Colts claim OLB Shaun Phillips as they prepare for stretch run
INDIANAPOLIS – The thought of a team being a contender in February can sometimes start in August and September.
But it really doesn’t heat up until the weather does the opposite in late November and early December. That’s where the NFL finds itself at this points.
One of the more interesting teams in this discussion are the Colts-whose position among the NFL’s elite has fluctuated at a “Jekyll and Hyde” pace in 2014.
Things are a little better this week after a relatively comfortable win over the Jaguars on Sunday-but the memory of the Patriots’ loss is still lingering for many when they consider the team’s Arizona prospects.
That’s why this stretch-the final five games of the season following Thanksgiving-is regarded as the time to correct the team’s inconsistencies and get ready for what appears to be-at the least-one home playoff game come January.
“This is the time of the season where teams get hot,” said defensive end Cory Redding. “This is a time where teams really start to pick up their game, elevate their game. This is the kind of team that team that you want to be entering December. You want to win through the month of November.”
Doing so is more than possible for the team. Three of their final five games come against teams with under .500 records including two AFC South opponents which they have already beaten.
This week’s contest featured a Redskins team rife with offensive issues which came to the forefront on Wednesday when Jay Gruden benched Robert Griffin III in favor of Colt McCoy. No big deal for the Colts who’ve prepared for both of those players along with Kirk Cousins, who was originally benched for McCoy in October after his own inconsistent play.
“Really doesn’t because we’ve seen all three quarterbacks to this point,” said Pagano when asked how the benching of Griffin would affect their game plan. “They’ve got a great system in place. All three have run that system and run it well so it really doesn’t.”
Something that could have an effect on what the Colts do defensively Sunday and beyond is the addition they made late Wednesday afternoon. That’s when the Colts claimed outside linebacker Shaun Phillips off waivers following his release by the Titans earlier in the week.
Phillips spent last season with the Broncos and his ten sacks made an impact in Denver’s run to the Super Bowl but those results didn’t carry over to Tennessee. In 11 games in Tennessee Phillips had just two sacks and 19 tackles which led to his release.
The outside linebacker is no stranger to Central Indiana as he enjoyed a standout career with Purdue. Phillips left West Lafayette with the school’s sack record with 33.5 while also collecting 60.5 tackles for loss.