INDIANAPOLIS — With the return of Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano to the sidelines this past week, interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians kind of got lost in the shuffle.
Arians is a prime candidate for NFL Coach of the Year for the job that he did in filling in for Pagano, who was forced to take an extended leave of absence as he battle a form of leukemia.
He led the Colts to a 10-5 overall record (9-3 under Arians) and the No. 5 seed in the upcoming AFC playoffs.
In typical fashion, however, the veteran assistant coach is more than ready to hand the reins of the team back to his boss.
His biggest concern now, as offensive coordinator, will be trying to figure out a way to play better offensively against a very good Houston Texans defense on Sunday. Indianapolis dropped a 29-17 decision to the Texans two weeks ago at Reliant Stadium.
“They look just as good as they did the first time. We’ve got to block [No.] 94 [defensive end Antonio Smith] and [No.] 99 [defensive end J.J. Watt]," Arians said Thursday.
"They’re the outstanding players. Their front is as good as anybody we’ve played and their secondary is good. It’s an excellent defense."
Indianapolis let a couple of opportunities to score more points, such as a fumble at the goal line by running back Mewelde Moore.
"Situationally, on third down and in the red zone, we failed a couple times in the red zone against them and fumbled the ball and got a touchdown called back that would have been huge points in that game," the veteran assistant said.
"We had it to a six-point game in the fourth quarter and couldn’t pull this one out. Hopefully we’ll have that there and win it this time.”