Chuck Pagano sees positives in Indianapolis Colts’ youth
Pagano had five players on offense and defense taking their first NFL snaps and a total of 11 players making their first appearances at members of the Indianapolis Colts. Facing a veteran Bears bunch on the road in their first regular season game wasn’t exactly a recipe for victory. Nonetheless, Pagano saw some good things from his crew:
“There’s a bunch of young guys that stepped up and made plays and the game wasn’t too big for them. We kind of expected it because we saw it in preseason, and you can say, ‘Well it’s preseason,’ but it’s the same thing. It wasn’t too big for them and Coby (Fleener) played as good a game as he’s played since he’s been here counting the preseason the catches that he made and then the run game. He did a nice job in the run game. Kris (Adams) made plays. So there were a lot of young guys that did a lot of great things.”
Standing out among the newbies was quarterback Andrew Luck, who completed his first NFL touchdown pass and threw for over 300 yards, tight end Coby Fleener who caught six balls for 82 yards and linebacker Jerrell Freeman who intercepted Jay Cutler for a touchdown that gave the Colts an early 7-0 lead.
Pagano didn’t lay into his young squad afterwards, despite several errors in execution that included five turnovers. Pagano said it wasn’t beneficial for his young team to start “riding a rollercoaster” every week and that they are all well aware of what’s expected.
Instead, Pagano reminded them that the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. He pointed out that last year’s Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants, are also 0-1 right now. What’s more, they were 0-1 at this point last season.
“I said, ‘Who won the Super Bowl last year?’ And they all start scratching their heads. I said, ‘It was the Giants, right?’ And they said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘What’s their record now? Same as ours, right?’ I said, ‘14 games into the season, a year ago, what was their record? 7-7. What was Green Bay’s record at the end of the year? They went 15-1. Pretty good season, right?’ The key was they made it to the tournament. That’s our goal. Get in the tournament, catch fire and see what happens. So 15-1, they make the tournament, but the Giants happened to catch fire and beat them in the first round and knock them out. So it’s certainly not how you start, it’s how you finish. “
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