Indianapolis Colts Football

COLTS ILB-JERRELL FREEMAN NAMED AFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Posted by coltsindianapolis on December 24, 2013 – 1:28 pm

The NFL today announced that Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 16. The award is the first of Freeman’s career and the fourth for the Colts this season (Andrew Luck – Player of the Week in Week 7, Robert Mathis – AFC Player of the Month in October and Adam Vinatieri – Player of the Week in Week 11).

Last week during the team’s 23-7 victory at Kansas City, Freeman recorded a team-leading seven tackles (three solo), 1.0 sack, two interceptions, one forced fumble and three passes defensed. It was his first career multiple-interception game and the picks were the second and third of his season. Freeman tied the franchise record for interceptions in a game by a linebacker, which was last accomplished on December 9, 2007 (Gary Brackett vs. Baltimore). With his sack, Freeman tied Larry Chester (6.5) for the third-most career sacks by a Colts undrafted player. He also set a club record for the most forced fumbles by a Colts undrafted player, topping Tony Siragusa’s previous mark of five.

Through 15 games this season, Freeman leads the team with 159 tackles (105 solo) while contributing with 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three interceptions, five passes defensed, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He posted his first career multiple-sack game (2.0) in a Week 2 contest at Miami and has led the team in tackles in 10 games this year.

2013 Colts AFC Player of the Week/Month Recipients
Week 7: Andrew Luck – AFC Offensive Player of the Week
October: Robert Mathis – AFC Defensive Player of the Month
Week 11: Adam Vinatieri – AFC Special Teams Player of the Week


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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS MAKE ROSTER MOVES

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 11:44 am

The Indianapolis Colts today signed linebacker Alan Baxter to the practice squad and placed defensive tackle Montori Hughes on Injured Reserve.

 

Baxter, 6-0, 238 pounds, was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent on April 27, 2013. He was then signed to the Steelers practice squad on September 1 and released on October 11. Baxter played in 52 career games (24 starts) at Northern Illinois and finished with 152 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and 16.0 sacks. As a senior in 2012, he was an All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection after leading the team with 9.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss.

 

Hughes was selected by the Colts in the fifth round (139th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. He appeared in four games this season, making seven tackles, including four solo stops.


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Five Things Learned, Colts-Kansas City

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 23, 2013 – 9:52 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis controlled every aspect of the game at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  The Colts did not allow a point, ran for 135 yards, forced four turnovers and had four sacks and won going away (23-7) in a very tough road venue.

INDIANAPOLIS – With one game left in the season, Indianapolis is in play to move to the AFC’s second playoff seed, or it could shift to third or stay put at fourth.

Regardless, it has been a season of accomplishment on all fronts, and the Colts are gearing for a 16th playoff berth in 30 seasons in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis was dominant at Kansas City on Sunday, bouncing back from a 7-0 deficit with 56 strong minutes on defense and with an offense that thrived accordingly.

A two-game winning streak has the Colts at 10-5 and creating momentum beyond next Sunday.

After the club’s fourth-largest victory margin and the fourth over an opponent with 10-plus wins, here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

OFFENSIVE LINE INTEGRITY – If Chuck Pagano had his way, Santa Claus might put a little something extra in the stockings of OL coaches Joe Gilbert and Hal Hunter.  The Colts started their seventh different line of the season Sunday at Kansas City, and it was the fifth straight week a different unit opened.  While Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn are regulars, along with tackles Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo, Xavier Nixon was making his first start at left guard.  Nixon, a natural tackle, made his career debut (in extended play) the previous week against Houston at right guard.  The Colts managed with a 10th 100-yard ground day, played turnover-free ball and Andrew Luck was sacked once.  While the offense is an 11-man operation, if the line doesn’t perform everything gets ugly (in all phases).  Kudos to the coaches and everyone associated with a stellar performance.

