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Colts Know Reality, Maintain Even Keel

Two games into the season, the Colts are 1-1, the same record as a year ago. Where the 2012 team was coming off a win, this year it is coming off a tough loss. Players know all goals still lie ahead, and it is important to maintain calm and perspective.


INDIANAPOLIS –The sting of a 24-20 loss to Miami was still felt Monday when Colts players reported to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

It likely remained to a degree when they left later in the day since setbacks have a way of impacting far greater than a victory.

Film watched and corrections made, the focus now is on San Francisco.  The Colts and 49ers are among 16 teams at 1-1, and both squads absorbed losses last Sunday.

That said, Colts players know all targets for 2013 remain.  They will maintain a sense of reality rather than listen to any differing perceptions.

"We're disappointed were 1-1, that's the main thing," said Adam Vinatieri.  "If you don't play well enough, you get beaten by a good team.  We didn't play well enough. 

"We went through corrections, and there were plenty to go over.  We made mistakes across the board, but we know we can play better football.  We will play better football."

The Colts were 1-1 this time last year, responding to a 20-point loss in the opener with a last-minute comeback victory over Minnesota on Vinatieri's 53-yard yard field goal. 

This year's won-loss sequence is inverted from last year.  While public reaction is palpable, players know the reality and have the same even keel as a year ago.

"How to compare to last year?  I don't know," said Vinatieri.  "It's only two games in this marathon.  Nobody has made the playoffs.  Nobody is out of the playoffs at this point, no matter if you're 2-0 or 0-2. 

"All of our goals are in front of us.  We're not perceiving anything beyond what we have to do this week."

Maybe no player circulates more publicly than Pat McAfee, and he maintains the same calm nature as Vinatieri concerning the won-loss sequence.

"I don't think in the locker room there is any difference.  There might be outside because people are kind of sold a story of what should happen or what shouldn't happen," said McAfee.  "It's the NFL, you never know what's going to happen. 

"I don't think there's any difference at all (from last year's feeling at 1-1).  It's all about perspective.  The perspective is we have 14 more games.  That's all we're worried about.  We'll get past the loss and work on the next thing."

Joe Reitz says every game has its emotional aftermath and regardless of outcome, corrections are a part of the day-after regimen.  Managing the non-physical part of the job is best by analysis and preparation.

"The locker room perspective is the same," said Reitz.  "It's a long season.  You have to have no highs, no lows, just stay right there (even-keeled).  Our team did a good job of that last year.  I know we'll do the same this year. 

"We haven't lost any of our big goals.  We're two games into a 16-game season.  With my limited math skills, we have 14 games left.  We have to go out and continue to improve every week.  You want to play your best ball at the end of the season.  That's what we're striving to do."

Coby Fleener recalled being a rookie last year and just dealing with the challenges of going through his first season.  One lesson Fleener brings to this year is to treat each game individually and use the hurt from a loss as motivation.

His Stanford battery-mate, Andrew Luck, already had pondered the notion of how this year's 1-1 felt to last year's, and he only hopes week three in 2013 means a winning record. 

"I actually did try to sort of sit down and think back, and it felt like it was 10 years ago to last year," said Luck.  "It is a different feeling not being a rookie.  Last year, I don't think a lot of us, especially the rookies, offensive rookies – there were like six of us, seven of us playing a lot of ball – realized what an NFL season was like, what the week was like, what it's like to lose a game, what it's like to win a game.  I guess we are sitting at 1-1 again, and, hopefully, we end up at 2-1 instead of 1-2."

Luck and Fleener now can contribute to that veteran approach.  Eleven-year veteran Aubrayo Franklin can, too, and he likes direction provided even higher.

"I think Coach Pagano does a good job of maintaining the team chemistry," said Franklin.  "We have a lot of veteran guys who can maintain chemistry.  It's early in the season.  We still have a lot of football ahead of us.  We need to come in and work and go out and play as a team like we know we can."

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