Some Indianapolis Colts say they don’t hear the outside noise.
But outside linebacker Robert Mathis doesn’t try to sell that. He knows few give the 3-4 Colts a chance at knocking off the 6-0 Carolina Panthers on the road on Monday Night Football.
“We hear it. We don’t entertain it,” Mathis said Friday after a walk-through practice. “There’s a difference. You definitely are aware of it, but you have a choice of whether you entertain it or not, or whether it affects how professional you are coming into work each and every day. You just can’t let it get to you.”
Safety Mike Adams, who is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last game with a hamstring injury, acknowledged Thursday nobody is giving the Colts much of a shot against the Panthers. The Colts are underdogs by more than a touchdown.
“We’re a team. We’re always going to be together,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter what any outside people think because at the end of the day when you get into the tournament, when you get into the playoffs – obviously we’ve got to get there first and we’re taking it one game at a time – when you get there anything can happen.
“Right now, things aren’t going our way. Right now, the bandwagon is empty. No one’s on it anymore, so we have no pressure. We’ve got nothing to worry about, just go out there and play.”
Despite the record and back-to-back home losses, the Colts are still in first place in the AFC South Division and control their own fate. But the schedule looks daunting. After the Panthers, the Colts return home to host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, who are 6-0 entering a Sunday night showdown against unbeaten Green Bay.
“We’ve been this route before,” said Mathis, a 13th-year pro. “We kind of know how it goes. The bandwagon is what it is. As long as we’re on it, that’s all that matters.”
Outside linebacker Erik Walden is always amused when told a team doesn’t have a chance. He mentions how he heard the doubters about his ability to play in the NFL and then be able to stick. He’s now in his ninth season and shrugs off the outside noise.
“True statement,” he said when asked about the empty bandwagon.
Maybe that’s a good thing?
“We like it that way, though,” Walden said. “I don’t pay no mind to it. It’s all about whoever is in this building, in this locker room, the coaching staff.
“We’re definitely going to respond. There ain’t no doubt about that. Like coach (Chuck Pagano) said, we done talking, from everybody, top to bottom. Talk is over. Get the job done.”
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