Colts Offense Evolving As Matt Hasselbeck Leads Quarterbacks

Intro: At Monday’s practice, it was Matt Hasselbeck leading the Colts quarterbacks and taking the No. 1 reps. What was Hasselbeck’s reaction to the news on Andrew Luck?

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INDIANAPOLIS – The first call from Chuck Pagano to Matt Hasselbeck came when Hasselbeck was spending part of his 2013 offseason in the Bahamas.

The most recent one came on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Indianapolis.

That first call had Hasselbeck fired up, despite an upcoming football season as a backup quarterback months away.

This last call from Pagano had Hasselbeck initially disappointed for what the head coach needed from his backup quarterback.

Andrew Luck was injured and would be missing time.

The Colts were once again calling on Hasselbeck to steer the ship, for longer than the first time this season.

"I was disappointed for Andrew," Hasselbeck said on Monday of his initial reaction to Pagano's call last Tuesday. "I know how hard he works. I know how hard he's worked this offseason.

"My goal is really just to kind of hold the fort down until he gets back."

When Hasselbeck got word from Pagano on how the quarterback's role would change in the coming weeks that also altered any potential bye week plans.

During last year's bye week, Hasselbeck served as a color analyst for FOX's broadcast of the Cardinals and Rams game in Arizona.

Hasselbeck had thought about joining the FOX crew again this bye week (for the Titans/Panthers contest) but a mention to Chuck Pagano of that, left the 40-year-old quarterback scratching that idea off the list.

"There was a strong chance I was calling a game again this year," Hasselbeck said on Monday with a starting quarterback type media contingent around him.

"I ran it by Chuck and I just heard silence at the other end of the phone, so I just decided to audible and do something else."

As is often the case for Hasselbeck, he left last Sunday's game with Denver believing there was nothing physically wrong with Luck.

That belief carried through the next day, when the Colts players came back to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to review film of their 27-24 win over the Broncos---a game Luck finished despite suffering a lacerated kidney early in the fourth quarter.

"I really thought that (Luck) took a big hit in that game," Hasselbeck said looking back on the last Colts contest.

"(However), I get the same answer when I ask him how he's doing as (the media does). I didn't actually know. I just know that he's one of the tougher guys you've ever been around. I had no idea it was that bad."

When Hasselbeck returned for work this Monday, things were a tad different for the current Colts starting quarterback.

Along with being more vocal and opinionated in meetings this week, Hasselbeck was the one leading quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst (current backup) and Alex Tanney (practice squad) through pre-practice drills on Monday morning.

The reps will increase considerably this week for Hasselbeck and it will be needed with the Colts offense continuing to evolve.

It said "bye" on the schedule for the Colts last week, but not for the offensive coaches.

"Our offensive staff worked hard over the bye," Hasselbeck said on Monday. "They worked hard at kind of establishing what we are going to be going forward.

"Last week, we just kind of threw it together on a short week. This week, it's different. My focus is just really getting on the same page with what we're trying to do now and do it as quick as possible."

When Hasselbeck started earlier this season, the games were a blur.

A bacterial infection hindered what little memories Hasselbeck has from those two divisional wins in five days.

With Pep Hamilton, Hasselbeck had plays on the call sheet he marked as "likes" so if the emergency situation happened, the former Colts offensive coordinator knew where to turn.

Well, "911" has been called again and Hasselbeck has shown he's more than capable of answering.

"I'm not really thinking long term," Hasselbeck said of how he vies the final seven games of 2015.

"My goal right now is just to get a win this week, try to go 1-0."

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