Indianapolis Colts Football

WITH FLEENER OUT, ALLEN AND SAUNDERS READY TO RISE TO THE OCCASION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 31, 2012 – 5:24 pm

The tight end position has been one of the most unique groups on the Colts roster this season.

Tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts started the season with three rookies on the active roster but has seen some change over the course of the season.

Second-year pro Weslye Saunders was signed on Oct. 16 and has seen action in the past two games for the Colts.

Saunders role is expected to expand this week as interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced on Wednesday that Coby Fleener will miss Sunday’s game with the Dolphins due to a shoulder injury.

“I think obviously I’m going to have to step in a few spots and everybody just gets bumped up,” Saunders said. “Dwayne (Allen) handles some of the responsibilities that Coby handled and I handle some of the responsibilities that Dwayne handled.”

Last weekend against the Titans, the 270-pound Saunders showed that he can do much more than be a blocker for the Colts offense.

With the Colts marching for a game-tying score, Saunders hauled in an 11-yard catch down to the Titans 17-yard line to continue a drive that resulted in running back Delone Carter’s one-yard touchdown.

“Nobody expects anybody to go down with an injury but being that I was familiar with the offense already and I felt very comfortable with the offense, I was able to make a play, help the team move the chains and we came out with the victory which is the biggest thing,” Saunders said.

Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen will most likely start his eighth straight game for the Colts and has been a steady rock for quarterback Andrew Luck.

Allen and wide receiver Reggie Wayne are the only Colts with more than one touchdown catch after seven games.

“Dwayne’s been great all year and I’m sure he’ll rise up with Fleener out now for the week,” Luck said. “He’ll do a great job. He’s done a great job all year and I know we can count on him.”

For much of the season, Allen has lined up in a variety of positions on the Colts offense and knows the challenge will be difficult this weekend in facing one of the top defensive lines in the NFL.

“Their front four, they’re defense is one of the best defenses we’ve played yet,” Allen said. “We have a huge task on our hands to get ready for, in the run game, in the passing game. They create a lot of problems for us and we’ve got three or four days to get ready for them.”

Following Allen’s senior season at Clemson, he had a decision to make on whether not to return for a fifth season of eligibility (he redshirted in 2008).

As the winner of the John Mackey Award (given to the nation’s top tight end), Allen felt it was time to continue his dream of playing at the highest level.

“Whenever I decided to leave (Clemson) it wasn’t to become a backup tight end in the National Football League,” Allen said. “I felt that I had the talents to be a starter in this league and with Fleener going down and more targets going my way, I’m definitely more than prepared for it.”


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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS OG-JUSTIN ANDERSON RETURNS TO PRACTICE

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 11:29 am

The Indianapolis Colts today announced that offensive guard Justin Anderson will begin practicing with the team. He will remain on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List during this time.

The Colts will have up to three weeks from today to elevate Anderson to the 53-man active roster or he will remain on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List for the rest of the season.

Anderson, 6-5, 342 pounds, was originally selected by the Colts in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Georgia. He started 26-of-40 games for the Bulldogs and was named Freshman All-SEC by the league’s coaches and to Phil Steele’s All-Freshman second-team in 2008. He also earned recognition for Freshman Honorable Mention Team honors by CollegeFootballNews.com.

As a senior in 2011, Anderson started all 14 games, helping lead the school to a 10-4 record and berths in the SEC Championship Game and Outback Bowl.


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ARIANS PLEASED WITH CHAPMAN’S PROGRESS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:43 am

At times Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman seems to be the forgotten man in the 2012 rookie class.

While half dozen rookies have dominated the headlines on the offensive side of the ball for the Colts, Chapman is slowly beginning to garner a little attention of his own.

The 316-pound nose tackle returned to the practice field last week for the first time in a Colts uniform and interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians liked what he saw.

“Josh had a real good week of practice last week. He’s got two more weeks before we have to activate him and we’ll see how he does in pads again this week,” Arians said on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show’ with ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey.

Chapman had surgery to repair a torn ACL following the University of Alabama capturing the 2012 National Title in January.

The ACL was torn on Oct. 1, 2011, but Chapman elected to play through the injury the rest of the season in hoping to win his second National Title in three seasons.

