INDIANAPOLIS – The national media continued to pour into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Wednesday.
Practice for the Colts began with a two-hour Wednesday session as cornerback Greg Toler sat out with a knee injury.
Here are a few sound bites from Chuck Pagano, Andrew Luck and Cory Redding on Wednesday:
Chuck Pagano on the Denver defense:
"Front to back, they don't give up very many big plays. They make you earn everything."
Bowen's Analysis:* *With most of the focus this week on the quarterback matchup between Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning, there's been little chatter about the Denver defense. They are one of the best units in the NFL thanks to an offseason of addressing some key needs via free agency in the draft.
Denver has five Pro Bowlers in their defensive unit with a trio in the secondary. While the pass rush of Denver seemed to be Andrew Luck's top focus this weekend, watching how the Broncos line up their corners will be interesting. Aqib Talib is a physical corner who lined up across from T.Y. Hilton in last year's Divisional Round matchup with the Patriots (four catches in six targets for 103 yards). Fellow Pro Bowler Chris Harris was right with Vontae Davis all year long in allowing the NFL's smallest passer rating among cornerbacks.
Andrew Luck on the small final margin against Denver after the first meeting:
"Especially against good teams like Denver, you can't blow opportunities."
Bowen's Analysis: It was pretty amazing that despite being down 24-0 at the two-minute warning of the season opener, the Colts had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. That's with the Colts coming up empty handed on a goal line situation early in the third quarter, too.
Luck pointed to a couple of key areas to avoid in digging a hole. A fast start is always a key on the road with converting red zone chances by scoring touchdowns being at the top of the list. The Colts had six scoring drives in the Wild Card win but produced just 26 points. You turn a couple of those field goals into touchdowns and that game would have been a rout. It can be said for both sides of the ball but winning in the red zone (i.e. holding Denver to field goals and punching it in for scores offensively) will be mini victories that can quickly add up on Sunday.Cory Redding on the biggest key against Peyton Manning:
"Interior push is absolutely critical this week.
"We know the kind of guy we are playing. He wants to take his steps and he wants to work up in the pocket to deliver the pass."
Bowen's Analysis: This quote was the common theme throughout Redding's media session on Wednesday. Redding is a key part in the Colts trying to create interior pressure on Sunday.
Peyton Manning's timing is one of the main attributes in why he will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. The ability to collapse the pocket around Manning and force him have to slide in the pocket is the easiest way to disrupt the Denver passing attack. Chuck Pagano said on Tuesday that the cornerback duo of Vontae Davis and Greg Toler has to be on point this weekend or else it could be a "long, long day." The combination of coverage and pressure from the Colts front will be two areas to watch in the Colts creating difficulty for Manning and Denver's offense.
Here is the injury report for Wednesday:
-DNP- D'Qwell Jackson (rest), Henoc Muamba (back) and Greg Toler (knee).
-Pagano labeled Muamba and Toler as day-to-day. Toler's presence is one of the most important this weekend considering the variety of Denver pass catchers.
-LIMITED- Jerrell Freeman (abdomen), Jonotthan Harrison (concussion), Andrew Jackson (hamstring) and Erik Walden (knee).
-Harrison was the lone injury from the Bengals game but did practice Wednesday. The abdomen injury for Freeman is different from the hamstring he dealt with late in the regular season.
-FULL- A.Q. Shipley (ankle).
-After missing all of last week, Shipley was back practicing on Wednesday.