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Ben Smith

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Associated Press
Colts defensive lineman Fili Moala is part of a quickly-emerging unit that helped defeat Minnesota last week and is facing Jacksonville today.

Colts try for steady ride

– So now it’s on to the Super Bowl. Clearly.

Forget all those mopes who peered into their muddy crystal balls and saw 2-14, 3-13, 4-12.

A plague on their houses. May they be forced into seclusion, shamed that they didn’t see this juggernaut coming, didn’t see coach Chuck Pagano turning these starter-kit Colts into something faster than those Flip This House guys turn shacks into mansions.

Isn’t that right, coach?

“It’s great to get a win,” Pagano said this week, with Jacksonville coming. “It’s great to be 1-1. But our whole focus is on Jacksonville and stopping a great running back and a defense that statistically a year ago was very good.”


OK, so what about you, Andrew Luck?

You marched the Colts down the field at the end last week like He Who Shall Not Be Named himself.

Surely the NFL’s just another afternoon against San Jose State for you now, right?

“I don’t have (it figured out) by any means,” he said. “Hopefully, one day I’ll get there.”


OK, so maybe the Super Bowl talk is premature. Maybe, you simply start here with these 1-1 Colts: They have the absolutely perfect mindset right now.

“We’ve got guys ready to work, trying to stay even-keeled,” Luck said.

“Try not to get too excited after a win, too down after a loss. Coach Pagano preaches staying on that steady course. We’re just glad to go out and have another week.”

And along the way, they’ll try not to dwell on the fact that the Jaguars are 0-2 and not exactly the ’85 Bears. And that they, too, have a first-year head coach, Mike Mularkey.

They also have one of the league’s best running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew. Which is exactly what the Colts are focusing on, not the 0-2 stuff.

“He’s like a rolling ball of butcher knives,” Pagano said of MJD.

“He’s a couple of bowling balls going down,” safety Antoine Bethea said.

“He’s got legs like tree trunks. I call them two sequoias,” Pagano chimes in again.

And so their work is cut out for them, even as Pagano admits his defense has made quicker strides than he expected.

Nonetheless, it remains, like everything else around here, a work in progress – a phrase you run into a lot these days, and which serves as a constant reminder not to get too far out in front of themselves.

“Our job at the end of the day is to get a win,” cornerback Jerraud Powers said.

Or, failing that, come a little closer every week.

“We are still learning, still getting things together,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said this week, and if he was talking about the defense specifically, it could just as easily apply to everything. “It’s always going to be a learning experience throughout the whole year.

“I’m just pleased with getting wins. Whatever I can do. If they want me to serve water, I’ll serve water. I’m just happy to get these wins.”

One by one by one.

Ben Smith has been covering sports in Fort Wayne since 1986. His columns appear four times a week. He can be reached by email at; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648.