Heather Lloyd (a.k.a. The Blue Mare) shares her thoughts with Phillip B. Wilson on the Indianapolis Colts (5-2), who are riding a five-game winning streak into Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
Phil B: I wrote something about everybody getting too excited about the Colts. It probably makes me a bad guy to tell everybody to chill.
Heather: You know what? I kind of did the same thing this week, though.
Phil B: You feel the same way?
Heather: I kind of feel like I don’t want everyone to start believing the hype, and more so, I don’t the players to start believing the hype. It makes me nervous when all of a sudden everybody starts talking about the Colts. I’m like, ‘Here we go.’
Phil B: Don’t jinx this.
Heather: That’s exactly how I feel. I woke up Monday morning and my husband had the TV on with Mike & Mike. Everything they’re saying is just glowing about the Colts. The funny thing is, they’re talking about the stuff that I feel like I’ve been watching all season but all of a sudden they’ve just noticed. Whenever they start jumping on the bandwagon, the national media, bringing them up as Super Bowl contenders, I heard MVP mentioned with Andrew Luck. That’s all great, but I also feel like if in a couple of weeks they’re not living up to that, everybody is going to jump off real quick. You can’t live by the media attention because then you’ll die by it, too.
Phil B: We feel good where they’re at, but if stuff happens and they lose at Pittsburgh, people will start questioning them again.
Heather: I feel great where they’re at. I think they’ve done some really great things the last couple of weeks. We’ve hit the point now where they’re really putting everything together, on offense, on defense, we’re playing strong on both sides of the ball. They’re really doing everything that we’ve been hoping for since Week 1. The key now, honestly, this is the most important part, I feel like these teams have worked so hard to get to the point where they’re able to do everything, it’s hard to stay there. The key now is let’s keep everyone on the field, prevent major injuries, which we had some potential ones this week. To keep going, you kind of get to that point where you hit the grind, where that middle part of the season can be really hard. We’ve got some really hard games coming up against some really tough teams, not to mention they’ve got kind of a late bye week this season, too. When you put that all together, we feel great where they are and have every confidence that they’re doing everything they need to be doing. They just need to keep doing it now through that middle grind part of the season, where it can get really difficult to do that.
Phil B: I was content that if they were 5-5 after 10 games, they could win the last six or at least five of the six. Now, I’m looking at this team as a possible AFC contender, maybe not as a No. 1 seed because nobody beats Denver but maybe as a No. 2. … OK, I’m getting ahead of myself, too.
Heather: But, you’re right. When you look at what they’re doing right now and look at it on paper, there’s no reason they can’t be right up there as contenders in the AFC. The difference is, we know a lot can happen between now and then, too. They just have to keep it up, keep people healthy and keep grinding. Listen, the keep grinding part can be hard.
Phil B: Reggie Wayne has a sore elbow, he fell on it the other day, and they’re still waiting to figure out what they’re going to do. Are you nervous at all about that?
Heather: No. For the most part, it sounds like Reggie doesn’t think it’s a big deal. The team has said it doesn’t look like he’s going to miss much time. You don’t want Reggie Wayne injured for any time, if you can help it. Whether he has a career game or not, he’s such a force to have out there, he’s such a leader, he’s such a distraction to the other team. Yeah, you definitely want him out there. Even if he’s not catching a dozen passes or more, the fact that he’s on the field and those guys are worried about him, it creates an issue for the defense. I’m kind of alright, too, with giving Reggie a little bit of time off right now. Even if it just comes down to he’s got a bruised elbow. I realize I just said I want him out there no matter what, but I’m kind of OK that if he does have a banged up elbow, giving him a little rest, too. If you look at the schedule, we’ve got the Steelers, then next week they’re at the Giants and then we’ve got a bye week before the Patriots come up. I’m kind of OK with giving Reggie a little bit of down time if it’s warranted and he needs it.
Phil B: You were watching Monday night, knowing your team is going to Heinz Field. What do you think of this matchup after watching the Steelers?
Heather: First of all, you have to remember they are going to Heinz Field and it’s a 4:30 p.m. game, it’s not a 1 o’clock game, and that’s one of the premier spots in the NFL. There’s a lot of history there. They have passionate fans there and you know they’ll be out there in full force. Then you think about the Steelers, their tough, physical play, they’ve got some veteran defensive players who have been around for a long time and they’re still really good players. As they demonstrated Monday night, you’ve got to really hold onto that ball. Ball security was a huge issue for the Texans. I would say for the Colts, I hope all week they’re practicing, running backs, wide receivers and even Andrew Luck with hand-offs, I hope they’re practicing ball security because, boy, those guys are going to get in there and try to get that ball loose any chance they have. Then, of course, you always think of the running game, the defense and the run game, what kind of defines the Steelers play.
Phil B: I kind of like the way it shapes up for them, this stretch of the schedule. I thought it would be tough, but they’ve played well, and I like them going to play Pittsburgh when the Steelers are on a short week. I think they could be catching the New York Giants at the right time the following Monday and then they get a bye week before the New England Patriots. I like where the Colts are right now, but again, we shouldn’t get too excited, right?
Heather: That’s exactly how I feel. I feel good about them going in there on Sunday and playing the Steelers after watching the Steelers play the Texans. They’re still a solid team, but they don’t have nearly the threats they’ve had in the past. The Giants clearly have issues. They had issues last season and still do this season. Again, part of it is playing a night game at MetLife Stadium. I feel good that the Colts should be able to get in there and come out of there with a win, and then you’ve got a bye week and some rest before the Patriots come to town. I have to say, I feel like this is the first time I can look at playing the Patriots in the Andrew Luck era and say I feel good about that game.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.