His importance wasn’t that of an Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne or Jerrell Freeman but one should not forget the impact of Darius Butler last season.
Butler had two interceptions returned for touchdowns last year, both coming in road victories.
“Anytime you make plays, especially big plays to change a game, it does something for your confidence,” Butler now says. “Your confidence is real important especially on that back end. Anytime I make a play, even in practice, it does something for you.”
During the Colts 2013 training camp, Butler has continued to make plays with several interceptions during the first week of work.
In 2012, the Colts defense forced just 15 turnovers and Butler said that is something they are harping on in camp.
The secondary has been particularly active early on getting their hands on numerous balls.
“We could be the best in the league if we come out, work every day, feed off each other,” Butler said of the secondary. “We’ve got a lot of years back there at the safeties and me, Vontae (Davis) and Greg (Toler), we all came in in ‘09 and have been playing some good ball. The more we work together, the better we can play.”
Butler joined the Colts during the bye week last season and was a critical pickup during the Colts 11-5 year.
Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said Butler has continued to play off his success last season and is currently the team’s nickel cornerback.
“You saw him last year do that. He did it a couple times in the first couple of practices we had,” Manusky said of Butler’s playmaking ability. “He has great ball skills. He’s competing just like all the other players are, but I love him.”
It appears the Colts have found some quality depth at the cornerback position which is a welcoming sight with not one corner on this year’s roster having been on the team prior to OTAs in 2012.
Butler knows the Colts have the potential for a championship level defense and he’s doing his part to get to the pinnacle.
“Everybody has the same goal this time of year and that’s to get to New York in February. There’s no greater motivation than that. You want to do it for the guy next to you, yourself, and your team.”
Tags: darius butler, Greg Manusky
Posted in Colts Blog
Another day down at Colts training camp. The news of Monday came with LaVon Brazill addressing his four-game suspension, Andrew Luck’s day on the practice field, Donald Thomas’ journey to playing football and what Robert Mathis main goal is in 2013.
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 Tuesday, July 30th.
By: Associated Press, ESPN.com
Second-year wide receiver LaVon Brazill addressed the media on Monday morning for the first time since it was announced he would miss the first four games of the regular season.
The second-year Colts receiver insisted it’s an easy choice: He’ll take money over marijuana any day.
On Monday, Brazill promised to avoid any more off-the-field missteps as he made his first public comments since the NFL imposed a four-game suspension for a failed drug test. Brazill admitted he alone was to blame and said he has promised the Colts it won’t happen again.
“I know any one of you would choose money any day, so that’s gone and I’m choosing money any day,” Brazill said Monday after Indianapolis’ morning walkthrough at Anderson University
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
Chappell’s daily look at Colts training camp includes the numbers for Andrew Luck after Day Two, along with a new piece of clothing that has been spotted around Colts camp.
QB Andrew Luck seemed to use every option at his disposal during 7-on-7 and team drills, connecting with eight receivers, but he ended the day on a sour note. His final pass in a two-minute drill was intercepted by CB Darius Butler. On the day, Luck completed 27-of-43 passes. WR T.Y. Hilton provided the catch of the day, a diving grab in front of the bleachers.
Luck’s two-day totals: 49-of-77, two TDs, two interceptions.
Another season, another motivational T-shirt. Players are wearing a T-shirt that has a hand grasping the Lombardi Trophy and the words ‘Hoist It!’ on the back. The ultimate goal is doing precisely that Feb. 2 at Super Bowl XLVIII. Last summer, players wore a T-shirt that featured a poll listing the Colts No. 32 in a power ranking.
By: Michael Pointer, Indy Star
Pointer has an in-depth feature into Donald Thomas journey from a college walk-on who was found during a pickup basketball game.
A few Connecticut football players urged Thomas to try out for the team and with that came a Division I career followed by a starting job in the NFL.
“I never had aspirations of playing in the NFL,” Thomas said during a recent interview in the Colts locker room. “Even when I came back for my senior year, before the season started, I didn’t know I had a shot.
“I was just cool with coming back, finishing my (political science) degree and maybe going to law school.”
Thomas’ college coach Randy Edsall said it was a no-brainer to give the 6-4, 250-pound freshman a tryout.
“With that kind of a body, I didn’t have to think very long about giving him a chance,” Edsall said. “We knew he was a hard worker once we saw him in the weight room. If a player is going to do that, to try to develop himself before we’ve got a chance to work with him, you knew he had a tremendous work ethic.”
By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin
Robert Mathis is a man of few words but like Chuck Pagano says, when he speaks people listen.
That was the case on Monday as Mathis was the focal point following the morning walk-through.
He’s arguably gotten better with age, being selected to the Pro Bowl in four of the past five seasons, and he needs just 8.5 sacks to join Freeney as the only players in franchise history with 100 career quarterback takedowns.
But, true to form, that’s not at the forefront of Mathis’ mind.
“That’s a secondary goal,” he said. “The goal is to get to New York in February (for the Super Bowl). If getting five sacks or 15 sacks is what’s going to get us there, then so be it.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, darius butler, donald thomas, LaVon Brazill, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
The 2013 Colts training camp is underway with the team embarking on a two and a half hour afternoon practice on Sunday.
A crowd of 4,100 fans watched over the Anderson University practice fields with the Colts in shells to start training camp.
Here are three takeaways from Day One…
- The “cauldron of competition” is in full swing: Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson spent all offseason wanting competition and that’s exactly what they’ve got with training camp underway.
Across both units, the talent extends well into the Colts’ second units and many of the matchups in training camp will have the coaches attention.
My favorite from day one comes when the receivers and corners got after each other in one-on-one battles.
Watching Reggie Wayne vs. Vontae Davis and Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Greg Toler was entertaining all afternoon, with each player winning different reps.
There was Wayne’s left-handed snag followed by a Davis pass breakup right in front of the packed bleachers.
Pagano and Grigson will have their hands full trying to trim this roster down to 53 players come September.
- Don’t sleep on the Stanford product Griff Whalen: Who led the Colts in receiving during last year’s preseason?
Whalen would be the answer with his 12 catches for 125 yards.
Unfortunately a foot injury sidelined Whalen for his rookie season but the 2012 undrafted free agent is fresh off a productive offseason in his collegiate offense.
Whalen has a chance to get some important reps early on in the season and he made a strong case for that on Sunday afternoon.
What Whalen lacks in size, he makes up for with Spiderman like hands and showed the abilities to rise for several catches in traffic.
- The Colts secondary is hungry for turnovers: If you looked purely at the takeaways number of the Colts last season, the playoffs should have been an afterthought.
However, the Colts overcame the third fewest (15) takeaways in the NFL last year.
During the offseason, the secondary spoke up about the need to create more turnovers.
Sunday was proof of that with the highlight of the afternoon coming when Cassius Vaughn had an interception for a touchdown during 11-on-11 work.
Darius Butler also added a pair of interceptions on the afternoon.
Something about LaRon Landry’s presence down the middle of the field that I think will force opposing quarterback’s to look towards the outside patterns in 2013.
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, chuck pagano, darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, greg toler, Griff Whalen, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts secondary currently has 17 members.
Of those 17, just one was with the team prior to the 2012 season.
Antoine Bethea is the mainstay and his 107 games of experience in a Colts uniform is almost half of the total number the rest of the secondary carries with them into 2013.
|Player||Games Played in Indianapolis|
This is season No. 8 for Bethea and while OTAs for some veterans might not seem like a drag, the Pro Bowl safety remembers his days as a youthful defensive back trying to make the roster.
“At one point, you were that young guy and you never really want to be that guy walking around the locker room, never really saying anything to you, feeling like a loner,” Bethea said. “So most definitely you’ve got to pull those guys closer and show them the ropes.”
Bethea was one of the loudest voices on the practice field on Wednesday as the unit attempts to gel in year two of a new defensive system.
The secondary was very active on Wednesday afternoon with numerous pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.
To many Colts fans the names in the secondary are still a bit foreign but ask Bethea, and the system is beginning to sound familiar with a year of experience.
“This time last year my head was spinning in circles but this year right now, I feel a lot more comfortable to really just go out there, make plays and use my athletic ability,” Bethea said.
“We are talking a lot more, very vocal and that’s a good thing.”
Back in 2006, there was Bethea as a rookie starting safety helping the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI.
Now he stands in the secondary as the elder statesmen, by a wide margin, and it’s the hunger he sees in the guys around him that has the No. 41 striving to get back to the game’s pinnacle.
“We’ve got some young guys that are ready to step in and help this team, so I’m excited,” Bethea said. “I’m pretty sure they’re excited. I’m sure it’s overwhelming right now with everything that the coaches are throwing at them but they are doing a good job.”