“He’s learning to play on two legs again,” Arians said. “That’s a hard thing to get your mind re-trained after playing on one leg for a season. We’re not going to rush him too fast. When he’s ready, he’s going to play.”

When selected back in April, Chapman talked about the importance of the nose tackle position in the 3-4 hybrid defense and loves to ‘keep his linebackers clean’ by occupying multiple blockers.

Arians called Chapman ‘a classic nose guard’ that can take up space and impact the offense whether it’s a run or pass.

“He’s a powerful run stopper,” Arians said. “He can also push the middle of the pocket as a pass rusher. He’s as thick and as wide as you want him to be.”

“He’s the natural guy in there. We just want to make sure he’s healthy for the long haul.”

Along with Chapman, the Colts other pick in the fifth round was running back Vick Ballard.

For the past couple of days, Ballard has been in the spotlight after his spectacular leaping touchdown to give the Colts a 19-13 overtime victory over the Titans.

Ballard’s fellow fifth round pick is itching to get back on the field and Arians believes the injury is the lone reason Chapman fell in the draft.

“There’s no doubt that had he been healthy he probably would have been a second rounder,” Arians said. “With his knee, and having to have surgery after the season, we felt like we got a steal. Now that he’s healthy, you’re looking at a second, third round talent guy that we got later.”


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ARIANS TALKS PAGANO, GRIGSON AND ROAD EFFORT ON RADIO SHOW

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 30, 2012 – 9:42 am

Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians joined ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday evening for the ‘Pagano Show.’ Below are some of the highlights from Arians on Monday night.
On the surprise visit from head coach Chuck Pagano to the complex:

“It was great. Chuck stopped in for the staff meeting today. He had been down to the hospital, saw the doctors and got a great report on his counts and everything was up. He was able to stop in and spend an hour or two. I think it was great medicine for him because he felt great about it and we were all excited to have him in there.”

On the final play against the Titans and the effort by rookie Vick Ballard:

“That was just a spectacular effort on his part and just a great play to have the wherewithal to spin, turn the ball away from everybody, protect it, and still get the height he has to (in order) to make it in from the four (yard line). Just a fantastic individual effort but some really great blocks by some guys out on that screen also to get him that point where he launched and got it in.”

On doing a little more on the road and if the team accomplished that:

“Doing your job is just not enough. We had some unbelievable efforts on the defensive line, guys throwing their bodies around and holding Chris Johnson to 99 yards, then getting off the field on third down in the second half. It was really above and beyond. That’s what you’ve got to do to win games on the road. The play like Vicks’ and the plays leading up to it…there was a play in there, the third-and-10 when Andrew hit Reggie down the middle for a big one. It was a good team win.”

On general manager Ryan Grigson and working together when assembling a roster:

“We have great dialogue between that side of the building and our side of the building. It’s just one. There really are no sides to this building. It’s just Colts. It’s a great feeling. Ryan and Chuck started it off and I feel like the whole staff feels that way with Tommy (Telesco) and Ryan and everybody.”

On the running back depth and if the team is starting to form a ‘three-headed monster’:

“I knew we had a good set of backs. Each guy that’s stepped in there now has a role. With Delone (Carter) in short yardage, he’s done a good job since he was injured. I know Donald (Brown) was going to be an explosive player for us and we all thought Vick was going to become a really good player. He got thrown in there more than we hoped to early but he’s answered the challenge. Now, we have some good depth.”

On limiting Chris Johnson to under 100 yards:

“He made me hold my breath a couple of times when he came popping out of there but we did a great job of tackling him, and a great job of tackling receivers after the catch. We didn’t give them anything big. They are notorious for big plays. Chris is the best. Defensively, we did a great job of holding him down.”

On the 4-3 Dolphins next up on the calendar:

“You got two young teams, first year staffs with guys that are playing hard. They obviously have bought in down there like our guys have bought in. Both are 4-3 and they got a three-game winning streak and we got a two-game winning streak. This is a big game for the AFC.”


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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS MAKE ROSTER MOVES

Posted by coltsindianapolis on October 29, 2012 – 6:47 pm

The Indianapolis Colts today elevated cornerback Marshay Green and fullback Robert Hughes to the active roster and signed cornerback Teddy Williams to the practice squad. The Colts also released nose tackle Antonio Dixon and running back Mewelde Moore.

