Over the past few weeks, Colts fans attention on the status of Da’Rick Rogers rivals that of any player on the team.
Could it be this weekend for the rookie wide receiver?
“I would venture to say that’s a good probability,” Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday when asked if the four current receivers on the 53-man roster will be active this weekend.
The enthrallment in Rogers stems from him leading the SEC with 67 receptions for 1,040 yards during his 2011 season at Tennessee.
Off the field issues caused Rogers to go undrafted this past April but it appears he’s beginning to realize that the clock is ticking on his chances.
“I’ve been doing everything Coach Pagano has asked of me and a little more,” Rogers said on Wednesday. “Coming in early, staying late, putting in the extra work I need to get acclimated from the offense, letting these guys know I’m here learning and helping the team out.”
Pagano talked about that acclimation period that players go through when making the move from a practice squad (where they are mostly scout team players during practice) to the 53-man roster (where they are actually running the Colts playbook at practice).
Now, it’s extended reps with Andrew Luck and the Colts quarterback likes what he sees from the 6-3, 215-pound Rogers.
“He’s been doing a great job, focused, done a great job learning the playbook so I’m excited for him and excited about him,” Luck said.
And Pagano’s thoughts on Rogers?
“Now he’s at a point where he’s picked things up and we are going to put him out there and give it a shot,” Pagano said of Rogers.
“He’s a big, athletic, talented guy. He’s put in the time, been here early, stays late so I’m fully confident that the kid can go out there and make a play for us.””
Rogers knows the Colts are searching for some production from a receiver not named and T.Y. Hilton and the rookie is relishing the chance to make an impact.
“Coach Pagano has put that pressure on us. “That pressure makes dominance so just go out there and do what you go to do,” Rogers said.
“It’s football. It’s a child’s game and we just got to go out and execute.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, da'rick rogers, T.Y. Hilton
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Andrew Luck made an appearance on the NFL Network on Monday, the day after the Colts’ 40-11 loss at Arizona left them at 7-4.
The Colts maintain a two-game lead on Tennessee in the AFC South chase and host the Titans on Sunday in a key contest.
A victory Sunday and one in one of the remaining four games (at Cincinnati, vs. Houston, at Kansas City, vs. Jacksonville) would hand the Colts their eighth AFC South crown and the first since 2010.
Luck weighed in on some questions surrounding the club:
- On reasons Indianapolis has fallen behind in the first halves of the last four games:
“A myriad of factors but really at the end of the day it’s lack of execution. Credit to the other teams as well, but we’re not handling our business; I know from the offensive perspective, I’m not doing a good enough job getting completions, getting first downs, getting drives together which usually end up in points if you can get some first downs. So lack of execution and we’re working on it. Guys are anxious and excited to get back on the practice field and work on it. We understand you can’t survive your mistakes forever, as evident by this past weekend [against Arizona], so we’ll keep working on it.”
- On what are the biggest issues facing the Colts moving forward:
“Again, it’s lack of execution. The slow start [against Arizona] definitely hurt; I know I need to pick my game up, I know everybody else in the locker room feels the same way. It’s one guy here, and the next play maybe it’s another guy, the next play it’s another guy. We all just have to get back on the same page and get back on the practice field and work at it.”
- On if the game plan is to get Trent Richardson and Donald Brown involved a little bit more with wide receiver Reggie Wayne out for the rest of the season:
“I think with Reggie [Wayne] out it’s an opportunity for a lot of guys, not just the running backs, but our wideouts, tight ends to get involved. We know when we’ve been successful we’ve been able to run the football. Last weekend we didn’t do a great job of running the football, and a lot of that falls on me to make sure we’re getting in the right play. So we know when Trent’s rolling, when Donald Brown is rolling, that usually means our team is rolling.”
