INDIANAPOLIS —On to the next one.
The Indianapolis Colts on Sunday took the field for the first time in the 2017 season, as they played host to the Detroit Lions in both teams' preseason openers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
For the Colts' quarterbacks — Scott Tolzien, Phillip Walker and Stephen Morris — the final result was a mixed bag; while there were some positives to take away into this week, they all agreed they each needed to step up their games heading into Saturday night's Preseason Week 2 contest on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.
Here's what all three of them had to say:
Scott Tolzien:Tolzien started the game for the Colts and would play the first three series for the Indy offense. He completed 2-of-5 passes for 24 yards, including a 20-yard strike down the middle to tight end Brandon Williams.
On his assessment of the first-team's offense's performance vs. the Lions:** "I think first and foremost, we didn't move the sticks. Our job is to move the chains as an offense, and we didn't do that, speaking for my group specifically, and then basically the majority of the game. So we've got to get back to work and we've got to get better. It's the first preseason game; there's a lot of ball left. But we've got to get better starting with tomorrow and watching the film."On if there were enough good things to take away into this next week: "All together, I think more negatives than positives. But you've got to use that as motivation. When we come in, you could say, 'Well, it's the preseason,' this and that, but we've got a lot of strides to make as an offense, and we will do that. That's our job."On what he does during preseason games when he is not actually playing to get better: "Yeah, just treating it like any other game. Being in tune with the offensive calls and the defensive looks that we're getting, and then when we come off on the sidelines, reviewing those looks. You can always kind of get a beat on the defense, kind of what their gameplan is, and it's a healthy process to go through all game long to see what they're doing and how it's changing and how it's adapting with the situation of the game."On the goal for this week:
"One day at a time. That's definitely the goal, is starting with watching this tape. And you always want to correct yourself first, and then go there as an offense, as a whole. Like I said, we've got a lot of work to do, and it's a good challenge for us, and I'm looking forward to it."
Phillip Walker:The rookie came on with two minutes to go in the first quarter, and would end up playing the most of any quarterback for the Colts on Sunday, unofficially logging 36 offensive snaps, according to NFL GSIS. He would complete 9-of-20 passes for 86 yards, including a 25-yard strike to running back Troymaine Pope early in the second quarter that got Indy to the Detroit 35 and set up the team's first points of the day; a 42-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
On adjusting to the speed of the NFL game on the fly:** "I think the difference between practice and a game is when a guy is about two yards from you, you know they won't hit you, but in a game you finally get hit. So it's a big difference, and I haven't really played at this level or at this speed of the game, so I had to go out there and adjust early, and once I got the adjustment, now I feel like I played fast enough."On how he would assess his debut performance: "Could've been a lot better. Just to go out there, I could've played a lot better, made better completions, made a few more better decisions, just take advantage of the opportunity. But I thought I played OK. I didn't think I played that well."On the positives he takes away from Sunday's game:
"I thought I knew where to go with the football a fairly good amount of times. You know, it's different from college, I can tell you that, it's a lot different and the play is a lot faster and a lot smarter."
Stephen Morris:Morris entered the game at the 9:46 mark in the fourth quarter, and would finish out the game for the Colts' offense. In all, he played in three series, the final of which ended up being the only touchdown-scoring drive on the day for the Colts, as running back Troymaine Pope pushed in a one-yard touchdown with no time left on the game clock. Morris finished the day completing 13-of-20 passes for 94 yards; his longest pass play was an 18-yard completion to JoJo Natson on that final drive.
On the feeling of coming off the field at the end of the game after having gone on a long touchdown-scoring drive:
"I would've told you that it was a great feeling if I didn't fumble the ball. The competitor in everybody wants to be the best that they can be and that kind of just sticks out like a sore thumb. I have to take care of the ball, number one. That is the most important thing. Obviously score points, move the chains, make great decisions and be accurate. I think that is what the quarterback's role is as well as to lead the group. Lead that huddle, whoever is on the field. Make sure that everyone is clear and understanding of what they have to do. It does feel good though, to get a touchdown in there. Whatever the situation was – fourth quarter, first quarter. My number was called. Let's go. Let's play."On what was working on the team's final drive:
"I think we were in pretty good shape. Some guys were tired. Some guys weren't. I think also that guys knew how important it was to get a touchdown, to get a drive in – something that meant something and put it on film. It was a sloppy day. It was a sloppy day for us as an offensive unit and I don't think anyone will shy away from saying that. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of things to clean up. But, it felt good."On the difficulty of sitting 3 1/2 quarters and then being put on the field to play quarterback:
"You have to think about it – the role of a backup quarterback. It might be the last play of the game, to win the game. It might be the first play of the game. Whatever the situation is, you have to be ready. I don't care if it was the first quarter, second, third or fourth – or overtime. That's the role that we are entrusted in, as backups. With Scott (Tolzien) and I and Phillip (Walker). It's a role that's hard to do, but it's needed to be done."
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