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.”
Tags: alfredo roberts, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, Weslye Saunders
Posted in Colts Blog
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.
Tags: Justin Anderson
Posted in Colts Blog
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.”
Tags: bruce arians, josh chapman, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog