Indianapolis Colts rely on rest to reverse historic 8-game season-opening losing streak – Indianapolis Colts Blog
INDIANAPOLIS — The last time the Indianapolis Colts won a season opener, they beat an Oakland Raiders team with Terrelle Pryor at quarterback and Charles Woodson at safety.
President Barack Obama was in the first year of his second term, Apple’s latest cellphone offering was the iPhone 5, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was about halfway to its current mark.
Yes, 2013 was a long time ago.
When the Colts kick off their 2022 road roster against the Houston Texans on Sunday, they will be looking to reverse a trend of historic proportions. Their eight-game opener losing streak is the longest current streak in the NFL, and they’re tied for the third-longest season opener losing streak in NFL history.
The Colts, to say the least, are exhausted by the subject. Publicly, they’ve taken a decidedly different approach to this in 2022: avoidance. The Colts downplayed the importance of breaking the streak and generally didn’t talk about it.
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“We’re just focused this year on saying, ‘You know, let’s go play our best football and let’s do it,’ owner Jim Irsay said recently, ‘instead of fuming at me here for 10 minutes. It hasn’t seemed to work in the past.
“But you know how I feel about openers.”
Privately, however, the focus has been on delivering a better start to the season for a side that has been a notoriously slow-starting club in recent years.
Coach Frank Reich, after extensive planning by the team’s medical and training staff, handled training camp and pre-season in a different way in an effort to change the fortunes of the week. 1 of the Colts.
Among the changes: The Colts pushed back their practice times from mid-morning to noon, a move aimed at acclimating players’ bodies to playing at a similar time to kickoff. The Colts, who also shortened their workouts, generally practiced at noon throughout training camp. Is it a coincidence that their season starts at 12:00 p.m. CT on Sunday?
“We can start setting their clocks on how we play,” general manager Chris Ballard said.
The Colts also condensed their evening meeting schedule throughout training camp by about an hour. They’ve balanced these moves with a greater emphasis on sleep, with staff encouraging players to take advantage of the extra time to get more rest.
“Shooting, our first meeting started at 9, 9:15 [a.m.]receiver Parris Campbell said. “Then we were doing earlier [at night]. It just gives time to rest and get away from the ball, and take the time to really work on our body and recover.
Even as Reich eased the intensity of training and reduced the length of fixtures, he increased playing time for key pre-season players.
Reich has always been very conservative with his starters in the preseason, so it was unusual to see the starting offense and defense play in the second quarter of the Colts’ preseason opener against the Bills. Buffalo.
The idea of moving? Reich believed that more live action might promote better execution at the start of the season. In Reich’s four seasons, the Colts have had to overcome miserable starts in two of them — 1-5 in 2018 and 1-4 last season.
The proof will ultimately come down to early season results, but the changes have been a success in the locker room. It’s also worth noting that the Colts largely avoided major injuries in training camp, aside from punter Rigoberto Sanchez’s Achilles tear sustained during wind sprints. There were only two players on the team’s injury report this week: Shaquille Leonard (recovering from back surgery in June to fix a nerve problem) and Dennis Kelly (recovering from recent knee surgery ).
“Guys bought in,” defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. “I definitely feel a difference in my body heading into Week 1 compared to previous years. [Reich] insisted on it and on the rest. I’m an early riser, but that extra half hour or hour of sleep makes me feel good.
Have the Colts finally found the antidote they’ve been looking for for eight long years? If so, look for this formula to recycle in the future.
“I think all the best games we’ve had [recent] seasons,” linebacker Zaire Franklin said, “is when we were fresh and rested and ready to go.