Tags: antoine bethea, Cassius Vaughn, darius butler, Delano Howell, Joe Lefeged, Josh Gordy, Sergio Brown, teddy williams, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
COLTS NEWS (LOCAL AND NATIONAL)
Colts owner Jim Irsay throws Blue Crew Sports Grill a lifeline
Irsay may rescue Colts-themed restaurant
Colts-themed Blue Crew Sports Grill closes
Colts add undrafted free agent cornerback
Indianapolis Colts’ best undrafted free agents: No. 4, running back Dominic Rhodes
Colts rank No. 10, No. 14 in pair of offseason media polls
Colts-themed restaurant closes its doors after financial losses
Blue Crew Sports Grill, Indianapolis Colts fan hangout, abruptly closes
Butler looks to build on surprise success
Indianapolis adds depth to secondary by bringing in Nigel Malone as undrafted free agent
Reggie Wayne plans 1,000-yard season at age 35
With more 3-4 people, Colts still ‘hybrid’
Indianapolis Colts Support Jason Collins and Hypothetical Gay Teammate
Oilers great says CFL not an option for Tebow
Tennessee Titans revamp line in draft, free agency
Younger Rodgers has big footsteps to follow with Jaguars
Poll reveals overwhelming support for Redskins name
Broncos linebacker Von Miller pursues poultry dream
Anniversary of Junior Seau death still focuses NFL on CTE
Former CB Al Harris retires as a Green Bay Packer
Titans expected to check out Freeney as well
Bucs will retire Warren Sapp’s number
Tags: al harris, bilid wreh-wilson, blew crew sports grill, cfl, chicago bears, Chris Polian, daily clips, darius butler, Denver Broncos, dominic rhodes, dwayne gratz, Dwight Freeney, green bay packers, houston oilers, indianapolis colts, jacksonville jaguars, jason collins, Jim Irsay, john abraham, jordan rodgers, junior seau, mark sanchez, michael boley, new york giants, new york jets, Nigel Malone, Reggie Wayne, roger goodell, stevan ridley, tampa bay buccaneers, tennessee titans, tim tebow, Von Miller, warren sapp, washington redskins
Posted in Colts Blog
Pat McAfee on Wednesday signed his franchise tender, the sixth such player in the league to do so.
The move by McAfee will earn him a one-year guaranteed salary, and the team still has time to reach a multiple-year agreement with him.
The club has had a busy off-season with the addition of new players and the retention of some who made contributions last year and in previous seasons.
Ryan Grigson has spoken in the past of the importance of “culture” on the team. McAfee is a very big piece of the culture.
Since joining the club in 2009, he has been a very solid performer. Entering his fifth season, McAfee has punted 290 times for a franchise-record 45.5 average. He has had 89 punts land inside the 20, while nailing 123 touchbacks on kickoffs.
Yardage gained by special teams success often is overlooked. It’s even called “hidden” yardage.
It was not so hidden last year in two division victories. A first-quarter 42-yard punt by McAfee was fair caught at the Jacksonville 10-yard line. A defensive stop set the stage for a Colts field goal and a 3-0 lead.
A third-quarter placement punt of 36 yards was killed at the Jaguars’ four and two plays later, Darius Butler picked off a pass for an easy scoring return and a 24-3 lead.
Five games later, a booming 52-yard effort by McAfee in the third quarter went out of bounds at the Tennessee one-yard line. A play later, Cassius Vaughn picked off a pass and stepped into the end zone for a score, one that put the Colts ahead, 21-20, after trailing by 13 points at halftime.
Those are dramatic examples of the talents McAfee possesses. He has set the franchise seasonal records for gross yardage in consecutive seasons (46.6, 2011; 48.2, 2012). This past year, he set the club seasonal net record at 40.3. His 26 kicks inside the 20 tied Hunter Smith’s 2002 mark.
Enough about numbers. McAfee is a personal presence, too.
In addition to being one of the most savvy and visible communicators in the club’s Indianapolis era, he is a standup guy.
People remember the Broad Ripple incident two years ago, and how McAfee handled addressing it showed manner of the man and the quality of his heart.
There are many players in the locker room who combine to make this a positive culture. It is one that will help win games, and McAfee will be a part of the process.
Players return later this month to start working. It is a time to feel good, if you’re a Colts fan.
Having Pat McAfee going into competition is an advantage for Indianapolis.
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, darius butler, pat mcafee, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today agreed to a contract with cornerback Darius Butler.
“Darius is a talented football player that bought in from day one,” said General Manager Ryan Grigson. “His athleticism and especially his ball hawk ability were literally evident from his first day of practice. We were fortunate to acquire him when we did because he really provided a spark for us last season. He seized his opportunity and made plays that helped showcase those talents that we had always believed in. We are very happy to have him back with us and see him build off his promising first year as a Colt.”
