Wayne Looking Forward to Start of Second Season
INDIANAPOLIS – In his ninth year in the league, wide receiver Reggie Wayne is well aware of the challenge the Colts face ahead in the post-season.
And while the Colts finished with a 14-2 record in the regular season, the best in the NFL, Wayne knows that only means so much in the playoffs.
Yes, the Colts have experience. Yes, the team has homefield advantage up until the Super Bowl.
But all records will be even when the Colts take the field and meet their playoff opponent in the Divisional Round January 16 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
According to Wayne, the Colts are on the brink of starting a new season, and have as much at stake as any other team in the postseason.
"We won the regular season, but at the same time, there is no reward for that," Wayne said. "Everybody is going to have pressure on them in the playoffs, because if you don't win, you are sitting back like a spectator like everyone else."
Over his career, Wayne has seen just about everything in the post-season. And since he has seen what has worked and what has failed, the wide receiver is a fairly good judge of what a successful post-season plan looks like.
On Wednesday, Wayne said Head Coach Jim Caldwell is preparing the Colts the right way for a deep playoff run.
"We want to go into it with everything, full stride," Wayne said. "We feel that's where we are. We have this week to work on ourselves, get better and then hit the ground running."
When looking around the locker room, Wayne said there are some key guys that are down – such as Bob Sanders, Marlin Jackson and Anthony Gonzalez – but the team is fairly healthy thanks to some extended rest over the past two weeks.
Which will be beneficial in the playoffs, Wayne said, because the post-season is all about depth.
"The more guys we have healthy, the stronger we can be," he said.
Wayne credited Caldwell for a post-season plan that now has a majority of the players healthy and well-rested before the start of their "second season."
"That's been our whole mindset," Wayne said. "We'll be pretty close to being full throttle. This week we'll concentrate on ourselves, then when it's done, we'll move on to next week."
PLAYERS LOOKING FORWARD TO WEEKEND
Fans are not the only ones excited about the start of the NFL playoffs this weekend.
With a first-round bye, many of the Colts players plan to get in a little couch time and watch Saturday and Sunday's Wild Card action, as well.
Colts players also can do a little scouting of their own this weekend, as their Divisional Round opponent – Baltimore, Cincinnati or New York – will be playing.
Caldwell, who also said he was looking forward to watching the games, added he does not have to ask his players if they plan to watch the playoffs.
"That's their life," Caldwell said. "They look at it with great interest. And whether they do or don't, by the time we finish with our preparation next week, they'll have a pretty good idea (of their opponent)."
"After we take these days to focus on ourselves, I'm going to sit back, relax and watch football," Wayne said.
Running back Joseph Addai said the team is feeling fresh after a week of preparation and rest.
And with the players off this weekend, Addai said there was no way he would miss this weekend's games.
"Oh yeah," Addai said. "I'll be watching."
GIGUERE IMPRESSES IN DEBUT
Months and months of rehabilitation finally paid off for Colts first-year wide receiver Sam Giguere last Sunday, who made his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills.
Giguere, who originally signed with the Colts in August of 2008, was called up from the practice squad last week and made a "favorable impression" in his first game, according to Caldwell.
Giguere, out of Sherbrooke College in Quebec, Canada, returned five kicks in the snow for 122 yards against the Bills, highlighted by a 36-yard return late in the game.
After watching his teammates from the sidelines all season, Giguere said it felt great to get on the field.
"The rehab was so hard, missing pretty much all of training camp with my leg injury," Giguere said. "After that, it was hard to get back to 100 percent healthy. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles, but it felt really good to get out there and play."
A native of Canada, Giguere said it was not the first time he had played in the snow, but that did not necessarily make it any easier.
The wide receiver joked he had to balance "running fast" and "not falling over" when he had the ball.
"Running straight wasn't too bad, but when you try and make cuts and go around the corner it gets a little complicated," he said.
Now, Giguere said his challenge is to stay healthy and find a way to contribute to the Colts this post-season.
"I'm looking at this week like every other week," he said. "I still have so much to work on. Every rep in practice I work on my routes, proper depth and catching the ball properly. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can."