With the Cincinnati Bengals getting set play host to Indianapolis, Colts coach Chuck Pagano spoke to reporters in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. Pagano sounded very impressed with Joe Mixon.
The Colts coach compared the Bengals rookie to Steelers star Le’Veon Bell in running style.
"He's got speed, he's got power and vision,” Pagano said. “He can jump cut. He's got patience like Le'Veon Bell.”
“You can see him step up into the line, have a little bit of patience, then all of a sudden slide to the left, slide to the right and find an opening and hit another gear and burst through there. Breaks tackles. Great stiff arm.”
2. He called Andy Dalton a great game manager.
“The quarterback is managing things,” Pagano said, noting he is impressed with how the Bengals use run-pass option (RPO) plays.
“He gets the ball out and knows where to go with it. He's a great game manager."
3. A.J. Green isn’t the only weapon he worries about on the Bengals offense.
Aside from Mixon, Pagano also had good things to say about Giovani Bernard, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Kroft.
"We've got great respect for these runners,” he said, referring to Mixon, Bernard and Jeremy Hill. “They've got a three-headed monster in our opinion that we've got to tend to and prepare for accordingly. All those guys can play. What a talent Mixon is hoppin in there.
"Giovani is a matchup issue. And (Mixon) is on third downs. Not only are they good runners and productive on the ground carrying the football but the screen game has been nothing but phenomenal for them.”
As for Green, the Bengals Pro Bowl receiver: “He's as good as they get in the league. If you don't take care of him, he can totally wreck a game.”
4. Pagano is happy with what he’s seen from Margus Hunt.
Hunt never made much of an impact as a Bengal, but he is finding a role with the Colts this season.
"The guy is big, he's got great length and strength,” Pagano said. “He moves well. He was playing end and inside for them in the sub package but we just looked at him and thought he would be an ideal 5 technique (defensive end) in our under 3-4 package.”
Hunt has seven tackles and a sack this season.
“He's doing a great job,” Pagano said. “He's really smart and he's tough like I said. He's got great length. He plays with great pad level for a big guy. He does some things for us on special teams you don't see out of (defensive lineman)."
5. Hunt is one of several newcomers impacting the Colts up front.
Pagano shouted out former Ohio State standouts Jonathan Hankins and John Simon along with Al Woods and former Browns Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo when asked about free agent signings he is happy with so far this season.
"Those guys have all played major roles,” Pagano said. “We've played really good spurts of defense. We've just had some lapses here that are really hurting us, but those guys have done a great job."
Hankins (a former Giant) has 19 tackles and a sack, while Simon (a former Texan) is fourth on the team with 39 stops, including three sacks.