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Pagano peeved by another Colts Thursday night road game

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INDIANAPOLIS — Quick change.

Defensive coaches talk about it all the time when the offense turns the ball over. Well, former defensive NFL coordinator Chuck Pagano is talking quick change in a different vein this week.

Pagano’s Indianapolis Colts squad has only two days in order to rest, recover, and refocus their energies. After an emotional overtime home-field win over Jacksonville on Sunday, the Colts now have a quick turnaround road game at Houston on Thursday night.

“It’s hard on these guys. Especially when you play five quarters of football, too. We didn’t plan on that but we had to. And we have to travel. This is four straight (years) where we’ve had to travel on Thursday night. I don’t know why. I guess that’s just how the schedule is,” the Colts coach said this week.

“We’ve done well and we’ve handled it well. Our guys have handled it well. It doesn’t guarantee us anything on this one, but it’s tough.”

Pagano won’t say if quarterback Andrew Luck will be available to play against Houston, but remains hopeful. Luck is nursing a sore right shoulder and did not play in last week’s 16-13 overtime win over Jacksonville.

He did say that Luck took the majority of the team’s snaps during Tuesday’s practice and did throw the ball during the session. Backup Matt Hasselbeck missed the workout due to illness, so Luck and recently signed rookie Alex Tanney got the workout reps.

“Getting better. Trending in the right direction. Always hopeful that he’ll be ready to go but we’ll do the smart thing,” Pagano said about Luck’s injury concerns. “There are no setbacks.”

It’s not known what kind of passes, and how many, Luck threw on Tuesday. But the Colts will take a precautionary look at their franchise quarterback before the start of Wednesday’s practice just to make sure that he responded well to Tuesday’s work.

Indianapolis went through an abbreviated walk-through practice on Monday and then had a more routine workout Tuesday. Still, the emphasis was on rest and getting more mental reps than actual physical ones.

“(Monday) was walk-through-type of practice. It was all mental introducing first and second down. Texans on offense, defense and special teams. (Tuesday was) more of a get moving a little bit more, put the helmets on, no pads,” he explained.

“There’s nothing really physical. It’s mostly mental. You get more of a jog-through type of deal and get your third-down and two-minute stuff ready. Then pack a lot in on Wednesday. That’s your red zone, goal line, short yardage, things like that. Then have extra meetings.”

The Colts will head to Houston after Wednesday’s workout.

“You have to move on (after the Jacksonville game). That was one of things we stressed,” Pagano said. “Everything is about Houston and our prep for Houston. Rest, recovery, re-energize. We’ve got to do those things. But it’s hard on the players. Really hard.”

SERIES HISTORY: 27th regular-season meeting. Colts lead series, 22-4. Indianapolis has won the last five meetings with the Texans, including last year’s series sweep. The Colts have posted victories in seven of the last nine matchups. Indianapolis is 13-0 against the Texans at home and 9-4 at Reliant Stadium. Indianapolis has swept the series nine times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014) and split the series on four occasions (2006, 2019, 2011, 2012). The winning margin in the series with the Texans has been seven or less points on 10 occasions, including both games last season. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has a 5-1 career coaching record against Houston.

Notes: Quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder) saw limited work in Tuesday’s practice. Luck did get a chance to throw the football during the workout. The Colts’ coaching staff won’t make a final call on Luck’s availability for the Houston game until after Wednesday’s workout. … Tight end Dwayne Allen (ankle) fully practiced Monday and Tuesday. Allen should be cleared to play Thursday night at Houston. He has been nursing a gimpy ankle for the past couple of weeks. Allen did not play last week against Jacksonville. … Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (groin) did not practice Tuesday. Freeman’s availability for Thursday night’s game at Houston remains up in the air. He was hurt in the first half of last Sunday’s game with Jacksonville. Freeman did not return to play in the game.


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