A Day Later, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell Still Pleased with First Preseason Victory
INDIANAPOLIS – A day later, Jim Caldwell saw much the same as he saw the day before.
And what the Colts' first-year head coach said he saw was lot of things to like in a preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night. Mainly, he saw improvement from the week before.
And that, Caldwell said, was a big deal.
"Overall, we saw some progress, which was certainly encouraging," Caldwell said Friday, a day after the Colts' 23-15 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I think we played with a little bit more energy and sort of an up-tempo game, which we're accustomed to. Just in terms of execution, we executed better overall. Our guys did a great job in terms of practice and preparation for that game.
"We're hoping we can get the same kind of effort coming up."
The Colts (1-1 in the preseason) will play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field Saturday in the third preseason game, a game for which the Colts will prepare this week in a manner similar to a regular-season game.
"It's a big week," Caldwell said. "It's an imant week for us in preparation for Detroit, because we get an opportunity to go through the exact same routine we would do in an ordinary game week. . . . We have a little bit longer a period of time, and that also takes focus and concentration.
"It's not a time when we say, 'Hey, we can really kind of lay back.'
The Colts, after a 13-3 loss in the preseason opener to Minnesota, scored on two of their first three drives Thursday. Kicker Shane Andrus added field goals in the second, third and fourth quarters and Indianapolis outgained Philadelphia, 265-154, in the first half.
The Colts were outgained by Minnesota, 351-142.
"I'm not certain a coach ever feels completely satisfied," Caldwell said with a smile. "Not in our business. When you do get satisfied, you're going to have some problems, and they'll show up quickly."
Specifically, Caldwell said the Colts need to improve in the area of penalties. Indianapolis committed seven for 45 yards Thursday.
"Obviously, we had far too many penalties," Caldwell said. "That was the thing that I think jumped out at us. There were situations where we certainly could have given them a few more problems without giving them encouragement with offsides penalties and things of that nature, which we typically don't do.
"We have to make certain we reduce those in that area."
Caldwell also said the Colts missed several opportunities for turnovers.
"I think we knocked four balls loose, and only got two of them," Caldwell said. "We would certainly like to get four in that category, because those things make a huge difference. We also fumbled the ball, and put the ball on the ground three times. Those are all negatives, but I think they're things we can improve upon and we have to improve upon if we're going to develop into an outstanding team."
The Colts on Thursday took a 14-0 lead with Manning throwing touchdowns of three yards to wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez and 76 yards to wide receiver Reggie Wayne. The Colts rushed 29 times for 62 yards, and after allowing 198 yards rushing last week, the Colts allowed 23 yards on 17 carries on Thursday.
Still Caldwell said evaluation during the preseason is different than during the regular season. The victory gave the Colts a 4-16 preseason record since 2005.
"Some teams during the course of preseason who may not win many games end up having a great year," Caldwell said. "Or some teams that end up winning a lot of games during the preseason struggle during the year. It's primarily because of the fact that if there are certain situations that occur, they can sort of give you some false impressions. You have to be very, very careful with your impressions as you move along."
Caldwell, for his part, said he didn't get particularly excited over Thursday night's victory – even though it was his first as an NFL head coach.
"When the real bullets start flying, obviously it's a little different story," Caldwell said, "but we're certainly pleased to end on a positive note in the game. The positive side of the ledger is important. I think it's a much better platform to teach from in that regard.
"To get a win under your belt is still a good feeling, regardless. That's why we play this game. We play because we love to compete and winning's important."