Over the past nine seasons, the Colts and Chargers have become rivals despite the 2,000-mile distance between the two organizations.
During that span, the two teams always met late in the regular season (the earliest contest being Nov. 11), with a pair of playoff battles.
Of the seven contests, six were separated by single digits and the rivalry will be renewed in 2013 when the Colts head west to take on the Chargers.
The rivalry will have a much different in feel in 2013 with Chargers coach Mike McCoy taking the reigns in year one.
McCoy and new general manager Tom Telesco are at the helm in San Diego and are in the process of making changes they feel necessary to getting the Chargers back into the postseason.
“Whether it’s running the facility, the way things are done, the organizational structure of everything and then really getting to know everybody as a whole in the organization, not just coaches.” McCoy said of the team’s changes, on Thursday at the NFL combine.
One aspect of the rivalry that won’t change in 2013 is the presence of Philip Rivers quarterbacking the Chargers.
The new coaching staff walks into a scenario where Rivers is an established quarterback but McCoy does want to improve on Rivers’ 55 turnovers the last two seasons.
“That’s the number one thing we’ve got to cut back on,” McCoy said of the turnovers. “Why were certain interceptions thrown? Why did he make certain decisions? Can the protection be better?. Can the routes be run better? It’s going to be 11 guys we finally evaluate. It’s not just the quarterback, though a lot of it falls back on his shoulders.”
The 2013 season marks Rivers’ 10th in the NFL and McCoy loves the intangibles that his quarterback carries with his career entering the final stages.
“(Rivers) has a burning desire to win. That’s what all the great ones do,” McCoy said.
“He wants to do everything possible to change this thing and get it rolling again.”
It’s been a three-year playoff drought for the Chargers, and McCoy is ready to help Rivers get back to a postseason that had become a common occurrence (2004, 2006-2009) for the Chargers.
“Tom Telesco and I are going to do everything we possibly can to build a winner over the long haul. Not just tomorrow, but for years to come,” McCoy said.
“We’re going to change the culture a little bit around there. That’s what happens when you get a new staff come in the building. So we’re going to make some changes over time. But we’re going to do everything we can to help this team win the next 10 years.”
Posted in Colts Blog
Denver had an excitingly difficult season in 2012, going 13-3, owning home-field playoff advantage and then losing in overtime in the first round, giving up a late long touchdown pass in regulation.
The Broncos watched Baltimore move on to win Super Bowl XLVII, and General Manager John Elway remembers the feeling. He wants his team to do so, too.
“I don’t want to forget last year. I don’t want our team to forget it,” said Elway. “I want them to realize it was a great year, but also forget the feeling of what happened in the playoff game. Be able to learn from it. Hopefully, we can build on it and get better as we did in ’96. 1997 and 1998 were (Super Bowl-winning) years. I hope we can learn like we did (back then).”
Elway is earning his spurs as a league executive. He is competing in a division with two new head coaches, including Andy Reid in Kansas City.
Elway feels better at this combine than at past combines with the state of his roster, but now is no time to feel safe.
“We have to get better because everybody is. 13-3 is not good enough,” said Elway. “It was nice we won the division and had home-field advantage but when you lose in the first round of the playoffs, you have to get better.
“We have to learn to play in the post-season. You can be good in the regular season and I said it last year, ‘We make our money in the regular season. You make your legacy in the post-season as a player.’
“That’s why what we experienced in the first round was important. You have to be tough. The expectations rise. You don’t have next week. You have to learn to play with sudden death, which is, ‘There is no next week.’ That’s why great teams flourish in the playoffs.”
Elway won titles in his final two seasons. His quarterback, Peyton Manning, has one title in an illustrious career.
Elway watched Manning star in the same city where he shaped his own legacy.
“He had a tremendous year. Talking to other guys who have been through what he’s been through with that neck, there was a lot more to it than I knew,” said Elway. “I think he exceeded expectations now that I know what he had to go through, not so much physically but mentally.
“He did a tremendous job. I’m looking forward to next year, too. I think he’s going to get better. … Peyton had a lot to do with where we (were.)”
Elway feels quarterbacks now entering the league are better prepared than before. His school turned one out in Andrew Luck, and Elway is among many who anticipate next year’s Colts-Broncos clash in Indianapolis.
