Indianapolis has played three of its preseason games and has one more in Cincinnati next Thursday before league play starts on September 11. This week is an important time of work for the Colts.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have passed the halfway point of preseason games and in six days it will be over with for good.

The regular season always approaches quickly, whether it is May, June, July or August.  Now certainly is no different.

League play looms ahead and the Colts hit September this coming week.

With a showing last Friday against Green Bay that demonstrated a good effort and some bright moments on both sides of the ball, Head Coach Jim Caldwell and the club forges on in getting ready for Cincinnati, and the regular-season action that ensues just afterward.

Just in the rearview mirror is the 24-21 last-second loss to Green Bay on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium.  The Colts played their starting lineups into the third quarter as planned during the week.  Indianapolis used a strong second quarter behind quarterback Curtis Painter, who hit nine-of-15 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns in that span, as the club eased into a 14-10 halftime lead.  The offense gained 180 yards in the period, and the defense had a pair of red zone stops along with four sacks in the opening half.

The Colts took a 21-13 lead into the final minute of the game before surrendering a touchdown, a two-point conversion, an onside kick and a last-second field goal in falling.  Still, the performance left Caldwell with enough positives to move forward.

"I thought overall we had a real fine effort," said Caldwell.  "I think the first quarter, offensively, we started a little slow.  I think we only had one first down in the first quarter but the second quarter we ended up with 10 first downs, so we moved the ball pretty well.

"I thought our guys, offensively, played pretty well.  Joseph Addai had a good night running the ball, ran it pretty consistently.  Curtis (Painter) played well.  You can see by his numbers (11-21-171, 2 TDs, 111.4 rating) he did a nice job.  We had some good things offensively and defensively.  I think we held them to 41 yards rushing, (and) that's a team that does a little bit of everything well, obviously.  We also did a fairly decent job rushing the passer.  We had five sacks and did a nice job pressuring the quarterback.  Reggie (Wayne) had a big night.  There were a lot of guys that did well."

Caldwell was pleased with the job Painter did against Green Bay.  Painter stood strongly through his first two preseason efforts when situations kept him from playing with an entire cast of first-teamers.  He also saw the late-week arrival of 17-year pro Kerry Collins.  Painter's response was that of a pro.

"Well, you know that is one of the things about him, his strength is the fact that he doesn't let a whole lot of things get under his skin and affect his performance," said Caldwell.  "He is pretty steady.  He has been very good in those situations, and that's what I told him earlier in the week.  I had an old high school coach that always said, 'The cream will rise to the top if you are good enough,' and that's what I told him.  Obviously, he was able to step up and make some things happen, which is good."

In meeting the Bengals in six days, the Colts will have matters to work on like all teams do at this point of the preseason.

Quarterback Peyton Manning continues to rehabilitate after neck surgery in May.  He remains under the care of the club's medical staff.  Painter played extensively against Green Bay, and Indianapolis will provide Collins, signed late last week, an opportunity to work against the Bengals.  Dan Orlovsky played after Painter exited the game last week.

Caldwell is certain of two things regarding Collins, he will play and he has been working hard.  Collins is trying to get fluent in the offensive system since joining Indianapolis.

"I am not certain how much time (he will get), but I am certain he is going to play," said Caldwell.  "He has been working extremely hard the last couple days.  I think you will find that guys who have been in multiple systems, there is a lot of carry over.  So the toughest part is translating the play which they certainly know, but it is called something else.  So he has got to make certain that he goes through that sort of process, which he is doing currently.  I don't think it will take too long for him to get a grasp of that.  But game action, we are obviously going to have to give him some work next week and just see how quickly he comes."

Caldwell and Collins go back many years together.  Three of Caldwell's seven years at Penn State were spent as Collins' position coach.  Collins eventually won the Davey O'Brien Award as a senior as the nation's top quarterback.  Caldwell knows Collins' abilities, and he will structure things in the offense to help him along.  It is the same thing Caldwell has done for other quarterbacks in Indianapolis who are not named Manning.

"Nobody can operate our offense like Peyton (Manning) can in terms of its totality and its entirety, because of the fact that he's been in it a while and he has a great grasp of it," said Caldwell.  "So we don't anticipate and expect people to actually be able to do exactly what he does.  Even Curtis (Painter), his package is not the same as Peyton's package, and Dan's package is not the same as Curtis' package, so neither would carry his package the same.  We'll adjust it and try to make certain we fit things in that sort of lean towards their strengths."

Collins is a true competitor, and he never has backed down from a challenge.

"I would like to get a pretty decent amount of time," said Collins.  "The more I do in practice, the more I do next week is going to help me.  I will take all the reps I can get.

"It (learning the playbook) is going to be a challenge.  It is like learning a new language.  The contents are the same.  There isn't a concept I haven't seen before, but it is, 'What do you call protections?  What do you call routes?  What are the adjustments on this or that?'  Those are all the things that I am going to have to learn.  I am hard at work at it.  I have been grinding away in the meeting room with Coach (Ron) Turner.  I feel like things are starting to click.  It is good for me to keep seeing it, seeing it.  It was good for me to see it (Friday night) where it is actually in a game situation and guys are running it and hear what they are saying coming off (the field).  I have made a lot of progress the last couple of days."

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