INDIANAPOLIS – With a little longer week than normal, the Colts wrapped up their second practice on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Philadelphia.
The Colts were indoors on Thursday and will practice again the next two days before a walk-through on Sunday.
Here are a few headlines from Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck talking to the media on Thursday.
Chuck Pagano on a Robert Mathis' update:
"Last I heard, he was supposed to have surgery today back in Atlanta so I think our (doctors) got a chance to look at him and confirm what we thought the injury was. I haven't heard back for sure, but I think today was the day that he was supposed to have surgery down there."
Bowen's Analysis:* *Two of the larger media gatherings during Thursday's availability were around the lockers of Bjoern Werner and Jonathan Newsome. The players were informed on Monday of the Mathis news and it's clear that guys like Werner and Newsome will get their chances to help fill those Hall of Fame shoes.
The edge rushers have gotten a ton of attention this offseason, with Mathis missing the first month of the year, but pressure shouldn't fall on just those shoulders. Interior wise the Colts have to create a push and even the inside linebackers (i.e. Jerrell Freeman and Josh McNary) have to be able to disrupt things for opposing quarterbacks. You aren't going to replace 19.5 sacks from just a couple of outside linebackers and this defense knows that. Chuck Pagano on preparing for the speed of the Eagles offense:
"Tempo is going to be like 10 times than what we saw last week."
"We brainstormed and talked about this the entire offseason in preparation for this game."
Bowen's Analysis: Chuck Pagano said on Thursday that he's never seen the type of speed that Philadelphia will try and bring at the Colts. It's "grass basketball" with the Eagles utilizing all 53 yards, sideline-to-sideline.
Unlike most up-tempo teams, the Eagles are a run-first offense that led the NFL in rushing last year. According to Pagano, an average of 25-26 seconds were left on the play clock when the Eagles offense snapped the football last week. How the Colts handle the pressure from a communication standpoint will be one of the more important keys in deciding the outcome.
Andrew Luck on the balance of scoring drives and clock eating drives particularly this week:
"Obviously scoring matters but I do think long drives matter. I don't think necessarily just in this game though. I think we could have used more long drives in the first half of our opener to help our defense out."
Bowen's Analysis: On Sunday night, while the Colts offense struggled to sustain first half drives they still finished the night with eight series in Denver territory. That was three more drives than the Broncos had in Colts territory, yet converting those chances was the difference.
In an ideal world, the Colts will be able to turn those types of drives into points (preferably seven) and at the same time try to play keep away from such an explosive Eagles attack. Chuck Pagano joked that a time of possession around 40 minutes for the Colts would be perfect on Monday night. When you're facing a team that led the league in plays run last year, the value of possession from Luck and the offense would go a long way in slowing down Nick Foles and the Eagles. Remember, the Eagles scored 34 unanswered points in the final two quarters of their regular season opener.
Chuck Pagano's injury notes following Thursday's practice:
-DID NOT PRACTICE: Josh Chapman (ankle), Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), Art Jones (shoulder), Joe Reitz (ankle), Greg Toler (ribs) and Reggie Wayne (rest)
-LIMITED: Ahmad Bradshaw (general soreness) and Khaled Holmes (ankle)
-FULL: Sergio Brown (shoulder)