Phil B: Before we look at the first game, any thoughts on final cuts as a pseudo-GM who doesn’t want Ryan Grigson’s job?
Heather: (Laughs). You know, I have to say, he for the most part came through. Most of the things I thought he would do, he did. I have to say the guys that I really wanted to see on the roster ended up on the roster. The guys I really wanted to see on the practice squad ended up on the practice squad. I’m not shocked at all.
Phil B: OK, let’s move forward to the first game. Have you channeled all your Peyton Manning emotion of the past? Have you had a couple of years to get rid of that for this game?
Heather: I will say I think I’m doing much better than last year. Last year was the hard one, with him coming back the first time, it was so emotional, it was still so new. When I saw the promo last year for “Sunday Night Football” with the music and the slow-motion video, it was gut-wrenching. I had a meltdown the first time I saw the promo. This year, I feel different. This year, I feel like, you know what, we’ve been through all of that once, we’re going to Denver, he’s not coming back here. I kind of feel like we set up a great rivalry last year with Andrew Luck and the new Colts beating Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Now I feel like it’s more about football, which is great, which is how it should be. The Peyton thing will always be there, it’s always going to be hard, it’s always going to be weird, but I feel like at least this year I’m not going to be an emotional wreck over it. So that’s a good thing. This year, I can be more of a Colts fan, I’m just pulling for my team and pulling for my new quarterback. I don’t have the emotional baggage we had last year, which is a great thing.
Phil B: That is a great thing.
Heather: Last year was torture, it really was.
Phil B: How do you feel about this game?
Heather: Ahhhhh. You know …
Phil B: Long pause (chuckle).
Heather: I know. Put that in there, ‘long pause.’ I’m excited about it because it’s going to be a great game. Like I said, I think we’ve started a really great, fun rivalry. I wish I knew more about this team than I do right now. When I opened up the schedule for this season and I saw the Colts were playing the Broncos at Denver, Week 1, I closed the “app” and put my phone down. You are frickin’ kidding me, you know? I want to feel like we know the team better before we go into a big game like this. My husband even asked me, “Who else do we play?” And I said, “I don’t know. I haven’t gotten past Week 1.” There’s something (former Colts president/vice chairman) Bill Polian said that I really hold true, “You really don’t know what your team is until Week 6.” That’s exactly how I feel about this team right now. I love what Ryan Grigson did with the roster. I feel good about the players we have. I was thrilled that he brought in (center) A.Q. Shipley. As soon as Shipley got released (by Baltimore), I thought, “Boy, it would be great to get him back.” Bam, Ryan Grigson did it. I think we’ve done what we can with the group that we have. We watched them out there in training camp. They were out there giving us all kinds of reasons to be excited. I just wish they had more time to put it together. That’s where I think we’re all a little apprehensive, is how much time have they had to put this group together and what’s it going to look like when they get there. I guess part of it is we’re just going to have to see. I still think they’re going to surprise us. A lot of people are really negative about this roster because of the injuries we’ve had and because of the inexperience and all that. Personally, I think they’re going to get out there and surprise us and impress us, I really do. But you never know. That’s the hard part of the game. You put it all together and now it’s up to them. Like (head coach) Chuck Pagano says, they’re going to have to decide now who they’re going to be. Let’s put it this way, we’ll know a lot more on Monday.
Phil B: I’m worried that fans will rush to judgment if the game doesn’t go well.
Heather: See, that’s the other thing, exactly. No matter what happens, we need time. This is a hard game right off the bat. Whether they win or whether they lose, we’re going to have to give this team time to gel and to come together. Six games, we’re nowhere near six games. (ESPN college football analyst) Lou Holtz said over the weekend, “Anyone watching these college games Week 1 and trying to decide who these teams are, it’s like looking at a baby and trying to decide if it’s going to be a doctor.” I don’t think that’s any different in the NFL. Week 1, these teams are coming together and you can certainly see signs, but we’re not that far from preseason. I agree. We can’t overreact to anything that happens. If they look fantastic, great. If they don’t look great, then you know what, we’re just going to have to give them some more time and let them figure things out. I’m excited no matter what. I’m excited the season is started. I’m excited to watch them on “Sunday Night Football.” It’s all exciting any way. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I knew more about them and felt more confident in what they are right now and what they have right now. But we’ll see.
Phil B: Most people have picked the Broncos to win. I’ve found that the Colts seem to do better when people count them out.
Heather: I was happy when I saw that (Denver Post columnist) Woody Paige put that out there, that the Colts didn’t have a chance of coming within like 17 points of the Broncos. I think when the cards are really stacked against the Colts is when they come through and really have something to prove. Look at last year, it was the same thing. How did the Broncos look at the beginning of last year. The Broncos were the only team anyone was talking about last year when they were on their way in here. No one gave the Colts a chance in that game. And you know what? They impressed the heck out of us. They were tough, they were fired up. I just hope that stuff like that fires them up even more. I know they’re going to go out there determined and ready to play. I also think you have to remember, during the preseason they’re only showing us a little bit of what they have. They’re running a very vanilla offense. It’s not like they’re out there using everything they’ve got. They’ve talked all of preseason about this exotic offense that they have. I truly don’t think we’ve seen that offense yet. So that’s what will be fun. Let them put it all out there and see what they’ve got. If there’s one advantage to playing the Broncos right now, it’s this: They don’t know what we have. They have nothing to study. They can look at the preseason tapes, but that’s not the offense that we’re running. And it’s the same for us. We’re at the same disadvantage. But I guess if you’re going to play Peyton Manning, Week 1 probably isn’t a bad time to play him because once you once you put anything on film no matter what it is, he’s going to know that by the back of his hand by the time the game comes. Right now, he doesn’t have anything. He doesn’t know anything we’re going to do. Going into play Peyton Manning when he’s wise to what you’re going to do is probably not a good thing.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.