Indianapolis Colts Football

Greg Toler is the Colts Newcomer of the Week-Oakland Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 9, 2013 – 11:00 am

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 Oakland:

It’s the same ball-hawking skills that have been on display since OTAs.

Greg Toler just decided to show a few more people that ability on Sunday afternoon.

With the Raiders into Colts territory on the game’s first possession, Toler ended any scoring opportunity with an interception in the end zone.temp2013_0906_prac_0969--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

On the interception, Toler had tremendous coverage inside of Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater.

“I was fortunate enough to get a beat on the ball coming down. Our defensive line and linebackers, hats off to those guys for getting pressure on Terrelle (Pryor) and he just kind of lofted it up and I found the ball early and was able to make a play for my guys,” Toler, who received a game ball, said following the Colts 21-17 victory.

Toler also had a pair of pass deflections on Sunday and was apart of a Colts secondary who continually kept plays alive for well over five and six seconds.

“It gets hard, talking from a DB aspect, just covering your guy with your back to the quarterback,” Toler said. “It’s just kind of hard not knowing where he’s scrambling to, if he’s up on your back, the guy’s trying to run a comeback, it’s pretty hard, but I think we did well and we can get better.”

Other Newcomers of Note:

-Safety LaRon Landry led the Colts defense with 15 tackles (10 solo).

-Wide Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had three catches for 33 yards.

-Inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard started for the injured Pat Angerer and finished fourth on the team with six tackles.


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DHB makes critical catches in helping Colts defeat his former team

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 9:37 am

On the first third-down of the 2013 regular season for the Colts offense, Andrew Luck looked towards a familiar face to the Oakland Raiders.

Facing a third-and-five from the Colts 28-yard line, Luck found wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 16-yard gain.temp2013_0906_prac_1080--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

The catch came against Raiders first-round pick D.J. Hayden and allowed the Colts to continue their first scoring drive of 2013.

Following the win, DHB held court just like he had in the week leading up to the game against his former team.

How does it feel to get a win against your old team?

“It is always good to get a win in the NFL,” DHB said stone-faced.

Take a look at DHB’s emotion following a fourth-quarter completion and there might have been a little extra motivation for the new Colts receiver.

With the Colts down by four points and facing a second-and-10 at the Raiders 49-yard line, Luck once again looked towards DHB.

A nine-yard completion would ensue and as DHB fought for extra yards, he earned another 15 yards when Raiders safety Tyvon Branch hit a defenseless receiver in the head.

“The play that (DHB) made toward the end stretching, reaching, grinding for a first down and then getting a personal foul penalty was critical,” head coach Chuck Pagano said following the win.

The physicality of DHB was on display later in the drive as his “box out” blocking technique allowed for Luck to score the game-winning 19-yard touchdown.

“Darrius has been nothing but a great addition to this team,” Luck said after the game. “Football-wise, obviously he’s got the speed. He makes the plays. A big third-down conversion, or second-and-long and he gets it and we get a first down.

“Beyond that, he’s a great teammate. He’s a hard worker. We all talk about Reggie’s (Wayne) work ethic and that sort of legendary ability and Darrius is definitely on that path of work ethic. He’s a lot of fun to play with.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 28th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 28, 2013 – 8:27 am

The Colts are less than 36 hours away from their 2013 preseason finale. Today’s news looks at the debate of who the Colts No. 2 receiver and a look at the quarterback who will get ample playing time on Thursday night.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, August 28th.  

Why is Darrius Heyward-Bey starting over T.Y. Hilton at receiver for the Colts?

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

One of the most heated discussions among Colts fans centers around who should be the Colts No. 2 receiver.

To answer that, Holder went right to the two men involved in the question.

Said Hilton: “It hasn’t really held me back. That’s where they have me at, so wherever they put me, that’s where I’ll play. I’m happy and they’re happy, so I’ll play it all day.”