“It will be special. I’m sure it will be special for Peyton,” said Elway. “Any time you spend as long as Peyton did in Indianapolis and the relationship he has, to go somewhere else and play had to be tough.
“Those are two guys (Luck and Manning) I have a great amount of respect for. Andrew coming out was as good as there’s been in a long time. You saw that last year in the year he had. He was tremendous. They go from 2-14 to 11-5, not only with Ryan Grigson doing a great job but with what Andrew did.”
Tags: Denver Broncos, indianapolis colts, John Elway, Peyton Manning, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
Growing up in the shadow of the Golden Dome, Braxston Cave always envisioned himself playing for the University of Notre Dame.
That dream became a reality for the Granger, Ind. product as Cave anchored the middle of the Fighting Irish offensive line with 35 starts over the last three seasons.
Cave has been a lineman since he began playing football and even though his college days are over, he still feels the continuity of five guys working towards a common goal during his draft workouts.
“Being pushed as an o-line, it’s not just pushing just one guy. It’s five guys you have to take to another level,” Cave, who is one of the strongest centers in the draft, said on Thursday at the 2013 NFL Combine.
“I’m training with four other guys out in California and we have a full line out there. It’s nice to have guys to compete and push. You’re with some of the top guys in the country so you know what the standard is and how you’re going to have to perform.”
This past season, Cave and the Irish performed at an extremely high level turning in an undefeated regular season and a spot in the BCS Championship.
With the combine taking place this week, Cave said he has tried to focus away from where he his name falls among on the other centers.
“That stuff seems to change every day. I put my work in the last four, five years. It’s all on film,” Cave said.
In 2012, Cave snapped for a balanced offensive attack that produced 2,462 yards on the ground and an additional 2,896 through the air in leading Notre Dame back to the National Title game.
The goal for Cave this week is showcasing his athletic ability that was not as displayed in the offensive system the Irish ran.
“In our offense, I was matched up one-on-one a lot so I didn’t really get to show my speed in the open field,” Cave said. “This will be nice to get out there and open it up.”
Posted in Colts Blog
Andy Reid has been down this road before.
Back in 1999, as a first-year head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid walked into a team with the No. 2 overall pick and looking for a franchise quarterback.
The Eagles struck gold with Syracuse signal caller Donavon McNabb and Philadelphia made six playoff appearance over the next eight seasons, after missing the postseason the previous 10 years.
After 14 seasons with the Eagles, Reid moves on to his next challenge with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last year the Chiefs struggled to a 2-14 record and enter the offseason with the No. 1 pick.
“It’s important that we go through and evaluate everybody,” Reid said at Thursday’s NFL Combine.
“You don’t go for need (at No. 1), you go for who the best player is, or who you perceive the best player to be is and you put them in there and that’s what you go with.”
Reid enters the fold with the Chiefs after a tumultuous 2012 where he his son, Garrett unexpectedly died during the Eagles training camp.
A 4-12 regular season would follow for Reid and the Eagles, and the longest tenured coach in the NFL would be fired on the final day of 2012.
Listening to Reid on Thursday though, the head coach seemed rearing to go on to the next chapter of his life.
“I am fired up to be here,” Reid said during his opening statement to the media.
“We’re getting everything moved in and getting settled down a little bit. I am looking forward to this whole process that we are going through here with the combine and all the personnel decisions that need to be made in the next few months here.”
Reid called the process in Kansas ‘a great challenge’ but there is no denying the stock piling of former first round picks that litter the Chiefs roster.
For the second straight season, the Chiefs will welcome the Colts to Arrowhead Stadium and Reid is anxious to return the energy back into one of the league’s most intimating environments.
“I think there is some good talent on (the Chiefs).”
“The players that I’ve talked to, they understand that you’ve got to give up a little to get some, to get a positive result. As they enter this offseason, they’ve got to really dedicate themselves, as do the coaches, to pull this thing together and make the Kansas City Chiefs better.”
Posted in Colts Blog
When Indianapolis visits San Francisco this year, it will be facing the defending NFC champions that feature a former Colt quarterback, Jim Harbaugh, as the head coach and a quarterback he tabbed, Colin Kaepernick, to get them past the NFC Championship hurdle the 49ers missed in 2011.
