Rookie wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill get right to the point when describing what they bring to the Colts offense.
Put the ball in their hands and they will make plays.
“What I bring is big plays and quickness,” Brazill said. “I make plays and that’s what I’m here for. I love to make plays and want to go out there and have the ball in my hands.”
Brazill’s fellow rookie wide receiver echoed virtually the same sentiments about what is in his repertoire.
“My playmaking ability,” Hilton said when talking about his best attribute on the field. “I love making plays. I love changing games.”
Colts fans are starting to get a glimpse of the wide receivers the Colts drafted this April and how they will fit into offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ offense.
Hilton caught 69 touchdown passes while at Florida International, scored seven times on the ground, took four kickoffs back for touchdowns and had a pair of punt returns go for scores.
During OTAs, Hilton was slowed by an injury but now he feels as though he is fully healthy as training camp is getting under way.
“I was excited to be back,” Hilton said. “I took it one step at a time, one day at a time, rehabbed real well and now I’m back at full speed.”
Drafted in the fifth round by the Colts, Brazill is the all-time leading receiver in receptions and receiving yards at Ohio University.
Due to Ohio being on the quarter system academically, Brazill was in a similar situation to rookies Andrew Luck and Griff Whalen with having to miss some OTAs to finish up school.
However, that did not stop Brazill from making the trip out west to work with his future signal caller.
“We were actually out in California. Stanford,” Brazill said. “I went out there and worked with him one day and he threw me a go route and ‘oh man it felt great.’ I was catching one from the best, one of the best.”
With both Brazill and Hilton missing different parts of OTAs, they have leaned on the experience of wide receiver to Reggie Wayne to get acclimated to life in the NFL.
“You know coming into it you’re scared to talk to him because you know that’s Reggie Wayne,” Hilton said. “But if you go up and ask him a question he’ll talk to you, tell you the ins and outs of football, how to do the things he’s done and just grow from him.”
Early on in practice Hilton has been one of a few players fielding punts and will do anything to get his hands on the football come September.
“I’m just ready to get in that dome and see that Colts atmosphere, the fans,” Hilton said. “I love the fans and when they come out here I get to watch them and talk to them and sign autographs and it just makes their day.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Over the course of three days in April, Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish heard 252 names called before he was finally taken with the last pick in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
The wait was well worth it for the Indiana native as Harnish is able to play for his home state team while living his lifelong dream.
Harnish is taking reps as the third string quarterback in training camp and knows that while he might not be running with the first team, he has to be ready at any time.
“Just take those mental reps because you never know when a player goes down or they need a break, whenever it may be, that maybe your opportunity to shine so you never want an opportunity to fall through the waste side,” Harnish said.
If the mental aspect of Harnish’s game is anything like his physical one than he will be just fine. The Northern Illinois product started 45 games for the Huskies and finished third all-time in the Mid-American Conference amassing 11,927 yards of total offense.
He scored 92 career touchdowns for NIU and took his team to a bowl game in each of his four seasons as a starter.
When Harnish isn’t taking snaps with the Colts offense this training camp, he can be seen off to the side of the offense cradling a football, waiting for his turn.
“You always have to be mentally prepared and one thing that I like to do is I just carry a football around with me and take a snap here or there, or throw a pass here or there, just to keep my arm loose,” he said.
Keeping his arm loose is something Harnish has been doing for a long time and off the field he will need to get his vocals warmed up as well for an upcoming performance.
It seems to be that one Colts rookie has been forced to sing at team meetings each night at training camp and Harnish knows coach Pagano will be calling his name very soon.
“I’ve got my song in my mind and I’ll let you know when it happens,” Harnish said.
Tags: Chandler Harnish
Posted in Colts Blog
It wasn’t your typical move for new Colts safety Tom Zbikowski.
After playing his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Zbikowski followed a system he knew, a coach he was familiar with, and now has an opportunity to see his role expand with a new organization.
