Then there's second-year tight end Coby Fleener. A rough preseason that included a couple of dropped passes, a fumble and an injury raised concerns. But the 2012 second-round pick has responded in Allen's absence.
Fleener had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville and has 12 catches for 166 yards and two scores on the season.
"Anytime a guy like Dwayne goes down, who makes such a big impact for the offense, other guys are going to have to fill in here and there," Fleener said. "So, yeah, I would say my role has expanded a little bit."
The Colts' challenges are far from over.
Pagano announced Monday rookie outside linebacker Bjoern Werner will miss four-to-six weeks with a torn plantar fascia. That means Cam Johnson — a second-year player with six regular-season games under his belt who was acquired in a trade with the 49ers in August — will become the next man up.
Johnson will be asked to spell outside linebackers Robert Mathis and Erik Walden during Sunday's game against 4-0 Seattle. But it won't change anything about the way the Colts prepare.
"Certainly, it's never going to be perfect," Pagano said of the team's play thus far. "We're chasing perfection. I like where we're at. I like where this team is mentally, physically. We've lost some guys, but guys prepare around here as starters. So we've had guys that have been able to step in and fill the shoes of the guys that we lost and perform at the level that we need them to perform at. So I feel good where we're at."