The Colts don’t have much to play for in Weeks 16 and 17. They’ve already clinched the AFC South, but they’re highly unlikely to catch the Patriots or Broncos to earn a first-round bye.
So will they rest their starters in the next two games? Nope.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano says he doesn’t believe in resting starters at the end of the season. When reporters asked him today if Andrew Luck should get some time off for the last two games, Pagano seemed surprised by the suggestion.
“To sit him? Why?” Pagano said. “You could walk out of this building and get run over tonight. You know what I mean. You’ve got to live. You go tell him. That’s the way he is. We’ve got to make decisions, do the right thing and protect guys from themselves in the right situation. But we’re going to try to win a football game and we’re going to play.”
Pagano noted that the Colts had nothing to play for in Week 17 two years ago but still played their players in the finale.
“No, we could have done that in 2012. We’re going to play them all,” Pagano said. “Try to win them all because you never know what’s going to happen. All we can control is what we can control, and we can control how we go play on Sunday. I don’t what’s going to happen with the rest of the division and the conference. We’re going to do everything we can to give ourselves the best possible chance in the playoffs.”
The Colts, more than any other franchise, have rested starters late in seasons in the past — even eschewing a chance at a perfect season in 2009 by sitting Peyton Manning in the final two games after starting 14-0. But that was before Pagano arrived, and Pagano says that’s not how he does things.
“We have a philosophy and we’re going to stick with that philosophy. I’m not worried about anybody else’s philosophy. There’s nothing wrong with anybody’s thinking. Everybody’s different. There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat,” Pagano said.
Colts fans generally panned the team’s decision to rest Manning after locking up a playoff position, so they should be pleased with Pagano’s approach. Just as long as Luck doesn’t get hurt.