INDIANAPOLIS – With a Monday night game this week, the Colts have an extra day of preparation.
Chuck Pagano didn't want to waste any time in getting back to work though.
The Colts were back to practice on Wednesday, electing to hit the field early in the week despite a Monday night game on the schedule.
Here are some sound bites from Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck meeting the media on Wednesday:Andrew Luck on Wednesday's practice:
"Guys want to get back on the practice field, get moving and playing football.
"I think the mindset of the team is great. We realize where we are and we realize we have an opportunity this weekend to go out there and play football."
Bowen's Analysis: Back when the Colts played the Jets on Monday Night Football earlier this year, they did not have their normal Wednesday routine, thus pushing things back a day. This time around, the Colts chose to make sure they got in a spirited day of work on Wednesday before being under the bright lights of Monday Night Football this week.
Both Pagano and the Colts players echoed there's "no better medicine than getting back to practice" for a team coming off two straight losses. Luck was asked on several occasions Wednesday about the 10 turnovers he's committed this season. It's difficult to pinpoint why Luck's struggled with protecting the football so often in 2015. On Wednesday, Luck talked about how being the quarterback brings major responsibility. He's entrusted with the ball and as a former college coach told Luck, every face of every member of the team is on the ball when you're holding it. Carolina has forced the seventh most turnovers in the league this season so Luck's ball security will be tested again Monday night.Chuck Pagano on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
"Cam Newton is a rare, rare talent and a matchup nightmare."
Bowen's Analysis:* *In the read option craze that has been a part of football's recent era, no one is more dangerous running it than Cam Newton. At 6-5 and 245 pounds, Newton is the only player in league history to start a career with four straight seasons of at least 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards.
Alignment, assignment and execution---that is what's being preached to the Colts defense this week. The Panthers are the top rushing offense in the NFL thanks to running back Jonathan Stewart forcing 26 missed tackles, the second most in the NFL. The Colts have some familiarity with Newton. Colts assistant Rob Chudzinkski was Newton's offensive coordinator for his first two seasons in the NFL (2011-2012).
Chuck Pagano on relying on Frank Gore and the ground game more:
"We all know that he's a dynamic guy in our offense.
"Regardless of what the score is, we've got to stay with it. We can't totally abandon it."
Bowen's Analysis: In the past two weeks, Frank Gore has received just one carry in the fourth quarter. That's a byproduct of the Colts simply having to resort to an extreme reliance on production through the air, trailing by two touchdowns.
It's clear the run game is a point of emphasis for the entire 60 minutes. Gore is running the ball too well right now (4.6 yards per carry) to totally eliminate him come crunch time. The Panthers do rank 18th against the run this season, one of the few defensive categories they aren't in the top-10 of the NFL.
With a Monday night game this week, the first official injury report of the week will come on Thursday.
Chuck Pagano mentioned that Mike Adams (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday but will play on Monday night. Pagano said Adams will get back to practice on Thursday.
Center Khaled Holmes (stinger) was not seen during the media portion of Wednesday's practice. Holmes missed the second half of Sunday's loss to the Saints. Jonotthan Harrison filled in at center.