- On how big this weekend’s game against the Tennessee Titans is:
“It’s huge. In my short career so far, I’ve realized that every game is huge in the NFL, especially when it’s a division game at home against a salty, good team in Tennessee. It’s always fun to play them because we know it’s going to be a heavyweight fight.”
KELLEY’S VIEW: The mood of the fans is of understandable concern, but they should be heartened by the ability of the team to respond to challenges. Four games without Reggie Wayne have added to the difficulty of competing, but a time-tested process is in place that will work with accompanying execution. It’s not a very popular answer, but it is the appropriate one.
There are 52 players on the roster in addition to Luck. Each player needs to do his part (Luck and many are), and it’s good to hear leaders pointing toward themselves in saying they must produce at their highest individual level.
The margin of error shrunk a little with the Arizona loss, but no goals have been lost. The team controls its own destiny.
While the Colts have beaten Tennessee nine of the last 10, half have been by one-score margins. The last three have included comebacks.
It will be an exciting day in the stadium. Players want to atone for a 38-8 loss in their last home appearance. Tennessee is one of six teams at 5-6, and they harbor legitimate post-season hopes.
Tags: Andrew Luck, indianapolis colts
Posted in Colts Blog | 1 Comment »
Andrew Luck was a guest of Reggie Wayne’s earlier this week on the “Query and Schultz Show” in Indianapolis.
While Wayne joined the show for the first time since his injury, Luck was making his debut.
Here are some of Luck’s highlights from the show:
On having Reggie Wayne back for the Houston game and now in the building:
“I don’t think he could survive sitting at home, watching the guys play without him. His drive and his motivation, even being hurt, he’s still such a locker room presence, still such a voice for the team. I think we wanted him back. Obviously, Mr. Irsay made it happen with whatever strings he pulled. I was very happy to see Reggie walk into the team meeting the night before the game and give us some words and it means a lot when he’s here. It really does.”
On Wayne’s presence now around the complex:
“You can tell he’s taken on more of a coaching role in a sense and breaking it down for T.Y. Hilton, LaVon Brazill or the other guys, or helping (Coby) Fleener out with releases. He’s still incredibly actively involved because again he’s still apart of the Colts fabric. I can’t imagine the Colts without Reggie Wayne. You just don’t imagine it, so I’m thankful he’s around.”
On how the Colts offense is adjusting to life without Wayne:
“It’s definitely a transition. I think what I always admired about Reggie was third down he made a play. When you needed to make a play in the fourth quarter he was open, you needed a two-minute drive, Reggie was getting open. So to lose that safety net, if you will, is different. But I’ve been really impressed with how the other receivers, tight ends, have approached it as a challenge as the guy that gets open on a big third down.”
On Trent Richardson:
“I think he’s done great and I think it’s unfair the flak that he’s been catching from folks. They don’t understand what he’s doing protection wise, what he’s doing coming out of the backfield and how tough it is to switch teams midseason. He’s in Cleveland on a Wednesday then he’s in Indianapolis on a Thursday preparing for third down against another team. Never seen a playbook before, new teammates, new everything. I think the way he’s been able to adjust has been great. He’s a smart, smart football player. He’s a great football player. I think it will be a short amount of time before people get their heads around that.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Coby Fleener, david reed, Jim Irsay, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B | 2 Comments »
Down 17-3 and having been out-scored 69-6 in the first halves of the last three games, the Colts captured something that led to another comeback win, this time at Tennessee, 30-27.
That something was ‘Mo’ – momentum.
It started on a 68-yard drive in the final 2:32 of the first half when the Colts navigated for an Adam Vinatieri 30-yard field goal at the gun.
Andrew Luck found rhythm (a cousin of ‘Mo’) on the drive by connecting with six different receivers on the march, good for 62 yards. A third-down interference call extended the drive early on – ‘Mo.’
“You can feel it,” said Luck. “We wish we didn’t have to rely on momentum to do that, but it’s a part of sports. It’s a weird phenomenon. You could feel it.”