Harbaugh made a bold move in subbing quarterbacks late in the year, going from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick.
The offense prospered and San Francisco came within seconds of winning Super Bowl XLVII.
San Francisco General Manager Trent Baalke spoke Thursday at the combine about the quarterback the Colts may face in 2013.
“He’s a young man that brought an awful lot to the table,” said Baalke of Kaepernick. “He came out of an offense what was not a “pro style” offense. (He was) just a guy our coaching staff really believed in.
“Coach Harbaugh has done an outstanding job with him, as has Geep Chryst and Greg Roman. He still learns, still developing.”
The NFL can be a copycat league and non-traditional offenses being run in college are seeping into the league. Will it result in more mobile quarterbacks on the landscape?
“I think teams are paying more attention to it obviously,” said Baalke. “I’m not going to try to guess what 31 other teams are doing, but he certainly puts a little bit more pressure on the defense.
“I think it stresses the defense. The more that person can do, the more stress it puts on. Peyton Manning puts a lot of stress on defenses, too. You’ve got to meet the skill sets of your quarterback. As long as you do that, I think you’ve got a chance.”
Kaepernick was one of the most explosive forces for the 49ers. It was an inspired draft pick by San Francisco, a franchise that historically had outstanding signal-callers.
“It’s a lot easier to sit up here after a young man’s had success and say you pictured that, but there’s a lot of unknowns when you draft anybody,” said Baalke. “You look at skills sets, you look at the kid as an individual, you look at the intangibles that they bring to the table and you try to see if they fit. He’s a young man who brought an awful lot to the table.
“From a personnel standpoint, it was just letting him develop and giving him an opportunity.”
A Colts-49ers match-up will feature two quarterbacks nimble on their feet and productive in an offense in Kaepernick and Andrew Luck. Hopefully, it will be the first meeting of two quarterbacks that have significant careers for years to come.
One veteran voice believes the future of the position will look more like Luck.
“I think you’re going to see more Andrew’s (than Kaepernick’s),” said Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, Colin Kaepernick, indianapolis colts, San Francisco 49ers, Trent Baalke
Posted in Colts Blog
Flashback to four years ago and as a 230-pound graduating high school senior, Eric Fisher could hardly get Division I colleges to notice the tight end prospect.
He had a pair of MAC offers and there was still the question of whether or not he could put on the necessary weight to become a Division I offensive lineman.
Turn the clock to 2013 and the now 305-pound Fisher is on the minds of nearly every NFL general manager this week with the possibility of being the first offensive tackle selected in April’s NFL Draft.
“It’s just amazing watching my dream becoming a reality, slowly,” Fisher said at Thursday’s NFL Combine.
“Obviously there’s still 2 months till the draft and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get drafted as high as possible and make my dream complete, but it’s been absolutely amazing. Just a surreal experience.”
While Fisher grew into a dominant tackle in the MAC and the All-American honors followed, he still felt he had to prove himself at the Senior Bowl.
Going up against some of the nation’s finest defensive linemen, Fisher wowed scouts and has seen his stock blossom into a potential top-10 pick.
“I knew what I had to do to impress a lot of people and cancel all the doubt in people’s minds at the senior bowl so I went down there with a little chip on my shoulder, on a mission to prove to a lot of people who Eric Fisher is and what he’s made of,” Fisher said.
At this point it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Fisher will hear his name called in the first round of the 2013 draft.
When that time does come, Fisher will join San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley as the lone CMU products to become first round picks.
“It’s great having a role model like (Staley),” Fisher said. “I remember being recruited and seeing his picture up on the wall as a first-round tackle, and he was a tight end when he started out so he showed me that it was possible.”
“He’s gotten in touch with me recently and it’s great having somebody like that to look up to and be able to talk to about what to expect from the Senior Bowl, to the combine, to the pro day and then to the draft. It’s great keeping in touch with him.”
Fisher returns to the Midwest this week looking to supplant himself as the top tackle in this year’s class.
“That would be a huge, huge honor, and obviously a dream complete,” Fisher said.
Tags: Central Michigan, Eric Fisher, Joe Staley
Posted in Colts Blog
Ryan Grigson was very much at home Thursday talking about his football team to approximately 30 media members surrounding the podium at which he was located.
