INDIANAPOLIS – The rhythm of an NFL regular season is now in full swing.
It's a script the Colts will use virtually every week this year, with practices running Wednesday-Friday going into Sunday games.
This week, the Colts have their first road trip of 2016 out in Denver, where the Broncos are looking for a little revenge after last year's meeting in Indianapolis.
On Wednesday, we heard from head coach Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck.
Chuck Pagano on the Denver defense:
"They can hurt you in a lot of different ways, from all levels."
Bowen's Analysis:* *We know about the guys coming off the edge on Sunday. But what Chuck Pagano made sure to point out on Wednesday was how talented Denver is at every defensive position group. Pagano calls Denver safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart one of the best safety tandems in the league.
For the Colts, they will need the offensive line performance they got in the final three quarters of Week One. Look for the Colts to use specific offensive concepts in trying to keep the pass rush at a controlled pace on Sunday: (i.e. certain passing routes, chips from backs/tight ends, quicker throws, more of a run game and even some screens). Don't say this too loud, but Andrew Luck has been sacked just once in his last 79 pass attempts against Denver. Also, shockingly, Von Miller has yet to record a sack in three games against the Colts.
Chuck Pagano on the play of Andrew Luck in Week One:
"The decisions that he made on Sunday led you to believe that the guy had done some work in a lot of different areas, not only the fundamental/technical area, but the decision making part of it, too."
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts are going to need the Luck we saw in Week One for them to go into Denver and escape with yet another win over the Broncos. Luck has had some of his better career games against the team that has captured the AFC West in five straight seasons.
It's pretty crazy to think what the Colts have done to Denver in the past three years. They gave Denver their first lost in 2013 (after a 6-0 start) and again in 2015 (after a 7-0 start). Then in 2014, after losing the season opener out in Denver, the Colts returned to Mile High in the playoffs and beat the Broncos. This is why Denver's players have alluded to a little more at stake on Sunday, compared to a normal Week Two matchup.
Andrew Luck on playing in a hostile environment this weekend:
"Very few times in life do you get to go somewhere where 80,000 people want to call you bad names.
"It's sort of special."
Bowen's Analysis: Just a vintage, vintage quote from Luck. How will the Colts handle their first road test of 2016---arguably the toughest in the NFL when you think of the crowd noise, altitude and the personnel on defense, all put together.
Pagano also mentioned on Wednesday how he wanted to acknowledge Luck for what he does pre-snap. Can Luck do all of that in Denver, when 80,000 people want to call you bad names? Non-verbal communication is going to be key for an environment that Dwayne Allen calls "easily the most hostile" in the NFL.
Here is Wednesday's injury report:
- DNP: OLB-Trent Cole (back), CB-Vontae Davis (ankle), S-T.J. Green (knee), OLB-Robert Mathis (foot), OT-Joe Reitz (back), CB-Patrick Robinson (concussion) and Clayton Geathers (personal, child birth).
-Wednesday practices usually mean rest days for several veterans. Davis and Green continue to be "week-to-week" guys. Mathis said on his Tuesday night radio show that he hyperextended his toe on Sunday, but the boot was just a preventative measure. Reitz had a back injury late in the preseason, but played every snap in Week One. Robinson is still in the concussion protocol. Geathers was expected to practice on Wednesday, but being a new father trumps that of course.
- LIMITED: DT-Henry Anderson (knee), CB-Darius Butler (ankle), CB-Antonio Cromartie (hamstring), C-Jonotthan Harrison (back), DT-Zach Kerr (foot) and DE-Kendall Langford (knee).
-Anderson has now practiced four straight weeks. It was very important to get Butler back to practice, given the injury situation at cornerback/safety right now. Cromartie, Harrison and Kerr are new injuries.