Green, 5-10, 175 pounds, originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent on April 26, 2010. He was waived by the Cardinals on September 5 before being added to the practice squad two days later. Green was elevated to the 53-man active roster on November 23 and was active for the final six games of the 2010 season.

Green was waived by the Cardinals on September 2, 2011 and was signed to the practice squad on September 5. He was then elevated to the active roster on December 31 and appeared in the final game of the season, making one solo tackle in the game. Green was waived by the Cardinals on August 24, 2012 and signed to the Colts practice squad on October 1.

Hughes, 5-11, 235 pounds, was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame on July 26, 2011 and was waived on September 3. He was signed to the Bears practice squad on December 19 where he spent the remainder of the season. He was then signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 19, 2012 and waived on August 31. Hughes was then signed to the Washington Redskins practice squad on September 3 before being released on September 11 and signed to the Colts practice squad on October 10, 2012.

Williams, 6-1, 201 pounds, was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas-San Antonio on July 29, 2010. He was waived on September 4 before being signed to the practice squad a day later. Williams switched positions to wide receiver midway through the season and was elevated to the active roster on December 21, 2010. He was inactive for the final two games. Williams then spent the entire 2011 season on the Cowboys practice squad before being waived on August 31, 2012.

At UTSA, Williams did not play college football, but was a standout on the track and field team. He was the school’s only four-time All-America selection and helped lead the Roadrunners to six Southland Conference Championships (four indoor/two outdoor) from 2007-10. Williams claimed nine Southland titles (five indoor/four outdoor), was twice named the league’s Indoor Athlete of the Year (2009-10) as well as Outdoor Outstanding Track Performer (2009-10). He also established UTSA records in the 55m (6.23 seconds), 60m (Southland-best 6.59), 100m (9.90), 200m (20.60) and 400m relay (39.59).

Williams’ 9.90-second 100-meter time was the fastest in the world during his junior season.

Dixon, 6-3, 322 pounds, was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on October 9, 2012. This season, he recorded one tackle in two games played. For his career, Dixon has appeared in 37 career games (10 starts) with the Philadelphia Eagles and Colts, totaling 50 tackles (39 solo), three sacks and two passes defensed.

Moore, 5-11, 209 pounds, was signed by the Colts on June 19, 2012. He has appeared in six games this year, totaling nine carries for 14 yards and four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three kickoffs for 50 yards. In his nine-year NFL career, Moore has played in 119 games (15 starts), rushing 503 times for 2,261 yards and six touchdowns. He has also recorded 218 receptions for 1,911 yards and eight touchdowns.


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Indianapolis Colts Performance Grabbing National Attention

Posted by Chuck Chapman on – 3:46 pm

The Colts are 4-3 and folks around Indianapolis are positively giddy with excitement over what might still be in store this season. After last year’s miserable season and the roster overhaul, even the most optimistic Colts fans didn’t expect that their team would be in playoff contention at mid-season.

Yet that’s exactly where the Colts find themselves after yesterday’s heart-stirring overtime win over the Tennessee Titans. If the playoffs began today, the Colts…yes, the same team that said goodbye to Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday and most of its players who had guided them previously to the playoffs…would be the sixth seed in the AFC and be playing on the Wild Card weekend.

Don’t think the excitement about the Colts is limited to fans in the Circle City though. After watching the Colts yesterday, two Hall-of-Famers weighed in on their performance on the NFL Network.

First, Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who knows a thing or two about making highlight-reel plays, called Vick Ballard’s acrobatic launch to the goal line “the best play of the season.” It wasn’t just Ballard’s circus-like contortion in mid air or his incredible leap from four yards out. Ballard’s play was the game-winner. Ballard scored plenty of style points on his dive for the end zone, but it was the importance of the moment that really grabbed everyone’s attention.

Michael Irvin, former Cowboys’ Hall of Fame wide receiver, gushed similarly about Andrew Luck. Irvin played alongside Troy Aikman who came in as a number one overall pick to bring the Cowboys back to their glory days. He sees similar greatness in Luck.

“He has a grasp of every aspect of the game,” Irvin told his NFL Network colleagues. Indeed, Luck has an uncanny awareness of what’s going on around him as he demonstrated yesterday. Even though the officials ruled his pass incomplete, Luck had the awareness to consider that a batted swing pass might be a lateral and rushed back to fall on the ball. Several times during the day it was as if an alarm went off in Luck’s head signaling an approaching pass rusher from his blind side. Luck was able to roll away from the pressure and make something happen from what probably would have been a sack with most rookies.

