INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts (10-4) had their fourth straight "Victory Monday" as they now embark on two final road games to close out the 2014 regular season.
T.Y. Hilton was the lone injury coming out of Sunday's AFC South-clinching victory but that was the main topic at Chuck Pagano's Monday press conference.
Here are a few headlines from Pagano meeting the media on Monday afternoon:Roster Moves:
The Indianapolis Colts today signed cornerback Sheldon Price to the active roster from the practice squad and waived tackle Andrew McDonald from the active roster.
Bowen's Analysis: Price found himself called up to the active roster late last season and in 2014 he now gives the Colts six cornerbacks currently on the 53-man roster.
The Colts had 11 offensive linemen on their active roster coming into today so they have some flexibility on the offensive line with Joe Reitz and Hugh Thornton mending.Injury Notes:
-T.Y. Hilton: MRI on his injured hamstring from Sunday was negative. Pagano is hopeful Hilton will practice Wednesday or Thursday.
-Joe Reitz: Still going through rehab with his ankle injury he suffered against Cleveland.
-Hugh Thornton: Similar to Reitz in terms of no real update from the knee sprain he suffered against Jacksonville.Chuck Pagano on trying to stop injured Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray:
"I understand that he has a hand injury…but I fully expect him to be out there and that's how we will prepare."
Bowen's Analysis: Murray had surgery on Monday for a broken bone in his left hand, the opposite hand he is most comfortable carrying the ball with, per Charean Williams of the Forth Worth Star.
It sounds like Murray could still play on Sunday with some sort of cast on his left hand. Sunday's game for the Cowboys is critical with just a one-game lead in the NFC East, so Murray's presence is needed (he has accounted for 38 percent of the Cowboys' scrimmage yards this year, the most in the NFL). Pagano called the Cowboys offensive line "one of the best in the National Football League" and knows it will be a tremendous test for a Colts run defense that has shut down some of the league's better runners the past few weeks.
Chuck Pagano on the need to get off to better starts:
"I think we would be sticking our head in the sand with a big, pink elephant in the middle of the room if we don't want to talk about it.
"I think we would be foolish to say it's not (a problem)."
Bowen's Analysis: Early on in the season, no team was getting off to better starts than the Colts. It was a major key in the Colts five-game winning streak back in September/October. Now, it's the Colts defense that has spearheaded a four-game winning streak down the stretch.
Pagano made it clear on Monday that fast starts will be a focus in the final two weeks in trying to play a complete game. In the last five weeks, the Colts have scored just 13 points in the opening frame. While the Colts continue to thrive in one-possession games (19-4 in such contests since 2012, best in the NFL), getting out of the gate quicker is going to be vital in January.Fan Pro Bowl Voting Concludes Tonight
Bowen's Analysis: Pro Bowl voting for fans concludes this evening. Players and coaches will then vote over the next week before the unconferenced teams are announced on Tuesday, 12/23. Fans, coaches and players each count for 1/3 of the voting.
While Andrew Luck is a lock and T.Y. Hilton looks good in fifth place right now, you can make more than legitimate arguments for the rest of the names mentioned above. Adam Vinatieri hasn't missed a field goal all year. Vontae Davis leads the league in quarterback passer rating allowed in throws his way. There's no better kickoff specialist in the NFL than Pat McAfee and he continues to dominate field position when called upon to punt. Lastly, Mike Adams leads all NFL defenders with seven takeaways in 2014. It probably won't happen, but the Colts deserve to have six Pro Bowlers in 2014.