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Colts beat: No-name players getting attention

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Jerrell Freeman. Donnie Avery. Coby Fleener. Cory Redding. Dwayne Allen. None is a household name.

Few Colts players are these days.

But steadily, the new Colts — the ones not named Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis — are making names for themselves.

Winning, and doing it earlier than expected, can have that effect.

Per the Colts’ relationship with fans, that was probably the most important aspect of last week’s win against Minnesota. It happened in Week 2. It happened at home. And it was unexpected.

What better way for the new Colts to introduce themselves to old fans still coming to grips with a colossal rebuilding project that forced the exit of all but a handful its most familiar faces.

Heading into Week 3, some of the new guys aren’t so new anymore. They are, sort of, familiar. Or at least more so than they were before the season-opener.

Make no mistake, the rank-and-file observer still needs a roster to determine who’s who. But a couple of more surprisingly sharp performances like last week’s will certainly hasten the getting-to-know process.

Already, some of the aforementioned players have grabbed our attention, such as Freeman returning an interception for a touchdown in the season-opener. And Allen hauling in a first-quarter touchdown catch last week to give the Colts an early lead. And Avery tallying nine catches for 111 yards against the Vikings, demonstrating clearly that Luck has dependable options besides Wayne.

Those are the kinds of exploits fans need to see, from players they otherwise wouldn’t know.

Although the Colts are off to a good start in the introduction process, there is still plenty of work to be done. Rosters will still be handy items for the foreseeable future. It’s going to take time to rekindle instant recognition across the position spectrum.

The only sure way to speed it along is to not take backward steps.

No, the Colts don’t have to win in bunches. They are far more likely to do to the opposite. But they do have to build off successes and pretty much do what they did last week: play smart, play hard and avoid mistakes.

It’s one thing to lose. It’s another to embarrass yourself in the process. Fans are more inclined to forgive the former than tolerate the latter.

Two games in, the Colts haven’t humiliated themselves, and they already have a win. True, Week 1 was a lopsided loss in Chicago, but it wasn’t a debacle. It was simply, and predictably, the first awkward step for a young team trying to forge a new identity.

Week 2 was an unexpected step in a winning direction. In the process, the new Colts made a name for themselves.

Or at least, they’ve started to.

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