Indianapolis Colts Football

Colts Assistant Coaches share insight on their Position Groups

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 24, 2013 – 9:00 am

The Colts are the midst of their bye week and that means the team’s assistant coaches were available to the media earlier this week.

Here are some tidbits from the assistant coaches as the Colts have finished the first two months of the 2013 season:

Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen:

The longest tenured Colts coach on the staff talks about what the team is losing in Reggie Wayne:

“Just the culture. He’s a big part of our culture and how we want to do things and how we compete and how we practice and all those things. I’m just trusting that he got us off to a start. He got the receiver room off to a good start and the passing game.

“The consistency factor, hopefully he’s communicated enough and other guys have to respond now and do the same thing. He has been that security blanket. All of a sudden, we’ve all had a kid and they have their, there’s a time when you got to take the security blanket away. There’s no more of that. We’re taking your favorite animal. You’re 13 now. You got to grow up and go. So it’s going to have to be the same thing. Some folks are going to have to step up. We have to keep the same level of consistency that he brought. He’s been big with those young receivers. T.Y. (Hilton) now, right? You see the effects of being in the room with Reggie (Wayne) and T.Y.’s game and how it’s stepped up and how consistent he’s become and that has to permeate through the whole unit and certainly the receiver room.”

Running Backs Coach David Walker

Coach Walker was a popular interview on Tuesday and he chatted about what he’s seen from Trent Richardson:

“A guy that’s working real hard to understand and learn the nuances of our offense. He’s doing a good job with that. It’s still a work in progress. Certain phases were quicker than others, but he’s making progress there. He’s obviously a guy that has the ability to make defenders miss tackles, he’s made a lot of missed tackles in his short time here, and he finishes runs. All the things when he was in Cleveland and throughout his college career that people see in him, those things have showed up and will continue to show up.”

Wide Receivers Coach Charlie Williams

Another popular coach talked about how his room is handling the loss of Reggie Wayne:

“It’s a very tough loss to lose a guy like Reggie and what he does and brings to our team both on the field and off the field. As Coach Pagano always talks about, the next man is up. Whoever that next man may be, we’ll get ready to go and do what we do, continue to win football games.”

“(Reggie’s) going to be a coach on the field just like as if he was playing. He knows what to look for and he can help these guys tremendously. He does it all the time when he’s on the field and when he’s out there playing he can help when we’re off the field in terms of when the defense is on the field. He’s going to be a tremendous help to us. He’s going to stay in the game.”

Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel

On rookie Montori Hughes and his progress:

“He’s just improving in all aspects of the game. He’s understanding playing at this level and what it takes consistently to play in there. The hardest part to play for a young guy is really defensive line because you have so many offensive linemen that have so much experience and they know all the tricks of the trade so it really puts you behind the eight ball a little bit. But he’s developing, he’s getting better. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great size so we are looking forward to him continuing to get better.”

Linebackers Coach Jeff FitzGerald

The exuberant FitzGerald was asked about what Jerrell Freeman means to the Colts defense:

“Tremendous. He does a great job. We’ve given him more and more responsibility on the defense and he’s handled every bit of it. He doesn’t balk at it whatsoever. I think he enjoys having the extra responsibility that we put on him and he does a good job with it. I think he looks at it as a challenge. He’s hard on himself. He’s great to coach. We’re hard on him, but he’s probably ultimately the hardest guy on himself to get better.”

Secondary Coach Mike Gillhamer

On if Vontae Davis is the ideal cover corner:

“Yeah, I think Vontae sees himself that way but I think also we try to get across that he’s got to be a complete corner and he’s got to do the complete things, play off. Since he’s got here, we’ve really worked on his technique. A lot of times, I think what’s happened in Vontae’s past is that when things go bad, you revert back to old habits. You need something that you can go back to when things are going bad. That’s the thing that we try to get across to him is technique and staying intense and staying everything that way. He’s responded real well.”


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Return of Ahmad Bradshaw makes for a happy Vick Ballard

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 5, 2013 – 3:44 pm

Late in the 2012 season when Vick Ballard looked towards the Colts sidelines running backs coach David Walker simply just stared back at him.

Ballard was the bell cow and injuries hardly let him catch his breath.

