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Behind Enemy Lines: Cardinals seek first win of season against Colts

After opening the 2017 season with a 35-23 loss to the Detroit Lions in the Motor City, the Arizona Cardinals are in need of a bounce-back performance.

At 0-1, the Cardinals travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in search of their first win this season. As Arizona intends on evening up their record, they will have to do it without running back David Johnson and left tackle D.J. Humphries.

The Cardinals are not the only team in the NFL already battered by injuries.

The Colts opened the season without quarterback Andrew Luck and were blown out by the Los Angeles Rams, 46-9. Indianapolis already has ruled out their signal caller for this week’s game.

The all-time season series between the Cardinals and Colts is dead even at eight wins apiece. These teams last faced off in Nov. 2013 and the Cardinals beat Indianapolis, 40-11, at University of Phoenix Stadium.

When the two teams take the field on Sunday, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians will go up against his good friend and former colleague, Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano. In 2012, when Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, Arians became the interim head coach and led the Colts to a 9-3 record. Those nine wins are the most by an interim head coach in NFL history.

All week, we’ll take you to Indianapolis to give you an inside look at the story lines and players as the Colts prepare to host the Cardinals.

It’s Behind Enemy Lines.


Saturday, September 16

•  Seven Things To Watch For: Colts/Cardinals Edition (Colts.com)

The Colts’ offense has plenty it hopes to improve overall on Sunday, but nothing is more important than taking care of the football.

• Inside the day that changed Bruce Arians’ life (ESPN NFL Nation)

For Arians, Oct. 1, 2012, changed the trajectory of his life. A longtime NFL assistant coach, Arians had been passed over for dozens of head-coaching interviews while he groomed some of this era’s greatest quarterbacks, won Super Bowls and prepared himself to take the reins of a team.

• Friendship between Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians one of brotherly love (ESPN NFL Nation)

On Sunday, the two friends will meet for the second time since Arians left the Colts at end of the 2012 season to become coach of the Cardinals, when the two winless teams face off at Lucas Oil Stadium.


Friday, September 15

Jacoby Brissett to start Sunday for Colts (Indianapolis Star)

Jacoby Brissett, acquired just 13 days ago from the New England Patriots, will start the team’s Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals, an NFL source confirmed to IndyStar. Scott Tolzien will head to the bench.

• Colts injury report: Vonte Davis Out, Darius Butler DNP (Horseshoe Heroes)

The Colts’ injury report doesn’t get much better for Week 2 as cornerback Vontae Davis remains out, and the Colts could be without another key defensive back in Darius Butler.

• By benching Scott Tolzien, Colts admit to failure in not pursuing QB sooner (ESPN NFL Nation )

The Indianapolis Colts have no choice but to start Jacoby Brissett against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday if they expect to have a chance to at least tread water until Andrew Luck returns. Scott Tolzien showed against the Los Angeles Rams that he’s not capable of having command of the offense.

• New week, different challenges presented to Colts’ Coordinators (Colts.com)

The Indianapolis Colts, as a team, have moved on from their 46-9 season opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but some of the effects of that game still linger heading into Sunday’s home opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

• Want to go to Sunday’s Colts-Cardinals game? Tickets are as cheap as $10 (Indianapolis Star)

Ticket prices to watch the Indianapolis Colts are dropping. Fast. Several national brokers estimate average ticket prices to watch the Scott Tolzien- or Jacoby Brissett-led Colts are near the bottom of the league.


Thursday, September 14

Colts plan to give Scott Tolzien, Jacoby Brissett practice snaps before naming starter (ESPN NFL Nation)

The Indianapolis Colts plan to give practice snaps to quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett before picking a starter for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Colts will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before having a walk-through on Saturday.

Colts’ T.J. Green adapting to the corner, short term memory key (ESPN NFL Nation)

Green seemed the least likely candidate to start, because it’s been less than a month since he made the switch from safety. Rookies Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston appeared to be the front-runners to replace the injured Vontae Davis(groin) in the starting lineup.

Column: Bruce Arians will always cast a shadow over Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Star)

And that’s the issue facing Pagano. Arians is the better coach, and everyone knows it, and five years ago Colts owner Jim Irsay chose Pagano instead. Make no mistake: Irsay had no choice but to choose Chuck Pagano, might not even have had a choice to make. The Arizona Cardinals offered their job to Arians, he accepted, and that was that. End of story.


Wednesday, September 13

Colts ahead of only the Jets in ESPN’s Week 2 NFL Power Rankings (ESPN.com NFL Nation)

The Indianapolis Colts plummeted 18 spots to No. 31 in this week’s ESPN NFL Power Rankings. They are ahead of only the New York Jets, who are No. 32.

• Chuck Pagano Has No Timeline for Naming Starting QB (Horseshoe Heroes, FanSided)

Chuck Pagano was reportedly “considering” starting Brissett in this week’s game against the Cardinals, but he revealed in a conference call with the media that he hasn’t set a timeline for naming a starter.

Andrew Luck’s agent denies speculation by ESPN host that Luck wants out of Indy (Indianapolis Star)

ESPN radio host Mike Greenberg created a social media firestorm Wednesday morning when he cited a “general sense” from people around the league in saying, “Even with that enormous contract and that enormous talent, we could be seeing, right before our eyes, the end of the Andrew Luck era in Indianapolis.”


Tuesday, September 12

Andrew Luck already ruled out for Week 2  (Horseshoe Heroes, FanSided)

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora has been pretty plugged in to Andrew Luck‘s status during this offseason and heading into the regular season, and he reported on Sunday that Luck could be out “several more weeks“.

Head coach Chuck Pagano has already announced that Luck will be out again this week, and the struggling Colts will have to try to find a way to win without him for the second straight game.

Colts thinking about starting Jacoby Brissett at quarterback (Indianapolis Star)

With The Franchise sidelined at least another week, the winless Indianapolis Colts are considering sliding new arrival Jacoby Brissett into the starting quarterback spot for Sunday’s home opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

After the way Scott Tolzien played Sunday in Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine the Colts not giving Brissett a shot. What does this team have to lose?

Colts leading the league in ugly losses, and fault lies with Chuck Pagano (ESPN.com NFL Nation)

It’s a scene that has become all too familiar during Chuck Pagano’s five-plus years as coach of the Indianapolis Colts. It’s also something that could end up costing Pagano his job.

The coach would talk days in advance about how his team was prepared for its upcoming game, only for the team to go out and get thoroughly whooped.

The Colts have no idea what they are doing (Indianapolis Star)

The Indianapolis Colts stink, and not just the players on the field for that 46-9 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams in their 2017 NFL opener. The whole damn franchise stinks, starting with the owner and oozing downhill, as this sort of excrement tends to do.

The front office stinks. The coaching staff. The scouting department. The players? Bless their hearts, yes. The players stink, too.

Colts quarterback situation is a mess of their own making (Indianapolis Star)

The Colts might not have known then what they know now – that Luck is going to need more time before returning to the lineup – but they had an obligation to prepare for the worst-case scenario when dealing with an injury for which there was no firm timetable.

And, yet, the Colts and General Manager Chris Ballard did … nothing. They whistled past the proverbial graveyard.

 

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