An 18-year veteran, Vinatieri can sense intangibles, and he felt it when the club narrowed its halftime deficit to 17-6.
“It was important to get the momentum back,” said Vinatieri. “To put it back to 11 for some reason feels better.”
The Colts shaved the margin closer with a 74-yard march where Luck converted third downs with passes to T.Y. Hilton and Griff Whalen. He even scrambled 13 yards for a first down.
To close the final 14 yards of the march, Luck connected with Hilton for eight yards, then Donald Brown burst off left tackle for the score.
“You kind of feel it,” said Hilton. “We’ve been down that road time and time again. Once we start to click……”
The ball came out on the ensuing kickoff return and special teamer Daniel Herron made a play.
“The wedge was coming to me,” said Herron. “The next thing I know, I turned around and the ball was right there. Right place, right time.”
Pat Angerer notice how ‘Mo’ visited a number of teammates.
“Yeah, it’s just one guy making a play after another,” said Angerer. “We never get down.”
Be it Luck, luck, the horseshoe or ‘Mo,’ it’s better to have than not.
“Credit these guys,” said Chuck Pagano. “They find a way. We just gained momentum and held on.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Daniel Herron, donald brown, Griff Whalen, indianapolis colts, pat angerer, T.Y. Hilton
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Throughout the course of the season, Colts.com will run a “Newcomer of the Week” following each regular season game. With the Colts having an influx of the newcomers this season here’s a look at the “Newcomer of the Week” from Tennessee.
This week’s “Newcomer of the Week” comes in a combo effort on the Colts offensive line.
Free agent right tackle Gosder Cherilus and rookie left guard Hugh Thornton helped pave the way for a 137-yard effort on 32 carries Thursday night.
The Colts are now 11-0 when rushing at least 30 times since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Chuck Pagano summed it up pretty directly when describing the offensive line’s mindset heading into Nashville.
“They took this personal,” Pagano said of the offensive line.
For a majority of the season, the Colts offensive line has been under heavy scrutiny.
Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton has not wavered in his belief of the Colts rushing attack and games like Thursday night are the reason why he has faith in the ground game.
The unit helped pave massive holes in the second half with the Colts rushing for over 100 yards for the seventh time this season.
“What a great job up front by the o-linemen,” quarterback Andrew Luck said after the game. “Staney Havili, the tight ends, Trent [Richardson] and Donald [Brown] getting tough, tough yards. We know to win football games consistently we are going to have to run the football well. We did a decent job in the first half. I think the game sort of dictated that we couldn’t run it as much as we wanted, but I think it was great to settle down and to get points at the end of the half and to start the second half with points was big.
“To get that run game going, and that last drive, what a great job. It’s tough in the fourth quarter for o-linemen when you continually pound and pound and pull and block and hit. They did a heck of a job.
Other Newcomers of Note:
-Running back Daniel Herron was in the right place at the right time when he pounced on a fumbled kickoff return midway through the third quarter. The turnover gave the Colts the ball at the Titans 20-yard line.
-Outside linebacker Erik Walden bounced back from a foolish first half penalty to record four tackles (two for a loss) and had a sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
-Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois sniffed out a second-half screen pass for a tackle for loss, which forced a Titans field goal attempt.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Daniel Herron, donald brown, erik walden, gosder cherilus, Hugh Thornton, Ricky Jean-Francois, Stanley Havili, trent richardson
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Intro: Indianapolis suffered a 38-8 setback to the Rams, the first-ever NFL game that ended by that score and the club’s largest-margin loss of the season. Here are Five Things Learned from Sunday.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are 6-3 and lead the AFC South by two games, but the game that dropped Indianapolis from two to three losses was a 38-8 home defeat to St. Louis.
The Rams scored touchdowns offensively, defensively and on special teams before the game was 20 minutes old. Indianapolis was not able to get on track the rest of the day.