Even in one of Luck’s “rookie” moments when he hit Tennessee linebacker Colin McCarthy in the numbers (fortunately he dropped it) with a desperate pass attempt, Luck showed amazing presence. His intended target was Reggie Wayne, who had fallen during the route. Not many veterans would have recognized Wayne as a viable target while under a heavy rush.

This could be just the beginning. The Colts face a stern test at home this weekend with the equally surprising Miami Dolphins followed by another divisional road test at Jacksonville. If they were to head into New England at 6-3, Colts fans would be ecstatic.

And more than a few national pundits would be taking notice.

 

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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EYE ON THE PRIZE: WEEK 8

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 11:16 am

Each week Colts.com will take a look at the rest of the AFC South and review the previous weekend’s games.

 

Colts 19, Titans 13 OT

-Looking for their third straight victory, the Titans couldn’t make the necessary plays down the stretch against the Colts. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, starting for the injured Jake Locker, had a productive afternoon with 22-of-29 through the air and 236 yards. Rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright scored the lone touchdown for the Titans with a 23-yard score late in the first half. Titans running back Chris Johnson had 21 carries for 99 yards.

 

NEXT GAME: Chicago, Sunday at 1:00 EST

 

Packers 24, Jaguars 15

-Even without running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars came close to recording a much-needed road victory on Sunday. Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert was 27-of-49 for 303 yards and a touchdown with receiver Cecil Shorts leading the team with eight catches and 116 yards receiving. The Jaguars overcame a blocked punt return for a touchdown and were down just 14-12 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, the Packers pushed the lead to 21-12 behind an Aaron Rodgers touchdown toss. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee would cut the lead to 21-15 with 6:50 remaining and the Jaguars would get another crack at it but couldn’t convert a fourth-and-four from the Packers 44-yard line.

 

NEXT GAME: Detroit, Sunday at 1:00 EST

 

Houston Texans

-The Texans had a bye week and maintained a one-game lead for the best record in the AFC.

 

NEXT GAME: Buffalo, Sunday at 1:00 EST.

 

2012 AFC South Standings

Houston 6-1

Indianapolis 4-3

Tennessee 3-5

Jacksonville 1-6

           


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ROOKIE RECAP: WEEK 8

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 10:37 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week Colts.com will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen caught the first two passes of the game for the Colts and turned in a four-catch, 56-yard performance on Sunday afternoon. Allen now has 17 catches for 174 yards on the season.

Vick Ballard, RB: For the third straight game, Ballard started at running back and had what is assured to be on the season highlight video. Ballard had 12 carries for 55 yards to help a season high 171 yards rushing for the Colts. Ballard’s 16-yard screen pass in overtime was the game-winning touchdown as the rookie leaped from inside the five-yard line, twisting his body for his first career NFL touchdown.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill made a critical nine-yard reception on the Colts game-tying touchdown drive. It was the only catch for Brazill on the day but his reception set up a fourth-and-one conversion for running back Delone Carter.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had two catches for 24 yards on the afternoon but was limited in the second half after suffering a shoulder injury late in the second quarter.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton had a season high five catches on Sunday, resulting in 34 yards. Hilton also had one punt return for 13 yards. On the season, Hilton ranks fourth on the team with 18 catches and third with 253 yards receiving.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 26-of-38 for 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception on Sunday. Luck also had six carries for 28 yards, padding his AFC leading 143 yards rushing on the season for quarterbacks. With the win, Luck’s (.571) winning percentage is the highest ever for a quarterback selected No. 1 overall after Week 8 of his rookie season

Bradley Sowell, OT: Sowell was a reserve lineman for the Colts on Sunday.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Titans.


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Colts Coverage Units Rising to the Challenge

Posted by Chuck Chapman on October 26, 2012 – 3:49 pm

The Indianapolis Colts are 3-3 and a big reason behind that record is a group that doesn’t usually get too much attention unless something goes wrong. The Colts coverage teams have been faced with stopping some of the game’s best return men in their six games this season. To this point, they’ve been up to the challenge.

