The Baltimore Ravens have had a tremendous impact on the success of the 2012 Indianapolis Colts. Not only did the Colts get former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as head coach, but Cory Redding, Tom Zbikowski and Brandon McKinney followed their coach to Indianapolis. While McKinney has spent the season on injured reserve, Redding and Zbikowski have each played an integral role in the Colts' success in 2012.
As the Colts prepare for their playoff game tomorrow against the Baltimore Ravens, none of these former Ravens is at all interested in making this trip a reunion with old acquaintances. While maintaining tremendous respect for their former teammates, as Chuck Pagano tersely stated, "This is a business trip."
Zbikowski put it best when questioned about returning to the city where he began his career and enjoyed four years of success:
" I don’t plan on doing anything out of the ordinary other than dressing in the other locker room. It’s nothing big to me. It’ll be fun to see those guys that you played with for a while, a place where I played four years at. It’s a playoff game and coming in, that’s the most important thing.”
If anything, the Colts familiarity with the Ravens and their personnel could be a big advantage as they prepare to play their first playoff game together. With so many young players on the roster without post season experience, having players like Redding and Zbikowski, who have not only played deep into the playoffs, but know this opponent like the back of their hand, gives the Colts an edge they wouldn't have over any other opponent.
Cory Redding disclosed that he had been sharing quite a bit of "intelligence" regarding his former teammates this week:
"Just about different personnel, different guys and what they bring to the table, and to know what to expect when you play against certain guys like Haloti (Ngata), when you play against Paul Kruger, when you play against Ray Lewis, when you line up against (Terrell Suggs), Joe (Flacco). Just looking at all these guys, just preparing them from what I know personally who these guys are and what they’re going to bring."
In the end, however, as Pagano said, both team will have to "strap it on, buckle it up, and play a football game." After it's over, win or lose, I'm sure there will be some time for hugs and reminiscing. For now though, these Ravens-turned-Colts are focused on one thing: winning a playoff game.
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