The Colts have four days to rebound in facing Tennessee in Nashville on Thursday Night Football. The Titans are 4-5 and are the Colts’ nearest divisional competitor.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
COMEBACKS NOT THE BLUEPRINT – During the week, Andrew Luck said the Colts would not be able to survive their mistakes forever. Miscues in every phase of the game put the Colts behind by three touchdowns before 20 minutes ticked off the clock. Twice under Luck and Chuck Pagano, the Colts have rallied from 18-point deficits to win. The franchise record for the largest deficit overcome is 21 points on four occasions. No one wants this scenario, and Luck likely would prefer that an 11th comeback win in late, dramatic fashion doesn’t happen any time soon. Early execution can avoid these deficits. It has not been a consistent part of this team’s DNA, but it doesn’t mean it cannot become so going forward.
EFFORT NOT ISSUE – Pagano made clear his team battled for 60 minutes Sunday, though the field was tilted heavily against it quickly. He is correct. The team will not give up its fight. Improving the techniques, fundamentals and communication can yield the desired results. Pagano has a “process” instilled in this team. He told it Sunday to give credit where it is due – to the Rams – then put the game behind it and move on. It’s the only approach. Dismissing problems is not done in Pagano’s program. Correcting ills is the tactic. It starts today and will be on display again Thursday in Nashville.
PROTECTION IMPROVEMENT – St. Louis was the NFL’s top team with one quarterback sack per 9.8 attempts, and Indianapolis knew this going in. In less than three minutes clock time, Luck suffered a sack-strip-touchdown. The Colts knew going in protection was a premium. Luck had been taken down four times among 11 hits at Houston. Sunday was three more sacks and seven hits. A team with an elite quarterback like Luck is going to have protect their asset with schemes, chips and protection from backs. Anthony Castonzo said there was a misjudgment in protection on that first play. Pagano stressed execution is the issue. In seven remaining games, the target is for marked improvement in this area.
WINNING FIELD POSITION – Putting pressure on an opponent can be helped by winning the field position edge. St. Louis clearly did so in the first half Sunday, averaging its five-possession half with a start point at its 40. Indianapolis had seven possessions in the half with an average start at its 15-yard line. The Colts had six punts and turnover. Indianapolis did not start a drive outside its 35 until St. Louis had scored all its points. Kickoff returns netted the Colts starts at their 35, 7, 7, 20, 13, 13 and 20. Field position is not an intangible among statistics.
RED ZONE/THIRD DOWNS – The Colts did not convert a third down at Houston until the third quarter and then not until their eighth attempt. For the game, they were four-of-13. The Colts were one-for-eight Sunday against St. Louis in the opening half and two-for-12 for the game. Extending drives lies in execution and staying in manageable situations. The club has converted 13 of its last 52 third downs over four games, a total that needs juicing. A heavily-tilted scoreboard took the Colts out of typical game situations and precipitated aggressive play calls. Indianapolis scored on one-of-five red zone chances against St. Louis. Entering the game, the Colts were 11th in the NFL in TD percentage in the red zone with 15 TDs in 25 trips (60%). Prior to Sunday, Indianapolis had not failed to score in the red zone (25 trips, 15 TDs/10 FGs). It was the NFL’s only perfect red zone scoring percentage. The club now is tied-for-17th with 16 TDs in 30 trips, and its total red zone scoring percentage is 86.7.
Tags: Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, chuck pagano, indianapolis colts
Posted in Colts Blog | 8 Comments »
Reggie Wayne’s loss has been analyzed in about every aspect.
One of the main areas that people focused on with Wayne’s loss is where Andrew Luck would turn to on third-down.
It’s no secret Wayne was Luck’s “security blanket” and the Colts signal caller would have to look elsewhere to sustain drives.
The Colts had 13 third downs on Sunday with Luck dropping back to pass on 12 of those occasions (Luck had 11 pass attempts, was sacked once and Donald Brown had one rush attempt).
