After a few weeks in Anderson and a preseason game in New York, the Indianapolis Colts are finally able to spend their first-full week of the 2013 season at their own practice complex. And though the familiarity of the building on may scream that the NFL season is not too far around the corner, that doesn’t mean Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano is letting his team overlook the next couple weeks ahead.
“We just talked about that after the morning walk through,” said Pagano.
“It feels like home, and everybody is ready to get in the season routine. And even though we are treating this week like that, we are still at camp. What I just told them here is that it may look like West 56th, but treat it like you are in Anderson. We are still in training camp mode. It is no time to obviously get complacent, we took a big step this past weekend and we don’t want to take a step backwards. We are still in training camp mode and that is the mindset we have to have.”
The Colts follow-up their 20-12 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday with a home contest against the Cleveland Browns this Saturday night. Pagano believes he will extend his starter’s minutes for the squad’s third preseason game.
“Normally, what you’d like to do is play a half, go in, make your adjustments and come out and play a series in that third quarter,” said Pagano.
“Again, depending on how many plays we play is to be determined, how we handle that situation. We always take it case-by-case. If we got a veteran guy that is over a number that we’ve deemed from a play-count standpoint before the half, then we likely get a guy out. A guy like Cory (Redding), a guy like Reggie (Wayne), those type of guys that have got enough snaps under their belt. Typically, go in, make your adjustments, come out, play a series in the third quarter and start to make substitutions from there.”
One of those players who will surely play that extended period of time is quarterback Andrew Luck. Coming off a performance of 9-13 passing, 107 yards, and two touchdowns, number-twelve was pleased with the team’s performance on Sunday.
“Offensively, we were more efficient,” said Luck. “We had a tough start with that three-and-out down when we were backed up. I think we found a little rhythm, converted some third downs, got some touchdowns. I think a little more efficient, yes.”
Colts Head Coach Pagano has been impressed with Luck’s play throughout training camp and the preseason, and credits how hard he worked during his first entire offseason to put himself in position to succeed in 2013.
“Whether he was here or in that five, six weeks they left, he’s one of those guys that he wasn’t on vacation in Atlantis,” said Pagano.
“He might have went to Europe for a couple days or whatever, but he was grinding, whether it was down in Miami with a group of receivers or back at Palo Alto with guys out there. Having the full offseason and the summer and that break time to work, you can see the difference. You can see he’s taking care of things, he’s managing things well. Again, I feel like he’s heading in the right direction and ready to have a better year than he had last year and take us further than where we got last year. So he’s doing well.”