The Football Equivalent of Carb Day
On Saturday, the Colts will suit up to take on the Cleveland Browns at home at 7:00 PM EDT. Sure, it’s the preseason and all, but as games with insignificant outcomes go, this one is paramount – and thus could be fun to watch.
Since they will see very little playing time against Cincinnati, Week 3 of the preseason is the last chance for starters on both sides of the ball as well as special teams (all three sides of the ball?) to clean up execution issues and fix any glaring problems before the regular season opener.
It’s the football equivalent of Carb Day, a final tune up before the real thing (This is Indianapolis. Please tell me you get that reference). Andrew Luck called it “a chance to really go out there and hopefully put some good stuff on tape, and if it’s not all good, a chance to fix it before the opener. So a lot of focus going into this game.”
“As you know,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano added, “we’re going to try with this game to play our starters for a half, go in. We talked about making halftime adjustments and then come out and get a series in the third quarter and then we’ll finish the game with our twos and threes.”
For those twos and threes the coach referred to, the second half is their final audition for a spot in the rotation or, for many of them, a job. “Really important game as you know, with the 75-man cut down coming up on Tuesday.” Pagano said. “Getting to 75, it’s very important for a lot of these young players, free agent guys to go out and play well and make a case for themselves.”
The unfailingly classy Reggie Wayne gave some compelling insight into the world of professional football and a player’s mentality leading up to the impending preseason cuts. Though he wasn’t a full time starter until his third year in the league, few would have ever regarded Wayne as fighting for a roster spot. That, my friends, is where so many of us are wrong (Bear with me, this is lengthy but worth it).
“First let’s make it clear, I’m always fighting for a spot,” Wayne said yesterday. “Every year they’re going to try to find somebody to replace me. Now it’s up to me to make that a hard decision. So I don’t go out there with the mind frame that I always got a spot sewed up because that’s when you go out and you loaf and then you got somebody else going out there 100 miles per hour. So my whole mindset is I’m out there trying to set the tone from what Reggie Wayne can do, no matter what the situation is.
As far as helping other guys, always. I help them out every day. I want them to go out there and put their best audition tape out there. We all know what the truth is. This is a tough business. You’re not only going out there and playing for the Colts at this point in time; you’re going out there and playing for 32 teams.
You want to go out there and put your best audition tape. You want to be able to put your best performance out there. If you don’t, you get voted off. (Voted off the island.) Exactly. It’s just like The Voice or American Idol. So you want to go out there and do the best you possibly can. I want to be able to help them the best I can. If I see something, I let them know. If they have any questions, they’re comfortable enough to where they can come and ask. It just comes with the territory.”
Injury Updates: Angerer, Thornton, Landry Ready to Play
There are a few new developments to go along with the usual suspects on the injury report. “Injury-wise, Mike McGlynn got hit on the knee yesterday in practice,” Pagano said. “Didn’t finish the practice. MRI came back negative. He’s got basically a bone bruise in there but he won’t be able to make this week’s game. He’s going to be out. (Coby) Fleener we’re going to hold, he won’t play. Dwayne Allen got significant reps this week but we’re not going to play him in the game. (Ahmad) Bradshaw same thing, we mixed him in a little bit but we’re going to hold him.”
So, McGlynn joins Fleener, Allen, and Bradshaw on the sidelines. Hugh Thornton is ready to go, but has missed quite a bit of practice and won’t get the start right away in McGlynn’s stead. “There’s a number of guys but initially with that first group, it looks like Jeff Linkenbach will go in and play,” Pagano said. “I think I mentioned Hugh (Thornton) getting some snaps. We’ll try to get him in there also in the first half probably and see how that goes. But I think Link’s the guy that probably goes with that first unit.”
Two more players returning to action are ILB Pat Angerer, whom Pagano said he would like to get 15-20 snaps, and S LaRon Landry, who is ready to go after a lengthy stay on the injured list. “It’s been a long time,” Landry said. “Just coming in from OTAs, missed that, just coming into training camp and gelling with the team, missing a little bit of training camp because of the knee. Quite anxious. Hopefully I won’t overdue it when I get out there.”
There were a few things that didn’t fit today’s storyline but nonetheless are worth sharing.
Reggie Wayne on the extra playing time in preparation for the regular season: “Yeah, we here right? If we here we might as well play, so strap up.”
Andrew Luck on T.Y. Hilton’s biggest area of improvement from last year: “I think he’s able to play fast on every play. You can tell he’s not thinking about reading the coverage or a guy pressing him or thinking about plays. He’s fast all the time. I think that’s obviously one of his best football attributes is his speed and to be able to use that every single play is awesome.”
Ahmad Bradshaw on if it’s hard not to think about his surgically repaired foot when he’s running on the field: “No, we use kind of like a clam shell just to cover the foot, which helps me not think about it. But I did have surgery there twice and it is hard not to think about it. But I don’t think about it too often.”
Bradshaw again on building relationships on the practice field: “Yeah definitely. The camaraderie is the key right now. This is where teams are built and that’s just where I want to be. I want to feel comfortable with my linemen and all the guys around me.”
I would like to see Bradshaw get some reps - just to see what he can do with this line. Not too many, maybe two series. I know they want to protect their investment but he also needs some time to get comfortable with this team before opening day. Practice helps but it's not the same as live action. Same for Thornton. As a rookie trying to break in after an injury layoff through most of the pre-season, he really needs some work. Otherwise, I'll be interested to see who steps up in this one. With Fleener & Allen both out, maybe we'll get a long look at "Mr. Irrelevant".
As an Indycar fan, if no one gets the Carb Day reference, I'm going to have to take personal, sobbing, tearful, kicked-puppy-face offense. :(
Hint: It's got nothing to do with pasta! >:-(
It sounds like Thornton will get some time with the first team (hopefully that holds up). If he doesn't look as good as advertised, we need to remember he's missed a ton of practice, and might be a little tentative.
I agree about Bradshaw. I hope we at least get to see him for a few plays next week.
I wish I could take some real credit for that one. I was busy the weekend we were to all collaborate on that, and my contribution amounted to mostly a lot of "yeah, those sound great."
As far as IndyCar, I was usually in the group of fans who didn't like Roger Penske much, but I just can't help but to like Helio (a Penske driver). I always enjoy listening when he goes on the Bob & Tom Show in May.
By that I mean the 87 reasons part. My main contribution was the 2013 season preview, which turned out to be very time consuming.