Grigson talked openly about his team. He was in a good mood because he was in the environment he loves the most – scouting for talent.
What a difference for Grigson from last year, when he was at a podium a few feet away not being able to speak in specific terms about very many matters.
Yesterday, he took a wide range of questions, even a hypothetical or two. It was an informative and fun give-and-take.
Grigson mentioned that he feels Chuck Pagano is back to being “Chuck,” and that one of his duties last year was to keep tabs to make sure the ill coach did not push himself back to the worksite too quickly.
Grigson also was asked if the team’s success had anything to do with Pagano’s illness.
“There’s no doubt with Chuck being ill it galvanized our team, and it really brought us together. Maybe sooner? No one really knows. Maybe sooner than it would have had he not (been ill),” said Grigson to a question where there is no ironclad answer.
What Grigson knows is he has a football coach who reaches players. Pagano is a field leader who provokes positive responses from his troops.
Pagano also established a foundation from which the team did not deviate in his 12-game absence.
“I feel we stayed to the plan when Chuck got sick,” said Grigson. “Bruce stuck to the plan, and I feel that’s why we were successful. I feel we laid as strong a foundation as possible because of what Chuck implemented from day one.”
Grigson and Pagano are taking their second trip around the block together. The 11-5 walk in 2012 was not easy, but it was fun.
Part of what made it so was the type of players the duo attracted and influenced. They are back at it.
“I know this, we look for the same type of guys this year that we looked for last year, guys that play snap-to-whistle. Guys that buy into Chuck’s philosophy, and that’s to play hard, physical, get in your book, do the right thing,” said Grigson. “All the things that make you great, that’s what we’re going to continue to do.
“I think we’re in a good place in terms of our culture and philosophy being intact going into next season.”
Tags: chuck pagano, indianapolis colts, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
This past season Andrew Luck was routinely asked about his matchups with some of his fellow rookie signal callers.
First, it was the preseason contest against the Redskins and Robert Griffin III.
Regular season matchups followed against the Browns and Brandon Weeden and lastly with the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill.
Luck always downplayed facing the quarterbacks that share the same draft class and he will have to do that once more in 2013 when Seattle and Russell Wilson travel to Indianapolis next season.
Wilson was the final quarterback selected of the five mentioned above yet he delivered with a postseason run that was a mere seconds from a berth in the NFL Championship.
Seattle general manager John Schneider cracked a rye smile on Thursday morning when asked if he envisioned the season Wilson provided the Seahawks in his rookie campaign.
“We liked (Wilson) a lot, but for me to tell you that he was going to do what he did in his first year I would be lying to you,” Schneider said.
“I didn’t think it would happened this fast.”
Schneider said that the ‘poised, intelligent and accurate’ Wilson that the NFL saw this season carried the same attributes coming out of college, but foreseeing a season like this was hard to imagine.
This past year, Wilson threw for 3,118 yards and tossed 26 touchdowns, compared to just 10 interceptions.
His ability to escape pressure kept numerous plays alive for the Seahawks offense and he rushed for 489 yards in 2013.
Trying to protect dual-threat quarterbacks was a hot topic at the combine on Thursday and Schneider offered his opinion on Wilson.
“I think Russell is also a guy that can stay in the pocket, deliver the ball and deliver it on time and is a guy that has a unique way of finding passing lanes and throw it with timing,” Schneider said.
For Wilson, the next move in the offseason is taking some time away from the gridiron.
Since playing in the 2012 Rose Bowl, Wilson has been in non-stop football mode according to Schneider.
With three rookie quarterbacks experiencing the playoffs in their first years in the NFL, there seems to be a race brewing to who will get to the Super Bowl first.
Seattle and Wilson were the closest last season and now is striving for the next step.
“We are trying to do things better than anybody’s ever done,” Schneider said. “That’s our goal every single day.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden, John Schneider, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Seattle Seahawks
Posted in Colts Blog
Alabama offensive tackle Barrett Jones was one of the reasons for Alabama’s success in 2012. The Crimson Tide won the national title.
Jones started 13 games at center, while his other 36 career starts came at right guard and left tackle.
Jones spoke at the combine on Thursday and was asked his favorite NFL team growing up.
