Former Indiana State men’s basketball coach Tates Locke had a slogan that he liked to use when it came to putting bad games or bad performances on the back burner.
It was a motto that consisted of four letters that he would repeatedly tell his players and coaches. Locke also had T-shirts and posters made up as reminders. F.I.D.O. — Forget It and Drive On.
When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts and their lackluster performance Sunday in a 38-8 home-field National Football League loss to St. Louis, Locke’s slogan comes in handy. With a short week to prepare for Thursday night’s nationally-televised road game with AFC South rival Tennessee, the Colts can afford to dwell on any unpleasantness.
“Certainly we’re not going to bury our head in the sand on this past ballgame. We’ll address the issues like we always address them. We know there’s things that need to be fixed and we’ll go to work on fixing those things. … We don’t have much time in front of us. We have another ball game coming up in less than 80 hours, if you will, and we got to travel,” Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said Monday.
“We got a lot to accomplish in the next couple days. But as you know, this team is very resilient. They’re obviously not pleased at all. None of us are pleased at all with how we performed. So we got to go to work, stick to the process, get better and go play obviously better than we played [Sunday], otherwise we won’t give ourselves any opportunity, any chance to go down there and win a football game.”
Work by the players and the coaches in preparation for the Tennessee game began just a few hours after the loss to the Rams wrapped up at Lucas Oil Stadium. There’s no time to waste.
“Guys were in here right after the ballgame working on this,” Pagano said. “Again, it is what it is. So you deal with the time that you have, the circumstances that are in front of you and you move forward.”
That’s what quarterback Andrew Luck plans to do.
“I think you learn from your mistakes. You look back and you don’t want to forget the whole game in a sense. We need to get better. We realize there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself, no time to lament. We have a tough ball game coming up in a matter of days against the Titans. We’re in full-mode Titan preparation now,” Luck said.
“[The practice schedule is] fairly condensed but you make it work. Everybody’s in the same boat with a Thursday game. Maybe you do a little extra especially earlier in the week,” he pointed out.
“There will be no excuse for not being prepared. Our coaches do a great job. Everybody has to play a Thursday game at some point. You do it and hope you prepare well.”
• Starting better — The Colts know they need to play better. Getting off to strong starts at the beginning of games would be a good way to speed up the process.
“It’s a little bit of everything. You got to come out and play with energy. You got to do that for 60 minutes. I think the defense, your opponent, always plays a hand in it. Offense, defense and special teams, you’ve got to match their intensity, what they’re doing, so they play a hand in it. Certainly we’ve shot ourselves in the foot plenty enough to not give ourselves a chance,” the Colts coach said.
“We talk all the time, you don’t win games in the National Football League, you lose them. We’re doing everything possible to put ourselves in these holes that we found out [Sunday] that we put ourselves in one that we couldn’t find the magic to get out of. We talked about it, it doesn’t catch up with you until it catches up with you.”
A teachable moment perhaps?
“I think there will be a great lesson obviously learned. … We got to find a way to start fast. And to start fast I mean if we come out and we play our game like we’ve done in the past,” Pagano said.
“We’ve beat some really good football teams [San Francisco, Seattle and Denver]. And we’ve lost some football games where we’ve been outexecuted and whatnot and done things to hurt ourselves. I think from an execution standpoint from start to finish is the key.”
• Offensive line shakeup? — The numbers tell the story: 14 carries as a team for 18 yards in the loss to St. Louis on Sunday. A paltry 1.3 yards per carry. Oh, and of those 18 yards, Luck picked up 17. Running back Trent Richardson had two yards on five carries. Running back Donald Brown added two carries for a minus-one yard. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.
The pass blocking wasn’t much better. Luck was sacked three times, fumbling once, and was knocked around on seven other occasions.
Pagano didn’t dismiss the idea Monday of some shuffling on the offensive line heading into the Tennessee game.
“We’ll continue to look at every area of our football team and address things that need to be addressed. Not only the offensive line, the wide receivers, the back end, whatever it is,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever is best for this football team and whatever gives us the best chance to win a football game.”
• Injury list — Starting left offensive guard Mike McGlynn suffered a fractured right thumb in the Rams game and has been fitted with a cast for his hand. McGlynn’s availability for Tennessee has not yet been determined.
Safety Larry Asante left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury but the team has not yet announced his status for the Titans game.
Cornerbacks Greg Toler (groin) and Josh Gordy (groin), along with safety Delano Howell (head), continue to rehab their injuries. All three were hurt in the Denver game on Oct. 20.
“Howell, Gordy, Toler, they’re all getting better, trending in the right direction. Again, no timetable as of [Monday] for their return,” Pagano said.
As for players with lesser injuries, they’ll have little time to heal with the Tennessee game coming up quickly.
“I don’t know if there’s a secret. I think it’s a revolving way of trying to find the best way to do things. It’s important to make sure you get your body prepared as well as get your mind fresh,” Luck said.
“The coaches do a great job of getting us prepared, our trainers, strength staff, everybody. It’s a whole-building effort to get ready. I know we’ll be prepared.”