RESILIENCY IN GETTING BACK ON TRACK – A band of brothers hung tough after a 6-2 start went to an 8-5 juncture.  Indianapolis has rallied with two straight wins where every phase of the team performed well – particularly the defense and ground game.  The Colts have forced six turnovers and eight sacks in two games and have allowed only six-of-23 third downs to be converted.  The Colts led for the final 54 minutes against Houston and did not surrender a point at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  Indianapolis held the Texans without first downs on seven-of-14 possessions, including a five-possession marathon stretch.  While Houston had no post-season designs, Kansas City did, and Indianapolis shutout the Chiefs on five-of-seven drives, while one that did yield a first down ended two snaps later with a fumble.  The season never was in extreme jeopardy, but a five-game lull tested moxie around the locker room.

MAKING YOURSELF RELEVANT – Chuck Pagano used the phrase about Griff Whalen in training camp and while Whalen has done a very good job of doing so, Donald Brown has done a whale of a job.  Brown on Sunday scored on a 33-yard reception and a 51-yard run.  It was the first scoring run beyond 50 yards for Indianapolis in 33 games, and Brown had that last one as well in 2011.  Brown has a 5.6 average on 90 rushes, bucking to become only the fourth Colts back ever to have a 5.0 average on 80 seasonal attempts.  It has been done just once in the team’s Indianapolis era (George Wonsley, 1985), and Brown has contributed 24 receptions for two more scores.  Undervalued by many outside observers, Brown has cast himself in a much different public light.  His integrity and ethic are exemplary in all areas.

TEN WINS TRULY NOTEWORTHY – Indianapolis had a nine-year streak (at the time the NFL’s second-longest in history) with 10-plus wins end in 2010.  Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have reconstructed a roster where only 10 players remain from 2010 and before.  Indianapolis has gotten to 10 wins in a year when a league-high 72 players have been pressed into service.  Getting to 10 wins is an accomplishment for any team and though this is the 13th in 30 seasons in Indianapolis, it is only right to acknowledge achievement.

PLAY TO WIN – Pagano was vocal in recent weeks about the NFL scheduling 16 games and that he intends to play them all.  Indianapolis still can grab the coveted second seed.  The Colts could jump to third or stay fourth.  Regardless, he plays to win and this Sunday should be no different.  Pagano has instilled a process around the team in which players buy in and excel.  The process sustained through his 12-game absence last year and with his full-time presence this year.  So much of coaching is messaging to players.  Players buy Pagano’s message.


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What does Sunday’s win mean for the Colts and the playoffs?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 22, 2013 – 5:08 pm

Thanks to a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Colts have kept hopes alive for a potential bye.

The Colts (10-5) will need to beat Jacksonville (4-11) at Lucas Oil Stadium next week and get a little help from the Bengals and Patriots to have that happen.

Right now the Colts still sit in the 4th spot of the AFC Playoffs.

If New England loses either today to Baltimore or against Buffalo next week, then the Colts will jump them in the AFC Playoff Picture.

If Cincinnati loses next week to Baltimore, then the Colts will jump them.

The Colts will finish anywhere from the 2-4 spot in the AFC.

Here’s a look at the current AFC Playoff Picture (as of 5:07 p.m. EST on Sunday):

1.  Denver (11-4, 8-3 in the AFC): Has clinched the AFC West.

-Remaining Schedule: @Raiders

2.  New England (10-4, 7-3 in the AFC): Can clinch a playoff spot with a Bengals loss. Can clinch the AFC East with a win or a Miami loss.

-Remaining Schedule: @Ravens, Bills

3.  Cincinnati (10-5, 8-4 in the AFC): Has clinched a playoff spot. Can clinch the AFC North with a win and a Baltimore loss.

-Remaining Schedule: Ravens

4.  Indianapolis (10-5, 8-3 in the AFC): Has won the AFC South.

-Remaining Schedule: Jaguars

5.  Kansas City (11-4, 7-4 in the AFC): Has clinched a playoff spot.

-Remaining Schedule: @Chargers

6.  Baltimore (8-6, 6-4 in the AFC): Can clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Miami loss and a Chargers loss.

-Remaining Schedule: Patriots, @Bengals


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Colts do not travel six players to Kansas City

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 21, 2013 – 7:23 pm

On Friday, the Colts designated five players to be doubtful for Sunday’s game – safety Sergio Brown, guard Jeff Linkenbach, defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, guard Joe Reitz and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.

Among players listed as questionable to participate was guard Hugh Thornton.

All of those players were declared out for Sunday’s game today.

