Colts Notebook: Oct. 13

J. Daniel/Getty

Have fans and longtime observers of the Indianapolis Colts become spoiled by the team's run of success since the start of the 2002 season? Perhaps. Winning 12 or more games in a season isn't easy, yet the Colts have done it more often (an NFL record seven consecutive seasons) than almost any other team in the league in recent years.

Now, with Indianapolis struggling with inconsistency and a 3-2 record, people don't exactly know how to react to what they've been seeing so far this year.

"A lot of times people take it for granted that we've been so successful for so long," middle linebacker Gary Brackett said.

"They think we're supposed to go out there on Sunday and teams roll over and we win by 20. (But) a lot of these games are won in the fourth quarter."

The Colts are currently in a four-way tie in the AFC South with Houston, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.

All four divisional teams are also 3-2 overall, although Indianapolis is 0-2 against AFC South opponents, losing to the Texans and the Jaguars on the road.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's just the fourth time since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger that all members of a division have been tied this late in the season.

"You take (wins) how you can get them in this league," Brackett said. "You can't take winning for granted. (Former Colts) coach (Tony) Dungy taught us that a long time ago."

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Quarterback Peyton Manning was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season and just the 25th time in his 197 regular-season career starts during the win over Kansas City.

  • "(Running back Mike Hart) is a guy you want on your team. He's going to do whatever (he's asked to do), and he got a chance to get in there (Sunday) and get a few runs and show what he can do." — RB Joseph Addai, on his teammate, who scored the game's only touchdown with an 11-yard run Sunday.

  • "A lot of teams show us a lot of things that we don't expect. So we kind of expect them to show what we don't think they will show. (Kansas City) showed us some different defenses, but I think we were ready for it." — Addai.

  • "I'm not going to lie. (Sunday) is when you actually feel more of the aches and pains (of a game). Right now, I can manage it. Turning (my head) to the left is kind of sore." — Addai, on his fourth-quarter shoulder injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Addai did not take part in Monday's walkthrough practice session.

  • Personally, QB Peyton Manning is having a pretty good year. But team-wise, the Colts haven't been quite the offensive threat that they've been in past seasons.

    "People want to compare the previous seasons and what we have done, plays of our offense and that is something that we are not really doing," Manning said. "We are trying to form the identify of this team and that is something that will progress throughout the season."

  • RB Joseph Addai thinks that he'll be ready for this week's nationally-televised road game at Washington. Addai suffered a shoulder injury in the third quarter of last week's game with Kansas City and did not return.

    Colts general manager Chris Polian said Monday night that the injury was not skeletal in nature. The younger Polian added that the team would know more in the coming days whether or not Addai will be able to play against the Redskins.

  • RB Mike Hart is just going with the flow. After not thinking as week ago that he would be able to play against the Chiefs after suffering a knee injury in a midweek practice, Hart's performance against Kansas City proved to be crucial to the Colts' victory.

    With Joseph Addai battling a shoulder injury and Donald Brown appearing to getting healthy after nursing a sore hamstring for the past couple of weeks, Hart knows his name could be called again this week.

    "I'm always ready. Hopefully I'll be called upon soon," he said.

  • TE Dallas Clark has been seeing a lot of double-coverage in recent weeks as defensive teams try to find a way to keep him out of the Colts' passing attack.

    "We've seen teams using a safety and a linebacker to try and bracket him in," QB Peyton Manning said. "Teams don't want to cover him with just a linebacker anymore. Dallas is out there trying to get open against double and sometimes triple coverage."

  • WR Reggie Wayne expects upcoming opponents to take a page out of the Romeo Crennel book on defending the Colts' passing attack. The Chiefs' defensive coordinator has had some success in slowing down Indianapolis in recent years, including last week's game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

    "Crennel has been there before. He's seen us numerous times. Our offense really hasn't changed much. They did a great job. You just have to take your hat off to them," Wayne said.

  • WR Austin Collie is back in a walking boot after starting and playing the entire game against Kansas City. Collie was in a protective boot for most of last week and was questionable for the Chiefs game.

    The routine this week is expected to be pretty much the same heading into the Redskins game.

  • LB Clint Session is finally starting to get his feet under him. Literally. Sessions has been bothered by a nagging hamstring injury since the start of training camp.

    But Session had a game-high 10 tackles in the Colts win over Kansas City.

    "He played well," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He played very, very well. He was active, had a lot of big hits for us, covered ground. He played like he's capable of playing. He can be a force when he's on and he was on (Sunday)."

  • It's early yet, but WR Anthony Gonzalez could be close to returning on a regular basis.

    Gonzalez took part in a light walkthrough workout on Monday, the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opening loss at Houston that he's been able to spend any meaningful time on the practice field.

  • Hopes are also high for RB Donald Brown, who also made a comeback during Monday's light practice session. Brown has missed the last two games with a strained hamstring.

    The Colts top draft pick in 2009 has seen his progress slowed the last two seasons with a series of nagging injuries.

  • S Aaron Francisco was a surprise starter at strong safety for the Colts against Kansas City. Francisco had been re-signed to the Indianapolis roster last week after starter Melvin Bullitt was sidelined for the season with a broken bone in his shoulder.

    With Bullitt gone, it was thought that either former Colts S DaJuan Morgan or rookie Brandon King would get the call. Francisco, though, had spent the 2009 season with Indianapolis. He had not been re-signed at the end of the year, however.

    But it was his knowledge of the team's defensive system that made the decision to start him easier.

    "I think he did a nice job. He didn't make many mistakes, kept things in front of him, ran to the ball well, but for one week of work, I think he did a pretty good job," said coach Jim Caldwell.


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