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Practice Notebook

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Practice Notebook: Why Colts Aren't Hitting Panic Button After Shutout, 0-1-1 Start

The Colts hit the practice field on Wednesday with urgency, not panic, following last week's shutout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

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The Colts spent months building toward the 2022 season. There still are months left in the 2022 season.

Yes, the first two weeks – a 20-20 tie with the Houston Texans and a 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars – have not gone according to plan. But the Colts are not hitting the panic button and changing up everything they do – and have done since April – in Week 3 of an 18-week regular season.

"Just because you had a bad performance or couple bad games doesn't mean that everything you believe in — like, if you throw that all away, did you ever really believe in it in the first place?" linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "It's one of those things, you keep trusting, you keep going."

On Wednesday, as the Colts returned to practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, they did so with confidence and urgency – not panic. Guys who were here in 2018 remember how the team dug itself out of a 1-5 hole to reach the playoffs. Quarterback Matt Ryan, now in his 15th season, remembered a butt-kicking the Atlanta Falcons took in Week 1 of the 2010 season by the Pittsburgh Steelers (a 15-9 overtime loss) before going 13-3 and earning the NFC No. 1 seed.

"You gotta flush it," Ryan said. "All the good teams I've been on have got their (butts) kicked at some time throughout the year. It's how you respond. And the measure of who we're going to be was a team is how we respond to situations like last week. And I have confidence we will." 

"We got shut out last weekend, we're 0-1-1, and that doesn't matter. This week, we're 0-0," running back Nyheim Hines said. "That's one thing we've been great at since we've been here is just flushing out that last week, be the best at getting better and going 1-0 every week."

These aren't empty comments. They reflect the confidence that permeates the locker room on 56th Street – adjustments need to be made, mistakes need to be corrected, but massive changes two weeks into the season are not what this team needs.

"If you have the right resolve, if you have the right stuff inside, if you have the right collective team, you learn to overcome those things," head coach Frank Reich said. "Everything always gets evaluated. We're always looking at ways to adapt, improve, but those I would say are more incremental than they are overall changes." 

And all these comments are coming while the Colts are taking accountability for the first two weeks of the season. Two things can be true at the same time: The Colts aren't shying away from accountability and criticism, and they remain confident in the players, coaches and infrastructure in place for 2022.

"We know we got the guys to do it, we have the urgency to do it," center Ryan Kelly said. "So it's about going out there and doing it." 

Wednesday's practice report:

  • Wide receiver Alec Pierce has one more step to clear in the concussion protocol but is close, Reich said.
  • For what it's worth, Reich cautioned on Monday that wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. might not be a full participant in today's practice. "They're trending in the right direction," Reich said of Pierce and Pittman.
  • We'll hear from linebacker Shaquille Leonard on Thursday, and will see on Friday what his game status is. The Colts ruled Leonard out on Friday's final practice report ahead of their Weeks 1 and 2 games.

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