Come Sunday, Ballard will be more than happy to allow other backs get into the fray.

“I’ve been in two-back systems my whole career playing. It’s a way to get the other back rest. And like you said, I feed off the energy of the other back,” Ballard said earlier this week.

Fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw is expecting to make his Colts debut on Sunday afternoon and his offensive teammates can’t wait to see him in action.temp2013_0904_prac_0596--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Says quarterback Andrew Luck of Bradshaw:

“I know he’s been chomping at the bit. He’s a tough sucker and we’re lucky to have him on our team.”

And the fullback Stanley Havili who will be paving the way on Sunday:

“I’m excited and I think the whole team is excited to get Ahmad out there. We all know what he can do and we all know what Vick and Donald (Brown) can do so we’re just excited to get someone out there fresh that can run the ball.”

Pep Hamilton said on Thursday that he isn’t exactly sure how running back carries will be split up against the Raiders.

Sunday will be Hamilton’s first in-person look at Bradshaw but he likes what he sees on film.

“He’s consistent. He’s a power runner. He can run between the tackles but when he breaks through that first line of defense, he has the ability to score touchdowns,” Hamilton said of Bradshaw.

Whether it’s Ballard, Bradshaw or Brown, the man calling the shots on Sunday knows that multiple backs are required in his offense.

And he’s confident that those backs will be running behind an imposing offensive line.

“Our offensive line, they’ve progressively gotten better since the start of camp and we expect that we’re going to be able to come out and control the line of scrimmage. That’s our ultimate goal,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“It’s a long season and we expect to be able to run the football. We are sure that there will be enough opportunities to go around.”


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COLTS DAILY HEADLINES: JUNE 7TH EDITION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 7, 2013 – 8:58 am

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 five pieces from Friday, June 7th.

Colts welcome arrival of Wayne for offseason work

By: Mike Marot Associated Press

Marot takes a look at the 34-year old Wayne and how the six-time Pro Bowler is adjusting to another offseason with new faces and a new scheme.

With faces continuing to change around Wayne, he remains one of the most experienced Colts on the entire roster.

“The last few years my main focus on Day 1 has been just getting to know my teammates, getting to know their names, getting to figure out where everybody comes from and then going into the playbook because at the end of the day, you are out there with them and they are out there with you and you are doing whatever you got to do for each other. So I think it would be bad to go out there and not know the guy next to you, his first and last name,” Wayne said. “It has been a challenge, but I’m getting it done. It’s a little new to me still, but it’s cool.”

Finding the Fits: John Boyett could be solution to Colts’ secondary

By: Rob Rang, CBS Sports

CBS Sports is taking a look at some of the more intriguing draft picks from this April’s draft and Boyett fits the mold for Indianapolis.

Rang analyzes Boyett’s knee injuries that are currently holding him out of OTAs and how that will impact his future at the safety position.

As a sixth-round pick, Boyett isn’t likely to overtake Antoine Bethea or Landry as a starting safety for the Colts this season. His reliable open-field tackling and passion, however, could make him a special teams demon and valuable backup as a rookie. Considering that Landry hasn’t started all 16 games since 2008, Boyett’s readiness could be tested earlier than anyone expects.

The article also takes a look at first round pick Bjoern Werner and fifth round selection Montori Hughes.

Indianapolis Colts must run the ball better in 2013

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

On a day when the Colts news centered around Ahmad Bradshaw visiting the team’s complex, Chappell took a look at the running back position in Indianapolis.

For more than a decade, the Colts have been more prone to go through the air than carving up yardage on the ground.

While the attempts are one thing, Colts coaches look at another stat when evaluating the running game.

“It’s not necessarily how many yards we rush for, it’s … how efficient we are when we’re doing certain things,” said running backs coach David Walker. “If we run it 30 times but only gain 30 yards, we really didn’t do much.

“If we run it 30 times with 120, 130 (yards), then we’ve probably won the game and allowed other parts of our offense to open up.”

Ahmad Bradshaw, if healthy, would boost Colts’ running game

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

In Chappell’s blog, he takes a closer look at Bradshaw and how his potential addition may impact the Colts backfield.

Chappell believes that Bradshaw would “bolster” the position and says the following about the former Giants running back.

