The Indianapolis Colts today named Joe Gilbert as the team’s offensive line coach. Gilbert previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach last year.
“We are extremely excited about Joe coaching our offensive line,” said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano. “He did a great job last year. Joe brings great energy and passion to that room, and stresses fundamentals and technique. He expects a lot from his players and will continue to develop that unit into one of the best in the NFL.”
Last season, the offensive line blocked for the Colts to rush for 104.4 rushing yards per game, which was the highest average for the team since 2007. The line also provided time for quarterback Andrew Luck to throw for the most passing yards (4,374), attempts (627) and 300-yard passing games (six) by a rookie in NFL history.
Prior to joining the Colts, Gilbert spent 25 years coaching at the collegiate level, most recently at the University of Illinois (2009-11). In 2010, Gilbert guided an Illinois offensive line that paved the way for school records in total points and points per game, as well as running back Mikel Leshoure’s school record 1,697 rushing yards.
Before coaching at Illinois, Gilbert was the offensive line coach at the University of Houston (2008) and tight ends coach at Toledo (2007). He served as the offensive line coach at Central Florida (2004-06) and Toledo (2001-03) after he was the head coach at Mansfield (Pa.) in 2000. Gilbert worked six years at Maine as the offensive coordinator (1996-99) and offensive line coach (1994-95). Prior to Maine, he was the offensive line coach at Northeastern (1991-93) and was a recruiting coordinator at Pennsylvania (1989-90). Gilbert began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Albany from 1987-88.
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When Ryan Grigson was named Colts General Manager a little over a year ago, he had a tangible player on the roster he could show his scouting staff of what epitomizes the attributes they should be looking for in the scouting department.
One of Grigson’s sons goes to bed in a Robert Mathis jersey and the Pro Bowl outside linebacker ‘epitomizes what a football player is” according to the second-year GM.
Mathis fits the mold of what Grigson and his entire staff is looking for when the draft process and free agent period appears on the calendar.
“If you really scout this league and you really know this league, you can find guys that are under the radar, that are right under people’s noses, just because you dig a little harder and you have a better feel for some guys than the next team does,” Grigson said.
“I have such a stellar department at pro and college that I feel we can do that collectively as a group. I feel confident that we are going to be able to sign some guys that may not be household names but they are going to fit really well, they are going to play Colts football for 60 minutes and they are going to do their job at a high level, despite not being maybe that splash name.”
Grigson and his staff are currently entrenched in the process of searching for those players, whether it is through the draft or in free agency.
As he heads into his full complete offseason as general manager, Grigson says nothing is set in stone as to how he will be approaching things.
“I’ve learned from each spot that I’ve been in and I’ve been able to kind of look at things from afar and see how things were done, and say, ‘Okay, well I’m going to do this differently and do that differently, or I’m going to do this exactly how they did it,’ Grigson said.
“I’ve built my philosophy on things that I think didn’t work and things that I thought did work.” Grigson said.
Over the next few months, Grigson will get the chance to sit down with potential prospects and it’s those meetings that garner a large amount of weight when deciding who fits the mold of what he is looking for in a future ‘Colt.’
“Meeting these guys face-to-face, having dinner with them, looking them in the eye, that’s where you start to get a feel of what’s this guy makeup,” Grigson said.
“Does this guy play the game for the money or doe he play it because he flat out loves it and if you told him to go run down on kickoffs he’d do it?”
Tags: robert mathis, ryan grigson
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Coby Fleener is entering just his second NFL season but when it comes to learning the Colts offense next year, veterans will be heading towards the Stanford product for understanding the language of new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s scheme.
During Fleener’s senior season at Stanford, the tight end flourished in Hamilton’s offense hauling in 10 touchdowns while earning first-team All-America honors.
In Hamilton’s two seasons directing the Cardinal offense, Stanford played in back-to-back BCS bowls and it’s that success that has the 38-year old offensive coordinator heading to the NFL.
What exactly are the Colts getting in Hamilton?
“Most importantly a hard worker and a guy that’s proven that he can win as an offensive coordinator,” Fleener said of Hamilton.
Along with Fleener, the Colts offense will also benefit from having former Stanford Cardinals Andrew Luck and Griff Whalen familiar with Hamilton’s offense.
While even Hamilton admitted he does not know exactly what aspects of the offense he will continue to use in Indianapolis, Fleener offered a few nuances of the differences between the one he played in at Stanford and Bruce Arians’ scheme from last season.
“I would say first and foremost it’s just how the play is set,” Fleener said. “Every time you bring in a different type of offense it’s learning new language and thankfully Andrew (Luck), and I, and Griff Whalen have been in that offense before so we’ll be able to tutor guys if we go that route. I don’t know how much is going to be (Hamilton) learning the stuff we ran last year or us learning stuff that he brings.”
Whalen played under Hamilton at the receiver position in 2010 before Pep was elevated to offensive coordinator the last two seasons.
One vital aspect of Hamilton’s offense over the past two years has been balance.
While Luck turned in a performance that earned him a spot as a Heisman finalist in 2011, the signal caller also relied on a heavy dose of an effective rushing attack.
Hamilton had a 1,300+ and 1,500+-yard runner during his stint as Cardinal offensive coordinator and it’s that flexibility that has his former players excited to be reunited with him at the professional level.
“I think there are a lot of variables that you have to take into consideration, the fact that we’re in the NFL, different personnel, different hash marking on the field, something as small as that, it’s a lot of different things,” Fleener said.
“But I think that Coach Pep will bring a balanced approach at the very least. I’m excited to welcome Pep to Indianapolis.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Griff Whalen, Pep Hamilton
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