INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will be in Miami this weekend and Wednesday in Indianapolis felt like wintertime in the Sunshine State.
Temperatures in the 60s were ideal, however thunderstorms in the Circle City sent the Colts indoors for their first actual practice of Dolphins week.
Here are a few sound bites from Matt Hasselbeck, Frank Gore and Rob Chudzinski meeting the media on Wednesday:
Matt Hasselbeck on how he feels:
"I'm way, way better off than I was Jacksonville week or Houston week."
Bowen's Analysis:* *The good news on Hasselbeck is he is doing much better this Wednesday than he was this time last week. Hasselbeck was a limited participant at Wednesday's practice, saying that the ribs issue remains the most painful injury (although it doesn't hurt when he throws).
Hasselbeck said on Wednesday that he's spent endless time at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in recent weeks. Chuck Pagano asked Hasselbeck about his health on Wednesday. Hasselbeck told the head coach that this is the type of year all guys are playing through injuries and his are just getting more attention than others. The quarterback wants to be an example to his teammates of gutting it out through December. Having said that, Hasselbeck was definitely in much better spirits on Wednesday than when he first met the media after practice last week.
Frank Gore on the run game struggles of late:
"You just have to keep fighting for it.
"In the run game, everybody has to be on. That's what it's got to take."
Bowen's Analysis: Gore isn't saying it, but the frustration is visible when you talk to the perennial 1,000-yard rusher. If Gore doesn't rush for 194 yards in the final two weeks, he will fall short of the century mark for the first time in a season he's been completely healthy (Gore has reached 1,000 yards in eight of his 10 NFL seasons).
Week 16 is a trip home for Gore. He's actually never played in an NFL game in Miami. The lone time the 49ers played in Miami (2008), Gore missed that meeting due to an injury. This season, Gore has rushed 226 times for 806 yards. With a new-look offensive line after the bye week and the Colts lacking the deep ball, Gore has averaged just 2.8 yards per carry the past seven weeks. Even with Gore below his normal (lofty) standards, he needs just 25 carries and 22 yards to have the most rushes and yards for a Colt since 2005 and 2007, respectively.Rob Chudzinski on the need to hit on big plays:
"I think it's important to have balance within your passing game.
"It's tough in this league to move the ball without some chunks. We understand that and recognize that."
Bowen's Analysis: T.Y. Hilton was outspoken on Tuesday in the Colts need to start dialing up more big-plays in the passing game. On Wednesday, the Colts offensive coordinator met the media and said in his years of calling plays in the NFL, he's never been thought of as a guy who avoids the deep ball.
Wide receivers like Josh Gordon and Steve Smith flourished previously in Chud's system. At this point of the season, it's just very difficult for the Colts to consistently tap into the chunk play resource. With a banged up offensive line (now healthy) and a really banged up quarterback, the Colts can't afford multi-step drop backs at a rate they successfully used them in 2014. Chud clearly knows the dynamic ability of the weapons he has on the outside and said on Wednesday the offense will continue to find ways to try and hit on chunks. That would obviously be beneficial for an offense struggling to maintain drives.
Here is Wednesday's injury report:
- DNP: S-Colt Anderson (ankle), S-Winston Guy (hamstring/shoulder), ILB-Josh McNary (groin), WR-Donte Moncrief (toe), CB-D'Joun Smith (knee)
-Moncrief was back in a boot Wednesday, just like he was last week. Despite missing practice all last week, Moncrief played through his toe injury and scored the Colts lone touchdown against Houston.
- LIMITED: TE-Jack Doyle (toe), ILB-Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (quad), QB-Matt Hasselbeck (back/ribs), QB-Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney), OLB-Erik Walden (foot)
-No real surprises on this list. It's a good sign that Hasselbeck begins the week of actual practice participating (last week he did not).