“I definitely look at it like a win-win situation,” Heyward-Bey said. “T.Y. made plays last year and he’s made plays this preseason. But I think we have it set up where he’s not losing anything. When we go three wide, he’s out there. When we’re in two-receiver sets, we’re (throwing) passes, but we’re doing our running game too.

“Being a wide receiver, part of what I do is blocking downfield, taking out safeties. So, I definitely play my part and T.Y. plays his part and I think it works well for everybody.”

Colts’ Harnish on roster bubble again

By: Reggie Hayes, News-Sentinel

Chandler Harnish has been in this situation before.

Last year, Harnish shined in the Colts preseason finale and earned a roster spot.

This season he’s on the bubble once again and the game against the Bengals is just over 24 hours away.

“It’s never an easy situation, but at the end of the day you can’t worry about things you can’t control,” Harnish said.

“You go out and play hard and put yourself in position to win the game. You do everything you have to do as far as preparing to go and execute the game plan, and let the chips fall where they may.

“I understand it’s an unbelievable privilege to play this game,” he said. “Whatever happens, I know there’s a plan and I’m excited to attack it, whatever that adventure might be.”

 

 


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Quick passes to T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey allow for potential big plays

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 19, 2013 – 10:47 am

When Pep Hamilton had his opening conference call upon being named the Colts offensive coordinator, he made one thing clear.

West coast or no coast, the ball would be finding the hands of the Colts playmakers.

This was evident on Sunday night with Darrius Heyward-Bey being a frequent recipient of quick passes.

Getting DHB comfortable and confident in this offense will be something to watch moving forward and Sunday was certainly a step in the right direction.tempDD4_2611--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

On several occasions, DHB hauled in short passes down the line of scrimmage and turned them into gains of nine and seven yards.

“You see those quick throws out to the wide outs, they are actually called runs, but they are loading the box up, putting eight, nine, 10 guys up there to stop the run,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said after the game.

“We feel like that is just a long hand-off when you toss it out there. You get it out to a guy like T.Y. (Hilton), you get it out to a guy like DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey), all they have to do is break one tackle and you are looking at one of those long hand-offs going for a 50 or 60-yard touchdown.”

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE COLTS WIN OVER THE GIANTS

DHB caught a total of four catches for 42 yards against the Giants and showed an ability to rack up yards after catch.

With DHB back from a knee injury and having an up and down end to training camp, quarterback Andrew Luck wanted to find his new receiver early on Sunday night.

“(DHB) is a phenomenal athlete. We need to get the ball in his hands and that was a focus on my end this week,” Luck said. “This game was, ‘let’s make sure we get the ball in Darrius’ hands and let him do what he does best’ and he had a heck of a game.”

Almost a half year later, Luck is speaking the same language that his offensive coordinator did back in the winter.

The playmakers and balance at the skill positions are there, now it’s time to accentuate that.

“It’s always important to get the ball in as many guys’ hands,” Luck said. “We’ve got great running backs, we’ve got great tight ends, we’ve got great wide receivers. The ball needs to be in their hands as much as possible.”


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Day 12 Impressions: Bradshaw off PUP, the search for another WR and the outlook for Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 13, 2013 – 6:28 pm

The Colts were back in Anderson on Tuesday to wrap up their final week at Anderson University.

Even though the players were not in full pads on Tuesday afternoon, you couldn’t tell by the physical nature of the 90-minute practice.

Here are three takeaways from day 12…

Ahmad Bradshaw off PUP, but still rehabbing: Like he has done for the majority of the past two weeks of practice, Ahmad Bradshaw was busy rehabbing during the Colts afternoon practice.

Bradshaw said following Tuesday morning’s walk-through that he would like to get some playing time during the Colts third preseason game.

Chuck Pagano said the Colts offense is looking for more balance and pointed to an “angry, downhill” running style of Bradshaw to help that cause.

The NFL is a multiple-back league and having a multi 1,000-yard rusher in Bradshaw would aid Pep Hamilton’s rushing attack.

Will another wide receiver emerge? Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton (in whatever order you want) are the Colts top three wideouts.

