INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts were back from their mini-bye on Monday with a short practice, as preparations begin for the Bengals (3-1-1) coming to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
With the weekend off, it looks like the Colts could get some injured guys back on the practice field this week.
Here are a few headlines from Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck meeting the media on Monday:
Chuck Pagano on how the Colts are playing defensively:
"This is as close as we've been to what we envisioned when we first got together."
Bowen's Analysis:* *A defensive coach at heart, Pagano knows the Colts personnel now resembles more of an ideal 3-4 look, and the results are showing that.
Pagano points out that the goals of the defense are stopping the run (11th in the NFL), taking the ball away (4th), getting stops on third down (1st in the NFL) and getting after the quarterback (4th in the NFL). Those rankings are very impressive considering the unit has had five significant defensive starters out for multiple weeks already this season.
Chuck Pagano on how the Colts go about calling onside kicks:
"Based off how they lineup and how they adjust, it's kind of just we are going to take whatever they give us. They've got to make a decision how they adjust."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Crunching onside kicks numbers and the odds of recovering three straight onside kicks is less than one percent. The Colts have done that though in 2014 with great preparation leading to equally as good of execution.
Pagano says things are controlled from the sidelines on when to pull the trigger in such a risky move. Stealing momentum has clearly come from the Colts successful onside kicks and the aggressive nature has translated into quick strike offense. It would be quite something to see if the Colts use another surprise onside kick in 2014. Opponents will have to account for those in prepping for the Colts kickoff unit each week.
Andrew Luck on T.Y. Hilton:
"T.Y. has shown that he's a big play maker but has also shown that he's a wide receiver, not just a guy that runs deep and catches ball.
"He's a true wide receiver."
Bowen's Analysis: This falls right in line with something I wrote earlier on Monday about the completeness in Hilton. Luck wasn't even asked specifically about Hilton as a complete receiver but the quarterback wanted to point that out.
Luck said Reggie Wayne has definitely helped Hilton in becoming a better route runner and being a guy that can impact the game from a variety of routes. A nine-catch, 223-yard game for Hilton isn't too much of a surprise to players anymore because history tells you those can happen. Hilton flourished late in 2013 as the team's No. 1 receiver and games like Thursday remind you just how capable he is of handling that type of load.
Even though the Colts had a light practice on Monday, the first injury report for the week doesn't come out until Wednesday.
Below are some updates Chuck Pagano gave on the four injured Colts who missed Thursday night's win over the Texans.
-Arthur Jones (ankle): Pagano said Jones, who has missed the last four weeks, is as close as he's ever been in getting back out on the football field. The hope is for Jones to practice by Thursday.
-Jack Mewhort (ankle): Mewhort practiced on Monday.
-Darius Butler (ankle): The hope is for Butler to practice on Wednesday.
-Hugh Thornton (back): The hope is for Thornton to practice on Wednesday.