INDIANAPOLIS – Fittingly, a windy afternoon greeted the Colts on Wednesday as they prepare for the team from the Windy City (the Chicago Bears) this week.
Meeting the media on Wednesday, Chuck Pagano was pretty animated in talking about his team needing to get back on track in starting the second quarter of the season.
Here is the Wednesday notebook in the Colts getting back to practice ahead of taking on the Bears this Sunday afternoon.
- CB-Darius Butler (hamstring): Butler was back to practice on Wednesday, for the first time in two weeks.
- T-Denzelle Good (back): Good has been limited in the last three practices for the Colts.
- C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness): The appendectomy Harrison had last week will keep him off the field against the Bears. Harrison should be back next week.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Moncrief is three weeks into a recovery that was expected to keep him out four-to-six weeks.
- OT-Joe Reitz (back): Reitz was limited at Wednesday's practice. Just like Good, Reitz was limited last Thursday and Friday at practice before missing Sunday's game.
Chuck Pagano on replacing inside linebacker Sio Moore:
"You will have a combination of D'Qwell (Jackson), (Josh) McNary, (Antonio) Morrison, Edwin Jackson and of course we brought up Trevor Bates from the practice squad."
Bowen's Analysis: At inside linebacker, fans should look for McNary and Morrison to absorb most of the reps vacated by Moore, the team's leading tackler after four weeks. D'Qwell Jackson is a starter. Next to Jackson, McNary (five career starts) is a guy to play on passing downs, with Morrison being more of a base defender in the run game. Remember with how teams use sub packages now in the NFL, the days of having two inside linebackers on the field for downs 1-3 have decreased.
In filling the starting spot previously occupied by Antonio Cromartie, look for Patrick Robinson to slide back into his starting role, opposite Vontae Davis. The duo of Davis and Robinson was the expected starting corner combo coming into 2016. With that pair back and healthy, Cromartie became expendable. We also saw veteran nickel corner Darius Butler return to practice on Wednesday for the first time since Week Two.Chuck Pagano on if he senses any frustration out of his team:
"If you didn't give a (crap), excuse my French, and you didn't care and want to win, then it would be 'Hey, lah-dee-dah, everything is okay'."
Bowen's Analysis: Chuck Pagano brought more energy than normal to his Wednesday press conference. It's clear that the urgency has been heightened after a 1-3 start. Pagano stressed the importance of handling things Monday-Saturday this week, before getting back on the field against Chicago. Andrew Luck spoke on Wednesday about how Pagano does a great job keeping things positive while guys are plenty motivated to right the early wrongs.
Pagano knows what lies ahead on the schedule. The second half of the schedule has teams like Pittsburgh, Houston, Minnesota and Oakland (teams with a combined record of 13-3 through four weeks). Starting 1-3, and taking a look at the second half of 2016, only adds to how important the next few weeks are for the Colts. After Sunday, the team will play road games against Houston and Tennessee.
Andrew Luck on comparing up-tempo performances late in a game to other parts:
"The game certainly dictates what happens.
"A no-huddle that is successful late or in the first half isn't applicable to the start of the game."
Bowen's Analysis: Luck's assessment of comparing no-huddle situations cannot be ignored. Leading by multi-scores, opposing defenses are often a bit more "soft" when it has to defend teams running two-minute offenses trying to comeback. Putting the up-tempo debate aside, execution for the Colts has to be better. Get points when you cross midfield. Turn red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, not field goals. Convert early third downs to keep drives alive, therefore winning field position and ultimately getting off to better starts.
Luck admitted on Wednesday that the team is feeling a little "salty" after a 1-3 start. The motivation is prevalent though to "rectify the wrongs" as the team knows that 3/4th of the season is still ahead of them.
Here is Wednesday's injury report:
-DNP: RB-Frank Gore (chest), C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder), OLB-Erik Walden (chest).
-LIMITED: CB-Darius Butler (hamstring), T-Denzelle Good (back), OT-Joe Reitz (back)*.