Luck Fleener Hilton Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colts Notebook: Respect for the Opponent & Burning Questions at Receiver

Who’s Playing Receiver?

The last time Reggie Wayne missed a game due to injury,

- Jim Mora was in his final season as the Colts head coach, his fate likely sealed after the infamous “Playoffs?!” rant.   

- Andrew Luck was 12 years old, had just moved to Houston, TX, and quite possibly was still playing defensive end. 

- Reggie Miller, Jalen Rose, and Austin Croshere were all Indiana Pacers. 

- The guy writing this was still attending IUPUI in beautiful downtown Indianapolis. 

- People still used flip phones, dial up, Hotmail, and occasionally something called AOL.

Suffice to say, it’s been a while.  So, who starts now?  Who is the new slot receiver?  How glad are we that Luck switched to quarterback?

Currently, on the Colts depth chart, Darrius Heyward-Bey and LaVon Brazill are listed as the starting outside receivers, with T.Y. Hilton as the primary slot guy.  As far as who will actually play and when, Chuck Pagano didn’t feel like giving out too much information heading in to the Texans game. 

Update (6:00 p.m.10/29): The Colts updated their depth chart today and now show Hilton and DHB as first stringers with Brazill and Reed second and Griff as a third stringer. 

When a reporter asked him if Hilton, who’s played on the outside 74.5% of his snaps (Pro Football Focus), will be moving into the slot more, Pagano said, “We’re going to mix it up. We’re going to mix it up. He knows all the spots. DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) knows all the spots. When we go with two-receiver sets, generally those two will be the guys that are on the field. Then we go three-receiver sets or whatever, we can move them around. Certainly he can play outside. He can play inside. He knows all the spots.”

The Colts likely have a decent idea who is going to play and where, but they don’t feel the need to announce it to the world before a big division game on the road.  Pagano even turned the question around on an ESPN writer.  “I don’t know,” he said. “Who would you classify as our third receiver (laughs)? Shake them up, pull them out of the hat.” 

Okay, Pagano isn’t going to say, and he probably shouldn’t.  But the question on many fans’ minds is, ‘what will Griff’s role be?’  Well, Griff doesn’t know either.  “We’ll see,” Whalen said. “The coaches are going to have all of us prepared to do what we need to do. I know I’ll be getting in there some this week, so I’m excited to do that and do whatever I can to help.” 

Colts fans, like the Texans, will just have to wait until Sunday night to see how the wide receiver situation shapes up.  I have a feeling it may take a couple weeks to sort itself out. 

 

2-5?  Doesn’t Matter

Houston may be reeling from five straight losses, taking criticism from their fans (Schaub jersey burnings? Seriously?), and even benching their quarterback, but the Colts will still treat them as they would a formidable opponent. 

They know what this game means.  Indy could drive a nail in the Texans’ coffin, or they could slip up and facilitate Houston’s resurgence.   A division game is a battle, and even the most mismatched teams can go down to the wire.  As boring as it may sound, the Colts need to embody this mindset.    

“Oh yeah, always going to be a big game,” said slot corner extraordinaire Darius Butler. “Those guys have a lot of talent and a lot of pride. Going into their house it will be a hostile environment, and like you said, those guys, their back’s against the wall so they’re going to come out swinging. This is a division game. They won the division the last two years and we’re looking to take care of the division this year, so this is a big game for us.” 

Robert Mathis, who’s seen his fair share of the Texans over the years, echoed a mindset of respect.  “They are a dangerous team, point blank, period,” he said. “Their scheme, the things they do, they do well. Make no mistake about it, we’re not looking at their record because they are the two-time AFC South champions and we respect them as such.” 

As usual, the Colts aren’t going to give anybody any bulletin board material.  I’ll save everyone the trouble and let you know that all nine coaches and players interviewed yesterday expressed nothing but respect and positive sounding sports clichés for the Houston Texans. 

 

Leftovers

Andrew Luck on the team not letting their success go to their heads, so to speak: “Yeah, I think we all, in this locker room, realize no one cares what your record was Week 8, Week 7, whatever week it is in the season. It’s all about what the record is at the end of the year and if we can focus on each game like it’s the biggest, because it is, next game’s always the biggest, then we’ve got a chance.”   

Luck on DHB: “He’s a tireless worker, hard worker, and I think he’s really starting to find his rhythm as well. Great teammate. I was real happy for him to get that first touchdown, sort of get that monkey off your back, if you will. I think we all, offensively, were excited about him, still are, still am and expect big things from him.”

Luck on how Matt Hasselbeck helps him and Chandler Harnish: “He has a lot more personality than us, so he brings a good wit to the table. But football-wise, he’s been in so many situations, he’s very calm. He can be a very calming influence during a game, practice, whatever it may be and always has sound advice.”

Bjoern Werner saying what every football player says when they finally get out and practice again: “Day-by-day. That was my first time being out there, feel good. Happy to be out there again, so now I just take it day-by-day and see how it feels.” 

Robert Mathis on whether he talks himself into feeling like an underdog, given the team’s success against teams that were favored going in: “No. Play football. That’s your job. Do your job.” 

If “do your job” is all the motivation Robert Mathis needs, it’s clearly working just fine.  That’s all we have for today. Thanks for reading, as always. 

Marcus Dugan

About Marcus Dugan

Marcus is a husband, dad, twitter geek, and all around average guy who covers news, game recaps, and additional material for The Colts Authority, while working even harder as an Indy area real estate broker. He's been known to overuse parentheses while editorializing (but who doesn't?)

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