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.
Posted in Colts Blog
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
Posted in Colts Blog
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
Posted in Colts Blog
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has been selected to play in the 2013 Pro Bowl, which will take place on Sunday, January 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Luck replaces New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who cannot participate due to injury.
As the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck went on to compile one of the best rookie seasons in franchise and league history. His 11 wins were the most by a No. 1 overall draft pick and he became one of five quarterbacks since 1966 to win 10 or more games. Luck also recorded the most passing yards (4,374), attempts (627) and 300-yard passing games (six) by a rookie quarterback as well as setting the NFL single-game record for passing yards by a rookie (433) in the team’s victory against the Miami Dolphins.
Luck rushed for five touchdowns in 2012, which was the most by any quarterback in Colts history in a single season. He also ranked second among AFC quarterbacks in rushing yards (255). Inside the final two minutes of a half, Luck threw for the most passing yards (884) of any quarterback in the NFL this season and he became the first rookie in league history to throw two game-winning touchdown passes inside the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter in a single season. In the team’s Week 5 victory against Green Bay, Luck became the fourth rookie quarterback since 1960 to overcome a deficit of 18 points or more to win a game.
In the team’s AFC Wild Card playoff contest at Baltimore, Luck recorded the most passing attempts (54) and second-most passing yards (288) by a rookie in a playoff game.
Luck will join teammates Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis in the Pro Bowl. Wayne is making his sixth career appearance while Mathis is recording his fifth selection.
Tags: Andrew Luck, pro bowl, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today hired Pep Hamilton as the team’s offensive coordinator. Hamilton comes to Indianapolis following three seasons on the Stanford University coaching staff, his last two as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“Pep Hamilton is a sharp, detailed and innovative coach who is a rising star in this business,” said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson. “Everything I have gathered about him besides his impressive football background is that he expects greatness from himself and those around him. His great success at Stanford and his familiarity with Andrew and Coby is obviously a major plus for us moving forward. That combined with his prior NFL experience makes this a very strong and positive acquisition for the Horseshoe. We couldn’t be happier to have Pep part of the Colt’s family.”
“I am thrilled to have Pep as our new offensive coordinator,” said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano. “He’s had success everywhere he’s been and his familiarity with guys like Andrew and Coby will make him a great fit for our team. I can’t wait to start working with him as we get ready for next year.”
Hamilton worked closely with current Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year (2010 and 2011) and the Maxwell Award winner for the National Collegiate Player of the Year and the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year. Luck threw 82 touchdown passes in 38 career games, breaking John Elway’s career record for touchdown passes. Luck also moved to the top of Stanford’s career list in total offense.
“First of all, I’m very happy for Coach Arians and I wish him nothing but the best in Arizona,” said Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. “I really enjoyed working with him this season, and I’m very thankful for all of his guidance. I’m thrilled to be able to reunite with Coach Pep here in Indianapolis. He was a tremendous mentor of mine at Stanford and he is going to have our offense playing at a high, energetic level.”
“Andrew (Luck) and I are excited to have coach Pep here in Indianapolis,” said Colts tight end Coby Fleener. “To have a coach you have worked with in the past who has a familiarity of the offense will serve this team well. Coach Pep has been successful at Stanford and I know he’ll do the same here.”
In 2012, Hamilton and the Cardinal were the victors of the 99th Annual Rose Bowl as the team compiled a 12-2 record (8-1 Pac-12). Stanford averaged 27.9 points per game and 374.4 net yards per game. Hamilton tutored quarterback Kevin Hogan who completed 109-of-152 passes for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns after being inserted as the starter for the remaining five games of the season.
In his first season as Stanford’s offensive coordinator in 2011, the Cardinal scored a school record 561 points while averaging 43.2 points per game, which ranked seventh in the nation. The offense also set school single-season records for total offense (6,361) and finished eighth in the country in net yards per game (489.3).
As Stanford’s wide receivers coach in 2010, Hamilton coached a total of 17 players who caught passes, including 10 who hauled in at least one touchdown from Luck. Stanford’s wide receivers and tight ends combined to catch a school-record 32 touchdowns, while setting the single-season record for scoring (524), scoring average (40.3) and total offense (6,142 yards).
Prior to joining Stanford, Hamilton spent seven seasons in the NFL. He served as the quarterbacks coach of the Chicago Bears (2006-2009) and was an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2006. Hamilton was with the New York Jets for three seasons holding titles as the wide receiver coach (2005), offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach (2004) and offensive quality control coach (2003). He also logged three seasons as a player personnel intern for the Kansas City Chiefs (2000), Washington Redskins (2001) and Baltimore Ravens (2002).
