The players had the day off from practice yesterday, but we have some quotes and information for today’s Colts Notebook, courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
A Battle of 4-3 Teams
This week, the Colts will be taking on the Miami Dolphins at home. Miami and Indianapolis managed a combined 8-24 record last season. How quickly things can change.
Now, a game few people expected to be important to the AFC standings before the season has become just that. Both teams come in at a surprising 4-3 with highly drafted rookie quarterbacks at the helm in Andrew Luck and the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill.
“You got two young teams, first-year staffs with guys that are playing hard,” coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians said on the Pagano Show. “They obviously have bought in down there like our guys have bought in. Both are 4-3 and they got a three-game winning streak and we got a two-game winning streak. This is a big game for the AFC.”
Tougher Test for the Improved Rushing Attack
Miami’s defense might not sound intimidating at first. They rank 22nd overall, allowing 363 yards per game and 27th against the pass (281 yards per game). However, their 3rd ranked run defense (82 yards per game) has the potential to make an offense one-dimensional, allowing OLB Cameron Wake (7.5 sacks) more chances to rush the passer.
This will be a tough test for the Colts’ running backs. Bruce Arians, however, feels good about what each of his three running backs brings to the table. “I knew we had a good set of backs,” Arians said on the Pagano Show. “Each guy that’s stepped in there now has a role.
“With Delone (Carter) in short yardage, he’s done a good job since he was injured. I know Donald (Brown) was going to be an explosive player for us and we all thought Vick (Ballard) was going to become a really good player. He got thrown in there more than we hoped to early but he’s answered the challenge. Now, we have some good depth.”
Pagano Visits the Colts Complex
Chuck Pagano has not only been able to watch the past two victories from his home, he also paid a visit to the Colts complex this week and talked with his staff.
“Probably shouldn’t tell you,” Arians said Monday when asked for and update on Pagano, ”but Chuck was in our staff meeting today. He had a great visit with his doctors and his counts were way up, he was feeling good, so he stopped in and was able to sit in the office with his staff and listen to everybody’s comments about the game.
“I think it was great medicine for him. So, he’s doing extremely well and with his white count going up now that he’s ready for a second round of chemo next week now that that count has gone up. They’ll hit him pretty good next week and hopefully he’ll be able to be around a little bit more.”
A Few More Good Quotes
Anthony Castonzo was asked how the role of head coach has affected Bruce Arians. He recalled a story from the practice field. ” Actually the defense made a play in practice,” he said. “I forget what day it was, and he was getting all pumped. I think it was (Mike) McGlynn that said to him, ‘What are you switching sides?’ It was just kind of funny to see him on the defensive side of things.”
The team has won some games while not playing their best football for four quarters. Dwight Freeney was asked if that illustrates where they could be if they played better. “Absolutely,” he said. “It definitely shows that we are winning games when we are not firing on all cylinders. When we do, obviously you would think that the outcome would be a lot better, as far as the gap, margin of victory.
“These guys are excited that we won on the road. I definitely am especially winning against a divisional opponent, on the road. I don’t think you realize how hard that is and we got it done.” Freeney raises a good point about the difficulty of winning important divisional road games.
Vick Ballard was able to score his first NFL touchdown with his dad in attendance. “It was special for me because he wanted to come to my first start but it was in New York so he wasn’t able to make it,” Ballard said. “Then last game against the Browns, he couldn’t make that game either. He said he wasn’t going to miss this one so it was better because he saw my first touchdown.” Ballard has certainly improved of late. There should be plenty more touchdowns in his future.