A banged-up Colts team was limited through many parts of the roster in preparation for Kansas City.

To help bolster an offensive line depleted of three guards, Indianapolis elevated Thomas Austin off the practice squad Saturday and released running back Shaun Draughn.

The Colts’ line will be operating with a seventh different starting alignment on Sunday that could include rookie Xavier Nixon at left guard.  A natural tackle, Nixon played 61 plays at right guard last Sunday against Houston when Reitz left with a concussion.

The state of the line on Friday caused Chuck Pagano to say, “It’s like everybody else.  We’re not the only (team) that’s pregnant right now.  We got what we got.  We got a job to go do, and we’re going to get it done.  Try to find a way.”

The Colts have used a league-high 71 players this year and will be starting a different offensive line in a fifth straight game.

Indianapolis will be facing potent Kansas City special teams return units, and Brown has been the club’s top specialty performer this season.  Brown was hurt during last week’s game, and this is his first missed outing.

Francois has missed the past two contests and could be ready for the Jacksonville finale.

Indianapolis is the lone NFL team to clinch a division title.  The Colts currently are the AFC’s fourth seed, with division leaders Denver, New England and Cincinnati owning better records.

Kansas City at 11-3 is tied with Denver record-wise, but the Chiefs lost both games to the Broncos and would need to finished with a better record in the last two games to wrest the AFC West crown.

A loss to Kansas City would cement the fourth seeding for the Colts.  Indianapolis could move to the second seed with two wins to close the season, if Baltimore could win its final two outings.


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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS MAKE ROSTER MOVES

Posted by coltsindianapolis on – 8:58 am

The Indianapolis Colts today elevated center Thomas Austin from the practice squad to the active roster and waived running back Shaun Draughn.

Austin, 6-4, 310 pounds, has competed in seven career games (one start) with the Houston Texans (2011) and Carolina Panthers (2012). He was signed by the Colts as a free agent on August 1, 2013 before being signed to the practice squad on September 1.

Draughn was signed by the Colts as a free agent on December 17, 2013. In 20 career games, he has totaled 63 carries for 235 yards and two touchdowns.


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Robert Mathis “honored” to be in discussion for Defensive Player of the Year

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 20, 2013 – 2:00 pm

The Colts defense is playing a game of ping-pong in the locker room.

There’s Robert Mathis answering questions about being under consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, yet giving all the credit to his teammates.

Around the locker room there’s Mathis defensive teammates throwing it right back to No. 98.temp2013_1215_HOU_3908--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

No matter who is right or wrong, there’s no denying that Mathis is in the talk for 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.

Mathis is a man of few words but his league-leading 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles do plenty of talking.

“I would credit that more to our defense then just the individual on it,” Mathis says of his name being in the discussion.

“It takes a lot of guys around him, from secondary, up to our nose tackle. Especially the d-line, they take pride in getting me to the quarterback. It would be a team accomplishment more than an individual.”

When Mathis was chosen in the fifth round of the 2003 draft, he was simply trying to find a spot on special teams.

Now 11 years later, Mathis is turning in a career-year at the age of 32 and garnering the deserving national attention.

What impresses Mathis’ teammates so much is how he has gone about piling up his sacks/forced fumbles.

Mathis acknowledges his consideration for such a honor but he, and his teammates, make it clear that he’s racking up these numbers within the framework of the defense.

“Win it or not, it’s an honor to be considered,” Mathis says.

“It’s a team sport so you’ve got to be a team guy. You can make plays being a team guy. That’s the message. You don’t have to be selfish. Just do your job and good things will happen.”


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Live Chat Today at 2:00 p.m. EST

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:00 am

Looking for a place to have your Colts questions answered at the end of the week? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

On Friday, I will host a one-hour chat called “Horseshoe Roundup” beginning at 2:00 p.m EST.

The chat will cover a variety of topics with the focus being the pertinent news during that time period. I will take your questions and try to answer as many as I can during the hour.

For this week, the Colts are 9-5 and in the thick of trying to earn a playoff bye.

What were your thoughts on the Colts 25-3 win over the Houston Texans last weekend?

How do you think the Colts will handle the environement at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday against the 11-3 Chiefs?

