Colts Not Letting Opponent's Record Dictate Preparation
INDIANAPOLIS – While Sunday's game will mark a meeting between the undefeated Colts and 0-6 Rams, the Colts are choosing to ignore their opponent's record.
While they have yet to win a game this season, the Rams are just as dangerous as any other team the Colts will face, according to several players.
"It is going to be a tough challenge," defensive end Dwight Freeney said. "You have to throw the record away and just go out and play the game."
In the NFL, Freeney said team records do not mean much on a weekly basis. With games often coming down to just a few points, records can often be misleading as to how good a team really is.
"Anyone can win on any day," Freeney said. "It's just about who is the better team."
After studying tape, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said the Rams are a dangerous team and do not look like an 0-6 squad on film.
"I just don't think about a team's record when you play them," he said. "You study them, you study the X's-and-O's, you study the schemes and you just try to go out there and beat those defenses and schemes.
"Whether they won last week, lost last week, is really kind of irrelevant. It's what is going to happen on this Sunday in St. Louis. That's what we have to worry about it."
Two of the Rams' losses have come by three points or less, including a 23-20 overtime loss to Jacksonville last Sunday.
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said he sees the Rams improving every week. When asked why St. Louis is winless, Caldwell said penalties and turnovers have been the deciding factors in most of their ballgames.
In the Rams' 38-10 loss to Minnesota in Week 5, Caldwell pointed out that St. Louis turned the ball over three times inside the Vikings' 10-yard line.
"They left either nine or 21 points on the table," Caldwell said. "I just don't think you'll see them do that very often. I see them trending (up) and getting better and better.
"We'd better be ready to play when we walk into that stadium."
BACK IN THE SADDLE
While the bye week provided a nice getaway for players and coaches, the Colts were back at it on Monday, practicing in full force.
One reason Caldwell thinks the Colts have been able to get off to a 5-0 start this season is their willingness to prepare early in the week, something he did not want to see subside after a weekend of rest.
"I believe what happens a lot of times in bye weeks is you're off a little bit and you tend to cruise your way back into activity," Caldwell said. "I told (the players) I thought we had to jump back in with both feet."
Which is why the Colts held "a little bit more of a spirited practice" on Monday.
"We got right back to our same routine, we got right back into the same rhythm," the Colts coach said. "That's the big thing. Just trying not to lose your rhythm."
Tight end Dallas Clark said that type of preparation is why the Colts have been so successful on Sundays.
"Coaches do a good job of yelling a little more, (and) if they notice something is a little lackadaisical they make sure players are on it," he said. "And players are doing a good job of taking it upon themselves and understanding the situation."
Manning echoed Clark and Caldwell's sentiments, explaining whichever team prepares better during the week is usually the one that plays better at the end of it.
"Whoever goes out and makes more plays, executes better and makes fewer penalties is usually the team that is going to win any Sunday, no matter who you're playing," he said. "We're trying to eliminate our mistakes, our penalties, turnovers, and make some plays when we have a chance to make them."
A BLUE ST. LOU?
At about 250 miles, the Edward Jones Stadium is only a four-hour drive away from Indianapolis, which is one reason why some are expecting to see some Colts blue scattered across St. Louis on Sunday.
"I would definitely like that," Freeney said. "We have some traveling fans. That's a good thing when you can go to an opponent's stadium and see all that blue. It makes our guys feel great."
In the defensive end's seven years with the Colts, the team has won at least 10 games and made it to the playoffs every season.
But Freeney said he remembers times when the Colts were not always as fortunate.
"I remember when we really couldn't sell out our own stadium," he said. "Now when we go on the road, it's everywhere and always great to see."
The Colts released the second injury report of the week on Thursday. DB-Bob Sanders was rested and did not practice after returning from a knee injury. Also listed as not participating in practice were WR-Anthony Gonzalez (knee), DBs-Marlin Jackson (knee) and Tim Jennings (calf), G-Jamey Richard (not injury related-illness), RB-Chad Simpson (not injury related-illness) and K-Adam Vinatieri (right knee).