News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 27, 2012

Pagano gives Colts 4 days off

Tom James
Tribune-Star correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — With a bye this weekend, the Indianapolis Colts went through a short week of practice before taking a long four-day weekend.

Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano put the Colts through workouts Tuesday and Wednesday before allowing the team to scatter across the country.

Players are due back Sunday evening as Pagano and his coaching staff hope to hit the ground running heading into Indianapolis’ Oct. 7 home game with Green Bay.

The plan going into the bye week was to get back to basics during the practice sessions.

Indianapolis is coming off a disappointing 22-17 home-field loss to AFC South rival Jacksonville last Sunday, giving the team a 1-2 record going into the matchup with the Packers.

“You just have to play better technique and fundamentals. Going into this bye week, [that was] our major emphasis. [We came in Tuesday] and [watched] the film, make the corrections,” the Colts’ coach explained.

“[We had] a longer individual period and [addressed] the areas that need to be addressed. From a fundamental and technique standpoint, if we just play smarter and do some things differently here and there across the board — every position, offense, defense and special teams — we’ll find a way to win those [close] games.”

Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is facing his first NFL bye week. He wasn’t pleased with his performance against the Jaguars on Sunday and intends to spend his time watching tapes of Indianapolis’ first three games.

“The position I’m in, you’ve got to watch film still. I don’t think I’ve earned the right to take five days completely off. I’ll make sure to relax a little,” Luck said.

“In talking to [quarterbacks coach] Clyde [Christensen] ) and [veteran backup QB] Drew [Stanton], you realize it is a long season and you want to make sure you are fresh throughout the whole thing.”

Pagano had planned to get away during the bye-week break, then he decided to stay close to the team’s offices.

“I had some [plans]. I canceled them, to be honest with you,” he said, adding that he talked to the team about being smart with the time while they’re away over the weekend.

“That’ll be the major theme to make sure everybody gets back safe and sound.”

• Christensen likes what he sees — Christensen, the veteran Colts assistant coach who was the team’s offensive coordinator the last two seasons, says he likes the progress that he’s seen from Luck through the first three games.

“[He] responds very well to instruction. Doesn’t make the same mistake twice. Once told, [he] tends to get on top of it,” Christensen said Wednesday. He wants Luck to relax a little bit over the bye break.

“Some guys, you want to hit the books. I think he’s better off getting away. It’s a long haul [over the course of a 16-game regular season].”

• Angerer practices — Inside linebacker Pat Angerer, who has been sidelined since fracturing his right foot in the Colts’ preseason opener with St. Louis, dressed and went through a light workout Wednesday.

Angerer is hopeful of being available to start against Green Bay on Oct. 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium. Former Canadian Football League standout Jerrell Freeman has done a nice job of filling in. The two are expected to rotate at one inside linebacking spot next to Kavell Conner when Angerer returns to the lineup.

• Other injury updates — Cornerback Vontae Davis was spotted wearing a walking boot on his right foot Wednesday. Davis sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game with Jacksonville. His status for the Packers’ game has not been determined.

Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and offensive guard Joe Reitz were both scheduled to see light practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Freeney was hurt in the team’s regular-season opener at Chicago and has been sidelined for the first three games. Reitz, meanwhile, has nursed a sore knee since the start of training camp. He recently underwent minor surgery on the knee.

Pagano remains hopeful that Freeney and Reitz will be able to play against Green Bay.

• Butler learning — Should Davis and cornerback Justin King (groin) be unable to play against the Packers, recently acquired cornerback Darius Butler may be forced into the lineup quicker than expected.

Butler, drafted by New England in 2009, thinks coming in during the bye week will give him some extra time to pick up the Colts’ defensive scheme.

“I’m sure it will help me out mentally, getting the hang of things, getting used to the scheme and program. Physically, I want to get out there,” he said.

“I had enough bye weeks this year. I would like to get out there this Sunday, but it’ll be good to get used to the new surroundings.”