Jacoby Brissett's filled in nicely for Andrew Luck
Chuck Pagano:** "I think he's obviously done a great job. He came in under some really difficult circumstances as we all know, but he's a great pro. He's a great teammate, a tireless worker and he's a smart guy. He's put the time in, week in and week out, [and] continues to grow and develop. He gives us a chance to go out and compete and win and be able to move the offense. It's been a tough season and we all know that, on everybody. He's done a great job."
[On whether he's earned respect in the locker room]
CP:"He earned it long before he even got on the field. He came in and he's not a loud guy, he's not a talker — he's just a worker. Putting the time in that he put in, especially early on, preparing and getting himself ready to play. The first game that he was out there and then standing in there, he has been hit a little bit and we know that. He is a tough guy and keeps picking himself up off the mat — so to speak — and competing. The locker room and, shoot, I think everybody in this city, in this organization and mostly those players respect the heck out of him because he is a warrior and he's a great competitor."
Frank Gore: "He's smart. He's only two years in. To come in with us that first week and pick up the offense the way he has, you can tell he's been around a great quarterback like [Patriots QB] Tom Brady."
How veterans cope with 'lost' seasons
CP:** "We signed up for 16 of these, right? This is the next one. That's just what professionals do. You get yourself ready week in and week out, whether you have a full week or a short week, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter about the record — none of that stuff. It's all about the name on the back of your jersey and it's about the decal on the side of your helmet. It's about respect and it's about pride. We've been in a lot of games and we've played in some — there's been some extraordinary events that have happened over the course of this season so far to this football team. A lot of disappointing moments, a lot of would have, could have, should have's. To these guy's credit, they keep coming in here and they keep preparing. They keep competing and they keep working. Again, that's what we signed up for. We signed up for 16 games and we're going to prepare and go compete [in] all 16 of them, regardless of the circumstances."
FG: "I manage it because I'm blessed. I'm doing something that I still love, especially for my position. They said I should have been done. Everybody said I should have been done but I still have the opportunity to compete and help young guys. I still love the game."
Records serving as motivation
CP:** "Absolutely. Our guys would love to get him to 1,000. They'd love to get him to number four from five on the all-time rushing [list], you know what I mean. There's some of those things but at the end of the day, and Frank will be the first one to tell you, 'I don't care, I just want to win.' Denver finally got one after an eight-game losing streak. There's nothing like that moment, there's nothing like that five minutes. That's why we work, we sacrifice and we do all that we do is for those five minutes where you walk in the locker room victorious after a win. It doesn't matter what's happened before that, there's nothing like a win. There's nothing better to change the atmosphere in the building, in the city and in the fan base — everything is [changed] by winning. When you win, good things happen for everybody. [Former NFL Coach] Jimmy Johnson used to say, 'When you win, there will be enough cheese to go around.' At the end of the day, they'd love to see Frank hit 1,000 and pick up enough yards to get number four and [K] Adam [Vinatieri] keep going and chasing immortality — he's number two behind [former NFL K Gary] Anderson. All those kind of things. The individual records are great and they all want to win as a team. That's the most important thing and they would all tell you that. Certainly we'd love to be able to do some things like that."
FG: "When you get close — if I said it didn't, I'd be lying. To see yourself getting closer, why not go and get it. When you're done, it's over with."
The Colts face a dangerous Denver defense
CP:** "[Brissett] has to be great as far as decision making. We have to do a lot of things right in this football game. We have to do a lot of things right on offense, we have to execute well and we have to be able to run the football. This is the number one defense in the league right now. We know this defense, we've gone against them and there are game-wreckers everywhere. The secondary is second to none that you speak of. You have to do a great job of going through your progressions, your reads and pre snap. Try to gather as much information as you can. They'll do a great job disguising and moving around. They're going to take away our number one threat and make us beat them left handed. He has to make great decisions, he has to take care of the football and he's done that. Again, for the amount of times that he's been sacked and been hit, he's done a great job of taking care of the football and making good decisions. At the end of the day, know when to say when and not take a sack and get rid of the football and not take hits that you don't have to necessarily take — things like that. We have to be able to drop back, we're going to have to drop back. We're going to have to throw it, we're going to have to get it out and we're going to have to do a great job with protection. We can't let 58 (OLB Von Miller), 56 (OLB Shane Ray) and the rest of those guys wreck this game."
[On which players the Colts will game-plan around]
CP: "If you have an 88 (Thomas) or 58 (Miller) on, I don't know if we can slow either of them down, but we're going to do our damnedest to try not to let either one of those guys wreck the game. Absolutely. The numbers speak for themselves. It's all hands on deck. They have a bunch of other guys that can play, so it isn't like you're taking care of him and then 10 (WR Emmanuel Sanders) is running all over the place, 22 (RB C.J. Anderson) and 23 (RB Devontae Booker) and 16 (WR Bennie Fowler III) and 14 (WR Cody Latimer) and tight ends. We have our hands full with the whole thing, but D.T. can still roll and he can still wreck a game. We'll give him proper respect."
Kerr's return to Indianapolis
CP:** "[Zach Kerr]'s a talented guy, he's a big body and he's a smart guy. He knows football inside out, and he knows the game. I think he's playing well, just looking at him — big sample size in this last game. They're doing a great job with him and he's playing well. He has quickness, he has feet and he has strength. Again, he understands blocking schemes, he has pass rush moves and he's great with his hands. It's been fun watching him. It was great having him [for] the time that we had him, he did a great job here and he's doing a great job now. Proud of him."