Colts Thursday Notebook.


Coming off a game where the Colts defense held Jacksonville to 67 yards on the ground, middle linebacker Gary Brackett knows that much is the same in this week's game.

"Nothing changes this week," Brackett said. "A tough Oakland team doing a great job of running the football, so we have to go out there, put together a second week of run-stopping defense and get after the passer."

Oakland ranks second in the NFL in rushing offense led by running back Darren McFadden, who has accumulated 1,112 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground in his third season. Colts players said while he is different than a lot of running backs they have faced this season, he is one of the best all-around backs in the league with his combination of power and speed.

"He's more of a slasher and really a cutback runner," Brackett said. "He's still very talented and can definitely hit you for a home-run if you give him the opportunity."

McFadden leads the NFL in runs of 30 or more yards with nine, including three for touchdowns. In addition to his rushing ability, McFadden is a key component of their passing game, adding 43 receptions for 476 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

The big-play nature of their offense has been equally efficient in the passing game. Jason Campbell is a mobile quarterback that likes to go vertical to his talented receivers. Campbell has recorded two 300-plus-yard games this season.

Combined, the offense has accounted for 65 plays of 20 yards or more, 42 through its passing game and 23 on the ground. Forty-five of those 20-plus-yard gains have come in the Raiders' last eight games.

"It's definitely going to be a challenge because they do have the ability to throw the ball deep," Freeney said. "They have speed at the wide receiver position and the tight end is doing a great job. I think if we can make them one-dimensional we have a better chance."

ADJUSTING WELLColts rookie linebacker Pat Angerer is taking full advantage of the opportunity in front of him. Angerer, a 2010 second-round draft choice out of Iowa, made his first NFL start in Week Six at Washington filling in for a then-injured Gary Brackett, and he's started every game since.

In nine starts, Angerer is second on the Colts with 67 tackles, including 45 solo. He also leads the special teams unit with 12 tackles. Angerer has excelled, and he said he feels more and more comfortable every week.

"As a rookie, this late in the season you really start to know what you're supposed to be doing," Angerer said. "It's a lot better playing when you feel more comfortable and you feel like you know what you're doing. It shows that if you do what the coaches say, good things will happen."

Despite the NFL season extending much past a college season, Angerer said that has had no effect.

"This is fun. It's very, very fun. It's the best job in the world. To be sad and tired about it, I can't imagine people doing that. This is very fun. (There is) no other job is like this. I don't know what I'd be doing if I wasn't playing here."

LOCKER ROOM QUOTES"Let me put it this way; it is a very unique crowd. I think they have rabid fans, great fans, and for any of us who have watched football over the years, have always known that is a place that can be intimidating. I think it is a great football environment. I think that they understand thoroughly the value of a loud, boisterous crowd, and that's what happens when you walk into that stadium. I think they make it a great atmosphere to play in as well."-Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell on what he remembers about playing in Oakland.

"It's a tough place to play, loud. They have great fan support out there. The fans are long-time Raiders fans and love their team. I think last time we played them, I think they were mathematically out of it (the playoffs) at that point. So, I expect an even tougher environment because of what is on the line for them and where they are in their division. It's loud. We were behind in that game and had to come from behind late, so I think it will be a very challenging place." -Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on playing in Oakland.

"Christmas is one of, if not the best time of the year. It is a great week and lucky for us, we are playing football. It is a blessing to be able to do it and at the same time, you want to celebrate Christmas and be around your family. So, Christmas Day is a little tough, but we have a job to do and we'll have a great Christmas and get focused on getting a win." -Colts tight end Jacob Tamme on balancing work and celebrating Christmas.

"To me, I came in with confidence anyway. I came off a pretty good season in the UFL. I wasn't worried about what was going on before me. I was worried about what happens while I'm here. We had a great week last week running the football and that is over with now. The new page is the Oakland Raiders, and we have to go out and establish ourselves with those guys and hopefully do the same thing." -Colts running back Dominic Rhodes on the confidence the Colts have in the running game after last week's performance against Jacksonville.

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