It appears as if Griff Whalen is the No. 4 man but he is day-to-day after suffering a groin injury against the Bills.

Who’s next?

LaVon Brazill would seem to be the guy but he will miss the first month of the season.

How about Nathan Palmer? Or Jabin Sambrano?

A fifth wide receiver (not Brazill) will in all likelihood dress for the first four games of the season so these next three preseason games should go a long way in deciding that spot.

What’s in store for Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary?: Some of the more interesting sights on Tuesday was seeing Adongo in pads and going through positional drills.

It appears Adongo’s biceps injury has pushed his growth back a bit so a practice squad position is probably the best case scenario for the rugby star.

Josh McNary is still recovering from a hamstring injury but when he’s been on the field he has produced.

The West Point product was signaled out by Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for his play early in training camp, even though McNary is making the transition to a new position at inside linebacker (granted he hasn’t played any football since 2010).

McNary was in the thick of the ILB position battle so getting him back on the practice field will be an interesting topic to watch moving forward.


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Burning Topics heading into the final week of Colts Training Camp

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 12, 2013 – 4:20 pm

The Colts will conclude their 2013 training camp at Anderson University this Friday.

Practices will take place each afternoon through Thursday, before a final Friday morning session wraps up three weeks in Anderson.

With a preseason game in the books, here’s a look at five topics to focus on before the Colts travel east this weekend to take on the New York Giants.

Andrew Luck looking for scoring drives: It was a short, but solid, afternoon for the Colts first-team offense on Sunday.

Luck admitted to a mental error with his cadence at the line of scrimmage that led to a sack. Also, a Coby Fleener fumble ended a potential scoring drive.

Against the Bills, Luck was 4-of-6 for 41 yards. Expect the Colts second-year quarterback to get a few more series of action on Sunday night.

Putting together sustained drives, ending in points, is a point of emphasis this week.

Getting DHB his first catch with the Colts: Darrius Heyward-Bey is still working his way back from a knee sprain.

He ran with the first unit against the Bills but did not record a catch.

Expect DHB to get some more 11-on-11 work in practice this week as the Colts try to solidify a potent top three receiver group in Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and DHB.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE COLTS PRESEASON OPENER

Starting offensive line needs to stay in tact: This goes without saying but given the depth behind the starting five, keeping the current unit healthy is vital.

Each member of the starting five has been out there for every practice during training camp which is a welcoming sign with two new starters being brought in.

Backup Joe Reitz got multiple quarters at left tackle against the Bills after primarily working at guard in the early part of training camp.

If the Colts can get rookies Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes back out on the practice field than the offensive line would have some depth as the midway point of the preseason approaches.

LB-Justin Hickman could be done for the year: Chuck Pagano said Hickman’s foot injury suffered against the Bills is potentially season ending.

Hickman was starting at ILB on Sunday with Pat Angerer, Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey and Josh McNary all sidelined with injuries.

The competition for a starting spot next to Freeman seems to be between Kavell Conner and Kelvin Sheppard, at least until the names mentioned above return from various injuries.

Waiting for the debuts of LaRon Landry and Bjoern Werner: Two of the Colts more intriguing defenders sat out against Buffalo with minor injuries.

Having Werner back out on the field this week, as Pagano said he expects, will help a Colts pass rush that recorded just one sack and one quarterback hurry in the preseason opener.

At the backend of the defense, the Colts missed five safeties with Landry the headliner of the group.

If Landry makes his debut next weekend, he will do it in the stadium that he called home in 2012 with the New York Jets.

Also, the Giants are an opponent Landry knows well after five seasons with the Washington Redskins.


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Day 10 Impressions: Darius Butler doing what he does, power running game featured and the thin secondary

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 8, 2013 – 5:00 pm

Mother Nature opened up her skies on Thursday afternoon but held off just enough for the Colts to get a two-hour practice done on the turf field at Macholtz Stadium.

