Taking a look at what Chuck Pagano said in his press conference today...
- Chuck Pagano said today that Ricky Jean Francois will be OUT on Sunday. Mike McGlynn, Sergio Brown and Cory Redding are all DOUBTFUL. Antoine Bethea is QUESTIONABLE. All of the others (including Robert Mathis, Hugh Thornton, LaRon Landry, Darius Butler, Greg Toler, Joe Reitz, Jeff Linkenbach Vontae Davis, and Joe Reitz - who passed his final concussion tests) are PROBABLE. MY TAKE: They're starting to get guys back healthy from injuries now, and that's a great thing with the playoffs coming up. And a note on Bethea: he has a streak of 95 consecutive games started going right now. It sounds like he will play on Sunday, too, despite being listed as questionable. But we'll see.
- Asked about whether the Colts will take it easier with the injured guys since they have the division already locked up, Pagano replied that, "It'd be like if it was Week 8 or Week 9, if they're healthy and they can go, they'll play." MY TAKE: I would take it easy with some of the injured guys, but I won't really argue with a coach trying to win each and every game.
- Pagano said that the Colts have "one focus and one focus only, one mindset, and that's get number 11 and beat Jacksonville." MY TAKE: Good. That's the way it should be. They need to take care of business this Sunday before worrying about all the other playoff scenarios.
- Talking about the offensive line and the guard position in general, Pagano said that, "we could go with (Jeff) Linkenbach, you could go with (Joe) Reitz. You could go with Xavier Nixon. We got a lot of options." MY TAKE: There is a very real chance that the Colts will have the eighth different starting offensive line combination this week and the sixth in the last six games. And if it were my decision and I had the choice between all of the guards (Linkenbach, Reitz, Nixon, McGlynn, and Thornton), I'd start Link and Reitz this week and McGlynn at center. But we'll see what Pagano ends up doing. The main thing is that they're starting to get guys back and healthy now.
- With Cory Redding being listed as questionable, Pagano was asked about who will play behind him (or in place of him if he can't go): "Ricardo Mathews. And then bringing up (Jeris) Pendleton as a swing guy. And then Fili's (Moala) a guy that can play not only the three-technique but the five-technique." MY TAKE: It would be smart to limit Redding in this game, and so whether or not he plays the other guys Pagano mentioned should see some playing time as well. I think that between the three of them - while they can't replace the production and leadership of Redding - can do a respectable job filling in for this game.
- Asked if there will be any scoreboard watching on Sunday with the Colts seeding also depending on other games, Pagano said, "No, not at all. Like I said, we got a single focus and that's on Jacksonville. We got a team coming in here that's won four out of their last seven ball games. Coach (Gus) Bradley's done a great job with those guys since the bye week. They've done nothing but get better and better, and they're coming here to win a football game. Certainly we better be prepared for that. You just turn the tape on and the tape speaks for itself." MY TAKE: I'll be scoreboard watching for sure, but Pagano and the team can't get into that. He's right that the Jaguars are playing much better football, and also they need to win in order for the other scenarios to work, too. First order of business: beat the Jaguars. After that they can look at the scenarios and see who they will play.