Fisher on Indy: 'Don't rule out the Colts'

Take heart, Indianapolis.

Jeff Fisher, who coached against the Colts twice a year from 2002 through last season and who had Kerry Collins as one of his quarterbacks for the past five seasons, says he still considers the Colts a division title contender.

Although news of Peyton Manning's surgery and recovery timetable of at least two months means Indianapolis will play at least a chunk of the season without Manning, Fisher cautioned people “not to rule out the Colts.”

Fisher clearly has taken a loyalty to Collins into his first year out of the league as a player or coach since 1980.

I chatted with Fisher about Collins, what he expects the Colts' offense to do and how he expects teams to defend Indianapolis.

Here’s Fisher:

“Kerry is going to learn that entire offense in a very short period of time. I think we all have to assume that Kerry is going to run the offense the same way that Peyton runs it: With the check system. There will probably be a little bit more huddling early on. But I am quite confident that Kerry can do it. He’ll handle it with the check system on the line of scrimmage. I would assume that their offensive philosophy is not going to change, that you won’t see anything different other than more huddling …

“You’d have to assume they’ll see more pressure. That’s the one thing you didn’t want to do to Peyton was rush more than four, because he was so smart and so well equipped to beat the blitz. But they know that that’s going to be part of the approach against him, and they’ll give Kerry options. Kerry will have options. I can see Kerry really enjoying this offense …

“I think you’re going to beat that pressure with a screen game. It’ll block up. They're going to block up and get the ball down the field. Kerry’s got plenty of arm left. Kerry’s had ample practice time, he’ll put in whatever extra time he needs to …

“Kerry can still make all the throws. I think you have to be careful on defense, because that offense with that offensive philosophy is equipped to handle pressure. Kerry can get rid of the football, he can get rid of it quick …

“Defensively, you’re going to come into this like you would with any other conventional offense. When Peyton’s under center, it’s not conventional. So initially you take the same approach you would take if you’re playing anybody else.”