Colts Focus on Sunday, Pro Bowlers Honored, Collie Receives Award and Wednesday Quotes
"WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY"With an NFL record-tying ninth consecutive playoff appearance hanging in the balance, the Indianapolis Colts know if they win on Sunday against AFC South division rival Tennessee, they will play at least another week.
And while many questions asked by media around the Colts' Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Wednesday focused on what happens "if" the team wins and advances, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said only one thing matters in regards to the Colts' playoff hopes: Tennessee on Sunday.
"We are not there," said Caldwell. "We've got to earn our right to get there, and I think when you talk about those things, you know me, I do not like gazing down the street. You are asking for problems.
"Tennessee gets our full attention. They're a good football team. They have a talented group, a very good football coach, they'll be well prepared and will be excited about the opportunity. We have to get ready."
Said running back Joseph Addai: "We've got to take care of business first, and that is Tennessee. That's the game that is ahead of us right now, and whatever happens after that, happens, but our main focus is Tennessee."
Tennessee enters Sunday with a 6-9 record, but Colts players said Wednesday records are thrown out in division games. And after all, it is a team that started the season 5-2.
"You can't overlook anybody," Colts Pro-Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis said. "It's the NFL. We are all pros."
So as the Colts continue preparation this week, Caldwell looks at the matchup Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium as one thing: an opportunity.
"We have an opportunity," Caldwell said. "It's our job to get ourselves into position to prepare to take advantage of it.
HONORED TO GO BACKOne thing is for certain for those who earned Pro Bowl recognition late Tuesday: it is an honor.
"Obviously, it is a tremendous honor," Dwight Freeney, a six-time Pro Bowler said. "You never take that lightly and never take it for granted. It is great (to go with Robert Mathis). That's my brother. He is an amazing player and it is great to have both of us there."
Mathis echoed Freeney's sentiment on the nomination and being able to play together.
"I am thankful and I appreciate all of the fans' votes," said Mathis. "It is all a blessing. Bookends. That's how we like it, and how we want to keep it. It is an honor just to play here and keep that going."
Coach Caldwell spoke Wednesday afternoon about all four Colts players that made it: Freeney, Mathis, quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
"I can say that the guys that made it, it is quite an honor for them," Caldwell said. "I do think that they are well-deserved. It is a well-deserved honor. Peyton has been playing well and Robert, Dwight and Reggie (Wayne), I think all of them have certainly demonstrated that they are indeed Pro Bowl-caliber players."
COLLIE NAMED RECIPIENT OF AWARDWide Receiver Austin Collie has been chosen by local media members covering the Indianapolis Colts as this season's recipient of the Thomas W. Moses, Sr./Noble Max Award.
Collie, a 2009 fourth-round draft choice out of Brigham Young, started five of 16 games as a rookie, totaling 60 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named to the PFW/PFWA and The Sporting News NFL All-Rookie Teams. Collie also was instrumental in the Colts Super Bowl run, catching 17 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns in the post-season. Collie caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets.
In 2010, Collie started six of nine games and caught 58 passes for 649 yards and a career-best eight touchdowns before being placed on injured reserve. He had then career-bests of 11 receptions for 163 yards in the season opener at Houston September 12 before surpassing those totals with 12 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns at Denver September 26.
The Noble Max Award was created by the Colts in 1985 to cite a player who overcomes adversity or whose performance exceeds expectations. The media covering the club votes on the award.
A $1,000 check will be presented in Collie's name to Noble of Indiana, a Central Indiana agency benefiting more than 2,000 children and adults with disabilities.
WEDNESDAY QUOTES"I can say this, it has been a good balance because it's worked for us. We've run the ball better and we have not had to rely on the pass as much. I think that's good. I think every week dictates a little different requirement from your unit because of the fact in which the way a defense plays. Our offense is still based on what we see. The old Tom Moore-ism of, 'I don't care what you play as long as I have the chalk last,' and that's how we function. There are games where we will throw a little bit more. There are games where we will run a little bit more. It just depends on what we see, but I will not deny the fact that our balance has been pretty good over the last couple of weeks."-Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell on the last two weeks being an ideal offensive balance.
"It's a tremendous honor from the players and the fans and the coaches. It is a tremendous honor. I'm happy for Reggie (Wayne) and Dwight (Freeney) and Robert (Mathis). I do think with the game we have this week though, it's real easy to keep everything in perspective. Everybody is focused on trying to have a good week of practice and get ready to play the Titans."-Eleven-time Pro Bowler Peyton Manning on his selection and the team's focus this week.
"I am part of the team, and as a team we need to execute and win. So whoever is out there, if that is me, they expect me to make plays, and that's what I am trying to do. It's (exciting). It's a different atmosphere and it's a playoff game itself. It is a lot of fun."-Colts wide receiver Blair White on handling his increased role in the offense and trying to get into his first NFL playoffs.