Citing his Tennessee roots, Jones said he followed the Colts because of Peyton Manning. Asked later players he patterned himself after, Jones said Jeff Saturday specifically.
Saturday anchored the line for years in front of Manning, and an impressionable Jones certainly noticed.
One other parallel for Jones with Manning and Saturday was the in-game dust-up he had in the title game with quarterback A.J. McCarron. Jones and McCarron had a brief “discussion” during the Tide’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame.
The significance of the moment dissipated before the players returned to the sideline. It was reminiscent of the bench-area “discussion” Manning and Saturday had during the Colts’ 2005 game against St. Louis.
Captured by NFL Films and shown since, that moment for Manning and Saturday, too, blew over quickly. It is an amusing piece of film now. At the time, not so funny.
Jones tweaked the media about the matter Thursday, saying he wondered how long it would take for the question to be asked. He referred to the matter as, ‘Push-gate.”
Tags: A.J. McCarron, Barrett Jones, indianapolis colts, Jeff Saturday, Peyton Manning
Posted in Colts Blog
Hey! I’m back for another round of some notes. Since my last post was about hair for auditions, I thought I would talk about audition makeup since those two go hand in hand. Auditions are fast approaching so remember you can submit any kinds of questions to me! This is a good way to be as prepared as you can.
Your appearance is the first impression people get of you, so you want to make it a great one! Your makeup should compliment and highlight your natural features. You want to wear stage/performance makeup for auditions, so your everyday makeup isn’t going to be quite enough. You want your complexion to be as flawless as possible. Picking the right foundation and applying it correctly will do just that, so make sure you have the right shade and apply evenly to give you that perfect glow. You want to accentuate three main parts of your face, your eyes, cheeks and lips. You really want to make your eyes pop, use neutral shades of shadow that compliment your skin tone and, of course, eye liner and mascara. Using an eyeshadow primer is a great tool for making your makeup last all day. The first day of auditions is a long one and you don’t want to have to reapply your eyeshadow in the middle of the day. False eyelashes are a great way to give your eyes a little extra attention. They will make your lashes look longer, fuller or even both depending on the type you choose to wear. Accentuating the cheekbones is a great way to brighten up your whole face. I know many people don’t usually wear blush/bronzer, but for auditions I recommend it. Depending on your skin tone, you can use a bronzer or blush, just make sure you use your perfect shade. Now for lips, you want to make them defined. I know nude lips are trending right now and that’s fine for normal day wear, but when you are trying to be seen from a distance and have pictures taken of you, nude isn’t the best shade. Again, it’s all about picking the right shade for your skin tone. Just like your eyeshadow, you want to find a lipstick that will last and not wear off, and using a lip liner will help make that happen. A little tip about lips, try to stay away from any kind of gloss. We do a lot of what we call “hair-ography” and the last thing you want is hair stuck on your mouth while dancing or lip gloss all in your hair. One more tip, red lip stick is not always the best color. Yes, it is bright and noticeable, but sometimes it can look a little to dramatic. You might want to try a darker rose shade or mauve.
Another thing I want to talk about that kind of goes along with makeup is tanning. Tanning is in no way a “must” for anyone auditioning, but many girls like to have a little extra sun-kissed glow which is great, too. If you have never tanned before (UV bed or sunless), be very cautious of trying to for auditions. Most girls will just get spray tans. I know spray tans have a reputation for coming out orange or streaky, but there are some really great spray tan options out there! Sun Tan City is a sponsor of ours and they have a great Versa Spa sunless option. If you have never spray tanned and would like to, I highly recommend trying it out before auditions. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to it, so you want to see if it turns out well on you or not. If you are someone who chooses to tan in a UV bed, make sure you do not go overboard. Remember, a nice sun-kissed glow is the look you are trying to go for. You want your skin to look flawless, so coming in looking like a lobster or Oompa Loompa is not going to achieve that. A subtle glow will come off looking best.
I hope this is all helping you girls feel better prepared for auditions. Just a little more than 4 weeks until the big first day! Remember you can submit any kinds of questions to me through the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleader Facebook page or Twitter page using hash tag #NataliesNotes! Hopefully, I will see some of you at next weeks’ clinic!
Until next time,
Posted in Colts Cheerleading