INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts starting quarterback come Sunday remains a mystery.
Current starter Matt Hasselbeck returned to practice (limited) on Thursday, but he was non-committal when asked about his outlook for Sunday.
Here are some sound bites from Matt Hasselbeck, Rob Chudzinski and Greg Manusky meeting the media on Thursday:Matt Hasselbeck on if he expects to start on Sunday:
"I don't know. That's (Chuck Pagano's) decision.
"My goal was just to come out and give what I had (Thursday). If I can go (Sunday), that's great. If I can't, Charlie (Whitehurst) is a vet and I know he'll do a great job."
Bowen's Analysis: On Monday, Matt Hasselbeck thought there was no chance he would be able to play on Sunday. He practiced limited on Thursday and isn't sure what the script will be for him at Friday's practice. Heavy breathing remains a hurdle for Hasselbeck and the quarterback laughed on Thursday when asked if he's able to throw without pain.
Hasselbeck harped on the need for him to not necessarily play through pain this week, but "play well through pain." A non-100 percent quarterback, against a defense playing very well as of late, isn't ideal for any team. On Thursday, Hasselbeck showed coaches what he could offer and now it's their decision for whom to turn to on Sunday. It looks like the starting quarterback for the Colts in Week 15 won't have a definitive answer until Friday, at the earliest.Rob Chudzinski on the recent red-zone struggles:
"You dive down into it and certainly when you turn the ball over, which we've had some turnovers there, we've had some penalties that have set us back and put us in tougher down and distances and just some execution things.
"Those are the things we need to get better at and work on and turn that back around and get back to playing well in the red zone."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Chud wouldn't get into specifics on who his quarterback will be Sunday, but he didn't shy away from attacking the red-zone issues. There have been a variety of issues inside the 20-yard line for the offense the past two weeks and Chud touched on those above.
The Colts were 1-of-9 in converting red-zone opportunities in losses to Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. They've moved the football enough, but just haven't had the ability to finish off drives. On Sunday, Chud and the Colts will face a Houston defense that excels in another key situation---third-down defense (No. 1 in the NFL).
Greg Manusky on defending Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins:
"We can't let him get hot."
Bowen's Analysis: Hopkins was very hot when these teams first met in Houston. The current/future star had 11 catches for 169 yards back in Week Five.
In October, the Colts elected not to shadow Hopkins with Vontae Davis banged up on a short week due to an ankle injury. That will be something to watch on Sunday with Davis returning to practice on Thursday. Hopkins won't have the luxury of Arian Foster (now on IR) taking some of the attention away from him this time around. He will have fellow wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington in the second matchup.**
Here is Thursday's injury report:
- DNP: S-Colt Anderson (ankle), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (quad), WR-Donte Moncrief (toe), CB-D'Joun Smith (knee)
-Moncrief has missed the past two days of practice. He is not wearing a boot and said Thursday that he expects to practice Friday.
- LIMITED: OT-Anthony Castonzo (knee), CB-Vontae Davis (knee), TE-Jack Doyle (toe), ILB-Jerrell Freeman (hamstring/ribs), QB-Matt Hasselbeck (back/ribs), QB-Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney), OG-Hugh Thornton (elbow), CB-Greg Toler (knee/hamstring), OLB-Erik Walden (foot)
-Several key guys on this list. Things are looking good for all of these guys with the quarterbacks in a different category (Luck has already been ruled out and the Hasselbeck update is above).
In a move that will really only impact special teams, the Colts elevated cornerback Tay Glover-Wright to the 53-man roster from the practice squad and waived outside linebacker Daniel Adongo on Thursday.
Glover-Wright (6-0, 180 pounds) spent last season on the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers.