Indianapolis Colts Football

Play of Coby Fleener should not go unnoticed in Colts offensive attack

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 1, 2013 – 8:55 am

Over the past few weeks, the “Next (Men) Up” in the Colts backfield and offensive line have received the headlines.

Yet, there’s Coby Fleener going about his business following Dwayne Allen being placed on injured reserve after Allen played in Week One.

In the last three weeks, Fleener has 11 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. tempD4D_8122--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

“I would say that I have to pick up some slack as far as some plays where Dwayne would have been in,” Fleener said on Monday.

“Anytime a guy like Dwayne (Allen) goes down who makes such a big impact for the offense, other guys are going to have to fill in here and there. So yeah, I would say my role has expanded a little bit.”

Fleener has seen his playing time increase over the last three weeks and that includes some significant blocks in the rushing department.

On Sunday, Fleener had five catches for 77 yards and his 31-yard touchdown gave the Colts a 27-3 lead early in the third quarter.

It was the fourth touchdown of Fleener’s young career and the second-year tight end could have walked into the end zone.

“I think it’s kind of the idea in basketball, layups are some of the hardest buckets to make,” Fleener said of the wide-open touchdown. “It’s one of those things where you really have to focus and make sure you do all the things, look it all the way in and focus all the way until the end.

“Thankfully Andrew (Luck) made an awesome throw, the line gave him enough time to make it out there and it looked good for us.”

During the offseason, Chuck Pagano said he expected Fleener to double the 2012 production of 26 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

Fleener is well ahead of that pace in yards and touchdowns already in 2013 and it’s his development in the run game that has also caught the head coach’s eye.

“We’re asking (Fleener) to do a little bit more heavy lifting in the run game and he’s responding,” Pagano said on Monday.

“You see him out there playing fast; big, tall, fast guy that’s athletic and can make plays. He had a great day yesterday.”


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Five Things Learned, Colts-Jacksonville

Posted by craigkelleycolts on September 30, 2013 – 9:24 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis earned another lopsided road win at Jacksonville, 37-3.  The defense set the tone early and the offense responded over the final 45 minutes.  After winning 27-7 at San Francisco a week earlier, the Colts now have consecutive road wins by 20-point margins for the first time since 2009.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts won their first divisional game of the season at Jacksonville Sunday, 37-3.

It was a dominant performance defensively for 60 minutes, and the offense found its rhythm after the first quarter.

Chuck Pagano talks about, “60 Minutes, All You Got,” and he got it on Sunday.  This team is responding and growing together and at the quarter pole of the season is 3-1.  Having winning “quarters” of the season is a solid approach.  Doing so almost ensures playing beyond 16 games, as does winning in the AFC South.

Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

ROAD WARRIORS – Good teams win on the road.  While it may be too early to proclaim this a good team with 12 contests remaining, the earmarks are evident and if the players follow the “process,” this could be a very fun season to watch unfold.  The Colts outscored San Francisco and Jacksonville 64-10, doing so on their home turfs.  Indianapolis now is 6-2 in its last eight road games, a good record for any NFL team.  While everyone loves the Lucas Oil Stadium feeling, the vibe on the road is a good one, too.  These were very solid responses after the NFL’s scheduling elves provided the Colts two home games to start the year.

PAGANO PEDIGREE – Chuck Pagano stated he wanted a defensive presence in Indianapolis when he arrived.  It appears four games into the season the time has arrived indeed.  The Colts fashioned five three-and-outs at San Francisco and dominated the second half.  Sunday at Jacksonville, the defense frolicked.  Five straight three-and-outs in the second and third quarters were outstanding – 18 net yards gained, five punts.  The possession preceding that stretch ended with Indianapolis returning an interception for a touchdown, and the one after it ended with a red-zone stop after a first-and-goal at the two.  The possession after that defensive stand saw Indianapolis swipe its third pass of the game.  Well done, guys, very well done.  After the win at San Francisco, Jim Irsay said the performance was glimpse of the intended future.  Part of his words related to defensive play.  Yesterday at Jacksonville, the defensive pedigree was in living color.

WHATEVER IT TAKES – Pep Hamilton has said before he is not interested in numerical balance as much as he is with the ability to do what is needed.  In the first half at Jacksonville, the Colts threw on 17-of-21 first-down plays, and one of the rushes was a nine-yarder by Andrew Luck when he extinguished his progressions.  Sometimes that is how it is going to go, according to Coby Fleener.  After running 12 more times than passing at San Francisco, there were 41 pass calls and 29 rushes.  Imbalance?  No.  Just doing what needed doing.  By the way, those 29 rushes produced 154 yards.

AYE, MATES – The Colts pirated three Jacksonville passes Sunday.  Vontae Davis was a big part of the process.  Darius Butler, after having three takeaways last year in Jacksonville, had another one yesterday and took his interception back for a score – his second consecutive such outing at EverBank Field.  Josh Gordy joined Davis and Butler with interceptions.  It was the first time since 2008 the Colts have had three defensive backs swipe passes in the same game.  From 2008-11, Baltimore under Pagano had 82 interceptions (second in the NFL), returned 11 for scores (tied for second in the NFL) and yielded a 69.6 opponent passer rating (first in the NFL).  Again, pedigree.  Is a tide turning in Indianapolis?

DEFENDING THE BLADES – Cory Redding talked in 2012 about defending every blade of grass in the running game.  With more pieces added to the mix now, the Colts held Maurice Jones-Drew to 23 yards and a 1.8 average.  In the last seven quarters, the Colts have allowed only nine, 10, three, 12, 18, seven and three yards for a 2.0 average.  Neither the 49ers nor Jaguars found the end zone over that span.  Holding Jacksonville without a rushing first down was a first for the Colts since 2009. It marked only the sixth such performance in the franchise’s 61 seasons and but the third time it has been accomplished in the Indianapolis era.  Pedigree?


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Colts Daily Headlines: September 25th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 25, 2013 – 8:36 am

Tuesday’s off day for the Colts came with a quiet news day minus a pair of roster moves. Today’s news looks at the unheralded play of Delano Howell and the disciplined nature the Colts have played with after the first month of the year.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, September 25th.  

Delano who? Colts reserve safety Delano Howell quickly makes name for himself

By: Phillip B. Wilson, Indy Star

Starting for LaRon Landry on Sunday afternoon, Delano Howell had some extra motivation in his first NFL start.

When CBS had its TV production meeting with Colts coach Chuck Pagano to advance Sunday’s game at San Francisco, one question was to be expected: Who will start for injured safety LaRon Landry?

The answer was a surprise: Delano Howell.

“They were like, ‘Who?’ ” Pagano said Monday, a day after the Colts’ 27-7 win over the 49ers. “I made sure I told Delano that before the game started.”

Not that the second-year safety needed incentive to play well in his first NFL start, but Pagano’s motivational ploy resonated.

“It definitely fired me up,” Howell said.

Colts not beating themselves with penalties

By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com

The Colts have been extremely disciplined in 2013 as the team’s seven penalties are the fewest in the NFL by four penalties.

One of the reasons the Colts are 2-1 is because they aren’t beating themselves with penalties (outside of the illegal shift call on receiver Reggie Wayne that took away tight end Coby Fleener’s touchdown against Miami). The Colts have only been called for seven penalties this season, which puts them at the top of the league in that category. The 49ers, meanwhile, have been called for 29 penalties on the season.

“Just shows that our coaches are doing an outstanding job and our players are doing a great job of playing with proper fundamentals and technique and playing smart football, playing great situational football,” Pagano said. “We talk about the enemy being in our camp. It’s not necessarily your opponent. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.”


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Day 13 Impressions: A spirited day in full pads, Coby Fleener is back and could the Colts have their own Darren Sproles?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 14, 2013 – 5:30 pm

The Colts had their final full padded practice in Anderson on Wednesday.

It was an extremely spirited afternoon practice from 1-on-1 drills to some competitive 11-on-11 sessions.

Here are three takeaways from day 13…

A very competitive afternoon in Anderson: With the full pads back on, the Colts definitely got after it during the two-hour plus practice on Wednesday.

Special teams coverage was a focus early on in practice before the team divided into positional groups.

You had some spirited one-on-one blocking drills in the Colts final padded practice before this weekend’s game with the Giants.

The offense and the defense both had their share of wins during 11-on-11 drills and you could tell Chuck Pagano was very pleased with how things operated on Wednesday.

Coby Fleener back out practicing: Fleener was back at practice on Wednesday, which was critical for a tight end group that was down to two healthy bodies the prior day.

Even though Fleener was out there, it was Justice Cunningham and Dominique Jones who continued to make some impressive catches with the first team offense.

The Colts obviously feel comfortable with the Cunningham/Jones duo because they haven’t rushed to make any moves at tight end with Dwayne Allen sidelined.

Speaking of Allen (who is now walking on a boot at practice), there’s no one happier on the Colts sideline when the tight ends catch a pass during practice.

Could the Colts have their own Darren Sproles?: That name might not sit well to many Colts fans but maybe the team has acquired their own version of the former Chargers running back.

Rookie Kerwynn Williams has showed some flashes as an elusive receiver out of the backfield during training camp.

Williams role this season looks to be primarily on special teams but he caught a couple of passes with the first team offense during two-minute drills on Wednesday.

The Colts backfield does not have someone with the shiftiness of Williams so it would not be a surprise at all if down the road the seventh-round draft pick impacts the receiving game.


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 14th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:08 am

The Colts took part in a 90-minute practice on Tuesday afternoon with the biggest news surrounding that of Ahmad Bradshaw. Below is a look at the start of work week for the Colts as they prepare for a nationally televised game on Sunday against the New York Giants

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, August 14th.  

NFL forces Colts to activate RB Ahmad Bradshaw

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

The news of the day on Tuesday revolved around Ahmad Bradshaw being activated from the Colts PUP list.

“We had discussions with the league about Ahmad’s status and agreed it was the best thing to bring him off PUP,” Chuck Pagano said at Tuesday’s press conference. “If it was left up to (Bradshaw) he’d go today but we’re going to protect him from himself. We’ll err on the side of caution.”

Bradshaw, 27, signed a one-year contract with the Colts in June after a six-year career with the New York Giants. He underwent surgery on his right foot in January and opened training camp on PUP while continuing his rehab work.

Bradshaw was expected to be activated either this week or next before the NFL intervened.

“I feel great,” he said. “I’m ready to get out there with the guys. We’ll take it slow and make it last all season.”

5 scenes from Colts camp: Running out of TEs, LB Pat Angerer is back and more

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

The Colts were back on the practice field Tuesday for a 90-minute session.

Coby Fleener was absent from the afternoon practice as he was going through league protocol for a concussion.

Chappell also takes a look at the return of linebacker Pat Angerer and the strong play from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on Tuesday.

Bradshaw, Ballard aim to be lethal tandem

By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com

With the announcement of Ahmad Bradshaw coming off the Colts PUP list, you can’t blame the new Colts running back for being a bit excited.

“I feel great right now,” Bradshaw said. “I feel I’m ready to go. It’s just a process I have to go through to be ready for the pounding and practices every day.”

Colts fans in general should be thrilled as well.

It would appear the Colts have a pair of top backs and returning starter Vick Ballard is ready for whatever role.

“I’ve always been that lead back,” Ballard said. “It really doesn’t matter to me. We have one team goal, that’s winning the Super Bowl. Whatever we have to do to win the Super Bowl I’m down for it.”

 


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Year Two for Many Exciting

Posted by craigkelleycolts on August 11, 2013 – 1:10 pm

The sun is shining on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, and there is no place like an NFL stadium on game days.  Within moments of kickoff, it is an exciting time for many.

Chuck Pagano’s return to Lucas Oil Stadium is on the minds of some.  This will be his sixth game patrolling the sideline.  It is a welcome sight.

There have been past seasons when the preseason did not hold as much anticipation as this one does.

The Colts hit preseason with the bar set high and with aspirations of earning another playoff berth.

Still weeks away from league play, seeing a number of young players in action again is fun.  Andrew Luck has worked doggedly in camp (who hasn’t?), yet the second season for a starting QB is one fans are excited about.

Coby Fleener has had a great camp.  Ditto T.Y. Hilton.  Hilton had a wondrous rookie season, and he and Fleener both are poised for exciting years.

Dwayne Allen is out with a foot injury.  He is confident of a quick return.  LaVon Brazill needs good preseason work since he is out of the mix for the first four games.

Josh Chapman is getting his first action after missing last year with a knee injury.  Chapman has drawn praise from Pagano and teammates, with the coach calling him a “900-pound safe” in the middle of the line.

Vick Ballard hopes to build on a solid rookie year.  More mature physically, the second year of a running back’s career is exciting just as it is for a QB, too.

This will be the first game as a Colt for about 40 players on roster.  Seeing a free agent class in action is in order for today.  The Colts hope the influx of veterans will lead to more physical play.

The ball will be in the air in less than 30 minutes.


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 8th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 8, 2013 – 8:19 am

It was an off day for the Colts on Wednesday. Some tremendous features on Coby Fleener and Donald Thomas along with a column from Dan Wetzel highlight today’s headlines.

Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?

Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, August 8th.  

Indianapolis Colts TE Coby Fleener is flashing his potential in training camp after an uneven rookie season

By: Zak Keefer, Indy Star

A really nice feature from Keefer on Colts second year tight end in Coby Fleener.

It wasn’t the rookie season that Fleener was expecting coming out of an All-American season at Stanford.

“I would characterize my rookie year as a learning experience,” Fleener said during a break at training camp this week, speaking slowly, choosing his words carefully. “There was definitely a lot of ups and some downs.”

Fleener has turned some heads as the Colts are a little more than halfway through the 2013 training camp.

“He’s probably having the most productive camp, including his time at Stanford, that I’ve seen,” Hamilton gushed. “In the time that I’ve been around Coby, he’s a lot more explosive and confident right now.

“He’s making plays that big-time NFL players tend to make.”

Thomas’ mission: Protect Colts’ Luck

By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin

Bremer writes a feature on new Colts offensive lineman Donald Thomas, who heads over to Indianapolis after a few seasons with the New England Patriots.

Thomas is expected to become a full-time starter at left guard this year and is eager to protect Andrew Luck.

“We’re going to get the ball out of his hands obviously a little bit sooner with some of the quick (passing) game, screens and draws and things like that,” he said. “Just keep growing, stay consistent. I think we’ve got a pretty cohesive unit (on the offensive line) that’s stayed healthy and stayed together for the most part through training camp. So we just want to continue to trend in that same direction.”

A smiling Chuck Pagano a picture of perfection at training camp for Colts

By: Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

As always, Wetzel hits a home run with this piece and he paints a great picture of Pagano back doing what he loves to do.

“Really, just being back to normal is huge,” Pagano said. “And that didn’t happen overnight for obvious reasons. No. 1, being in remission. No. 2, going through a whole offseason healthy. Then coming back and going through another training camp.”

Pagano’s players are taking notice too and they couldn’t be happier to have their head coach back in the saddle.

“The way he’s bouncing around,” said defensive end Robert Mathis, “You’d never know he was a sick guy last year.”

 


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Day Seven Impressions: The elusive tight ends, defensive line’s sack-packed afternoon and Antoine Bethea returns

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 4, 2013 – 5:41 pm

The largest crowd (6,200) of the 2013 Colts training camp took in Sunday’s padded practice at Anderson University.

It was a bit of a quiet afternoon in terms of highlights for the Colts as the team returned to the practice field after being off since Friday morning.

Here are three takeaways from day seven…

Tight Ends constantly causing mismatches: Early on in practice, the Colts took part in one-on-one drills with linebackers having to cover running backs and/or tight ends.

It’s pretty impressive to watch Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener create separation in these drills.

When Allen and Fleener see linebackers across from them, their eyes should be nice and wide this fall.

Do safeties have the physicality to line up against the tight ends or should teams risk a slower linebacker to match-up for size purposes?

That will be a discussion in opponent’s defensive meeting rooms each week this year, one that doesn’t come with an easy answer.

Defensive line racks up the “sacks”: Yes, the red jerseys on the three Colts quarterbacks indicate a no-touching rule but on Sunday several plays were stopped due to “sacks”.

Drake Nevis and Josh Chapman were among the handful of Colts defensive linemen who got into the backfield on passing downs.

The defensive line was also able to get their hands on a few batted balls on Sunday.

It should be mentioned that the Colts offensive line (specifically the second unit) was without the services of guards Joe Reitz (stinger) and Hugh Thornton (ankle), along with center Khaled Holmes (ankle).

Nonetheless, it was a strong afternoon for the Colts defensive front.

Bethea back in Anderson: The Colts welcomed back safety Antoine Bethea after his fiancé gave birth to their first child, Siani, last week.

Sunday’s practice was Bethea’s first in pads this year and the eight-year veteran mentioned that he’s playing for a little bit more after becoming a father.

“It was definitely a feeling that I’ve never had before,” Bethea said of the birth of his daughter.

“My perspective is not just ‘Antoine’ any more. I’m out here doing this for my family.”


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Day Four Impressions: DHB’s big catch(es), 7th round picks impress and the defense continues strong start

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 31, 2013 – 5:53 pm

Spitting rain in the morning ceased in the afternoon as the Colts moved over to Macholtz Stadium for Wednesday’s padded practice.

With the pads on, the spirit continued to rise in the trenches and some of the Colts rookies at the skill positions shined on Wednesday.

Here are three takeaways from day four…

DHB wastes no time getting involved: Pep Hamilton talked about the diligent work that Heyward-Bey is putting in trying to sure up his hands.

The jugs machine seems to be DHB’s second home, before and after practice.

The hard work paid off on Wednesday.

On the Colts first 11-on-11 rep of the afternoon, Andrew Luck went deep to DHB and the new receiver hauled in the 50+-yard grab.

DHB said he needs to make plays in order to gain Luck’s trust and the one to start Wednesday’s practice, along with several others throughout the two-hour session added up to a very strong afternoon for the 219-pound receiver.

A day for the seventh-round draft picks: The Colts 2013 rookie class won’t come anywhere close to the same production of last year’s group but a few skill players stood out on Wednesday.

Running back Kerwynn Williams made a few nice catches out of the backfield and showcased an ability for yards after the catch. While kick returns might be Williams’ first opportunity on the playing field, he showed that he’s more than capable of getting reps in the backfield.

At the tight end position, Justice Cunningham is putting together some quality reps in the receiving department.

There are some chances behind Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and Cunningham is a true tight end (where as Dominique Jones is more of a hybrid) that caught the ball much more consistently on Wednesday than he did during OTAs.

Defense right on pace: With two padded practices in the books, the Colts appears to be right on queue with their progress in the 3-4 system.

Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said that is usually the case early on in training camp but it has been impressive to see the Colts secondary get their hands on so many passes.

The front seven has been winning their fair share of battles during run game drills and a second unit with guys like Josh Chapman, Drake Nevis, Bjoern Werner and Lawrence Sidbury creates quality depth.

It will be interesting to see how the offense vs. defense plays out the rest of the camp, with Pep Hamilton’s system getting more familiar with the unit.


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Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts ready for Coby Fleener “to impose his will”

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 29, 2013 – 1:15 pm

Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts marvels at the innate skills Coby Fleener brings to the football field.

Fleener stands 6’6” and has the abilities to run like a receiver.

His position coach said when Fleener was consistent in 2012, he played at the ability you would expect a rookie tight end to be.

So what is Roberts looking for out of Fleener in year two?

“To impose his will,” Roberts said over the weekend. “(Fleener) has such natural gifts in the game that he doesn’t have to play mad. I want him to play up and play to his ability.”

“I just saw so much promise in him and I just wanted him to force himself to be better.”

One area where Fleener will undoubtedly benefit from is playing in his tight end friendly, collegiate offense.temp2013_0728_TC_2698--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Pep Hamilton’s affinity for utilizing the tight end position is well documented and Fleener should expect to see ample opportunities in the passing game in 2013.

“Coby’s got a chance to go outside and use his size and speed,” Robert said. “He’s had a phenomenal offseason just with growth and getting familiar with what Pep and those guys have done before.”

Roberts joked that he doesn’t think the tight end position can be used much more than how the Colts offense is incorporating the position.

He points out Fleener’s success at Stanford, where the All-American tight end caught 10 touchdowns in his lone season in Hamilton’s offense.

Now, Fleener is back in Anderson without having an offseason filled with academics, rookie obligations and a new offense.

It’s a clearer mind for Fleener and he should reap the benefits out on the gridiron.

“Pep (Hamilton) and I had success together at Stanford. Having as many tight ends on the field as we did out there, hopefully it will translate here as well,” Fleener said.

“I’m excited. I can’t wait. I think there’s a lot of times when you’re trying to learn a new offense and you freeze up on the field trying to figure out what you’re doing. You can’t run as fast. You can’t think as fast. So, to have a better understanding will be helping me out a lot.”


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