Against the league’s top pass defense, Luck was 5-of-11 for 50 yards (4 first downs) and a touchdown on third-down. He had an 89.2 quarterback rating on third-down.
Here’s a breakdown of those attempts:
- T.Y. Hilton’s targets-Hilton was the most frequent target on third-down with five targets including two second-half completions (one that went for a 10-yard touchdown). Hilton bounced back from an early drop with some important catches down the stretch and one would have to imagine the defensive attention will only increase towards No. 13 on the third downs.
- Griff Whalen’s targets-Whalen was similar to Hilton in his number of targets on third-down with Luck turning towards his college roommate in times of duress. Whalen’s 17-yard catch on the eventual game winning touchdown drive came from a clean pocket for Luck. Whalen was lined up on Houston’s nickel cornerback on many third downs, another reason for his four targets on those downs.
- Other targets-Luck only targeted Darrius Heyward-Bey once (DHB missed the entire 4th quarter due to injury) and many other times Luck was under intense pressure which forced some balls into crowded coverage. Moving forward, the attention that Hilton receives from opposing defenses will greatly impact the targets for Coby Fleener and DHB on third-down.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, darrius heyward-bey, donald brown, Griff Whalen, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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Andrew Luck guided the Colts to a 10th comeback win in his 24th start last Sunday at Houston, 27-24, keeping the Colts in first place in the AFC South and thrilling NFL fans with another outstanding performance in the clutch.
After the Colts trailed at halftime, 21-3, Luck directed the Colts to 24 second-half points and punctuated his passing night (18-of-40, 271 yards) with three touchdowns to T.Y. Hilton – 10, 58 and nine yards.
The touchdown passes came on three successive drives and allowed the Colts to match the sixth-largest comeback win in franchise history.
It was the third time this year Luck has directed a comeback win, and it moved the team’s record to 13-2 in the last two years in games decided by seven points or less.
Luck continues to place himself among the league’s top performers. For his efforts last week, he is a nominee for two awards – the FedEx Air Player-of-the-Week and the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week.
Voting for those awards, plus the Pro Bowl is being conducted on http://www.nfl.com.
Tags: Andrew Luck, indianapolis colts
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With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.
Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s 27-24 victory in Houston:
On the play of Andrew Luck on Sunday night:
“Right when you think you’ve seen the special, special plays, the ability that Andrew possesses in making plays, doing things for this team, he just one ups it again. He’s remarkable. He’s unflappable. He’s got a positive outlook and approach on everything. He shoulders all the blame. He puts everything on his shoulders. He puts that whole offense on his back and he just looks everyone of those guys in the eye and says, ‘Hey, we are going to get this thing done. We are going to take this thing down the field and we are going to score. We are going to score again.’ The guy is just an incredible, incredible talent but what a leader. We are very fortunate to have him under center.”
On Reggie Wayne talking to team Saturday night:
“That’s Reggie. I had nothing to do with it. We’ve got a great owner in Mr. Irsay that made that thing possible and made that happen. Reggie being Reggie, we say he’s already ahead of schedule. He’s gets the green light from Dr. Uribe down in Miami on Thursday because we had been talking about it. It had been killing him to be away even for one day in going down for the surgery last Friday. It was just killing him to be away from here obviously. Thank God we’ve got the owner we’ve got and having Reggie healthy enough and able enough to say…and he didn’t say much but what he said was so impactful and meant so much to our guys.”
On Pagano’s halftime message:
“Well, this being a family network (laughs) I can’t really go there. But no, all kidding aside Bob, we’ve been there many times before. It’s not a place we want to be. We don’t try to be there but we certainly know that we are more than capable of mounting a comeback, no matter what the circumstances are. We just said, ‘Hey look, nothing in the first half resembled what Colts football is. Let’s go back to fundamentals, go back to technique, do our job and play it better.’ That’s what our guys did sticking to the process.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Reggie Wayne
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are 6-2 and have a two-game AFC South lead at the season’s midpoint. The wins that followed a loss at San Diego came in dramatic style over unbeaten Denver and against a 2-5 Houston group fighting for its 2013 survival.
