The Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens face-off this afternoon in a game that means completely different things for each side. The Colts are playing for pride and for their season to just finally end, and the Ravens are trying to fight their way to a wild card playoff spot.
Here are some of the more interesting quotes that I’ve found leading up to this week’s game.
“Big, long, athletic guy. He’s everything what Chris (Ballard) said before he brought him in here that he would be. He’s one of those mismatch guys that you can move around, get him out in space and he’s long and athletic. Got a huge catch radius. He can run; he’s deceptively fast. He understands coverage, can find a way to get open, so he’s an interesting guy moving forward. I’m glad we have him.”
-Colts head coach Chuck Pagano when asked about tight end Ross Travis.
With Brandon Williams hitting Injured Reserve and Erik Swoope never making his way back, this is Travis’ audition to capitalize on. The Colts likely won’t smother Travis’ playing time with Darrell Daniels, so it will be interesting to see how involved they’re able to get Travis.
“I think everybody knows that unfortunately we had to put Ryan Kelly and Jon Bostic on IR. We’ll miss those guys. Grateful for their contributions. Obviously, Ryan had a tough year. In and out and dealt with a bunch of different things, and certainly you don’t want to mess around with the concussion stuff.”
-Pagano in regards to injured starters, center Ryan Kelly and inside linebacker Jon Bostic.
Kelly and Bostic ending their seasons in this fashion is a shame, as Kelly never really got healthy this year, and Bostic was known for being injury-prone before arriving in Indianapolis. However, this does mean we will get a look at Mike Person (center) and Anthony Walker Jr. (inside linebacker) in the injured stars’ place.
The following is an exchange that Pagano had with the media in regards to quarterback Andrew Luck. I thought the “he’s not soft like everybody else” comment was interesting. Who is “everybody else”?
“How hopeful are you for him that when he does get back he’s able to progress past where he was?
“He’s been through hell. Everybody has. And no more than him. And nobody wants to be back on the field more than Andrew. This is (an) unfortunate set of circumstances for everybody. But it’s life, and life happens. And he’s a warrior, and he’s done so much for this organization over the last five years. He’s battled through injuries. He’s played injured. He’s played hurt. It’s unfortunate. He will be back. He will be back better than ever at some point, and he’ll be back on the field leading this organization and leading this team to multiple, multiple wins and championships. That’s just him. It’s unfortunate, and I hate it for him. I hate it for him, because nobody has sacrificed as much as he has for this organization over the last five years that he’s played. He’s a warrior and he’s a great teammate and he’s a great pro and he’s a great player. I can’t say enough about the kid and how bad we all feel for him, especially myself.”
You said he played hurt. How hurt was he?
“You guys know how hurt he played.”
He won’t tell us.
“Yeah, because he’s got grit. He’s not soft like everybody else.’”
“Yeah, he should be back on the field Wednesday.”
-Pagano on if he thinks wide receiver Donte Moncrief will play again this season.
It was a good question, honestly, whether or not Moncrief would play again this year. He’s missed the last few weeks, not even practicing at all. Maybe they give him one more game to show the rest of the league what he’s got before he hits free agency this spring.
“We’re playing to win. Frank’s (Gore) the bell cow right now. Until the wheels totally come off, which they’re not going to, we’re going to keep the rotation as is.”
-Pagano on if rookie running back Marlon Mack will see more snaps in the next two weeks.
So, there’s that if you were wondering if Mack will have any extended role these next two weeks.
“A tremendous amount of growth. In my mind, the sky is the limit. Fortunately, for me, I got to work under guys like Travis Kelce in Kansas City. It was the best situation I could have been in – he’s an athletic tight end. Even in the offseason, I got to train with Tony G (Tony Gonzalez) out there in Cali (California), so I’ve got some great mentors around me. To me, in my mind, the sky is the limit.”
-Travis in regards to how much growth he still has ahead of him.
“Yeah, it feels good – somebody that knows your style of play. I am fortunate that he brought me in. I’m very thankful. He was there my first year in K.C. (Kansas City). He got to see me run around on the field on the scout team against the Chiefs defense. He kind of knows my game. I’m just happy to be here.”
-Travis in regards to having a fan in Ballard.
So far, Ballard has shown to have a good eye for talent, here in Indianapolis and obviously beforehand in his previous stops, including Kansas City. Bringing in a player he was familiar with and obviously liked from his former spot says a lot about Travis. He’s got a great mindset as well. We should all be watching for him these last two weeks.
“It’s been up and down. I think that Quincy has had some very good downs, and Quincy has also had some downs that he’d like to have back. I think a lot of it comes from inexperience. There are some things that from a split standpoint and a tendency standpoint that I think he’ll grow at. Quincy shows the ability to play tight coverage in short space. He’s got to understand what some of the route stems look like for some of the deeper routes, and we’ve got to know where his help is in coverage. But I’m pleased with what he’s done. I think that he’d be the first one to tell you that he’s happy with the growth, but he’s not satisfied and neither are we. He’s got a long ways to go, and he’ll keep working at it to get there.”
-Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino on rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson’s growth.
It’s good to finally see Wilson getting some playing time and having coaches talk about his on-field play and not making up answers as to why he’s not on the field. I felt this quote had some substance as well, which is a change from when coaches had talked about Wilson earlier in the year.
“The last two weeks, Tarell Basham has made a quantum leap, not only as a pass rusher but as a run player as well. I think that – and I mentioned it to him yesterday – I still think this is a guy that’s going to grow into a really fine football player. He knows that he still has a lot of learning to do, and it’s not necessarily learning about technique or learning about defense, but it’s about learning pro football and what the tells are in front of him – when he can see them, when he can take advantage of them and when he can share the information that he knows with everybody around him. He spends plenty of time with our coaching staff. I think it’s a matter of spending time with our veteran players that’ll really help him. As those older players teach him to study on his own, I think that’ll really ramp him up. But yeah, I’m happy with where Tarell is. I still think that we’re just starting to see the beginning of what he can be though.”
-Monachino on rookie outside linebacker Tarell Basham’s growth.
It’s really nice to see Basham getting more comfortable and productive on the field. The Colts still need to find pass rush help this offseason, but Basham can definitely continue his growth and be a long-term piece of the puzzle at outside linebacker/defensive end.