You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Ben Smith

  • Deadline comes after 38 years in press box
    Today, after 38 years, I'm hanging up whatever it is a daily sportswriter hangs up. And if there is a certain wistfulness in that, there is eagerness, too. I'm quitting daily sportswriting to write, you see.
  • All pieces fell into place for Gordon
    Throwback Sunday’s in the rearview now, Jeff Gordon summoning one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s many restless ghosts to blow by Kasey Kahne with a move straight out of 1994.
  • Shades of 1994 felt with deciding pass
      This one belonged to the math majors again, until it didn't. Until the family man reached back and found the kid again. Until he drove hard into Turn One on the last restart, and 20 years blew away in an eye blink.
Advertisement
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.”

Oh.

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.”

Hmmm.

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 bensmith@jg.net; phone, 461-8736; or fax 461-8648.

Advertisement