INDIANAPOLIS – At first glance, Philip Rivers didn’t appear to be wearing his ever present “nunc coepi” cap Wednesday.
But the Latin phrase – which roughly translates to “begin again” – is never far from the Indianapolis Colts quarterback’s grasp. Rivers simply took off his cap with a horsehoe logo emblazoned on the crown and turned it to the side.
The two words by which the 38-year-old lives most of his life were custom stitched near the bottom of the panel.
It’s apt advice this week as the Colts attempt to bounce back from a season opener they’d rather forget.
“You’re always beginning again,” Rivers said. “You can’t get too high or too low. I think you have to make sure you begin again when things are good and not just when you have a bump in the road. Sixteen teams are taking the field today to practice undefeated, and the other 16 are 0-1. That’s this league. We know this league is going to be one-score games and ups and downs throughout the whole year.
“The only thing that happened on Sunday – the only thing that’s different about our season now than was before Sunday is we can’t win them all. Other than that, everything is still out there.”
There was plenty of good and bad in Rivers’ Indianapolis debut.
The quarterback completed 78.3% of his passes for 363 yards while the Colts racked up 27 first downs and did not punt.
He also threw a pair of costly interceptions and was at the controls of an offense that converted on just 4-of-12 third-down chances.
The latter stat helped explain the dissonance between Indianapolis’ 445 total yards and just 20 points. The other part of that equation was Indianapolis’ struggles to finish drives.
Three times the Colts came up empty after marching inside Jacksonville’s 30-yard line – a failed fourth-down run, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs on their final offensive snap.
Capitalizing in scoring position will be a focal point as Indianapolis begins preparation for Sunday’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
“We have to be better in the red zone,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “Some of that – Philip took the responsibility for the one, for not seeing (tight end) Jack (Doyle) on the one that he should have seen him on. But we can also help him out better than we did (in Week 1). We have to have a better run-game plan, better pass-game plan for him down in the red zone.
“We have high standards. Our red-zone efficiency (at Jacksonville), I was very disappointed in. We all have to do better there, starting with myself and the coaching staff.”
This is the way in the NFL. Each week is a new season, and whatever happened in the past – good or bad – has to stay there.
Rivers admitted he’s still “a little aggravated” about the upset loss in Jacksonville, and he hopes some of that energy transfers into this week’s preparation.
But he only has to look at the side of his hat for a reminder to live in the present and start everything over with a clean slate.
“You don’t know when you’ll win the next 15 or when you’ll lose again or what,” Rivers said. “You have to be here on Wednesday, focus on this day and how can we get better regardless of what happened last week? I think that’s the biggest thing.
“That mental toughness and focus – that had we won that game last week, we’re still the same guys sitting in here on Wednesday. How mentally mature and tough are we to prepare and go about each and every week, regardless the previous week’s outcome – good or bad – and sustain that for 17 weeks?”
The Colts elevated wide receiver Darice Fountain from the practice squad Wednesday and officially placed running back Marlon Mack on season-ending injured reserve.
It’s a welcome reward for Fountain, who fought hard to return from a gruesome ankle injury in last year’s training camp and proved over the summer he can still make plays.
Indianapolis signed running back Darius Jackson to the practice squad. Jackson also spent time on the team’s practice squad in 2019.
Tight end Jack Doyle (ankle/knee), safety Malik Hooker (illness) and wide receiver Zach Pascal (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.
Pascal did some running on the side during the portion of practice open to media, and Doyle’s status will bear close examination with fellow tight end Trey Burton on injured reserve for at least two more weeks.
Rookie safety Julian Blackmon (knee) was limited as he continues to rehab from offseason surgery.