Thursday was the Colts final full padded practice before the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Here are three takeaways from day 10…

Butler not to be forgotten in the secondary: Darius Butler continued his strong camp on Thursday by making the same plays he made last season.

Butler had a pair of pick six’s on Thursday (one each off Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck). Butler’s knack for making big plays is something that can’t be overlooked in this defense.

With a formidable starting secondary, Butler is the odds on starting nickel back which means he will see a ton of playing time against a Colts schedule that includes some of the game’s top passers.

There’s a reason why Butler was chosen in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft and he has taken full advantage of the Colts giving him another chance to live up to that billing.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE COLTS PLAYERS WORKING OUT ON THURSDAY MORNING

Power running gets some work in on Thursday: With the rain falling on Thursday afternoon it seemed fitting that the running game was a focus.

The Colts first and second team offensive line both had successful days opening up holes for the running backs.

Having the starting offensive line in tact for the entire first two weeks of training camp has been a key for the Colts rushing attack.

Sunday will provide the chance for the Colts rush defense to go up against one of the league’s top backs in C.J. Spiller.

Depth thin in the secondary: The injuries are starting to pile up on the defensive side of the ball, particularly at the back end.

Safety Delano Howell and Antoine Bethea are the only healthy safeties with newly signed Ashante Williams going to have to a play a lot on Sunday.

Other injury news included Darrius Heyward-Bey going through a few reps of 11-on-11 work on Thursday. Offensive lineman Joe Reitz returned to the practice field.

Tight end Dwayne Allen did not participate on Thursday as the Colts are evaluating the second-year tight end’s foot.


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Day Nine Impressions: Capacity crowd in Anderson, T.Y. Hilton does it again and DHB back in fulll pads

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 6, 2013 – 9:20 pm

The Colts had a long wait on Tuesday but finally got back on the practice field with the sun setting and the lights turned on inside Macholtz Stadium.

After a quiet few days of practice, the full pads were back on Tuesday night and the offense turned in one of its better performances of camp.

Here are three takeaways from day nine…

‘Friday Night Lights’ feel to practice: In front of a capacity crowd of well over 7,000 people, the Colts offense put on a show for fans at Tuesday’s night practice.

The practice started off with a flea flicker completion from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton and the first team offense ended the two and a half hour session with a touchdown on the final two-minute drill.

Luck finished the night 26-of-35 with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

The defense got its highlight on the final play of practice with Cassius Vaughn, who is having a strong camp, intercepting Matt Hasselbeck in the end zone to end the second unit’s two-minute drill.

T.Y. Hilton continues to shine: Hilton’s name continues to pop up in the post-practice impressions and for good reason.

Colts fans saw what Hilton can do after the catch last season, but watching him create separation and haul in long passes has been a strength for the second-year receiver all camp.

That was once again the case on Tuesday night with Hilton catching the first two passes of the night.

He was also on the receiving end of a post pattern over the middle to finish off the first unit’s final touchdown drive.

Hilton’s dynamic ability with the football is well advertised but he has shown all throughout camp that he can catch the ball consistently, something opposing defenses do not want to hear with the season a month away.

DHB returns for opening drills: Any rumors about Darrius Heyward-Bey’s knee injury being serious were put to rest on Tuesday night when No. 81 took part in “routes versus air” at the beginning of practice.

Head coach Chuck Pagano said that was the goal for DHB on Tuesday as he took part in positional drills with his fellow receivers.

The Colts new receiver will get treatment on the team’s off-day Wednesday and hopefully ramp up the activity during Thursday’s practice.

Without DHB during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, Griff Whalen once again had a strong evening with the first and second units.

All in all it was a very productive night for the Colts young receivers including Nathan Palmer, Jabin Sambrano and LaVon Brazill.


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 6th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:45 am

The Colts news on Tuesday morning surrounds the depth behind Darrius Heyward-Bey, some takeaways from Monday’s practice and the “smash mouth” approach that Pep Hamilton is looking for.

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, August 6th.  

