INDIANAPOLIS – With some Mariah Carey Christmas jams in the background, the Colts were on the practice field Christmas Eve morning for their final practice of Dolphins week.
Only two Colts missed Thursday's practice, one being Donte Moncrief (toe).
Chuck Pagano said on Thursday that Moncrief, who remains in a boot having missed both (real) practice days this week, would likely be a game-time decision for Miami. Last week, Moncrief missed all of practice but still played on Sunday.
Here are a few sound bites from Chuck Pagano meeting the media on Thursday:
Chuck Pagano on signing a fourth quarterback to the active roster:
"It does not change what we're doing and who we plan on starting this football game and who the backup will be."
Bowen's Analysis:* *When the Colts made a roster move involving a quarterback on Thursday morning, many ears perked up. The signing of Stephen Morris (see below) is not going to impact the Colts starter (Matt Hasselbeck) or backup (Charlie Whitehurst) this weekend.
It does mark the first time the Colts have had four quarterbacks on the active roster this season. Hasselbeck was once again a limited participant in practice on Thursday. Unlike last week, Hasselbeck was able to practice every day this week, clearly a good sign for his injury status heading into start No. 8 (for No. 8) this season.
Chuck Pagano on T.Y. Hilton's comments about more deep balls:
"I've always said that you've got to take your chunk plays, take your shots down field in every single ball game."
Bowen's Analysis: While Pagano wishes Hilton would have kept those comments in-house, the head coach knows chunk plays have to be incorporated. In his four years with the Colts, Pagano has often stressed the need to be able to connect on big offensive plays.
Pagano talked on Thursday about how the inconsistent run game in recent weeks is definitely contributing to the minimal success down the field. Teams just aren't giving the Colts single-high safety looks, thus free access on the outside. Pagano says it's always been an offensive focus of wanting to "pump the ball down the field."Chuck Pagano on the play of his defense recently:
"Other then some big plays here and there…I thought they've played outstanding."
Bowen's Analysis: During his final press conference of the week, Pagano threw out some very defining stats on why the Colts defense (and team) has struggled in the second halves of three straight losses.
Pagano said in the second halves the last three weeks the Colts are minus four in the turnover margin, haven't converted in the red zone (where as opponents are 6-of-7) and the third-down conversions have been 18 percent (around 50 percent for their opponents). That's a "recipe for disaster" as Pagano put it on Thursday. The defense has played well in some stretches lately, but the onus is just too large on that unit with the inconsistencies of the offense.
Here is Thursday's injury report:
- DNP: S-Winston Guy (hamstring/shoulder), WR-Donte Moncrief (toe)
-If the Colts are without Guy, they will be missing their top gunner.
- LIMITED: S-Colt Anderson (ankle), TE-Jack Doyle (toe), ILB-Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (quad), QB-Matt Hasselbeck (back/ribs), QB-Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney), ILB-Josh McNary (groin), OLB-Erik Walden (foot)
-Luck continues to practice in a limited basis.
On Thursday morning, the Colts signed quarterback Stephen Morris to the 53-man roster off of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad and placed cornerback D'Joun Smith on the Injured Reserve list.
Morris, an undrafted free agent from Miami in 2014, has spent time with the Jaguars and recently with the Eagles.
Chuck Pagano said on Thursday the Colts had high grades on Morris coming out of the University of Miami. The Colts thought Morris was a good guy to snag off the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad for the future.
It's been a very trying season for Smith, the team's third-round pick in 2015. Smith was initially placed on short-term injured reserve and played mainly on special teams in four games this year. Knee problems have now ended Smith's rookie campaign.