Following Wednesday afternoon’s ninth OTA practice of the offseason, Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers made it clear that his unit carries a little something on their shoulder this summer.
Powers is entering his fourth season in the NFL and despite being just 24 years old, he has accepted a leadership role for a secondary that has heard its criticism from the outside.
In 2011, five defensive backs made their NFL debuts for the Colts, but that youth will be no excuse with a full offseason under their belts heading into the 2012 campaign.
“I kind of get (angry) every time I see an article or something talking about ‘Colts secondary is this, the Colts secondary is that’ when they’re not in the building every day,” Powers said. “They don’t see how these guys work their craft.”
“I think we have a lot of talent. I know a lot of people are counting us out just based on pervious stuff.”
Opposite Powers last year, fellow cornerbacks Terrence Johnson, Chris Rucker and Kevin Thomas all took their first NFL snaps.
Those three were extremely active in the secondary on Wednesday as they are also getting their first taste of a complete NFL offseason.
“Those guys were sort of thrown into the fire last year and had to play early and had to come in without an offseason,” Powers said. “I think they’re the main ones that’s benefiting from this the most, because this is the first time they’re having a true offseason.”
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he is extremely pleased with the secondary, as they are asked to a little more in terms of fundamentals and technique in the new system.
Pagano said without being able to go full contact until training camp it will be difficult for someone to separate themselves at the cornerback position for the next few weeks.
One of the men vying for the spot opposite Powers come September is 2011 sixth round draft pick Chris Rucker.
The Michigan State product saw extensive action in the final five games of the season last year and is hoping to carry that momentum into 2012.
Rucker said when the young players have a question they don’t hesitate to look towards Powers for an answer.
The leadership of Powers has shown, as Rucker echoed the same sentiments about playing with some extra motivation this year.
“In the secondary we definitely feel like we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder and we are looking to prove ourselves, and prove everybody wrong,” Rucker said.
Tags: chris rucker, cornerbacks, jerraud powers
Posted in Colts Blog
When the Colts drafted running back Vick Ballard in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, they knew were getting a guy who was battled tested against college football’s best.
This past season Ballard, a Mississippi State product, rushed for 1,189 yards against a schedule that included four of the top five defenses in the nation.
Those numbers speak for themselves but Ballard was quick to point out that the transition to the next level will take a ton of work.
“It’s all just a big transition from being a student-athlete, to a pro, 24-7 football,” Ballard said. “You just have to be a student of the game, a lot more work to learn the playbook.”
Ballard has been entrenched in the Colts playbook since late April and he finds himself right in the middle of a crowded backfield.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said veteran running back Donald Brown has taken the first team reps during OTA’s but he expects to use multiple backs during the season.
“You just don’t want to wear somebody out,” Pagano said. “You’ve got a bell cow, so to speak, and a lot of teams have a third down guy. So if we can keep guys fresh, and guys are able to go out and execute the offense, then we will use them, for sure.”
During the second part of the season last year, Brown emerged in the backfield including a 161-yard effort in the Colts Week 15 victory over Tennessee.
Before signing running back Deji Karim on May 1, Brown’s three years of NFL experience was more than the other three running backs combined on the roster (Delone Carter and Darren Evans each have one).
The leadership from Brown might not come in the most outspoken way but his presence has rubbed off on Ballard.
“You can learn a lot from Donald because he’s a student of the game,” Ballard said. “I admire just his passion for everything he does.”
Now the passion to play at the next level rest in the hands of Ballard. He calls himself a ‘physical’ runner that is learning to make the jump from college football’s toughest conference to the NFL.
“I’m catching on pretty good now, but when I first got started it was pretty tough,” Ballard said. “It’s all new, a new system is going to be a challenge, but I’m ready.”
Tags: chuck pagano, donald brown, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
The sprit was alive and well Wednesday afternoon as the Colts near the end of OTA’s for the 2012 offseason.
Voluntary workouts in the offseason might seem like a taxing grind for some NFL veterans but not for free agent signee Cory Redding.
Redding comes to the Colts after two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and even though he knows the importance of learning a new system, he understands that after nine NFL seasons the practices in May and June should be enjoyable.
“You’re here so you’ve got to make it fun,” Redding said. “We are in this building so we might as well work and make fun out of it.”
The jovial Redding came onto the practice field singing and smiling Wednesday morning and his spirit rubbed off on his teammates throughout the two-hour practice.
