmad Bradshaw it was pretty clear that the two-man rotation will remain in the backfield. Both players had around a dozen carries on Sunday. Stringing together another consistent rushing performance on Sunday would be impressive this weekend with the Washington defense ranking ninth in the NFL against the run.
Here is the injury report for Wednesday:
-DNP- Dwayne Allen (ankle), Colt Anderson (knee), Vontae Davis (foot), Josh Gordy (back), D'Qwell Jackson (rest), Andy Studebaker (hamstring), Hugh Thornton (knee) and Reggie Wayne (rest).
-Pagano said Allen is day-to-day. Davis was in a walking boot at practice but Pagano expects the Colts top corner to be ready to go on Sunday. With Thornton missing practice, Xavier Nixon and Joe Reitz saw time at right guard.
-LIMITED- Xavier Nixon (foot), Loucheiz Purifoy (concussion) and Greg Toler (concussion)
-Pagano expects both Purifoy and Toler to be ready for Sunday's game. The next step in the concussion protocol comes on Thursday where those two go from a red jersey to a full contact practice. Nixon left practice early with a foot injury.
-FULL- Gosder Cherilus (shoulder)
-As expected, Cherilus was back at practice and looks to be trending in the right direction to be back in the lineup on Sunday against Washington.