INDIANAPOLIS — The 24-hour reflection period is over.
The Indianapolis Colts are officially on to the San Diego Chargers.
But before we completely move on to Sunday's Week 3 matchup, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano joined Bob Lamey on Monday for their weekly appearance on Colts Roundtable Live on 1070 The Fan, to chat about the team's Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Indianapolis (0-2) found itself down just three, 23-20, with 4:02 remaining in the fourth quarter after a seven-yard touchdown reception by running back Frank Gore, but the Denver (2-0) dominant defense took over from that point after a field goal, as All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller stripped quarterback Andrew Luck, and the ball went right into the hands of linebacker Shane Ray, who returned it 15 yards for the game-clinching score.
There were many takeaways from the Broncos game, but the play of the Indianapolis defense — despite seeing a bad injury situation in the secondary get even worse — is definitely a highlight for the Colts.
Forget the final score: the Broncos' offense only really scored one touchdown the entire game: a four-yard run by C.J. Anderson at the 11:41 mark in the second quarter. Other than that, the rest of their points were spread out over defensive plays (a pick-six and the aforementioned fumble recovery by Ray) and field goals.
The Colts' secondary, already ravaged by injuries, played admirably, even when yet another member, Darius Butler, suffered a hamstring injury on what looked to be a sure pick-six in the second quarter and didn't return.
At that point, Indianapolis was without a traditional "nickel cornerback" for its third-down defensive package. So the Colts called on undrafted rookie safety Matthias Farley, who would go on to make a couple key plays the rest of the way.
"Matthias Farley, since he's been here, all he does is come in here and work his tail off at practice and in meetings and preparation," Pagano said on Monday's show. "And he said, 'Throw in Matthias at the nickel back spot, and let him go, and see.' And Greg Williams, the secondary coach, we call him 'G-Money,' he started asking him, and he knew everything to a 'T.'"
Pagano credited both the players and coaches with being ready to go, once again, when adversity struck.
"Coach Monachino and the rest of those guys on the sideline, they did a great job," he said. "And we tell everybody: you better prepare like a starter, because it's a 'next-man-up' mentality, and you never know when injuries are going to occur and when you're going to be called to duty. And those guys prepare — they all prepare. The coaches do a great job preparing those guys."
Here's some other highlights from Monday's show, including some calls from fans fielded by Grigson.————————————Colts general manager Ryan Grigson:On the feeling after the loss to the Broncos:
"You've got to just keep your head down and keep working, and keep grinding. That's what Coach says, and that's the only mindset you can have in the NFL. You can't dwell on the past, you can't look in the rear-view. You know, we're 0-2. But, you know, there's the next game. Do we wish we were 2-0? Of course. Could we have been 2-0? We could've very easily have been 2-0. But we have dealt with the cards that we've been dealt, and we put our best foot forward. It wasn't good enough, and all we can do is try our best next week."
Game highlights from the Colts trip to Denver.
"We did improve. And, again, we have players that are here for their second week. We're getting some key players back, so hopefully that's going to elevate our play — I mean, it should. But I am happy with the way that we finished the half and were able to get out of the half the way we did and stopping them the way we did; we stopped some critical third downs. And we did improve. We improved — we could've played better, obviously, and, again, no matter what we did in that game, it wasn't good enough. So we're all accountable and we've got to do better."
"We've just got to make plays when they're there to make. We've got to find a way. We've got to find a way. We've got to find a way to finish in the end zone. We've just got to find a way — if it means we've got to hop on one leg, it means we've got to hop on one leg. We've just got to lay it on the line at every spot, and, again, we're all accountable in this thing, starting with me. I'm supposed to oversee this entire operation: I'm accountable. Our equipment guys are accountable. Our video guys are accountable. Our trainers are accountable. Our team doctors are accountable. Everyone's accountable, because we're all in this together. But we've got to do our very best, day in and day out, and hopefully we make more right decisions than wrong ones."Caller Chris, asking how the Colts are able to go about evaluating free agent players on such a short-term basis:
Grigson: "You have to look high and low for talent. I feel like we've never discriminated — if we feel, based on the film or maybe even a freakish workout sometimes warrants a workout, sometimes that workout just develops into a relationship to where you get a futures contract signed. You know … it usually goes back to the college stuff. Matthias Farley was someone that we looked hard at drafting in the seventh round, and he turns out to be someone we claimed in the cut-down. So we look at certain traits — you know, athletic ability is always up there near the very top, because you can't play in this league and you'll get exposed real fast if you're not athletic. You hope that they have a mindset about them — that's something that Coach and I really wanted to make sure when we started piecing together this defense and to have it is to have players that no only are athletic, but have a certain mindset about them, that you can lay a foundation for players that play hard all the time, know what they're doing, and that it means a lot to them."Caller Mike, asking his evaluation of the play of the offensive tackles against the Broncos:
Grigson: "Joe Reitz, you know, there's some plays he wishes he had back. I thought Anthony Castonzo was pretty steady. He's been getting better each game. But collectively, the O-line, I think we're going in the right direction. I definitely think that group is congealing and the cohesiveness is showing up in terms of the way that we're adjusting to twists in the games, and the guys seem to be more on the same page than they have been in the past. So I'm really bullish on our offensive line. I think it's going in the right direction. And Joe, heck — Joe is working through a back injury, so he's out there fighting through that playing against the best defensive player, arguably, in the NFL, down in and down out. So it's a battle, and I've played that spot, and when you're out there against an elite athlete like that, you know, he's going to get his. I mean, he's going to. So Joe's doing a good job — that whole line's doing a good job. It's just, in the NFL, the quarterback's going to get hit, there's going to be sacks, and those defensive players on the other side of the ball don't make the money they do because they're not great at what they do and they're not special athletes — they're special athletes."Caller Danny, asking when the Colts' pass rush will become more of a factor:
"We've got to get better. We do. I think Robert is coming. He made some plays in that game; he affected some plays in that game. He hasn't changed a game yet, which is coming, I think. And you're starting to see those signs. He's been out for a while, he's getting lathered up, but you're seeing some great signs coming out of him. He's really close to getting those strip sacks, he had a great tackle for loss on a key play in that game the other day. And, again, he tilts the field when he's out there; when you see 98 out there. So he's going to come. You know, we've got some young guys: Curt Maggitt plays really hard; he needs to hone his technique. Akeem Ayers, we think, is a very athletic player who's used to playing off the ball that we think has a lot of upside to develop on the line of scrimmage for us. Erik Walden, he plays lights out. Our defensive interior is going to have to bring some of that pressure as well. We're going to have to be creative with some of the things that we do, because we don't really have anybody that can just blow off the ball and just go sack the quarterback on pure speed. We don't have that kind of guy. So we have good players that we know can get the job done, but right now we're trying to do the best we can with what we've got."