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Practice focus can translate to Colts' first quarter

INDIANAPOLIS -- One quick thought out of media availability at Colts HQ before I start to work on something bigger for a little later …

The Colts starting fast is a key to them crafting the sort of game they want Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. Building a lead and forcing Baltimore to ask Joe Flacco to throw it more can be an effective piece of the run defense.

The rest/rust debate still has plenty of legs, but the need for a quick start gives it new juice though Peyton Manning and Jim Caldwell downplayed it, of course.

They each said practice precision and a focusing on fundamentals are big keys for getting on track right from the start. Caldwell talked about keeping the edge, focus and concentration.

“It’s an intensity factor,” he said. “We have some guys who are capable of doing it. You almost have to place yourself in the ball game -- voice inflection, mannerisms that you use, speed to the ball. All those, even when you don’t have pads on, prior to the snap can be exactly like you would handle them in the course of the game. Trying to put yourself in the moment I think is extremely important.”

The Colts practice a period almost every day that features first-team offense against first-team defense, Caldwell said.

But in last week’s three practices before the bye, he pitted the ones against the ones throughout.

“Last week all of the periods were based upon almost an early training camp atmosphere in that regard,” he said.