Wednesday was Coordinator Day at the Colts complex as Rob Chudzinski and Ted Monachino faced the media to discuss this week’s opponent and how they can build on positive aspects of last week’s game. Something you won’t read below but his worth reading now: Two of the players interviewed today were Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri. And, of course, they were asked about soccer. Because Wimbley and London and some sport that we don’t call football because it’s actually played with feet and that seems too on the nose. No matter how much the players and coaches try to downplay the trip and make this weekend seem like any other, London looms. People seem to notice.
Anyway! On to the coordinators!
Trouble for the Offense?
The talk all offseason was about how the Jaguars went out and dedicated themselves to improving their defense. In fact, it seems like the talk every offseason is about the Jaguars going out and improving. On paper, they continue to get better. In reality, they still sit at 0-3.
“They are extremely talented when you look at them from top to bottom and from the front to the back,” Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski said of the Jaguars.
While he’s right, the talent is definitely there on the Jags sideline, the results have yet to translate to wins. The Colts are hoping that doesn’t change this weekend. One key to kicking this bad team while it’s down? Turnovers.
“You’re always concerned,” Chudzinski said of Andrew Luck’s four turnovers in the last two games. “But they are going to happen,” he continued, “We just have to cut the ones out that are avoidable.”
That seems to be the sticking point with Luck. The “bonehead plays”. One area that certainly doesn’t bode well for limiting future bonehead plays is the health of Luck’s offensive line.
Denzelle Good and Joe Reitz (aka the starting right side of the line) both missed Wednesday’s practice with back issues. Jonotthan Harrison also missed practice, though that was simply due to illness, so there is hope to have him available by the weekend.
This is where the flexibility of rookie Joe Haeg comes in handy.
“It’s pretty unique for a rookie to be able to do that and make that move in the middle of a game.” Chudzinski was of course referring to Haeg playing both guard and tackle during the game against the Chargers. Haeg has held his own so far this season and it’s clear that the coaches trust him to be a key backup. The only question is, who will start with him on Sunday if Reitz and Good can’t go?
A Healthy Defense??
Speaking of injuries, for the first time in what seems like an eternity, the injury report was not a defensive bloodbath. In fact, aside from D’Qwell Jackson and Robert Mathis getting their old man day off, Darius Butler (hamstring) was the only injured defensive player. Patrick Robinson did appear on the report as he recovers from his concussion, but he was a full participant and he hopes to rejoin a suddenly healthy secondary.
Ted Monachino is clearly excited about the health of his players as well: “It opens a lot of things up. It is good to have those guys and have them continuing to get healthier and healthier each week.”
Monachino also went on to talk about finally being able to find the identity of this defense. “We can start to do some of the things that we spent so many hours working on during the offseason.” That’s crazy to think about, really. They worked all offseason on plans to maximize the abilities of Geathers, Green, Davis, and Robinson, but once the season drew near and started, they all started dropping like flies.
And now with Cromartie in the mix and they way he’s been playing, you have to wonder if Butler sees the field once he’s healthy with the potential top three CBs of Davis, Cromartie, and Robinson in the slot.
The results of the unit’s health have already begun to show against the Chargers. The extra second the secondary can force a QB to hold the ball can give the lackluster pass rush the time it needs to get home. That could be all the difference in the world. Having the “grinder” (as Monachino called him) back in Henry Anderson sure doesn’t hurt either.
Even with the extra time the defensive backs may afford the pass rush, there’s still concern, especially after losing Trent Cole.
While Monachino believes Robert Mathis “will get his production” and is “prime to have a good week this week,” he also says Mathis will continue to get healthier and fresher as the season goes on. Sorry Monachino, but no amount of rest days can defeat father time.
-Monachino on playing the Jags: “Having a division rival and having a game this week, it’s turned up the volume with our guys, our antennas are up.”
There’s no significant new information here, it’s just a weird coupling of phrases. You have antennas? And personal volume controls?
-The Jack Doyle: Professional Tight End compliment of the day: “He is Mr. Reliable, you know exactly what you are going to get out of him every play, every day.”
Chud hopping on that Jack Doyle compliment train. It should be noted that this wasn’t unprompted praise or anything. The Indy media swarm clearly loves writing about the local kid so they keep asking about him. See?
–NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus: “I have no idea why Peyton Manning is tobogganing down the Great Wall of China.”
I don’t either, Dan. But clearly there needs to be a full time camera crew following Peyton around during retirement.
–Mike Wells, ESPN: “The Texans are expected to put Watt on injured reserve. Watt, if put on IR, can practice after six weeks and return to playing in games after eight weeks.”
Arguably the best defensive player in the NFL is out? That’s huge news. Not just because it helps the Colts’ chances of winning the AFC South, but because an injury to JJ Watt is one of those ground shaking injuries. It doesn’t seem like anything is capable of keeping Watt off of a football field, so when something does, it’s shocking.
All quotes courtesy of the Colts PR Department unless otherwise noted.