Instead of focusing on Davis, who has given up four touchdown passes this season, the coach made a blanket statement about his 6-6 team, including himself.
“I think not only him, but you can pick out, you can say our offense, defense and special teams, myself, we’ve all been inconsistent and haven’t been up to par, and I always start with myself,” the fourth-year coach said.
“If we want to go where we want to go, if we want to make a run, we’ve got to play consistent football at every spot, every position, offense, defense, special teams, coaching, everything.”
The Colts are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 45-10 collapse at Pittsburgh in primetime Sunday night. They had entered that game with some confidence after a three-game winning streak.
Now, they must regroup. An inconsistent season has required the Colts to do that more often than was anticipated. Instead of running away with an AFC South Division title, this team finds itself tied with the Houston Texans entering Sunday’s game at Jacksonville (4-8), which will be playing with a “must” win mentality because a loss basically ends any hopes the Jaguars have of making the playoffs.
Complicating matters for the Colts is a lengthy list of sidelined players. Pagano opened his news conference by reading off their names. It took time.
It’s December. At this juncture of a long, riding NFL season, every team is banged up.
But the Colts are without several players who aren’t expected to play, including quarterback Andrew Luck, offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo, inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman and special-teams captain Colt Anderson. Inside linebacker Nate Irving, who was subbing for Freeman, suffered a wrist injury and was placed on injured reserve.
The walking wounded who could play but didn’t practice Wednesday included the NFL’s leading tackler, inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who sat out with a quadriceps issue. Outside linebacker Erik Walden missed the workout as he continues to deal with a heel problem that hasn’t prevented him from playing. Reserve wide receiver Griff Whalen was sidelined by a sore hamstring.
Rookie inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera was promoted from the practice squad to take Irving’s spot. The Colts waived cornerback Josh Thomas and replaced him with Jalil Brown, who started the season with the team, got hurt and was waived injured, then re-signed Tuesday.
The good news is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was a full participant as he recovers from neck and rib injuries suffered against the Steelers. He’s expected to play. Offensive right guard Hugh Thornton, who missed the last game with an elbow injury, was full. So, too, was rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, the team’s first-round draft choice, who has missed five games with a fractured fibula that required surgery.
Not having so many bodies makes practice more of a challenge, Pagano admitted.
“It’s hard. It’s hard, but like I always say, they’re not canceling the game, so we got to go,” he said. “We’ve got to move on.”
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.