INDIANAPOLIS – "Just win, baby."
That phrase, echoed by safety Mike Adams exiting the Colts locker room on Monday, sums up what Week 15 is all about for the defending AFC South champs.
The Colts (6-7) and Texans (6-7) will meet on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Colts having several lingering questions under center.
Here is what Chuck Pagano had to say to the media on Monday afternoon:
- OT-Anthony Castonzo (sprained MCL): Has missed the past three games. Both Castonzo and Chuck Pagano said the hope is to have the left tackle practicing on Wednesday. Colts.com will have more from Castonzo on Tuesday.
- ILB-Jerrell Freeman (hamstring): Has missed the past two weeks. Hopeful to have him on the practice field come Wednesday.
- QB-Matt Hasselbeck (ribs): Still dealing with ribs issues. Hopeful to practice by Thursday. Will likely rest on Wednesday.
- QB-Andrew Luck (abdomen/kidney): No update on Luck. For more on Luck, this is what the quarterback said on Monday about returning to practice this week.
- CB-Greg Toler (knee): Goal is to practice on Wednesday, after he missed Sunday's game in Jacksonville. Toler did practice some last week.
- OLB-Erik Walden (heel): Goal is to practice on Wednesday after he missed Sunday's game in Jacksonville. Walden did not practice last week.
Chuck Pagano on the sling Matt Hasselbeck is wearing on his left arm:
"That is to prevent some spasms that go along with his rib injury. It immobilizes the arm.
"I fully anticipate him being available for us (Sunday)."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Matt Hasselbeck was not available to the media on Monday. Hasselbeck is wearing a sling and Pagano addressed the reasoning for that above.
The MRI for Hasselbeck on Monday revealed rib "issues" that are causing the spasms and difficulty in breathing. With Pagano saying he hasn't heard about a Luck return to practice this season, and with Hasselbeck likely to rest on Wednesday, it looks like the Colts will start Texans week with Charlie Whitehurst taking first-team reps at practice.
Chuck Pagano on the struggles in the red zone the past two weeks:
"We had opportunities and you've got to capitalize on them. Period."
Bowen's Analysis: No matter the quarterback when the Colts start practice on Wednesday, or kickoff on Sunday, improving in the red zone is a must. The Colts are 1-of-9 in the red zone the past two weeks.
There have been several reasons contributing to the Colts frequently settling for field goals in big losses to the Steelers and Jaguars. While the Houston defense has been outstanding in third-down defense this year (No. 1 in the NFL), they are just 23rd in red-zone situations.Chuck Pagano on the importance of this Sunday's meeting with the 6-7 Texans:
"The division is on the line. I don't know how you canNOT get up for this contest.
"These guys will show up. I promise you."
Bowen's Analysis: The poker chips are still in Chuck Pagano's pocket with the Colts approaching the game of the season. Whoever wins on Sunday will have a magic number of just one game (with two weeks left in the regular season) to clinch the AFC South.
While the Colts quarterback situation remains fuzzy, the Texans are expected to start T.J. Yates under center. Yates has started six career games, along with two postseason games for the Texans in 2011. Ironically enough, Yates' grandfather Gene was a track state champion at Anderson High School. Gene still lives in Anderson, the home of the Colts Training Camp.