Colts fan favorite Griff Whalen will get a chance in camp due to Darrius Heyward-Bey’s injury

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

With Darrius Heyward-Bey sidelined for the time being due to a knee sprain, the Colts backup receivers need to take advantage of first team reps.

Griff Whalen is one of those Colts looking for more chances and he’s making the most of it.

“I hear a little bit of it just from family and other people telling me, ‘Oh, the media says you’re doing really well,’ “ he said. “I try not to follow it too much.

“I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. Every rep, I’m trying to run the best route I can, make the best block I can, every day have the best practice I can.”

Andrew Luck at Indianapolis Colts camp: ‘I don’t need to be running with the ball’

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chappell’s takeaways from Monday’s practice includes some lighter moments with Robert Mathis playing the role of referee and the leadership titles being handed out by Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne.

The rest of Chappell’s pieces looks at Luck’s afternoon, a terrific catch by Wayne and the return of Greg Toler to the practice field.

Colts preparing for ‘smash-mouth’ offense

By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin

Most quarterback would love to drop back 600+ times in a season and chuck the ball around the field.

But Andrew Luck is a realist, understanding what it means to a team’s offense to have balance.

“No, it’s great to hand the ball off,” he said. “The balance of the offense has been a lot of fun to play in. The guys up front are doing a great job, and everybody is really buying into this sort of smash-mouth approach, and I think that’s only going to help us in the passing game. So it’s been great.”

Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is looking for one particular characteristic in his rushing attack.

“It’s about being physical,” Hamilton said. “It’s all about imposing our will on our opponent. We don’t want to waste plays in the run game. But there are times when, hey, they’re going to have a better call than we have, and we got to do a great job of making sure we eliminate the negative plays.

 

“But, our offensive linemen, they’ve done an outstanding job of accepting the challenge of being physical and having a physical mindset and buying into the fact that it’s going to hurt when we run the football. But we expect it to hurt our opponents more than it hurts us, especially in the third quarter when we continue to run the football.”

 


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Day Eight Impressions: Competition behind DHB, new names at ILB and Greg Toler returns

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 5, 2013 – 4:58 pm

The Colts spent most of Monday afternoon’s practice drilling specific situations (Hail Mary, last second field goals, getting out of bounds, etc).

During the live portion of practice though, Andrew Luck caught fire early on, connecting on his first 10 passes.

Here are three takeaways from day eight…

DHB’s injury “not serious”: Darrius Heyward-Bey did not practice on Monday afternoon, watching from behind the receivers group.

The Colts said the injury is “not serious” following practice but without DHB in the lineup the door is open for some significant receiver reps.

T.Y. Hilton added yet another strong day of practice to his impressive training camp. Hilton caught four of Luck’s first seven passes on Monday.

Griff Whalen and Nathan Palmer should see their reps increase with DHB sidelined. Also, Jeremy Kelley and Lanear Sampson have had a nice first week of camp.

Inside Linebacker spot filled with competition: Colts fans were checking their rosters frequently on Monday with some different names sliding into the inside linebackers spot.

Jerrell Freeman was sidelined with a shoulder injury on Monday, which gave some first team reps to Justin Hickman.

Last year, Hickman played extensively on the outside but this year he has also been taking reps at inside and was with the first unit for a quite a while on Monday.

Other names that Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky mentioned for the starting spot next to Freeman includes Kavell Conner, Kelvin Sheppard, Pat Angerer and Josh McNary.

Cornerbacks welcome back Greg Toler: Back with the first unit on Monday afternoon was Colts cornerback Greg Toler.

While Toler was back with the first unit, it was Vontae Davis and Darius Butler who both added to their numerous camp pass deflections.

After Davis was victim of a terrific catch by Reggie Wayne during red zone drills, he bounced back the following play knocking a potential touchdown away from the Colts six-time Pro Bowl receiver.

Earlier in practice it was Butler leaping high in the air to knock away a pass that would have been a significant gain for Wayne.

 

 

 


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