Butler originally signed with the Colts as a free agent on September 25, 2012, and in 11 games (four starts) last year, led the team with a career-high four interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He finished tied for third on the team with seven passes defensed to go along with 30 tackles (23 solo), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
In Week 10 at Jacksonville, Butler became only the fourth Colts player since 1984 to record three-or-more takeaways in a single game when he tallied two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble recovery. For his performance, he earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, making him the first Colts cornerback to win the award since Ray Buchanan in 1994. In Week 16 at Kansas City, he notched his second interception return for a touchdown when he picked off Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn and took it back 32 yards for the score.
Butler was originally selected by the New England Patriots in the second round (41st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent the first two years of his career with the team before playing one season for the Carolina Panthers in 2011. For his career, Butler has played in 53 games (18 starts), totaling 120 tackles (104 solo), 30 passes defensed, seven interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Tags: darius butler
Posted in Colts Blog
Today the Indianapolis Colts re-signed cornerback Darius Butler. More details to follow
Tags: darius butler, free agency
Posted in Colts Blog
Darius Butler has never played for head coach Chuck Pagano yet his success has ironically enough put him on the head coach’s radio show twice this season.
Thanks to another interception returned for a touchdown last weekend, Butler found himself on the show Monday evening. Come Sunday, Butler will look to the sidelines and see Pagano down there for the first time since the cornerback joined the Colts in late September.
“I got here during the bye week and that was when we got the news of Chuck. Then we played Green Bay and we beat a tough Green Bay team,” Butler said. “Once I saw that, that was kind of my first time seeing the team prepare like that and I knew. I had been on a playoff team early in my career and I knew we definitely had what it takes.”
As a former member of the New England Patriots, Butler has experienced life in the postseason.
He helped etch his, and the Colts, spot into the playoffs last week thanks to a 32-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
“The message before the game was that we wanted to come into the playoffs through the front door,” Butler said of the Colts 20-13 win over the Chiefs. “We wanted to kick down the front door to win and control our own destiny, instead of sneaking in the back door and waiting on other people. We did that and accomplished our goal and now that’s onto the next and that’s making a run in the playoffs.”
That run will include Pagano on the sidelines and that is something that Butler can’t wait to see.
Pagano is a former defensive backs coach and has liked what he has seen from Butler over the last 12 games.
The key against the Chiefs was to secure a playoff spot so this week would not have the added pressure of needing a win to extend the season. That goal was accomplished and the relief in seeing Pagano on Monday was a welcoming sight for Butler.
“He really didn’t have to say anything,” Butler said of Monday morning’s team meeting with Pagano. “Just him walking in the door and being in front of the team for the first time in a while, addressing us as a unit and as a head coach again, that was great in itself.”
Tags: chuck pagano, darius butler
Posted in Colts Blog
While the Colts have been winning four of their past five games, cornerback Vontae Davis has been merely an observer during the Colts successful month of November.
As the calendar turns to December, Davis looks to be back on the gridiron this weekend after being a full participant in practice the past two days.
“I’m just happy to be back with the team,” Davis said on Thursday. “We have a lot of good guys in the locker room and I mean it’s home for me right now. It’s football. I love football. It’s a fun game and I can’t wait to get back on the field.”
The potential addition of Davis in the secondary comes at a welcoming time for the Colts defense.
All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson awaits the Colts this weekend and no matter who lines up across from him this weekend, you can expect multiple players to be assigned to him throughout the game.
“Put two guys over (Johnson) and even then sometimes he goes up and gets some balls,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said of defending Johnson. “I’ve seen a good performance from him over the last couple of weeks and over the entire season. He’s a formidable guy that’s out there and we’ve got to defend him.”
Cornerbacks Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn have been the starters the last three weeks after Jerraud Powers was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury following the Jaguars game on Nov. 8.
In trying to limit the league’s second best offense, Butler stressed trying to force someone other than No. 81 to make plays.
“Obviously, a lot of the offense is based around (Johnson) and they are going to get him the ball,” Butler said. “They’ve got a good quarterback and players around him. You have to limit his production to make somebody else beat you.”
During the past month, Davis has been thrilled with his teammates’ success and chooses to have a positive spin on his knee injury.
“It’s a blessing. Everything happens for a reason, a humbling experience,” Davis said of the injury. “
“My grandma always tells me, ‘Be patient, stuff might not happen when you want it to happen but you be patient, then it comes when you least expect it.”
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, darius butler, Gerg Manusky, jerraud powers, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog