When was the last time the Colts played the Chiefs? I can’t remember. (*28 point come back*) For some reason absolutely no one wants to talk about it. (*Flying Andrew Luck touchdown*) Apparently they played in the playoffs (*in the playoffs*) not too long ago and it was a big deal (*28 freakin’ points*), but I’m like Chuck Pagano—my thoughts were solely “Just keep chopping wood” (actual quote, not a joke). But this is different, Chiefs have done a lot of winning recently and the Colts have done…well, whatever the Colts have done. Chopped wood?
Getting Healthy Again
After last week’s injury report that sent grown men weeping into their pillows at night, the Colts look significantly healthier this week. Only four players missed all of practice due to injury: Kendall Langford (knee), Curt Maggitt (ankle), Chester Rodgers (hamstring & foot), and Dwayne Allen (ankle).
The loss of Rodgers and Allen (who was seen without crutches or significant limp on Wednesday) is softened by the return to practice of Donte Moncrief, Henry Anderson, Phillip Dorsett, Zach Kerr, and Jack Mewhort. All of them were limited participants in practice along with Joe Reitz.
Moncrief hasn’t seen the field since week two but he and Pagano are “hopeful” that he will play this weekend. The concern with Moncrief isn’t his conditioning, but rather how contact will affect him. With the practice schedule and how the coaches are watching over him, Pagano says his first hit to test that shoulder “may come Sunday after kickoff”.
“He is a dynamic player,” Andrew Luck said of Moncrief. “He is a playmaker. We welcome him back with open arms into the fold.”
Rodgers has certainly done his part to step up in Moncrief’s absence, but there’s no question that Moncrief and Dorsett give the Colts the best chance to move the ball on offense.
But all of that starts up front with the offensive line who, last week, had a performance that Anthony Castonzo called “definitely good.” He goes on to admit there are still, of course, areas to improve upon, but says they “have incredible depth on our offensive line”.
Consistency is something that Pagano and Ryan Grigson both preach when it comes to the offensive line’s success, but that consistency has been difficult to find with the injuries taking place. The question now becomes, with Jack Mewhort expected back this week, who is your starting five?
Despite a relatively solid game last week, you can’t justify leaving Mewhort on the bench, so, when he does come back, do you move Haeg back to tackle and Reitz to the bench or do you sit Good in the interest of letting Haeg play guard? Who are your best five?
Pagano gave no insight into his process, though he said “We are going to have to work all of those guys in all the different spots.” He goes on to say that they have options because of how well Haeg has played all over the line and says they will “work them all”, but that doesn’t add up to consistency.
Stringing Wins Together
In case you haven’t heard, the Chiefs are 14-2 in their last 16 games. If you missed that, you may have also missed the fact that they ripped of 10 straight wins and made the playoffs last season after starting the year 1-5. It’s impressive, there’s no question.
So of course the Colts are using that to attempt to draw comparisons and feel better about the rocky start to their own campaign.
“Obviously playing these guys it is something that I just pointed out to the guys and let them know,” Pagano said when question on if he used the Chiefs as an example with the team. “Some things happen, the ball starts to bounce your way, you might get some guys back healthy, a number of things and things start clicking and you win a couple games in a row and get on a roll.”
The tough part is, the Colts struggle to win even a couple of games in a row. They have not done so this year and while the Chiefs rattled off 10 straight wins last year, the Colts haven’t won more than three in a row since 2014.
Pagano hyped the significance of momentum by saying it builds “Tons” but while also spewing his normal clichés about how the team will practice this week: “We have to do the little things. We have to prepare, have a great day today, tomorrow, and Friday. We have to get the game plans down, know the opponent and then go execute.”
Thanks, Chuck. Sounds like a solid start to trying to win two in a row for the first time in ages.
All Aboard the Jack Doyle Hype Train
On Wednesday, Pat McAfee wore a Jack Doyle t-shirt. Luck also revealed he has the same shirt in his locker and it has, in fact, “been worn”. The unexpected legend of Jack Doyle continues to grow. In a video from Larra Overton of Fox 59 (posted on twitter), McAfee shows off his Jack-of-all-trades shirt while calling Doyle “the Chuck Norris of the NFL.” Now, Chuck Norris lore is untouchable by mortal hands, so I’ve done some research on the local kid turned folk hero to see how he stands up to Norris. The following are all facts (to the best of my knowledge):
-Jack Doyle and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
-Some magicians can walk on water. Jack Doyle can swim through land.
-Jack Doyle counted to infinity. Twice.
-Jack Doyle can slam a revolving door.
-Jack Doyle can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
-Jack Doyle can cut through a hot knife with butter.
-Jack Doyle beat the sun in a staring contest.
-The only time Jack Doyle was wrong was when he thought he made a mistake.
-Jack Doyle has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. It’s not dead, it’s just afraid to move.
-Jack Doyle plays soccer with a bowling ball.
-Jack Doyle can divide by zero. (Let’s see Luck do that.)
Some of these may have been falsely attributed to Chuck Norris in the past. But further research has shown that they were all done by one Jack Doyle.
All Quotes Courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR Department unless otherwise noted.