INDIANAPOLIS – It was another humid afternoon at Colts practice with the team in full pads for a two-hour practice.
Chuck Pagano met with the media after practice and talked about the return of Khaled Holmes, the loss of Wes Welker and Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck.
Here are a few headlines from Pagano's press conference on Wednesday:
Chuck Pagano on Khaled Holmes returning to practice and his chance of playing on Sunday night:
"A lot better today than they were yesterday. He looked pretty good.
"He's been busting his tail and it was evident today at practice. He looked pretty good out there."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Both Holmes (limited participant) and Jonotthan Harrison (full participant) practiced on Wednesday. This was a major step in both of them hoping to play on Sunday night.
As far as Holmes, the attention now turns to these next 24 hours. Will the swelling of his ankle not balloon and can he practice in a larger role on Thursday? Pagano wouldn't reveal, if Holmes isn't able to go on Sunday, who would start at center—A.Q. Shipley or Harrison.
Chuck Pagano on the Broncos not having Wes Welker on Sunday
"He's a great player. He's been a great player for a long, long time. They are going to miss him but they have plenty of weapons for Peyton to go to.
"They've got enough skill."
Bowen's Analysis: The Welker news came late Sunday night and was a shock after it looked like he was trending in the right direction with his concussion protocol (obviously the reason wasn't injury related). Having said that, Denver prepared for losing Welker to some degree this offseason.
The Broncos big free agent coup on offense came in the electric Emmanuel Sanders. They turned right around and spent a second-round pick on IU receiver Cody Lattimer. Welker will be missed though. He was a security blanket for Manning and now Darius Butler won't have to shadow the shifty receiver for the entire game, like we saw in last year's meeting.
Chuck Pagano on why Andrew Luck has been so successful in filling the shoes of Peyton Manning:
"I think from day one, (Luck) was never overwhelmed with that or the thought of that. I think everybody else did. We all talked about it. Everybody in this room wrote about it. But I think it went right over his head because he was so focused on the task at hand."
Bowen's Analysis: With some national media in attendance on Wednesday, the Luck/Manning questions were a bit more frequent. It is remarkable that both quarterbacks have made the transition so seamlessly with their respective teams.
Luck always credits the Colts veteran teammates for helping him during that rookie season. But there's a ton of credit that should go towards the quarterback himself. The pressure was immense for Luck, as Chuck Pagano said, with the "plate tectonics" moving around the Colts organization back in 2012. All eyes were once again on Luck and the Colts during that matchup with Denver last season and the young quarterback was flawless in the victory, scoring three touchdowns.
During the open media portion of Wednesday's practice, the following things were observed:
-The center position had everyone on deck at practice. Center Khaled Holmes (ankle) was in a limited role and Jonotthan Harrison (thumb) was a full participant.
-Jerrell Freeman (thumb) was back practicing without the red jersey that he had been wearing for the past few practices. Sergio Brown (shoulder) practiced in a limited role with a red jersey on.
-Joe Reitz (ankle) did not practice due to his ankle injury and Reggie Wayne (knee) was held out for rest reasons.