In his final season as the quarterbacks coach for the Bears, Hamilton guided Jay Cutler who set single-season franchise records for completions (336) and passing attempts (555). In 2008, Kyle Orton compiled the fifth-highest completion percentage in team history (58.5) while finishing sixth in franchise annals in passing yards (2,972).
With the 49ers, Hamilton helped groom Alex Smith to become the first quarterback in team history to take every snap from center over an entire campaign (2006). He also worked closely with Jets quarterback Chad Pennington in 2004 as New York started 5-0 start prior to Pennington’s injury, which forced him to miss the next three games.
Hamilton began his coaching career at his alma mater, Howard, where he served as the Bison’s quarterbacks coach from 1997-2001. He also took on duties as the team’s offensive coordinator for three seasons (1999-2001). A former college quarterback, Hamilton earned Howard’s scholar-athlete award on two consecutive occasions (1995 and 1996) before earning his business degree in 1997.
Posted in Colts Blog
Below are quotes from Indianapolis Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano on Bruce Arians being hired as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
General Manager Ryan Grigson
“We congratulate Bruce on this great opportunity with the Arizona Cardinals. The exceptional job he did this past season in keeping this team focused, combined with his long record of accomplishment, made him a very attractive candidate for a head coaching position and we congratulate the Cardinals on their good judgment in selecting him. BA did a remarkable job last season, filling in for his friend and head coach in a time of need. Without BA’s selflessness, leadership, football acumen, and competitive spirit, we couldn’t have had the season we did. We surely will miss BA’s presence as a coach and a friend but we’re delighted for him and we wish Bruce, Chris, and their entire family nothing but the best as they embark on their new journey.”
Head Coach Chuck Pagano
“We are excited for Bruce, Chris, and his entire family. This is an opportunity of a life time and I know he will do a great job. Arizona hired a great coach but a better man. What he did in my absence was truly remarkable. I am forever in debt to Bruce. He is and always will be a great friend and I wish him nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter in his life.”
Tags: bruce arians, chuck pagano, Colts, football, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
If Ryan Grigson’s future draft classes can come close to mirroring the same amount of success his first one in Indianapolis accomplished than the Colts will be a force for the years to come.
The rookie class amassed an NFL record 3,108 yards this season thanks to a handful of skill position players.
Defensively, fifth round pick Josh Chapman is still waiting in the wings after the defensive tackle missed the entire season rehabbing a knee injury.
Grigson beams when talking about his rookie class but he also adds a few names to that group.
What about Bradley Sowell?
The Colts plucked the undrafted free agent off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad on Sept. 11 and Sowell played in 10 games this season.
“Bradley Sowell is a guy, I think he has true left tackle ability,” Grigson said. “It will make himself more valuable if he settles in at right so he can play both.”
Sowell saw his most playing time in the AFC Wild Card loss to the Ravens when he was thrust into action after right tackle Winston Justice went down with an injury in the first quarter.
“Brad is going to be a much better player because of that experience. He fought his tail off.” The Colts GM said
What about Lawrence Guy?
With the defensive line ravaged with injuries, Guy was signed off the Green Bay Packers practice squad on Oct. 17 and played nine games, including starting the final three contests of the year.
Grigson also points to Nathan Palmer, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted, as a receiver that the General Manger calls ‘about as explosive a receiver we have.’
The headliners from this rookie class will still be Luck, Hilton Ballard, Allen etc. but it’s the guys on the backend of the roster that Grigson points to in completing a group that will play a leading role in the future of the Colts.
“Getting those guys is exciting because those are guys that we looked at in the draft and we were able to get without burning a pick,” Grigson said.
“It may be a warped view but I feel like those guys we poached from other teams practice squads early this season, those guys to me feel like draft picks. The nice thing about that is it’s only going to serve us well in the future because what we’ve been through this year as a team and as human beings.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bradley Sowell, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, josh chapman, LaVon Brazill, Lawrence Guy, nathan palmer, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
The influx of speed came via the draft and free agency.
As the players, and particularly the wide receivers, trickled into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center this past offseason there was no denying what they would be bringing to the Colts.
Speed. Speed. And more speed.
