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T.Y. Hilton on Luck: “We can’t be stopped”

Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants Getty Images

If there’s a candidate for regression-to-the-mean in the NFL, the Colts are a reasonable pick, considering their nine-win jump last season.

But for wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, there’s a confidence that they not only won’t sink, but could get better thanks to quarterback Andrew Luck.

“Yeah, we’re all comfortable,” Hilton said, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “This is year two, so the game is really slowing down for everybody that was a rookie last year. That actually helps us out.

“But when Luck is throwing the ball the way he’s throwing it, we can’t be stopped.”

There are reasons to think the Colts could improve. They spent money and added bodies to fix an offensive line that didn’t give Luck much of a chance last year. And by bringing in running back Ahmad Bradshaw, they gave him a solid rushing complement as well as a good pass protector.

“The sky’s the limit. This offense, we’ve got so many playmakers,” Bradshaw said. “And with him throwing the ball and coordinating the offense, there’s no telling where we can go with this.”

Of course, there are issues to consider, including the uncertain condition of tight end Coby Fleener. But Luck’s maturity, and his connection with coordinator Pep Hamilton (who called his plays in college) will provide a certain floor for the Colts in coming years.

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Monday morning one-liners

Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants Getty Images

Said Bills QB Jeff Tuel, “If you go into anything thinking you have no shot, you’re dooming yourself from the beginning. I just take it one rep at a time, and make the best plays I can: the best reads, the best throws, all that. Just continue to get better and see where it takes me.”

The acquisition of CB Brent Grimes has worked out for the Dolphins thus far.

Checking in on the biggest position battles with the Patriots.

Jets LB Calvin Pace expects some spirited criticism from the team’s defensive coaches after Saturday’s performance.

Josh Bynes is holding onto a starting linebacker spot with the Ravens.

Running down the Bengals roster as we draw closer to cutdown day.

Browns WR David Nelson returned to practice after a bone bruise in his knee.

The Steelers are working through their options to fill out special teams units.

Young Texans linebackers are getting extra opportunities because of Whitney Mercilus‘ hamstring injury.

Colts LB Bjoern Werner came up just short of a sack in his preseason debut.

Too many penalties and too little pass rush are concerns for the Jaguars defense.

David Climer of the Tennessean is wondering if these are the same old Titans.

Broncos QB Brock Osweiler appears to have issues with the speed of defenses.

Said Chiefs RB Knile Davis of returning kickoffs, “It’s a new aspect to my game. I have a lot of fun doing it. It’s something extra that I can make a play with.”

The Raiders hope a move to cornerback leads to more production from Taiwan Jones.

USA Today has a list of five useless facts about the Chargers, including two offensive linemen with biblically inspired names.

Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar got praise from owner Jerry Jones despite fumbling at the end of a long run against the Cardinals.

A blunder by Giants CB Aaron Ross turned into a touchdown for the Colts on Sunday night.

So far, giving wide receivers route options has worked out for the Eagles.

Redskins RB Chris Thompson has gotten a second chance after it looked like his career was over.

The Bears’ schedule makes getting off to a slow start a dangerous proposition.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz thinks DE Ziggy Ansah is going to keep on improving throughout the season.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks Packers RB Johnathan Franklin has failed to show enough skill to earn a role on offense.

Vikings WR Jarius Wright is going through the league’s concussion protocol.

LB Stephen Nicholas will miss the Falcons’ next preseason game with a leg injury.

DE Mario Addison is trying to earn time at a crowded position for the Panthers.

Breaking down a strong defensive performance by the Saints.

Mike James, Brian Leonard and Peyton Hillis have been solid additions to the Buccaneers backfield.

A look at the meaningful plays from Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall’s preseason debut.

The Rams didn’t find much to like in their performance in their preseason loss to the Packers.

QB B.J. Daniels is going to see more reps with the 49ers.

Penalties appear to remain an issue for the Seahawks.

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Tom Brady said he knew quickly knee was fine

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New England Patriots Getty Images

Tom Brady addressed last week’s knee scare for the first time, and being the quarterback of the Patriots, said he felt the issue was overblown by the media.

While regular season practices are away from prying eyes (and cell phone video and Twitter accounts), the Patriots quarterback’s going down in a heap was in the middle of a heavily attended joint workout with the Buccaneers.

There are a lot of people at practice that were witnessing,” Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan this morning (via the Boston Herald). “If that was a Wednesday or Thursday practice during the regular season, you’d probably never hear anything about it. But it’s just obviously the nature of Twitter and all that social media and stuff.

“It happens on the practice field. It happens on the game field. You see so many injuries that have happened over the course of this preseason, so football is not for the faint of heart. You get bumps and bruises, and hopefully nothing is too serious, and you can just bounce back from it and move on.”

Brady said he knew soon after practice that he’d be fine, and said his leaving the practice field was a precaution.

“I wouldn’t say frightened,” Brady said. “You’re just wondering what happened because I didn’t obviously see anything. You just feel something and then you react. I went back in really to finish the period out that we had going, and then just talked to coach [Bill] Belichick and our trainer and figured just try to be safe. I felt bad it caused more of a media story than it actually was worthy of because I hate to really draw attention in that sort. But we were really just trying to be smart.”

Because he missed an entire season with an injury to the same knee, it’s going to be an issue, and only hiding it would keep it from being a big deal.

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Barkevious Mingo “feeling really good” after bruised lung

mingo browns ap AP

Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo was spitting up blood on the sideline during Cleveland’s preseason game against Detroit, and the team medical staff knew something was seriously wrong.

But after two nights in the hospital with a bruised lung, Mingo says he’s fine.

I’m feeling really good,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I’d rather be out there, but I’ve got to listen to the doctors and take it slow and easy. I was like this when I was in the hospital that night and I told them I was fine. But they’ve got the got the scans and they made the right call.”

One doctor told the Plain Dealer that the kind of injury Mingo suffered could have led to fatal blood loss if Mingo had tried to keep playing, so this injury was serious business. But while Mingo will miss the rest of the preseason, he sounds optimistic that he’ll be able to play when the season starts.

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Fleener will have MRI on Monday

Pagano Getty Images

Colts tight end Coby Fleener injured his knee on Sunday night.  The team has called it a “mild” sprain, but the outcome won’t be known until the letters M, R, and I make their official appearance.

That’ll happen today, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

“Didn’t go back, doesn’t look to be too serious, but we’ll get an MRI tomorrow,” Pagano told reporters after the Sunday night win over the Giants.

While manipulation of the knee by trainers and/or doctors can give the team an idea as to whether it appears the ACL remains in one piece, there’s no way to know the full extent of any damage without conducting the MRI.

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