The Colts returned to practice on Tuesday, making Bruce Arians and several players available to talk with the media. Both the Colts and the Dolphins did their media conference calls as well. Here are a few highlights with quotes and information courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Dealing with Success
With so many young players, so many rookies, the Colts find themselves in an unexpected position: 2nd place in their division, to be exact. With that comes the need to maintain focus on the next opponent, on getting better, and ignoring the urge to become caught up in accolades. Losing and adversity are difficult for any team. However, if a young group of players does not know how to handle success properly, it can lead right back to losing in a hurry.
Bruce Arians was asked if the young team’s ability to deal with success concerns him. “Totally. I mean that’s the whole focus this week,” he said. “Don’t read about yourself, don’t pat yourself on the back, respect the process of a Wednesday, a Thursday, a Friday and a Saturday on how to prepare. They don’t change from week-to-week.
“As long as you respect the process, you don’t get caught in those peaks and valleys of I’m good, I’m bad, I’m good, I’m bad. Just keep to it’s Wednesday, this is what you do on Wednesday, it’s Thursday, this is what I do on Thursday and don’t change that routine because it’s been pretty good.”
Keeping a win in perspective can be just as important as with a loss. The presence of veterans helps, but with such a young team, it’s good to know the coaching staff is emphasizing the type of focus the team needs to have if they want to continue winning.
A Good Problem to Have
Early in the season, the offensive line had trouble opening holes for the running backs. The only back having much success was the veteran, Donald Brown. Brown, who came back from having his knee scoped after only two games, still leads the team in rushing yards and yards per carry, but Vick Ballard and Delone Carter have continued to improve in recent games. Now the running back position has become quite deep, and some are wondering who will get the lion’s share of the playing time.
With Brown coming back from his surgery, Ballard started in his place again last week. When asked if Ballard would continue to start, Arians said, “We’ll wait and see how the week goes. Vick has done a good job. Donald (Brown) came in, he was a starter, and you don’t lose your job because of injury, but Vick has done an outstanding job. They’re going to play equal amounts probably so we’ll wait and see how that goes.”
Each back brings different strengths when they come into the game, and Donald Brown said he is comfortable sharing carries with Ballard and Carter. “I think every running back has his own little thing that he does,” Brown said. “That makes us more dangerous. The more weapons, the better.”
“I think me and Delone (Carter) bring a more physical aspect to it,” added Ballard. “Donald brings more of a speed aspect to it. He’s obviously faster than us. He can get to the edge quicker, just things like that.” When asked if that helps, Ballard noted, “It forces them to game plan a little bit more,” referring to the effect running backs with different styles have on an opposing defense.
“It’s a great problem to have,” said Arians. “ And Delone (Carter) is itching to get more carries too. So it’s a nice problem to have.” While they may not have as much success against Miami’s 3rd ranked run defense, the Colts certainly have the depth to keep coming at them with a back who is rested and ready to go.
Bruce Arians gave his usual update on injuries. “First, injury-wise coming out of that ballgame Vontae Davis will be out of this one,” he began. “We’re hoping just a couple weeks with his knee. Coby Fleener will be out hopefully, again, just a couple weeks with his shoulder. Everyone else is at least limited for practice today and we’ll have all hands on deck other than those two guys today. And we look forward to having some guys back on the field.”
Along with Davis and Fleener, linebackers Pat Angerer (foot), Jerrell Freeman (foot), and Dwight Freeney (ankle) were held out of practice on Wednesday. Cornerback Darius Butler (shoulder) and linebacker Robert Mathis (knee) saw limited participation, while defensive end Fili Moala (knee) and quarterback Andrew Luck (knee) each had a full practice.
For Miami, they weren’t yet sure if Ryan Tannehill was going to be ready to play in Indianapolis Sunday after suffering a knee injury in week 8. Backup quarterback Matt Moore is on the injury report as well with a calf injury. Asked which quarterback we should expect to see in his conference call with the Indianapolis media, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said, “They’re both practicing. We’ll see how it goes during the course of the week.”
Dolphins cornerback Richard Marshall (knee) and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (knee) did not practice. Linebacker Karlos Dansby (biceps), center Mike Pouncey (Achilles), and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (knee) were limited in practice while quarterback Matt Moore (calf), running back Daniel Thomas (elbow), and linebacker Jason Trusnik (forearm) all saw full participation.
A Few Good Quotes
For those in the mood for further reading, here are some players’ takes on a few different topics heading into Sunday’s game.
Many outside the Colts team didn’t expect much of them this year. When asked if he was surprised to be 4-3, Jerraud Powers said, “I can’t speak on them but just talking about our locker room, we’ve been saying since day one that we have the talent to get the job done this year. We’re in the mix of things. We had the t-shirts made with the 32 power ranking and all that and I think Miami might have been 31.
“It’s all about what the guys in the locker room believe. You get a group of guys, it doesn’t matter what the talent level is, and everybody believes in one another, you’re going to go out there and play well enough to win games. Right now, we’re in a situation where we’re in the thick of things fighting in the playoff picture and Miami is as well so this game definitely is going to mean something. An AFC game so definitely want to win that but definitely could mean something down the road later.”
Andrew Luck weighed in on not being carried away with the accolades that come with the type of success the Colts have enjoyed of late. “I think you realize who cares if the playoffs started today,” he said. “They don’t. It doesn’t matter what your record is now. It matters what it is after that last week.
“Realize it’s a week-by-week thing. I realize that’s a very cliché thing. We are not looking ahead to anything. It’s the Dolphins. It’s great that people say nice things about us, great if people said bad things about us, whatever. It’s part of playing this game. We are just worried about trying to win football games”
Tight end Dwayne Allen on the Miami defense: “Very talented. Their front four, their defense is one of the best defenses we’ve played yet. We have a huge task on our hands to get ready for, in the run game, in the passing game. They create a lot of problems for us and we’ve got three or four days to get ready for them.”
Donald Brown on Miami’s defense: “Very good defense. Very good against the run. We have our work cut out for us. Our offensive line is going to do a good job. We just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. As long as we take care of the little things, we’ll be alright.”