Arians: Losing Wayne like losing 'heartbeat'

INDIANAPOLIS – The respect for Bruce Arians can be seen on the faces of the Indianapolis Colts and heard in their voices when they talk about the Arizona Cardinals head coach.

The same can be said about how Arians feels about the Colts. He led the Colts to a 9-3 record last season while filling in for Chuck Pagano, who was out dealing with leukemia.

Arians said the Colts losing veteran teceiver Reggie Wayne for the season with an ACL injury is like taking the "heartbeat out" of the offense.

"Reggie was more than just a great player," Arians said. "All those young guys leaned on Reggie for the words of wisdom every week. ‘How do I do it, Reg? What do I need to do, Reg?' And Reg was as good as I've ever been around at telling them the right things and being very, very steady on game day. Right now you can tell they're a little bit of a roller coaster at times. They play really hot and really cold because they do miss Reggie."

Here are some of the things said between Colts players and Arians.

Arians on the success quarterback Andrew Luck has had despite missing five players on offense:

"Nothing that Andrew does surprises me. I would not expect anything else from him because I know on that sideline he's always telling them, ‘We got this. Just hang in there, we got this.' That part will never change."

Arians on how much receiver T.Y. Hilton has progressed:

"The minute that T.Y. got on campus, he got over next to Reggie Wayne and he followed him around like a puppy. He attached himself to one of the greatest workers that I've ever seen and he learned how to be a pro. He's going to be a dynamic player for a long time. He's just got to stay healthy."

Arians on if the Colts have changed much since he left:

"Yes and no. They're running the ball very well with the power game. It's still Andrew leading the charge and I don't think that's ever going to change. No matter who's calling plays or what offense it is, it's still about No. 12 and getting him stopped somehow."

Linebacker Robert Mathis on what Arians was able to accomplish while filling in for Pagano last season:

"He kept Chuck's plan afloat, just kept things going. Kept the engine oiled and things of that nature. Great leader; kept us going."

Mathis on what Arians means to him:

"He's real. He's a very no nonsense guy. He lets you know how he feels and he expects the same. You got to respect that. Ultimately friendships are formed that way."

Defensive lineman Cory Redding on if they owe Arians anything for the job he did last season:

"I don't think we owe anybody anything. We don't owe anybody anything. Bruce was here at the right time. He stepped in when we needed him the most and he did a phenomenal job. And his reward is to get a head coaching job with the Cardinals. With that being said, this is another week for us to go out on the road and to get another tough win against a team that has a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball, and with a head coach that we know very well. It's going to be a huge challenge for us."