The Colts practiced yesterday, had their conference calls with the New England media, and gave updates on injuries. Quotes and information for today's Colts Notebook are provided courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Remembering the Rivalry
The Colts-Patriots Rivalry. That is the theme all week any time the Colts and Patriots face one another. “It’s like a division game,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. But, we are now in the second season without one of the most notable faces of this conference rivalry, and the Colts have undergone a wholesale makeover. The yearly battle that once was now features a very different cast. In short, the NFL world moves on quickly.
When Colts Defensive End Cory Redding was asked to rank the Colts-Patriots rivalry among others aroud the NFL, he said, “I guess this rivalry was pretty big back in the day, I used to watch it on TV quite a bit. See the two big guys go at it. Both quarterbacks back in the day.”
Redding then quickly turned the attention to the current Colts team and the task at hand this week, adding, “This game is, it’s enriched in its own way, with the competitors on the field and the grand stage that it’s on, both teams 6-3. At the end of the day, somebody’s got to come out 7-3 and it’s going to be a nice challenge for us to go in there and do what we do. We’re looking forward to the challenge and we can’t wait to play.”
Colts Guard Joe Reitz, a Fishers, Indiana native and Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate, grew up watching the Colts play the Patriots year after year. He remembers watching the games on TV as a kid. “Oh yeah, I could scroll back in the memory bank,” he said. “It seemed like every year the Colts and the Patriots find a way to meet whether it be the schedule makers or who you’re playing in the division, it seems like the Colts and Patriots, the football gods always like to see that game. We have one coming up on Sunday and it’ll be a tough challenge but one that’ll be fun to play in.”
Luck and Wayne Connecting on and off the Field
The Colts rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, and veteran receiver Reggie Wayne, who will turn 34 the day before the Colts face New England, have built a strong professional rapport that many would expect to take years to cultivate. Most would’ve anticipated the two players to work well together. However, with Luck, being a rookie who missed the team’s OTA’s to earn his degree, and Wayne learning a brand new system late in his career, the two players’ production, and chemistry has far exceeded what anyone might claim to have predicted.
“He’s a great guy,” Luck said of Wayne. “He’s a great teammate. He’s been awesome to be around, so that’s been great for me. Maybe a little surprising, you hear a big name like Reggie and think what’s he going to be like standoffish or look down on you, which hasn’t been the case at all. So I don’t know if I’ve been surprised but it’s been really nice getting to know him and being in the same locker room with him.”
During games, it’s not uncommon to see Wayne and Luck strategizing on the sidelines. Luck was asked if they were to the point where they could communicate nonverbally on the field, perhaps a reference to the teams of the early 2000’s. “I think it’s still get off the field and talk it over,” Luck said. “I think a lot of guys in the offense, we’re starting to get on the same page more and more, just by virtue of being nine games in and getting a better feel for the playbook. So I think getting better with everybody in that department.”
Offensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach Bruce Arians talked about the relationship between the two players as well, going in-depth on how much Reggie Wayne’s role has changed. He is a little surprised with the complexity of what Wayne does on the field, that the two have been able to click in game situations the way they have.
“I think they stayed in such constant communication from when they were allowed to talk and then the time they spent in Florida and all the days up here in the summer,” Arians said. “Those things develop but I’m surprised how quickly because Reggie’s in so many positions. It’s not like he’s sitting on that left side and you just throw balls to him like you used to and you get the route tree now. He’s got 50 or 60 different alignments and different routes. I think it’s credit to both of them, how much hard work they’ve put in on and off the field.”
One Last Shot
During the Thursday Night Football broadcast, NFL Network Commentator Mike Mayock said he talked to Colts Cornerback Darius Butler briefly before the Indianapolis’ road win against the Jaguars. Mayock said he told Butler this may be his last chance in the NFL and he needed to make the most of it. We know the rest of the story.
“Mike right before the game, I remember talking to him and on pro day coming out and at the combine coming out,” Butler said about Mayock. “I remember that he was real high on me. I kind of just talked to him, he did say that, and I told him that I would take advantage of my opportunity when given. I feel like I want to keep doing that, keep building.”
Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was asked about cutting Butler after two years and talked about how much more goes into the reasoning for cutting a player than people realize, “Well,” he said, “any decisions that we make are always made with best interest of the team. We had a lot of players that have played here and then have gone on and continued their careers with other teams.
“Sometimes it’s just the situation or the fit or the opportunity or whatever it happens to be, it can be a combination of factors. We drafted Darius, he’s a very talented player, and he had a big game last week against Jacksonville.”
Whatever the factors were, Butler has played as though he is keenly aware of how important it is to take advantage of this new beginning, or last chance.
Bruce Arians talked about this week’s injury news and gave an update on Cornerback Vontae Davis and Tight End Coby Fleener. “Obviously after we met Monday," Arians began, "we had to put Jerraud Powers and Drake Nevis on injured reserve and brought up Kyle Miller and activated Josh Chapman so that would be our roster at this point. The only other players that are not on the injury report are Vontae Davis and Coby Fleener. Both will not play this week.”
As far as a timetable for Davis and Fleener’s returns, Arians said, “We’re hoping possibly next week, shooting for Detroit for sure but we got our fingers crossed he can get back next week. Coby ran around a lot last week and is starting to heal. It could be next week also for him.”
Now, the Injury Report, as it relates to practice participation for the Colts:
Did not participate: Davis (knee) and Fleener (shoulder)
Full Participation: RB Donald Brown (knee), T Winston Justice (knee), OLB Robert Mathis (back), and C Samson Satele (back).
Indianapolis did not list any players as being limited in practice.
For the Patriots:
Did Not Participate: G Dan Connolly (back), G Logan Mankins (ankle/calf), WR Wes Welker (ankle)
Limited Participation: DT Ron Brace (elbow), S Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring), S Steve Gregory (hip), TE Rob Gronkowski (hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Don’t’a Hightower (hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (knee), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), DE Trevor Scott (hamstring), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), LB Tracy White (foot), CB Malcolm Williams (thigh)
Full Participation: WR Julian Edelman (hand), DT Kyle Love (knee)
The Chapman Watch Continues
Many fans are excited to see Colts 5th round rookie Nose Tackle Josh Chapman finally get the chance to show what he is capable of on the field. Chapman was a big part of college football’s top-ranked run defense his senior year at the University of Alabama, while playing most of the season with a knee injury that required surgery. As he has recovered from his surgery throughout the season, several fans and observers have quietly anticipated the big tackle’s first game action.
With the team placing Drake Nevis on IR, some speculated that Chapman could see time sooner than later, now that he’s been activated. “No. It’s just a matter of if he’s healthy and if he’s the next best player we have to dress on Sunday,” Arians said about the possibility of injuries pushing Chapman up the depth chart.
“We’ll make that determination as the week goes along,” he continued. “He’s been cleared to play. We have some nice depth in our defensive line right now so there’s not a need to push him out there if he’s not ready. We’ll wait and see how that goes.”
It looks as though, depending on his health and how well he practices, Chapman fans may have to wait a little bit longer.
One Final Quote:
Colts Rookie Tight End Dwayne Allen, on Arians preparing the team to face the Patriots and their star quarterback at Gilette Stadium: “Coach said, ‘Has anyone been up there.’ Just about half the room lifted their hands saying they had never been up there. So he showed a picture of Tom Brady just so that we wouldn’t be staring at him across the field. That’s his way of saying the Patriots are who they are and we need to be focused on the game and not who we’re playing, what we need to do to win the game.”