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Colts have to do it by the 'numbers'


The Indianapolis Colts have had two weeks to prepare for this Monday night's game against the Jaguars, but the bye week has been anything but leisure time for the Colts. Following a second-half collapse in a home loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 10, the Colts were confronted by issues, especially one big one on offense.

The Raiders claimed to have picked off the Colts' line-of-scrimmage numbering system, and used that information in the second half of that game. The Raiders claimed to have known when the Colts were running or passing, and where the ball was to go.

With the Raiders having revealed that information following the game, the Colts were clearly forced to re-work their numbering system for their next game. Will everyone be on the same page when Peyton Manning calls out those numbers? Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin said, yes.

"They've had two weeks to practice. Anything they wanted to change in the way of disguise, they've been able to do," Coughlin said.

Nonetheless, it'll be worth observing. Will the change force the Colts to use times out unnecessarily? Might it cause a delay-of-game penalty? Might the Jaguars pick up on something?

Coughlin's major concern today was his team's practice. Skies were clear in the early afternoon, running back Fred Taylor had a full practice under his belt, and Coughlin's disposition was even brighter.

"He did well yesterday," Coughlin said of Taylor, who was a full participant in practice yesterday for the first time since injuring his left knee on Aug. 11. "He got himself knocked down a couple of times, which was good. He needed that and he felt good about himself."

The Jaguars will find themselves on the RCA Dome artificial turf Monday night, in one of only three turf games the Jaguars will play this season. The other two will be in Dallas and in Pittsburgh.

"We'll spend a little extra time on the field during pregame as individuals," Coughlin said of the Jaguars' efforts to re-acquaint themselves with artificial turf. The last time the Jaguars played on plastic grass was in Atlanta on Nov. 7, 1999, in a 30-7 win. It was also the last time the Jaguars played in a dome.

"We want to play our best ball. We still have that bitter taste in our mouth from Baltimore," middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson said.

Nickerson will be facing the best young quarterback in the game. Manning is considered to have a command of the game that is years ahead of his experience.

"There's no question about his intangibles," Coughlin said.

One of the intangibles with which Manning must deal on Monday night is a new numbering system. It could become an issue.

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Colts. Copyright 2000, all rights reserved.

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