Taking a look at what Chuck Pagano said in his press conference today...
- Running back Daniel "Boom" Herron suffered a torn pec in Sunday's game and will be out for the season, going to IR. Pagano talked about Herron, saying that, "special teams-wise, he became, as soon as he got here, he was playing really good football for us on special teams and doing a lot of good things. Hate to lose anybody and hate to lose Boom." MY TAKE: I said last week that Herron should be getting a little more time with the offense too, as he looked impressive in the limited time he was in. And, as Pagano noted, he was a solid contributor on special teams. Him going to IR does open up a roster spot, however, and it will likely be filled soon (probably Tuesday). I'd guess it will be a receiver, but I'm not sure. This injury also means that, should the third running back be needed, Chris Rainey will get in some on offense.
- Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois will be out 2-4 weeks with a torn planter fascia, Pagano said. He was also injured in the win Sunday, and his injury is, according to Pagano, similar to Bjoern Werner's from earlier in the season. Pagano said that Fili Moala, who has been backing Jean Francois up this seaosn and who filled in for him Sunday after the injury, will take over the starting job. He also said that Montori Hughes will be ready to go on game day and will be ready to play the three technique. MY TAKE: RJF was having a solid season, so losing him will hurt the Colts defense. But Fili Moala is a good backup and should be able to step in and contribute, and he should minimize the impact that losing RJF will have. Honestly, this means that RJF will in all likelihood be out for the rest of the regular season, and the hope is likely that he will be back for the playoffs.
- Jeff Linkenbach finished the game in place of Mike McGlynn, who was benched, but during the game he suffered a torn quadricep that the team discovered when Link came in today and he is week-to-week. MY TAKE: Sounds like Mike McGlynn might get his starting spot back regardless, as Linkenbach might not be ready to go this Sunday.
- The guys that were on the injury report before (Kavell Conner, Greg Toler, and Josh Gordy) should get some work in this Wednesday. Pagano said that they will "start with individual drills and then proceed from there and see how they're doing. Ease them back into things." MY TAKE: It's hard to tell whether any or all of those guys will be back and available for the game this week, as Pagano didn't really say much other than that they'll give them some work Wednesday, see where they are at, and ease them back into it. To me, that doesn't sound super positive in terms of them playing this Sunday, but we'll see.
- Asked whether he will stick to the lineup changes that he made for yesterday's game, Pagano said, "that's the plan right now." MY TAKE: Those lineup changes include Trent Richardson and Mike McGlynn being benched. In my opinion, why not stick with them another week? It's not like the previous lineup was doing that great.
- On the win being an ugly one, Pagano said that, "we're never going to apologize for winning no matter how you get it done. Ugly, whatever you want to call it, a win is a win. It was critical. We all know the magnitude of that ball game. It was a game we had to get the win and get it done. The guys found a way to get it done." MY TAKE: I love this answer, and Pagano is absolutely right. This win was huge, and I don't really care how they got it - they bottom line is that they did, and against a tough division rival at that. And I find the fact that some people are now complaining about the offense being "boring" to be surprising - we knew it was going to be boring from day one. Anyone who expected Pep Hamilton's offense to be super exciting didn't know what kind of offense they were getting. The offense wasn't great in this game and that is fair to criticize, but criticizing them for being "boring" is just dumb and ignorant - I don't care whether it's boring or not as long as they win, and besides, that's what you should have expected from this offense all along.
- Pagano was asked about the Colts essentially reaching a big offseason goal in winning the AFC South, and he responded that, "certainly, we're not going to get ahead of ourselves. Like I spoke last night, the worst thing that we could do, like we've done before, is get complacent, take a big exhale, sigh of relief, if you will. We're going to keep our edge. We got to stay focused and hopefully we got some things to work on obviously and we'll address that. We'll keep working. We've got to get better. The guys are focused on that. It's the next game. It's the Bengals. We're playing a damn good football team, offense, defense, special teams. Marvin (Lewis) has done a great job. That's a good football team." MY TAKE: That's what Pagano has to say and that's what Pagano should say, but he also should be commended for getting his team to the place where they're about to accomplish the goal of winning the division. They've had some help thanks to a terrible division, but the Colts took advantage of it, and next weekend they very well might clinch.
- Pagano raved about Chris Rainey, Da'Rick Rogers, and Josh McNary's performances on Sunday, saying that all of them were impressive and very promising. Oh, and he also said that Rainey is close to hitting a "home run." MY TAKE: All three of them did look good on Sunday, and I thought McNary especially did. I hope all three of them continue to get more time. And while Pagano called David Reed a home run hitter too, I think we'd all agree that after just one game Rainey looks much more likely to actually do so.
- Asked about whether he is still committed to Darrius Heyward-Bey, Pagano said that "we've got four guys that are up at the receiver position, so we're going to do what's best for this team and gives us the best chance to win moving forward." MY TAKE: Unlike past comments, Pagano doesn't sound very committed to DHB anymore (and he shouldn't be, either). I wouldn't be surprised if he were benched this week. If Pagano was willing to bench Trent Richardson (he was), that means that he is serious about doing whatever it takes to fix issues, no matter who is causing them - DHB could very well be the next one benched by Pagano, and I would applaud the move.
- Pagano was asked about protecting Andrew Luck and he said that "it's our biggest concern right now, first and foremost. And that's been since day one, since he's stepped on campus, since we drafted him No. 1, was protect 12. And that's never going to change... We will, again, look at everything, exhaust all resources that we have." MY TAKE: Yeah, it'd probably be a good thing to try and protect your franchise player better than they did on Sunday...
- Pagano on kicker Adam Vinatieri: "Obviously Adam Vinatieri, five field goals, four of them 40-plus yards. Again, just the ageless one. He just continues to do great things. He's so reliable and so accountable, trustworthy, all those things. Never afraid to throw him out there regardless. Sure glad he was on last night. Obviously we had opportunities down there. We want to score touchdowns and we'll address that and we need to do that moving forward. He had a fantastic ball game." MY TAKE: I'm in complete agreement there.
- Pagano on linebacker Jerrell Freeman: "Jerrell Freeman was a guy, once you looked at the tape, there was a lot of good play but Jerrell stuck out. A lot of tackles, a lot of production. Recovered fumble on Robert's (Mathis) strip sack and the interception at the end there to seal the game for us was major. He's been playing well, but probably by far his best ball game." MY TAKE: Freeman started off slow but finished in a big way. He deserves some credit, and Pagano gave it to him.
- Pagano, asked about the college football finishes on Saturday: "The only one I was really watching before I went down to mass was the Auburn-Alabama game. I went down right before it and obviously the rest of the guys came in at 7:30 and a lot of hootin' and hollerin' and talking about what happened. And of course (Josh) Chapman and (Trent) Richardson came down with their lower lip out (laughs). They were getting jabbed pretty good about it. But pretty amazing stuff when you look at it." MY TAKE: That was the craziest finish I've ever seen, that's for sure. Wow. If you don't watch college football, I feel sorry for you - Saturday was an awesome day filled with some great football games.