The Colts produced a 10th comeback win under Chuck Pagano by wiping out an 18-point halftime deficit in a 27-24 victory at Houston. Plays were made across the board in keeping a two-game AFC South lead over Tennessee.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
PERFECT WITH PERFECTION – The Colts are 7-0 under Pagano (3-0 in 2013) in turnover-free performances. That the club has seven in 24 outings (almost 30 percent of the time) is a pretty healthy percentage and is a testament to his ball security preaching. Prior to Pagano, it took a 37-game span back to 2010 to encompass seven spotless performances. The Colts’ six giveaways lead the league. Only four other teams are in single digits. Three of those seven miscue-free games have been on the road, further evidence of the ability to play like Pagano preaches.
OVERCOME ADVERSITY – Houston sucker-punched the Colts one minute into the game with a long TD pass. Adam Vinatieri had a field goal blocked moments later to the delight of the Houston fans, but the defense held on third- and fourth-and-one rushes to thwart the Texans. One possession later, a near blocked punt helped set up a short field and a second Houston TD in the opening quarter. After replay overturned what appeared to be a recovered fumble on a kickoff return, Houston added its third TD for an 18-point lead. It came on a gut punch with 34 seconds left in the first half, a time when late scores can damage a team’s mindset. The Colts hung tough on the road and after trading field goals in the third quarter, scored on three straight drives to take the lead. It was producing and being non-judgmental in adversity. “Chuck (Pagano) puts into us the ‘never-give-up’ spirit,” said Anthony Castonzo. “It’s a trickle-down effect. Everybody buys in. We’re all 100 percent in on every play. There’s no give-up in this game.”
LUCK REMAINS MASTERFUL – With 10 game-winning drives in fourth quarter and overtime, Andrew Luck has the most of any quarterback in the first two years of a career since 1970. Luck’s manner in the huddle and calm leadership style affects teammates deeply. “Andrew basically takes control of the huddle. He’s telling us, ‘One play at a time, one play at a time.’ He’s focused,” said Castonzo of Luck, who must have read Kipling while earning his architecture at Stanford. Even after the latest Houdini act, Luck credits teammates and coaches first. There is no “I” in Luck. If a player can have a virtuoso career after 24 games, Luck has done it.
LINEBACKERS MORE THAN MATHIS – Houston was able to neutralize Robert Mathis probably better than any team this year. Still, Erik Walden had a 10-yard second-quarter sack of Case Keenum that preceded a missed field goal that would have put Houston up, 17-0. After the Colts took the 27-24 lead with four minutes left, Mathis and Angerer stopped Ben Tate for short yardage around midfield, then Angerer stayed at home and dropped Keenum for a three-yard loss on a Pistol keeper, a superb one-on-one effort. On the ensuing play, Mathis contained Keenum and Angerer delivered a hit on Keenum’s release. Keenum’s pass hit Walden in the facemask and Mathis nearly corralled the ball for a touchdown. Three linebackers, three plays in the clutch, and the Colts forced a punt. While Angerer’s 12 tackles topped the team, Walden was in the middle of key moments for a second straight game.
PRODUCTION PAST WIDE RECEIVERS – With Reggie Wayne gone for the season, developing production past the wide receiving corps is a must. Luck hit wide receivers 12 times in 29 targets, with more plays being made in the second half than the first. Indianapolis was able to get three receptions from Coby Fleener, plus a critical two-point snare. Trent Richardson had two receptions, including a 24-yarder that set up T.Y. Hilton’s third TD. Success in spreading the ball paid dividends, and the club must continue that as Luck’s cohesion with wide outs continues to develop.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, chuck pagano, Coby Fleener, erik walden, indianapolis colts, pat angerer, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis, trent richardson
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