by Kevin Bowen
It was match that seemed too could to be true.
The Colts were looking for a receiver that could stretch the field and Donnie Avery wanted a fresh start to showcase his speed that made him the first receiver chosen in the 2008 NFL Draft.
That combination turned into a free agent signing for Avery and the Colts. Avery said the dedication by the Colts staff outweighed his other four suitors in ultimately deciding on Indianapolis.
“Chuck (Pagano), the head coach, he called me about four or five times and told me how he could get me back to my early years in the NFL, how I can look up to Reggie Wayne and the rest of the guys and how I can fit in the offense,” Avery said.
Avery entered the NFL in 2008 and caught a total of 100 passes in his first two seasons with the St. Louis Rams.
A preseason knee injury would sideline him for the entire 2010 season and Avery then played in eight games for the Tennessee Titans last season.
“This is a great start overcoming from the injury in 2010,” Avery said. “I feel like it is a great start with the organization, with the coaches, just feeling good about coaches that want me, that want me again.”
In getting back that speed, Avery worked with Olympic Track Coach Allan Powell during last season’s lockout and has seen the benefits.
“He got me back up to speed. Had me do a lot of long distance running,” Avery said. “When I saw long distance, I mean 100s and 200s at full speed to train myself, to train those fast-twitch nerves to get back working.”
One of the many reasons that sold Avery on playing in Indianapolis was a chance to learn from one of the franchise all-time leading receivers Reggie Wayne.
Avery, although not the most vocal person, said he won’t bother Wayne too much for advice but you can be assured he will be paying close to the Pro Bowl receiver’s every move.
“I just like to sit back and observe and pick up everything they do; how they carry themselves on the football field and how they recover from a drop or how they block or come out of their breaks and stuff. It is going to be awesome just getting a first-hand look at that.”
With new faces across the board on the Colts offense, Avery said he feels as though everyone will be on the same page as he looks to get back to the player he was in St. Louis.
“I feel like I am on level ground because of the new offensive coordinator coming in, you know, so everybody is learning the playbook at once,” Avery said. “Going into OTAs you get to build chemistry with the quarterbacks, you know that foot memory with running your routes.”
Tags: Colts, donnie avery, football, indianapolis colts, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog
by Kevin Bowen
It has been a whirlwind past 10 days for quarterback Drew Stanton.
After singing with the New York Jets on March 16 and believing his new home would be in the AFC East, Stanton has now found a new home in Indianapolis when the Colts traded for the former Michigan State quarterback on Friday.
Stanton spent his first five seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions but after an interesting past few weeks he is starting to settle into being in Indianapolis.
“The circumstances change every single day with the dynamics involved in this league,” Stanton said. “It was a domino effect or almost circular in the fact that everybody flipping places and moving over one.”
The dominos fell to Indianapolis for Stanton and he heads into a team with many new faces moving into the 2012 season.
“It’s a unique situation I think, especially with a new coach and (general manager),” Stanton said. “They thought enough (of me) to trade for me and I’m really excited about the opportunity that exists there.”
At 6-foot-3-inches and 230 pounds, Stanton has the physical tools that helped him become a second round draft pick by the Lions back in 2007.
He has started four games in his NFL career including winning his final two starts in 2010.
“Drew is a big, athletic and strong armed quarterback that has the intangible package we are looking for at the position,” said General Manager Ryan Grigson. “He is a young, but seasoned quarterback that has won games in this league and we look forward to seeing him contribute to this team and our collective vision for the future.”
One particular aspect of the Colts organization that Stanton is looking to forward to working with is his new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Since 2007, Arians has been the offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers but now he has made the switch to the Colts and that is something that intrigues Stanton.
“I’m excited to see what (Arians) offense is all about,” Stanton said. “When you look at the numbers Ben’s (Roethlisberger) been able to put up and the success he’s had. And the receivers (Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown) last year.”
For right now Stanton joins Trevor Vittatoe as the only Colts quarterbacks on the roster and Stanton knows that no matter what happens between now and the start of the season he has to practice as the starter.
“I think that’s just the mentality you have to take in this league,” Stanton said. “We put so much time and effort into our profession behind the scenes. If you’re not preparing that way, then you’re doing yourself and your team an injustice.”
Tags: bruce arians, Colts, drew stanton, football, indianapolis colts, ryan grigson, trevor vittatoe
Posted in Colts Blog
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said on Monday that seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney will be back in the horseshoe.
“Everything with Dwight is great. He’s going to be here this year,” Grigson said. “We expect him to be a major contributor and a guy who strikes fear in our opponents and those offensive linemen every week.”
This past season Freeney cracked the 100-career sack plateau in earning his fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance.
It remains to be seen how No. 93 will fit into the new Colts defensive scheme but there is no doubt where he will be playing football come September.
“When we start getting to practice and OTAs, Coach Pagano will address our scheme and what we’re going to do specifically,” Grigson said. “We’re still trying to build this team and get our coaches in line and on the same page with this scheme.”
The Colts added former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Cory Redding on March 14th giving them some more pieces among the defensive line.
With Redding in the mix, the Colts have another end to go with a pair of returning Pro Bowlers that have wreaked havoc for opposing Indianapolis quarterbacks during the past nine seasons.
“We’re going to take it day-by-day and everything right now looks great for our defense with re-signing Robert (Mathis) and having Dwight in the fold,” Grigson said. “It sure makes me sleep better at night knowing those two guys are going to be bringing it on third down.”
Tags: Colts, cory redding, Dwight Freeney, football, indianapolis colts, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
Moving out to the skill positions, the Colts signed speedy wide receiver Donnie Avery on Friday to add to their offensive influx.
The 5-foot-11-inch Avery spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams before playing for the Tennessee Titans last year.
He was the first wide receiver taken in the 2008 NFL Draft and caught 100 passes in his first two seasons with the Rams.
“He ran a 4.27 (40-yard dash) coming out,” said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson. “He’ll be getting a physical here, but he’s always been a fast guy. He’s had considerable production early on in his career and of course, he as well as we (do), hope he gets back to that level. It’s a nice get for us based on what he brings to the table and what he can help in this (offense) with much needed wrinkle of speed. And he’s a welcomed addition.”
That speed will compliment a Colts receiving corps that returns veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, who caught 54 passes last season.
Avery suffered a season ending injury in the preseason in 2010 but bounced back to play eight games last year with the Titans.
“I was able to look at the limited film and touches he had in 2011 as best I could,” Grigson said.” I tried to gauge those flashes of his old self and I felt comfortable moving forward based on where we’re at with our receiving corps situation. He’s a very viable candidate to come in and contribute immediately and I’m excited about him being in the fold.”
This off-season marks the first time that Grigson has had the reigns as a general manager in the NFL.
He and his staff have been extremely busy in acquiring a total of eight players via free agency or through trade in the last two weeks.
“I addressed some areas that I thought were very key for us moving forward. And the type of player that fits Coach (Pagano) and my vision moving forward on a lot of different levels,” Grigson said. “I think we acquired those types of guys with the means we had. So, I’m very pleased with where we are at right now moving forward. We have a lot of work left to do, but I’m excited about the players we’ve acquired thus far.”
Tags: austin collie, Colts, donnie avery, football, indianapolis colts, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog