News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 6, 2010

Frustrated Colts ‘determined’ to clean up game

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Time to get back to work.

After getting off to a 2-2 start with sluggish performances in three of the team’s four games, the Indianapolis Colts continue to be a work in progress.

While the offense has been able to move the ball, turnovers and mental mistakes have thwarted potential scoring opportunities. Defensively, the Colts are out of synch. Indianapolis has given up big yards on the ground (Houston) and in the air (Denver).

They haven’t been able to get off the field on third down (Jacksonville). And the pass rush has registered just one sack over the past eight quarters after coming up with four sacks in a home win over the New York Giants three weeks ago.

There’s frustration in Indianapolis.

“There’s really not a lot to be happy about. But I do always subscribe to a theory taught to me many years ago by [former Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins coach] Don Shula who said, ‘Every time you go out there you have to take something positive away because you have to have something to build on for the next week,’” team president Bill Polian said this week.

The Colts aren’t that far from being one of the premier teams in AFC once again. But improvement must be made quickly in several areas, especially with the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) coming to Lucas Oil Stadium after a bye week.

“There’s obviously a lot of work to do on [the defensive] side of the ball. We’ve got to get that straightened away. I think we have good players there, but they’re not playing very well at this point,” Polian said.

Quarterback Peyton Manning would rather use the phrase “determined” rather than “frustrated.”

“I think guys are disappointed, frustrated, all normal reactions. I think those can be healthy reactions and moods. I think determined is the main thing. To have a really good week of practice this week,” Manning said Wednesday.

“That’s where it has to start. We’re playing a good football team that is playing well. They don’t care what our record is. They don’t care that we’ve lost two division games. It’s really about what we do. I think it’s important to have a good week of practice this week. We’ve got some injuries that we’re dealing with like all teams are. Once again, you get no sympathy there. I think we need to carry a little bit of that frustration onto the practice field and be a little sharper in the way we practice.”

So Indianapolis is going back to work this week, trying to fix their problem areas while also preparing for a pretty good Chiefs team.

“The one thing you have to do is keep your nose to the grindstone, keep your head down and keep working. If everyone does that, and doesn’t worry about the other guy’s job, only his, then you’ll come out all right in the end,” Polian continued.

“It’s the head coach’s job to tie it all together. Jim Caldwell does a great job of that. I don’t have any worries about that. Concentrate only on your job and the head coach will get that strategically adjusted if he needs to.”

So the work continues.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I said you have to put a good face on things and be positive, but you can’t gloss over the fact that we have a lot of work to do to be a good football team,” he said.

“Bill Parcells is fond of saying, ‘You are what your record says you are.’ Right now, we’re a pretty mediocre football team, so we have work to do.”

• Injury report — Safety Antoine Bethea (hamstring), running back Donald Brown (hamstring), wide receiver Austin Collie (foot), rookie linebacker Kavell Conner (foot), defensive end Dwight Freeney (rest), wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (ankle), cornerback Jacob Lacey (foot), safety Bob Sanders (biceps), and wide receiver Reggie Wayne (knee) did not practice Wednesday.

Collie was wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon (hamstring) returned to practice Wednesday after missing the last two games. Garcon may be able to play Sunday against Kansas City. His status will be updated later in the week.

Running back Joseph Addai (knee), middle linebacker Gary Brackett (back), offensive tackle Charlie Johnson (foot), rookie safety Brandon King (hamstring), cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot), offensive guard Jamey Richard (shoulder) and weak side linebacker Clint Session (hamstring) all took part in the workout.