“To me, the old adage speed kills is a true statement,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. “No matter how you slice it, speed is something that shows up on film, it shows up throughout the scouting process. It’s one thing that scares the heck out of people.”
There was the signing of free agent Donnie Avery who ran a sub 4.3 40-yard dash in becoming the first wide receiver selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Avery had a career year in Indianapolis with 60 catches for 781 yards.
The speed movement did not stop in free agency with the Colts drafting a pair of receivers known for stretching the field.
T.Y. Hilton ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at his pro day and his big play ability led to 861 receiving yards and his seven receiving touchdowns topped all rookies.
Fellow rookies LaVon Brazill and Nathan Palmer have also been timed in the 4.4/4.3 range in the 40-yard dash.
When training camp got under away, wide receiver Reggie Wayne was in awe of the speed that he saw in his position group.
Wayne wanted to get a race set up between the speedsters with the 12-year veteran serving as merely an observer.
“Just make sure I’m at the finish line, not in there (the race),” Wayne said with a smile back during training camp.
“We have some burners. That’s something we really haven’t had in the past. We’ve had one here, two there, but we have quite a few of them right now. It makes it all fun, guys are out there just acting like they’re in the Olympics.”
During Grigson’s time in Philadelphia, the Eagles were known for their electric playmakers at the skill positions and that attribute has been brought to the Colts.
“When (Chicago wide receiver/kick returner) Devin Hester walks out on the field people get scared,” Grigson said. “People get scared of it’s not because of his size or that he looks mean, it’s because he can flat out fly.”
“And it doesn’t matter how you try to defend it, if you mess up one time it could be six points. If you don’t play to your technique perfectly it’s going to cost you.”
Grigson is hoping that speed costs Colts opponents for years to come.
Tags: donnie avery, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today hired Tom McMahon as the special teams coordinator. McMahon holds six years of NFL coaching experience and spent the 2012 campaign as the special teams coach with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“We’re excited that Tom will be joining our staff,” said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano. “He brings a strong coaching background and his players have routinely ranked among the league’s best in all facets of special teams. We look forward to working with him as we strive to have one of the top special teams units in the NFL.”
With the Chiefs last season, McMahon guided AFC Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, who ranked second in the NFL with 45 punts pinned inside the 20-yard line while averaging 46.8 yards per punt and a net average of 40.8. McMahon joined Kansas City following three seasons as the special teams coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. In 2010, the Rams posted the league’s third-best net punting average at 40.0 yards per punt. In addition, Rams punt returner Danny Amendola led the NFL with 12 returns of 20-plus yards in 2009 and 2010 combined. Prior to his time in St. Louis, McMahon spent two seasons (2007-2008) as an assistant special teams coach for the Atlanta Falcons. He was crucial in the development of kick returner Jerious Norwood, who tallied 2,628 kickoff return yards, which ranked third in the NFL over that two-year span.
Before joining the Falcons, McMahon coached outside linebackers and special teams at the University of Louisville (2006). Under his guidance, kicker Art Carmody earned the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. McMahon spent 11 seasons coaching at Utah State, including eight campaigns as a full-time assistant. He served as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 2001-2005 after coaching linebackers and special teams from 1998-2000. McMahon joined Utah State in 1995 as a graduate assistant, helping coach defensive ends.
McMahon started his coaching career at his alma mater, Carroll College, in 1992 as the school’s secondary coach. He spent one year at Bozeman (Montana) High School in 1993 before returning to Carroll to coach the secondary in 1994.
A native of Helena, Mont., McMahon and his wife, Kim, have three children, Dawson, Emmett and Quincy.
McMahon’s Coaching History
2012 Kansas City Chiefs Special Teams Coach
2009-11 St. Louis Rams Special Teams Coordinator
2007-08 Atlanta Falcons Assistant Special Teams Coach
2006 Louisville Outside LBs/Special Teams Coordinator
2001-05 Utah State Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator
1998-2000 Utah State Linebackers/Special Teams Coach
1995-97 Utah State Graduate Assistant
1994 Carroll College Secondary Coach
1993 Bozeman High School Assistant Coach
1992 Carroll College Secondary Coach
Posted in Colts Blog
Colts owner Jim Irsay and players Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne show off their acting skills at Lucas Oil stadium when filming a scene with “Parks and Recreation” cast members Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari and Jim O’Heir. The episode airs Thursday January 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Watch the preview below.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Colts, Jim Irsay, NBC, Parks and Rec, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog, Colts.com Web Updates, Fan Feature