Taking a look at what Chuck Pagano said in his press conference today...
- No injury updates today from Pagano. He said they would know better after practice, but the Colts aren't required to update their injury report until Wednesday, so we really don't know. Thanks to the great Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star, however, we do have several updates as to who was practicing. From his twitter account, it sounds like Sergio Brown, Mike McGlynn, Cory Redding, and Ricky Jean Francois were all practicing. It also sounds like Darrius Heyward-Bey, Darius Butler, Vontae Davis, Aubrayo Franklin, Bjoern Werner (who had a brace on his left ankle), and Greg Toler were not practicing. That's quite a list, especially at cornerback - where Butler, Davis, and Toler all didn't practice. So no update from Pagano on injuries today, but there was one from Chappell. What is going to be very interesting is to see who practices later in the week, when it really matters.
- Asked what he took away from last year's playoff game that can help him this year, Pagano said: "Hopefully we'll have our whole staff available. That's first and foremost. So hopefully we wake up Saturday morning and nobody is getting carted off to the hospital. That'll help, number one. Number two, I think players, coaches, everybody has got a year under their belt. So you know a little bit more what to expect. Again, it's playoffs. It's one and done. We know that. We know it's a tournament type of atmosphere, all those things. We're just going to prepare like we always prepare and try to go play better than we did last week." MY TAKE: Awesome answer. If you don't remember what he's referencing, last year on the morning of the playoff game to the Ravens, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was taken to the hospital and missed the game due to illness - a huge loss for the Colts.
- Pagano again talked about "being able to run the ball and stop the run" and said that "we'll never change that mindset... Until they run me out of here, that'll be our mantra." MY TAKE: Well, it seems Pagano's mantra really hasn't changed. I don't mind it as much, however, if the way the Colts are playing on the field is utilizing the passing game, which they have been. I care MUCH more about what the Colts actually do than what Pagano says in a press conference. He also later said that the passing game just opens it up for the run game, and that is absolutely right.
- For the second straight day, Pagano talked up offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. Today, he said "credit Pep (Hamilton) and the rest of the offensive staff for finding a way to best utilize the players that have available at this time." MY TAKE: Pep deserves credit recently, and it seems that Pagano's main area of crediting him is because of the injuries the Colts have suffered on offense, which is absolutely reason to credit Hamilton.
- Pagano talked about the offensive line and how important they are this week: "Again, it always starts up front, offensive and defensive line. This game is always won in the trenches. They got a huge challenge with this team coming in here. They've got a great front seven, you look at (Mike) DeVito, (Dontari) Poe and (Tyson) Jackson in the middle and (Tamba) Hali and (Justin) Houston on the outside. They're going to bring pressure from all levels. Huge challenge in both trying to run the football and protect the quarterback." MY TAKE: They certainly will provide a test, that's for sure. It does start and end up front, and if the Colts can win that battle, that will be huge. But it will be a tough test.
- Pagano said that he can't predict how the game will go this weekend but that they don't expect the same type of game - they're going to prepare the same way they did last time but they can't predict how it will actually go. He said they just need to take care of what they need to do and play well in all three phases of the game. MY TAKE: He said yesterday that it's never about the opponent but always about themselves executing well and doing the small things, and this statement seemed similar to that.
- Asked what the most important thing he took away from the game two weeks ago defensively, Pagano said "Jamaal Charles. We called him public enemy number one and he still is." MY TAKE: Yup, pretty much. If the Colts stop Charles, they'll stop the Chiefs offense. It's that simple - but again, it's much easier said than done.
- Pagano said that the Chiefs broke an NFL record by averaging 29.9 yards per kickoff return this season, and he said that the key to containing their return game starts with Pat McAfee kicking it deep and out the back of the end zone. MY TAKE: I absolutely agree. McAfee will play a big role in this weekend's game.
- Pagano said that, "Offensively, defensively we're playing as good as we've played since we've been here. We got hot, so to speak. Special teams, we've had a moment here or there, but I feel great and our guys feel great about where we're at in all three phases." MY TAKE: As far as the offense and defense playing the best they have since Pagano was hired, it's hard to disagree. They're playing very good football in Indianapolis right now.