INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will conclude the practice week for Arizona later this morning. Today's news looks at the emergence of Coby Fleener, the task for the Colts secondary on Sunday, a wonderful story told by former Colts OL coach Harold Goodwin and how the Cardinals are prepping for Robert Mathis.
Take a look below at the top pieces fromFriday, November 22nd.**Can Colts TE Fleener fill void left by Wayne?**By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star
First it was T.Y. Hilton.
Then last Thursday it was Coby Fleener who stepped up in Reggie Wayne's absence.
Fleener caught eight passes for 107 yards, establishing career highs in both categories. And his performance begged an interesting question: Is Fleener the critical piece the Colts' passing game has been missing?
"I hope it's a step in the right direction," Fleener said.
A lack of reliable targets in crucial situations has made things difficult on Luck. But Fleener, with his impressive speed and athleticism, is proving a tough cover for linebackers and safeties. Luck seems to have taken notice. Fleener has been targeted by the quarterback 10 times in each of the past two games after receiving fewer than five targets per game prior to Wayne's injury last month.
That's a drastically different role than Fleener had in the past.
"I would say that guys are kind of understanding that they're going to need to grow a little bit faster than they may have anticipated," Fleener said. "With Reggie out there, there's a constant threat of him making a big play."
**Colts' secondary will be tested in Arizona**By: Mike Wells, AFC South Blog
Chuck Pagano and the Colts certainly know what's coming on Sunday afternoon when facing Bruce Arians' offense.
"Run it and throw it down the field as far as you can and complete a lot of them," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said about Arizona's offense. "[Arians has] been doing it a long time. He's a great playcaller. We all know that. You see a lot of similarities in there and he's utilizing their talent very well."
The struggling secondary may be without one of its starting cornerbacks for the fourth straight game. Greg Toler hasn't practiced this week because of a groin injury. He wants to play Sunday because he spent his first four seasons with the Cardinals, but he tweaked his groin while working out Monday. Safety LaRon Landry also hasn't practiced this week because of a toe injury, although he said he believes he'll play Sunday.
Vontae Davis and Cassius Vaughn, who started in place of Toler in his absence, will be matched up on Fitzgerald and Floyd, who have combined for 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The Cardinals became the first team since 1971 to have touchdown receptions of at least 80 and 90 yards in a season when Floyd scored on a 91-yard pass against Jacksonville.
"He's a future Hall of Famer and he's still playing at a high level and making plays, 45 catches and six touchdowns," Pagano said about Fitzgerald. "Floyd and the rest of the guys, they got a bunch of skill guys, they got a bunch of playmakers. Carson's doing a good job of spreading the wealth and getting the ball out to them."
**Lesson Learned for Harold Goodwin**By: Darren Urban, www.azcardinals.com
A tremendous piece by Urban on Colts former offensive line coach Harold Goodwin (current Cardinals offensive coordinator) and his seven-year old neighbor who dealt with her own battle of leukemia last year.
Goodwin's next door neighbor in Indiana had a little girl named Carter, who along with her brother Will, would come over to the Goodwins to play with Harold's son. Carter too had leukemia.
"She wrote a letter for Chuck," Goodwin said. "She came to me, 'Can you give this to coach?' I did. He read it and wrote her back."
Goodwin paused, fighting the emotion.
"She died a few weeks ago. She was in remission and it came back and she died. The day before she died, I had Chuck call her parents."
Carter Nebesio, only 7 years old, passed away on Sept. 26 – the one-year anniversary when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.
**Cardinals Gear Up For Mathis**By: Darren Urban www.azcardinals.com
With Goodwin and former Colts offensive tackle Bradley Sowell starting at the left tackle spot for the Cardinals on Sunday, they know the challenge in facing Robert Mathis.
So did (Goodwin) have any special instructions for his offensive linemen this week?
"Yeah," Goodwin said. "Keep him away from the quarterback."
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. Mathis already has 13½ sacks this season, and will likely be matched up most of the day against left tackle Bradley Sowell – who as an undrafted rookie for the Colts last season battled Mathis in practice as a member of the "card team."
"Obviously he is a good player, so it doesn't really matter what you know about him," Sowell said. "We just have to do a good job. You might know his moves, but he's still going to be tough to block."