Indianapolis Colts Football

ARIANS TALKS QUARTERBACKS AND RUNNING BACKS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 6, 2012 – 7:09 pm

Monday was the day to talk to the coordinators following the Colts afternoon practice.

Here are a few highlights from offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the quarterback and running backs position.

On how long Andrew Luck will play in Sunday’s preseason game:

“Still up in the air, you know. We want to see how long we want to play that first line and the entire group, so we haven’t really sat down and talked about it yet. We’d like to get in 20 plays, maybe 25. Oh yeah, he needs to play against someone else other than himself and see different coverages and different fronts. We’re looking forward to it.”

On the running back competition among the six on the roster:

“Six good backs, that’s part of the reason I’m anxious to see them and we don’t want our ones going the whole time either. We’ve got to get all those guys in and see what they do and what role they can find. Delone (Carter) did a nice job in his short yardage and goal line period the other day. Donald (Brown)’s had a good camp, (Mewelde Moore)’s had a good camp. Vick (Ballard), I really want to see him in action, see what he’s doing against live bullets. All of the guys have looked pretty solid in the backfield.”

On Mewelde Moore being the go-to-guy, in Pittsburgh, when other running backs got hurt:

“Yeah, it’s funny. He had a bunch of roles. Third down was one. But when, I think it was Willie Parker, got hurt the one year he started, he had 130 (yards) against Cincinnati, 120. He was our goal line runner. We usually put him in the end of the game to run out the clock because he always put the ball where it was suppose to be. It was a great trust thing.”

On running back Deji Karim:

“He’s a speed guy. He brings a ton of speed to the position. His best chance is, you know, obviously kick-returner and homerun hitter in the backfield. We’ll see how he plays between the tackles.”

On quarterback Drew Stanton:

“I’ve seen great improvement. His accuracy has improved a ton, that’s gone along with his knowledge of what we’re trying to get done. He’s had an excellent camp. Every now and then he’ll throw one in there thinking his arm is strong enough and he’ll throw a pick, and just learn from that and don’t do it again. But I’ve been real pleased with him. I feel comfortable if we had to play him that we could win a ball game.”

On the challenges of developing quarterbacks:

“Each and every one is so different. You know, you always say you’d like to get a running game going, boom, boom, boom and run the ball. Well that works nice if you can run the ball and get it into third-and-five or less. If you’re going to put him back there, run it twice, and be in third-and-seven and eight all the time he’s going to get killed. He’s not learning how to throw the football on first-and-ten. I think you still have to be balanced. He has to have a great command of what he’s trying to get done. He has to know his protections because that’s when you get killed, on your hots and your blitzes; especially now with all the zone blitz fires and things that we see. He has to be inside out, up-and-down, on the money on his protections and then building a rapport with his receivers sometimes is a little overrated. We run everything on timing so that part has to be there, especially in the redzone when you’ll know a guy’s subtle moves and stuff. But the protection part of it is the biggest thing in getting ready to play.”


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Veterans Cassius Vaughn and Justin King Battle for a Starting Cornerback Spot

Posted by Chuck Chapman on – 6:00 pm

With Kevin Thomas in Philadelphia, the starting cornerback slot opposite Jerraud Powers is now wide open. Two of the chief competitors for that spot are two veterans who are hoping that Indianapolis becomes the place where their careers blossomed.

Cassius Vaughn is a competitor. In 2010, he made the Denver Broncos roster despite being undrafted. He made a splash on special teams as a rookie with a kick return for a touchdown. In 2011 he got some time at cornerback and made the most of it, picking off San Diego’s Philip Rivers and returning the ball 55 yards for a score.

A broken fibula sidelined Vaughn for the end of 2011, and stuck behind veteran corners Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, he became expendable. Now, he hopes to bring his experience from Denver to help a young and rebuilding Colts’ defense.

“Playing behind Champ (Bailey) and Andre Goodman, it was a very limited chance, but I got a lot of experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I just hope to bring some of that here.”

Vaughn loves his new home in Indianapolis as well as the new opportunity for NFL success. He realizes he’s not the most notable player who switched between Denver and Indianapolis this off season, but he thinks he got a great deal nonetheless.

“I love it here, man. It’s nice…I know we’re both (he and Peyton Manning) happy about our situations. I know I’m very happy about mine.”

Justin King wasn’t so much stuck behind veterans in St. Louis as he was stuck with an injury bug. He missed his entire rookie season in 2008 with a foot injury suffered in preseason. Last season, he was part of a decimated St. Louis secondary that spent more time in the training room than on the field. King was starting for the Rams when a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely in December.

King is also excited about his new opportunity. Originally a fourth round pick in 2008 by St. Louis, the former Penn State star is happy to still be in the Midwest.

“I love Indianapolis. It’s a lot like St. Louis, just more compact.”

King offers some unique insight on Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck as well, having been in St. Louis to see the development of their first overall draft pick in 2010, Sam Bradford.