“Now that I’ve gotten to know the organization from top to bottom the, I’m very happy with the decision, because they care about their Colts here and they care about succeeding,” Zbikowski said.
Zbikowski is one of three former Ravens defenders who came over to the Colts during the offseason allowing for a bit of familiarity between some of the current players learning a new defense.
Although he feels as though he’s a veteran in this defensive system, Zbikowski said the leadership role tends to gravitate to him in a locker room filled with guys looking and wanting to lead.
“I grew up in this system, the philosophy of practice, how we approach things, and to be honest the players in this organization they’ve been successful for a long time and there’s a reason for that,” Zbikowski said.
“They draft high character guys that are willing to work and love football. It’s pretty easy to be a leader. I feel like pretty much everyone on this team has some sort of a leadership role.”
In his four seasons with Baltimore, Zbikowski has started 14 games and now is expected to play a much larger role with the Colts defense.
His relationship with Pagano extends back to Zbikowski’s first day in the league. Zbikowski played under Pagano as a position coach during his first three seasons and had him as his defensive coordinator last year.
“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive back coach, as a defensive coordinator, (and he) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said. “The guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”
“He’s a player’s coach. It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Tags: chuck pagano, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
It’s not easy following a legend. When your predecessor has been a fixture of the offense for 13 seasons and one of the most popular members of the community, coming in as his replacement can be a daunting task.
No, this isn’t about Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. The man who will be snapping the ball to Luck, Samson Satele, is replacing a legend in his own right.
Jeff Saturday started his career with the Colts in 1999, only a year after Manning’s arrival. Once he won the starting job, he would stay there, starting an amazing 188 regular season games for Indianapolis.
When Manning departed for Denver, most thought Saturday would follow him there or retire. Instead, despite an earnest effort from the Colts to resign Saturday to help mentor Luck, he signed with Green Bay to make one more title run with another legend in the making, Aaron Rodgers.
That left the Colts in need of an experienced center to anchor the offensive line and ease Luck’s transition to the NFL. Fortunately for them, Samson Satele was available.
Satele enters his sixth NFL season having made 74 starts for the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the second round in 2007, and the Oakland Raiders.
This year’s camp in Anderson marks the third different training site for Satele in those six seasons. Satele was glowing when asked how his experience thus far with the Colts compared to his other stops.
“It’s the best training camp by far,” Satele said. “Even though it’s a new staff, everybody here has a lot of NFL experience. Coach is really emphasizing family and they treat you that way.”
It’s not just a football transition either. A native of Hawaii, Satele is getting his first taste of living in the Midwest. And even though Indianapolis lacks an ocean (Morse Beach and Geist Reservoir don’t count) Samson loves his new Hoosier neighbors.
“The people are really nice. When I first got here and was looking for a house, people were waving all the time and saying ‘Hi.’ Very different from the West Coast.”
Satele does look forward to getting back to Hawaii in the off-season. When he’s not calling out blitzers and protecting Andrew Luck, Samson enjoys listening to music and spending time with his family. An island boy at heart, he says he enjoys reggae and native Hawaiian Island music the most.
Once camp is finished and he gets to return home, Samson says that’s when the real work begins. The father of three boys, ages three, two and one, Satele says keeping up with them is “like a full practice.”
Satele has drawn rave reviews from his new quarterback. Andrew Luck said that Samson was “a sharp guy, on who takes a lot of pride in what he does.” Head coach Chuck Pagano echoed those sentiments, saying he was very pleased with how Luck and Satele were developing “a great amount of chemistry in a short amount of time.
If an NFL center does his job well, fans hardly know he’s there as the focus is all on the quarterback. Satele will be hard to miss, however, with his trademark mane of black hair flowing from his helmet.
Andrew Luck, for one, is happy about that as he said it will keep him from lining up under one of the guards. “All I’ve got to do is look for the hair.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Jeff Saturday, Samson Satele
Posted in Colts Blog