In six games, the Colts have had to deal with Chicago’s Devin Hester, Minnesota’s Percy Harvin, Green Bay’s Randall Cobb, the Jets’ Joe McKnight, and on Sunday, Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs. Each of these return men have produced highlight-reel returns during their career and are a threat to change the game any time they get their hands on the ball.

Not only have none of opposing returners scored on the Colts, but the return units have kept them largely contained, preventing them from changing field position. Indianapolis ranks fourth overall in the NFL in net punting average at 44.4 yards per attempt and tenth overall in yards per return, allowing just 7.5 yards per return. The kickoff return average isn’t as good, ranking in the league’s bottom third, but has yet to yield a score. The longest return allowed thus far was to Randall Cobb of the Packers who returned a kick 50 yards against the Colts in week four. With Pat McAfee booming more than half his kicks deep enough for touchbacks, that relieves the return unit of more pressure.

McAfee raved about his coverage teams after the game yesterday:

“We’ve had quite a lineup of return guys we’ve had to face and our coverage guys have answered the bell every single week.”

McAfee also credited the efforts of new special teams coaches, Marwan Maalouff and Brant Boyer. McAfee says the two have changed the attitude of special teams this season:

“We’re letting people know we’re going to affect the game, not just be a part of it.”

Last year the Colts were last in the NFL in kick coverage, surrendering over 30 yards per return, which often put the defense in a hole with regard to field position. The punt return average thus far this season is allowing almost four full yards fewer than last season.

Special teams player Justin Hickman is one that welcomes the challenge of facing the league’s best each week:

“I think it helps you focus when you know you’re going into a week when you know they have an explosive guy back there who can take it to the house on every touch. You know every kickoff, every punt, they’re going to bring it out because they want to get something done.”

The Colts have been outstanding at limiting those opportunities for their opponents which has translated into longer fields for their opponents, which in turn helps the defense.

The coverage units won’t get a rest next week when they face Tennessee’s Darius Reynaud. The Titans’ rookie is averaging over 26 yards per kick return and already has taken one 105 yards for a score. For Justin Hickman and the rest of the Colts coverage teams, it will be just another day at the office.

 

 

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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WAYNE ENDS FRIDAY PRACTICE WITH MESSAGE TO TEAM

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 3:22 pm

As practice ended Friday afternoon, Reggie Wayne had a message for his team.

Wayne admitted it was a bit out of character to speak up in front of everyone but he wanted to let his teammates know what is at stake on Sunday.

“I broke the team down today and told them, ‘It’s a great feeling to go into someone else’s backyard to get a victory, and get on that plane.’ That’s something we haven’t experienced yet so hopefully we can get that done this week,” Wayne said.

Throughout his 12-year NFL career, Wayne has experienced numerous plane trips back to Indianapolis celebrating road victories.

He understands what a challenge it is to win away from home in the NFL and wants nothing more than for the rest of his teammates to experience such a feeling.

“The two times that we went on the road, we get back on the plane and it’s almost like it’s a 10-hour flight just because everybody is upset about the outcome of the game,” Wayne said. “I tell them why not be on the plane and just being joyous, just being happy that we got a victory. Let’s just get that done. Whatever we have to do to get that done and get above .500, let’s do it.”

In addressing what needs to be done to get that elusive road victory, Wayne is focused on the offensive side of the ball.

The Colts offense has had opportunities in each of the first two road games but the inability to sustain drives and costly turnovers have led to keeping the hostile home crowd into the game and getting in first half deficits.

“Offensively, we have to protect the ball,” Wayne said. “If you look at both our road games, it’s been the offense not protecting the ball. That’s something that you must get control of from the jump.

“It’s already hard enough to win on the road as it is but when you turn the ball over, it makes it even more harder. I think if we protect the ball, just do the things that we normally do, then we’ll be alright.”

A win on Sunday would give the Colts their first road win in over a year and push their record over .500 for the first time in 2012.

Wayne is focused on the specific task this weekend but knows in order to be playing into 2013, winning away from Lucas Oil Stadium must start now.

“If the playoffs were right now and we were in the playoffs, we would be on the road. We got to figure this out ASAP,” Wayne said. “This is a great opportunity for us to get it done against a division opponent, against a team who’s basically in the hunt also. It’ll be fun. I think everybody is tuned in to what needs to get done.”


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