“There’s a lot of similarities. You know, they’re young and going to make some bad reads, but he (Luck) is ahead of the curve, just like Sam was. He ended up being rookie of the year, so…”

For King, this football camp opens with a heavy heart. Like all Penn State alums, he’s quite shaken over the events at his alma mater over the past year. He said he particularly feels bad for new head coach Bill O’Brien and the “good people who are still there.”

King was held out of practice at the end of last week with a minor hip flexor injury, which King viewed as “precautionary.” He’ll be back on the practice field this week. That’s good news for him as he and Cassius Vaughn figure to be locked in battle for a starting spot at cornerback.

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Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.


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CARTER ANXIOUS FOR OPENER

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 4:30 pm

It was only two plays but the results might have proven to be much more significant than that.

As the Colts first team offense and first team defense went mano-a-mano last Saturday for the first goal line work of training camp, the trash talk was evident.

Coming mostly from the defensive side of the ball, the players were anxious to settle the debate of one play, one yard, in full pads.

Those voices on the defense talking before the play were quickly silenced thanks to the ability of running back Delone Carter’s determination to fight for that one yard.

Carter scored on consecutive plays, both times bouncing off potential tacklers to give the offense their first two victories in short yardage situations.

The short-yardage role was something Carter saw a lot of in his rookie season in 2011 and with a full offseason under his belt he feels much more comfortable heading into year two.

“Everything was new to you. You don’t know what to expect and now you kind of know what to expect,” Carter said of the difference between year one and two. “You’ve got the OTAs this year, so you had a chance to learn everything and get comfortable with it so you can play much faster.”

Now, in week two of his second NFL training camp, Carter is looking forward to getting the preseason started on Sunday.

The St. Louis Rams will visit Indianapolis on August 12, and with the preseason officially beginning this past Sunday night, the Colts know their turn is coming soon.

“Camp is pretty much a twilight zone anyway. Knowing that you have a light at the end of the tunnel hopefully it’ll move a little faster now,” Carter said of Sunday’s game.

“You get tired of hitting your own guys and going against your own guys. You need some new faces out there and we all are pretty excited.”


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ZBIKOWSKI KNOWS WHAT THE DEFENSE MUST STOP

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 2:45 pm

It has been a staple of the league’s top defenses year in and year out.

The ability to stop the run traditionally leads to good defenses at any level, but especially in the NFL.

“That’s just a philosophy of football going back to pee wee football, less mistakes happen when an offense can just hand the ball off, run it, chew up the clock, keep your offense off the field and I think philosophically that’s the mentality of football. You can’t let somebody just line up and run over you,” safety Tom Zbikowski said.

How the Colts line up in their new 3-4 hybrid defense has garnered much of the attention during training camp. It’s trying to stop the run that the defenders are most focused on.

As a safety, the role Zbikowski plays in helping out the rush defense might not seem too significant, but he knows the stronger he is in the secondary the more he’ll free up the playmakers in the front seven.

“For safeties it’s always, we got to deal with the pass, but certain times we got to help out (with the rush). We want the players in front of us to be aggressive and not necessarily have a certain gap,” Zbikowski said. “So that’s why I always enjoy playing this defense because you let the linemen and linebackers, really, play ball.”

The importance of all three units of the defense being on the same page is crucial for the success as a whole. There are new faces in all three and over the summer, Zbikowski has seen the needed growth from everyone involved.

“I saw it towards the end of OTAs and towards minicamp and now it’s really all the pieces playing together, not necessarily just the defensive line knowing what each other is doing, but knowing the linebackers, knowing what the secondary is doing and knowing what the front is doing. Even the front knows what the secondary is doing and just how we all play together,” Zbikowski said.

Now heading into their second week of training camp, Zbikowski said the defense is trying to get down the ‘fine nuances.’

Zbikowski might have played his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, but he wanted to make it clear that this defense will have its own identity.

“We’re not trying to be Baltimore, we’re trying to be the Indianapolis Colts. So, we don’t want to take on the personality of another team. That’s taking away from who you are and then you’re only going to be second or third-best to someone else who is that. So, we’re trying to have our own personality and our own mentality,” Zbikowski said.


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TRAINING CAMP BLOG 2

Posted by ColtsCaseyB on – 2:21 pm

What’s up Colts Nation!? I’m back to talk a little bit more about training camp and of course everyone’s favorite night of the camp, the highly touted “Night Practice.” I know a lot of people have expressed concerns about the camp schedule this year, but let me clarify that due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), training camp practices are under a lot more regulations than in years past.

Tuesday’s practice will be one of, if not the busiest days in all of camp. This is your chance to come out and see the new restructured Colts and all that they have to offer. Speaking from experience, you don’t want to miss a chance to see these guys. If you think you’re excited for the season to start, wait until you see the team in action at camp, it’ll take your excitement to a whole new level.

This means that tomorrow’s (August 7th) night practice is one that you should attend. The Colts have moved everything around to better accommodate the fans! Below is an outline of the schedule.

Tuesday, August 7th 
5:30pm – Colts City Opens
6:30pm – Special Teams Practice
7:00 – 9:10pm – Offense/Defense Practice
9:40pm – Colts City Closes

In addition to it being the first of two night practices for training camp, yours truly will be hitting the grounds of Anderson University looking for some of the proudest members of Colts Nation. A few things I would suggest to check out in Colts City would be the Play 60 zone for the kids, the Colts Cheerleaders for everyone, the Colts Pro Shop so you can get all the new Nike and New Era gear, and of course the Colts in Motion interactive traveling museum.

So come on out to Anderson and show the rest of Colts Nation how COLTSTRONG you are!

If want to connect with me through social media be sure to follow me on Twitter as well as using the #ColtsFanCasey, #ColtsCamp, or #COLTSTRONG hashtags.

To keep up to date with all of Colts Fan Casey happenings this year, check back to my homepage on Colts.com.

 

Yours In Football,


Posted in Colts Casey B

Dwayne Allen’s Motto: Never Be Denied

Posted by Chuck Chapman on – 1:27 pm

Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen couldn’t have written a better script for the beginning of his NFL career. After a prolific career at Clemson University, Allen was drafted in the third round by the Indianapolis Colts, putting him (along with fellow draftee Coby Fleener) in the tight-end friendly offensive scheme of new Colts offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians.

“It’s a great time to be a tight end coming into a Bruce Arians offense,” Allen told reporters after practice Sunday.

Allen certainly looks the part of an NFL tight end. His chiseled 6’4″ 255 pound frame is tailor-made for the physical blocking responsibilities he’ll have, but he also has the speed and hands that enabled him to catch 50 passes (8 for touchdowns) last season at Clemson on his way to winning the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end.

“Coach Arians is doing a great job of utilizing my talents, using me in the run game, using me in pass protection, but also letting me get out and catch some balls to show my versatility.”

Allen also said he was quite honored to be playing for the Colts organization (which was also John Mackey’s team) and that he has been overwhelmed by the “welcoming people in Indianapolis and Anderson” he’s met so far.

Even though Allen is one of many new faces on the Colts roster and is partnering at tight end Coby Fleener, he said fans will quickly get to know him by his motto.

“The one motto I live by is ‘NBD’: Never Be Denied. That’s not only for me, but for the fans. They’ll see it around me all the time… I’m never going to be denied a yard, never going to be denied anything.”

One undeniable characteristic that jumps out after spending a few moments with Dwayne Allen is his tremendous knowledge of the game. He just doesn’t sound like a rookie tight end fresh off a college campus. During our time together, Allen offered analysis of various defensive schemes he’ll be facing this season that sounded more like something Chuck Pagano or Greg Manusky might offer than a tight end.

It’s clear Dwayne Allen does his homework. That combined with his immense physical talents and tenacious attitude should make him a favorite with Colts’ fans very quickly.

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Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.

 


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MOORE PROVIDES COMFORT FOR INEXPEREINCED OFFENSE

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:04 am

With installing a new hybrid 3-4 defense this offseason, head coach Chuck Pagano and his staff made three acquisitions to the unit who were familiar with the scheme.

Defensive end Cory Redding, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and safety Tom Zbikowski all had experience with the defense and therefore can quicken the learning curve for some of the players who aren’t as accustomed to the system.

Flip over to the other side of the ball and that comfort level with players knowing offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ offense prior to this offseason didn’t exist during minicamps.

That all changed on June 19, when former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Mewelde Moore signed with the Colts.

“I’ve been with (Bruce Arians) for four years now, well five years now,” Moore said. “He knows how to put us in a position to win. It’s all about us making sure that we do our assignments. So that’s what we’re working on is making sure we’re getting into our details, just making sure we know exactly what we’re doing.”

Moore has been used for a variety of roles in the Steelers backfield the last four years and said he feels more than comfortable in this offense.

“I feel real good about everything and continue to work and put in the time into the playbook. Getting to know it, getting that chemistry and making sure we’re building that camaraderie, doing it in a healthy family type situation,” Moore said.

What Moore does know from years in the offense should help his learning in curve in getting to know his teammates after not being with the Colts during OTAs and minicamp.

It remains to be seen what role the nine-year NFL veteran will play but head coach Chuck Pagano has said before that more than one running back will be counted on during the season.

Getting a rapport with quarterback Andrew Luck has been crucial for Moore this training camp. Luck has earned high praise from his coaches and teammates with his knowledge of the playbook.

Now it’s time for the one who has been in this system the last four years to form a relationship with his quarterback.

“We’re communicating on the field so it’s good that he pretty much knows what’s going on in the playbook already,” Moore said of Luck. “It’s one of those things where we just got to continue to work on doing all the little things and getting better.”


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