Even though the Indianapolis Colts are cruising atop the AFC South and the St. Louis Rams appear destined for another losing season, nobody in the Colts' locker room is looking past the Rams. Listening to Colts players and coaches talk about St. Louis this week, you'd think the 1986 Bears were paying a visit to Indy, not the 3-6 Rams.
DE Cory Redding, one of the leader of the Colts' defense, isn't concerned about the Rams losing record. He's just focused on them as the next opponent.
"(You) don’t underestimate anybody on your schedule. You give everybody the same respect that you would want, regardless of whatever the record is. They’re next on the schedule and that’s our opponent. We’re getting all our energy focused on them.”
The Colts have been busy this week watching film on the Rams. It's a challenge for them to get a bead on new QB Kellen Clemens, who only has two games on tape after taking over for Sam Bradford. Safety Antoine Bethea isn't discounting Clemens' ability to get the job done.
"He’s been doing a good job. It’s been two tough games. Seattle played well. Tennessee played well. Obviously he’s a smart quarterback. Been in the league a couple of years. Obviously he can get the job done for them.”
The Colts are most concerned with rookie running back, Zac Stacy. To a man, every Colts coach and player is impressed watching him run. They anticipate stopping Stacy as the key to their success on Sunday.
Head coach Chuck Pagano is concerned about Stacy's ability to get yards after contact. Indianapolis ranks 27th in the NFL against the run, just one spot ahead of St. Louis.
"They’ve got a runner who is emerging as a legitimate number one. He’s had back-to-back 100-plus yard weeks. Tough guy. A guy that gets yards after contact, hard to get on the ground."
Pagano is also concerned about stopping the Rams' pass rush. Keeping Andrew Luck upright is the key to Indianapolis' offense. The Colts' offensive line has taken some criticism this year, and facing Robert Quinn and Chris Long coming off the edge will be a challenge.
"They’re number one in the league as far as putting pressure on the quarterback and sacking the quarterback. They’ve got 29.0, which ranks first. Sacks per pass play. They’ve got really good front four, two edge guys. Robert Quinn has got 10.0 sacks and Chris Long has got 5.5. The rest of the guys, they do a great job off the edge. They get after you. They’re going to be up in your face."
Veteran OLB Robert Mathis, who is having a monster year himself, sees a lot of similarities between he and his former bookend pass rusher, Dwight Freeney, and the Rams' dynamic duo.
“They’re relentless, they have a high motor. I always love guys that keep that motor running play after play. They are definitely double trouble – kind of remind me of 93 (Dwight Freeney) and 98 (himself). So yeah, they’re awesome to watch.”
If the Rams are going to go into Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday and pull off the upset, it won't be because the Colts were caught looking ahead. St. Louis has their full attention.
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