Last Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts were able to stop a three-game losing streak while also picking up their first division win against the Houston Texans. This week, they face a much tougher test against one of the NFL’s best teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here are some of the more interesting quotes that I’ve found leading up to this weekend’s game.
“There was a lot going on. They blitzed. O-line picked it up beautifully. Jacoby (Brissett) delivered a perfect ball. Got it, ran up the sideline, got some critical blocks by Chester (Rogers) and (Donte) Moncrief. And then I kind of made a move back in, jumped over him and I just hoped that nobody would touch me.”
-Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton when asked to walk reporters through his 80-yard touchdown from last Sunday against the Texans.
If we’re going to trash him when he talks out about his teammates, then we should mention when he speaks like this.
“Yeah, and we’ve got (Josh) Ferguson we’ll work. T.Y. (Hilton), we’ll work as a possibility.”
-Colts head coach Chuck Pagano when asked if Marlon Mack and Chester Rogers will replace Quan Bray as the return specialists.
I’d rather Hilton not be the regular punt returner considering his critical importance to the offense right now, but every once in awhile should be fine. Mack, on the other hand, is a great option to return kickoffs. It suits his collegiate style perfectly.
“I really like where he’s at. He’s done a good job. They’ve all had moments; we’ve all had our moments. I like where he’s at.”
-Pagano on if Joe Haeg is going to be a tackle or guard now that Denzelle Good has returned from Injured Reserve.
If Pagano and offensive line coach Joe Philbin like Haeg enough at right tackle, then it likely means Good will move into the right guard role if they want him to start when he is physically ready.
“We anticipate him, yeah, being up. Yeah.”
-Pagano on if Good will “be up” this week.
“Obviously, everybody knows about the release of Vontae Davis. Every decision that we make, that I make, is based on two things — and that’s what's best for the football team, the team and what gives us the best chance to win. This isn't about one guy. Nobody is bigger than the team, and it starts with me. I’m not. Nobody is. Only thing that matters is the football team and winning. We love Vontae. I love Vontae, and I’m grateful for the contributions that he’s made over the last six years. We’ve been together for a long time. He’s done a lot of great things for us, but we're putting this to bed. We’re not going to talk about it anymore. We’re not going to answer any more questions about it, and I expect you to honor that with Ted (Monachino) coming up here and so forth. And so we wish Vontae nothing but the best moving forward. So, it’s Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. Thank you.”
-Pagano’s opening statement from Thursday’s press conference.
Considering Pagano hasn’t divulged anything about the Vontae Davis situation from the time they made Davis inactive last Saturday up to now and his release, that feels like quite a bit of attitude toward the latter portion of that statement. You don’t expect the team to go into great detail about this situation, but Davis is the only person who has said anything meaningful on the situation.
“Yeah, he looks really good, and there’s still work to be done. But he’s looked tremendous, and again, it isn’t a football game where he’s tackling and doing all that stuff live to the ground but he looks normal. Just back, back to being Clayton. He’s leaner. His body is different. He’s fast. He’s twitchy. The cover skills, the instincts, the range — you see all that stuff, and I think he’s a little lighter than when he last played. So, he looks really good.”
-Pagano on how safety Clayton Geathers has looked in practice.
“It’s more swallowing — he’s a little bit raspy, but just the swallowing part of it. They’ve got to go in and do a procedure. The thing got knocked in. They’ve got to get it normal, pull it back out somehow, some way — the larynx. Yeah, it’s crazy.”
-Pagano when asked what is the deal with Henry Anderson’s throat injury.
“He’s fast, but being a back you’ve got to be more than your speed. One thing I really love about him is that he really listens to me and also our running backs coach (Jemal Singleton). When you tell him something, he tries his best to get it done. That’s a plus to him. As long as he keeps working and taking details from me and also our coach, he’s got a chance to be a special young kid in this league.”
-Colts running back Frank Gore about what makes Mack so special.
I’ve mentioned this before, but my main concern when the Colts drafted Mack was that he would take awhile to develop into an NFL-ready running back because of the style of offense he played in college. It was very spread-out and gimmicky — not much like an NFL offense at all. However, as long as he stayed glued to Gore, he would be just fine. The good news is that it looks like that is happening. It is likely that Gore is in his final season as a Colt and that Mack will take over as the starting running back in 2018. There’s nobody better to get Mack ready for that than Gore.
“Structurally, we compare them to Baltimore because of their schematic similarities and their coaching background from that standpoint — the things to be concerned about. They are very familiar with us.”
-Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when asked what the Colts present to the Steelers as an opponent.
The Colts being compared to the Ravens isn’t shocking — Pagano and defensive coordinator Ted Monachino were with the Ravens before coming to Indianapolis and therefore coached against Tomlin and the Steelers quite a bit. However, you don’t actually see/hear football people come out and make the comparison of the two teams often.