After rookie tight end Dwayne Allen hauled in a juggling touchdown catch, him and offensive guard Mike McGlynn took part in a little chest bump to celebrate the score.
That energy carried over to the defensive side of the ball as well with teammates playfully jawing back in forth near the end of practice as the team took part in 11-on-11 drills.
“We try to make it fun,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “It’s hard. It’s a grind they’ve been here for quite some time. I love the spirit and camaraderie.”
With a roster filled with new faces, and a new system for many, that togetherness is something Redding hopes to bring throughout the rest of the off-season.
“We are continuing to try and build the chemistry of this team and just enjoy our time on the field,” Redding said.
Tags: chuck pagano, cory redding
Posted in Colts Blog
By Kevin Bowen, Colts.com
The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their ninth of 10 OTA’s Wednesday afternoon under another blue, sunny sky at the Indiana Farm Bureau Practice Facility.
As the OTA’s are coming to a close, the Colts will break for the summer following a week of mini-camp starting next Tuesday.
The Colts will then gather on July 28th as players will report to training camp in Anderson, Indiana before embarking on the 2012 season.
Coach Chuck Pagano called Wednesday’s practice ‘productive’ and knows that despite not being in full pads yet these OTA’s are very beneficial for the team’s development.
“They are digesting everything that we’re giving them, we are making progress and they are working the process,” Pagano said. “(I am) extremely pleased with where we are at.”
Wednesday’s two-hour practice began with some special teams work before the club broke up into positional groups.
A majority of the final hour of practice was spent working on offense versus defense and saw some spirited plays on both sides of the ball.
For the offense, wide receiver Austin Collie made a pair of difficult touchdown receptions in the corner of the endzone.
Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen had the highlight of the afternoon with a juggling touchdown catch that included a celebratory chest bump from offensive guard Mike McGlynn.
Defensively, linebacker Pat Angerer showed that he can be more than just one of the top tacklers in the NFL as he intercepted a pass intended for newly signed running back Deji Karim.
OTA’s will come to an end on Thursday for the Colts and after next week’s mini-camp players will look towards the end of July when the intensity is taken up a notch.
“Training camp, I think is going to be a big thing for us once we put the pads on because a lot of times once you start hitting, once you start really playing football that’s the best way to learn the system yourself,” safety Tom Zbikowski said.
Zbikowski is used to the new defensive system having been a part of the Baltimore Ravens defense for the past four years.
His knowledge has spread to another member of the secondary as veteran corner Jerraud Powers is trying to help his fellow corners learn a new system.
Even though the Colts are just in shorts and helmets right now, Powers knows that the value of OTA’s extends past the playing field and into the meeting rooms.
“Guys got a great idea of what this system is and what they’re supposed to do in it and how it’s supposed to function,” Powers said. “Once we get this little break that’s coming up in a week or two, when we get back to (training) camp it’s not a foreign language to anybody and we can just jump back into it.”
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY
Cornerback Jerraud Powers on hopefully having rookie quarterback Andrew Luck at mini-camp next week:
“I can’t wait just to have him in, see what he’s about and see how he’s going to conduct this team. He’s the leader. He’s our quarterback, so he’s the one everybody is going to look up to and I’m pretty sure he’s going to do a good job doing it.”
COACH QUOTE OF THE DAY
Head coach Chuck Pagano on the team’s running back position:
“Right now, Donald (Brown) has been taking the lion’s share of the first-team reps. We are mixing in the other guys, with Darren (Evans) getting some reps, of course Delone (Carter) has been out, and getting the young guy, (Vick) Ballard, in there. So they have a rep count, a pitch count so to speak, and we are trying to balance (the reps) out.”
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS WAIVE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JAKE KIRKPATRICK
The Indianapolis Colts waived offensive lineman Jake Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Colts on July 29, 2011. He was released following training camp. Indianapolis then re-signed Kirkpatrick as a free agent on March 8, 2012 prior to his release today.
Below is an updated 2012 offseason media schedule for the Indianapolis Colts.
Exact times of practices and media availabilities will be announced the week prior to all activities.
June 12 – 14: Veteran mini-camp
* Player availability each day
* Head Coach Chuck Pagano available on Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13
* Colts coordinators available on Thursday, June 14
Tags: austin collie, chuck pagano, dwayne allen, jerraud powers, mike mcglynn, mini-camp, ota, practice, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog