Thursday Game Presents Unique Challenges For Colts

Intro: How teams deal with Thursday Night Football has been a hot topic around NFL circles. Here’s a look at how the Colts are handling a short week prior to a massive contest in Houston.

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INDIANAPOLIS – In an NFL world that tries to live in pattern and repetition, one week a year everything is thrown out the window.

Take Cory Redding as an example of just how different preparation is with the Colts gearing up for a Thursday night game in Houston.

After Redding got done with his media obligations following the Colts 20-13 win on Sunday, the 12-year veteran headed to WISH-TV to tape a post game show.

Redding brought his daughter with him and two then made a stop for some bags of ice on the way home.

No, the freezer was not broken at the Redding household.

Instead, dad needed to construct a makeshift ice bath knowing that work called a little earlier than usual this week.

It's what Redding signed up for when he decided on another NFL season at the age of 33.

"When I was younger, I'd play a game Sunday, (and) I was ready to go Monday morning. Shoot, I was young, ready to go," Redding said with a smile on Monday.

"Now, as an old head, your body doesn't feel right until Saturday. You're hurt all week. That's the game. That's how physical it is (with) all the wear and tear on your body."

Monday is typically a rest day for Colts players, with corrections from Sunday's game being the focus.

Players exit the facility early in the afternoon and then have Tuesday off before installation begins in earnest on Wednesday.

This week though, players began trickling to their car on Monday with the sun setting deep into the western evening.

When Tuesday rolled around, a normal off day where community events highlight schedule, the players were back on the practice field less than 48 hours after they finished off a physical victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

A Wednesday morning walk through is the final bit of work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for the week. Next up is the flight to Houston, before a massive AFC South matchup on Thursday night against a pair of 3-2 teams.

"We normally have a little time to kind of rest, heal up and get a little day to kind of study up the opponent. We had to do all that (Sunday) night," Redding says.

"We had the ice tub, cold tub, got massages, woke up (Monday) morning and it's all about the game tape for the Texans. Mentally getting our minds prepared to go down to Houston and continue to keep this winning streak alive. That's the biggest thing, mentally being strong in this league. Because your body feels like it's been through a shredder, but you just have to keep playing."

Thursday night games in 2014 have been a stark contrast from the competitive nature we are used to seeing each weekend.

Home teams have won four of the five games by an average of 28.5 points.

Even though the Colts are playing a familiar opponent on Thursday night in Houston, the schemes have changed with a new Texans coaching staff.

It's a week unlike any other in NFL circles, but it's something all 32 teams have to handle throughout the 16-game regular season.

Once Thursday night rolls around though, the Colts will have 60 minutes of football to decide whether or not they will enter Week Seven with a one-game lead in the AFC South, or find themselves sitting at .500 with the Bengals coming to Lucas Oil Stadium on October 19.

"We said it was a 24-minute rule, not the 24-hour rule, so guys came right in and went to work," Chuck Pagano said of the staff heading back to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center after Sunday's win.

"To play the type of game we played, physical game, very, very physical game and quick turnaround, it's a huge challenge to get your team back. The mental part is probably the easiest part, but physically just getting your body back, that's the biggest challenge, but we've moved on and we're ready to continue prep for the Texans."

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