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Chuck Pagano defends Tolzien: 'Scotty didn't play bad'

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The Colts are standing by their man.

Despite scoring zero first quarter points in the preseason opener against the Lions and zero offensive points in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, Indianapolis' coaching staff isn't worried about the Scott Tolzien era bleeding into the regular season. Given Andrew Luck's lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery, however, it seems increasingly likely Tolzien will be under center for at least one game that counts in 2017.

"Scotty didn't play bad," coach Chuck Pagano said, via ESPN.com. "Scotty didn't play bad. It takes 11 guys hitting on all cylinders offensively, defensively and special teams. So Scotty did not play bad."

Tolzien was 10-of-14 passing for 70 yards against the Cowboys.

At this point, there's probably nothing Pagano can do but stick by Tolzien. And maybe in some respects he's right. The Colts are banged up across the offensive line. They're installing brand new personnel on defense -- a process that is making this year's team almost completely unrecognizable from the past. The Giants have been similarly punchless on offense this preseason and have Eli Manning at quarterback. Preseason games often are a poor indicator of future progress.

If the offense's ho-hum stretch does make its way into the regular season, the finger might be pointed elsewhere anyway. Colts owner Jim Irsay said earlier this preseason that the team looked at other backup options but cost was an issue. There are still signal-callers on the open market, like Colin Kaepernick, who could add a significant level of competition to the quarterback meeting room. In a few weeks on cut down day, a pack of quarterbacks also will hit the market, though far too late to learn the offense and contribute during Luck's absence.

So it goes for Pagano, who must do what coaches do best: elevate the talent regardless of circumstance.

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