Feel free to join the chat via this link around 2:00 p.m. on Friday (scroll to the bottom of the page) and we will talk for an hour about whatever is on your mind.


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Key to Future 3rd Down Success is Finding Managebale Situations

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 19, 2013 – 2:20 pm

The slow starts for the Colts offense over the past two months have been difficult to put a finger on.

A lack of execution has been the most frequent answer from many Colts players.

When it boils down though, the inability to sustain drives due to a 5-of-40 third-down performance in first halves is the most alarming number.

That was the case heading into Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans.

However, a 5-of-5 third-down effort followed in the first quarter and it was no coincidence that led to a 20-3 halftime lead.

Here are a few reasons why the Colts were so successful in the first half on Sunday:

3rd and manageable: Of the five conversions in the first quarter, four came in third-and-three or smaller situations. The Colts got into those down and distances thanks to plenty of first-down success. The Colts had gains of 7, 0, 7, 5 and 8 yards on first-down during those five conversions. In possessing the ball for 11:05 of the opening quarter, the Colts can point directly to ample first-down success in allowing for more manageable third-down conversions.

1st down success: Building off that point, the Colts averaged 4.5 yards on their 28 first-down plays on Sunday. The Colts gained at least 5 yards on 11 separate first-down plays against the Texans. A reason why the Colts did not see the same third-down success the rest of the game is that 9 of those 11 plays of at least five yards came in the opening quarter. After the first quarter, the Colts had just two third-downs that were less than a 3rd-and-5 situation. That relates directly to fewer “big” plays on first down.

Pep Hamilton’s thoughts: The next step for the Colts offense comes in trying to build off the sustained drives they showed early on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs are second in the NFL in allowing just 31.9 percent conversions on third-down.

“Having that run/pass threat on third-down makes it more feasible to convert third-downs,” Hamilton said on Thursday. “It’s our goal to be efficient on first and second down and, if there is a third-down, make sure that it’s third-and-short-or-medium.


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Reggie Wayne talks the feeling when he learned of his torn ACL and a possible life after football on radio show

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:00 am

On Tuesday, it was once again the “Reggie Wayne Show” with Queary and Schultz.

The one-hour show aired on WNDE here are some of the highlights from No. 87:

On the fast start on Sunday:

“It was a good game, real good. Our mentality was to come out do the things we’ve been trying to do. That’s to start fast and just keep our foot on the gas pedal. That’s kind of how it was. It was a great team victory, all three phases.”

On the play of Griff Whalen:

“He’s a true professional. He’s what you look for in a teammate. He never pouts. He just waits for his number to get called. He’s been on the active roster. He’s been on the practice squad, been going back and forth. One thing about Griff, he played at Stanford. He’s been with Pep Hamilton. He understands the offense. He knows Andrew pretty good. He can play any position.

“He just sits back, waits on his number to be called. He was doing it all. He was doing offensive stuff. He was returning punts. I think it kind of surprised everybody that he was returning punts. He practiced that all week, got his opportunity and made some great plays for us.”

On the feeling when he found out that he had torn his ACL

“I saw the long face of my head trainer, Dave Hammer, saw a couple of my trainers look at me like, ‘Sorry, dude.’ I already knew what it was. My dark time came from the time (Hammer) told me that I had a torn ACL. From that time it probably went from there until another 2-3 hours. They told me that then I drove home and shared the news with my family and kind of put my head together with my family and figured out what I was going to do from that point on, along with a couple of tears, here and there.

“I played in 189 games in a row, that was tough. That was probably the toughest thing of it. I take so much pride in just answering that bell every week. I just want to be out there with my teammates. That’s why I’m still here. That’s why I’m on the sideline. I just want to be out there with him. That was the toughest thing for me. Then after that it was on to rehab and move forward.”

On if Wayne would ever pursue a career in television after his playing days are over:

“I’m not against it. If the opportunity is right, if the timing is right, I’m all for it. I do also want to enjoy my family. I have beautiful kids, a beautiful wife, who’ve put the sacrifice in throughout my career. I want to make sure that I enjoy every bit of all that stuff. If the opportunity came and the timing and stuff was right, I’m all for it. If not, I’ll be one of those guys with my feet in the sand, on the Corona commercial.”


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