ANDERSON — With the goal of winning the Super Bowl this season, Indianapolis Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said the team is taking the 2015 season one game at a time.
Pagano was the featured speaker at the annual Colts Camp Breakfast on Thursday at the Paramount’s Hardacre Ballroom, with proceeds from the breakfast going to the Anderson Parks & Recreation Department’s Youth Football League.
Before discussing football, Pagano said the city of Anderson and Anderson University does a great job in preparing for the two-week camp.
“Training camp is difficult to pull off,” he said. “It’s hard to get our whole operation moved here. You make this a seamless transition for us which gives us the opportunity to have a great camp.”
Pagano said the support from the community and fans for the team is nothing different from previous years.
“We put our blinders on and earmuffs on and carry on day to day,” Pagano said in answering a question about expectations for the season.
“The expectations are high, but that doesn’t matter,” he said. “We do our job and try to get better every day. Every year is a new journey.”
Commenting the morning after the team’s evening practice on the Anderson University campus, Pagano said he saw a lot of “good stuff” Wednesday night.
“The defense really showed up last night,” he said. “We did a lot of work in the red zone.”
Star quarterback Andrew Luck came into the night session not having thrown an interception in practice, but Colts defenders picked off three of his passes.
“The defense has a chip on their shoulders,” following the 2014 season, Pagano said. “The defense has something to prove and they’re more than capable.”
Pagano did make one guarantee to the Colts fans in attendance at the breakfast: He said the team would have a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 2007.
Joseph Addai was the last Colt to rush for 1,000 yards — gaining 1,072 during the '07 season — and the running game is expected to be improved with the signing of free agent Frank Gore.
Gore rushed for 11,077 yards while a member of the San Francisco 49ers for 10 years.
“I guarantee we will have a 1,000-yard rusher this year,” Pagano said. “Frank (Gore) has a chip on his shoulder, something to prove. People said he was done.”
Pagano said the 32-year-old running back is acting like a 22-year-old on the practice field.
“The front seven on the offensive and defense is important,” he said of the running game and stopping the run. “You win ball games in the trenches.”
Discussing the 2015 season, which opens with a game against the Bills in Buffalo, Pagano said it’s a tough schedule.
“It’s difficult to win a game in the NFL,” he said. “Our focus is on Buffalo and we’re taking them one at a time.
“The NFL season is a marathon and not a sprint,” Pagano added. “We want to handle any adversity that comes our way.”
Pagano said the players made great choices prior to the opening of the training camp and reported in fantastic shape both physically and mentally.
“We have a bunch of great coaches and players,” he said. “The team comes first and self second. It’s a privilege, not a right, to play and coach in the NFL.”