Bradshaw, 27, is a proven commodity. He rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns in six seasons with the Giants, and topped the 1,000-yard mark in two of his last three seasons (1,015 yards in 2012, a career-high 1,235 in ’10).

Breakout Player to Watch: Vick Ballard

By: Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

Burke is running a series on players he expects to breakout in 2013 and Ballard was one of his selections.

The article takes a look at a number of reasons on why Burke believes Ballard’s numbers will rise in 2013, including being involved in Pep Hamilton’s scheme.

Simply entering the season as the No. 1 back puts Ballard in position for a statistical boost. Ballard averaged just 5.8 carries per game and a measly 13.4 yards from Weeks 1 through 5; over the Colts’ final 11 contests, those numbers bumped to 16.5 and 67.9, respectively. Those averages, extrapolated out over a full season, put Ballard at nearly 1,100 yards.

How underrated? Well, just for discussion’s sake, Ballard was the 31st running back taken in Sports Illustrated‘s offseason fantasy mock draft (on shelves in our annual Fantasy Football magazine soon), behind such players as Baltimore backup Bernard Pierce, oft-injured Chargers starter Ryan Mathews, rookies Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy, and unproven Jets back Chris Ivory.

Ballard has a very realistic shot to soar past the production of any player listed there — his 67.9 yards-per-game average in his final 11 outings would have been a top-20 mark were it not for his lack of carries in games 1 through 5.

The Colts have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Joseph Addai ran for 1,072 yards back in 2007. If he stays healthy and the Colts do not freeze him out of the offense, Ballard should break that drought.


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RUNNING BACK POSITION DEEPER THAN JUST VICK BALLARD AND DONALD BROWN

Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 5, 2013 – 7:20 am

Colts running backs coach David Walker does not live in a fantasy land.

In a perfect world, Walker would rely on one main back in 2013 with a backup sprinkled in at opportune times.

That’s not how the NFL operates with the rate of injuries that occur on a weekly basis.

Names like Delone Carter and Kerwynn Williams might not be focal points heading into the regular season but if history is any indication than they will be relied on in 2013.

Carter is entering his third season in the NFL and has battled through injuries to find a niche as a short-yardage runner that accounted for three touchdowns last season.

“He’s obviously shown he can do it. He’s been in games his first two years,” Walker said of the 238-pound Carter.

“But whatever combination of three guys, four guys there’s going to come a point, unfortunately, where someone’s going to twist an ankle, going to be out, someone’s got to get in and kind of take over that role for the time or for a few plays. All of our jobs are just make sure whomever we put in there is able to be productive and we don’t miss a beat.”

Williams is barely a month into his NFL career so any forecast on where he might fit into the running back position will have to wait until the pads are put on in late July.

For many rookies, special teams can be an early avenue to immediate playing time and that could very well be the case with Williams at the kick returner position.

“He’s a smart kid, a good learner, a good worker,” Walker said of Williams’ prognosis at running back.

“He understands the schemes, answers questions for us in meetings but we’ll have to see him a little bit more on the field before we make a determination how much he’s going to help.”

Last season it was Vick Ballard and Donald Brown that dominated the backfield for the Colts.

But people should not forget Delone Carter’s hard-nosed running late in the Colts overtime victory over the Titans.

Walker feels he’s got a group of guys that bring different skill sets within the Colts offense and sees contributions coming from a number of players.

“Whenever your number is called be ready to contribute and play and play to a high standard,” Walker said of his message in the running backs room. “We don’t really look to what guys can’t do, we look to what guys can do and put them into situations where they can have success.”


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OFFENSIVE ASSISTANT COACHES OFFER PERSPECTIVE ON POSITION GROUPS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 28, 2013 – 9:29 am

We are 100 days away from the start of the 2013 NFL season with the Colts wrapping up OTAs over the next two weeks.

Last week the Colts assistant coaches were made available to the media and offered some great perspective into their position group.

Colts.com will take a closer look into these groups over the coming weeks and here is a preview of comments from the various offensive assistant coaches:

Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen is the longest tenured coach on the Colts staff yet he has the luxury this offseason of something he has never really seen during his 11 seasons in Indianapolis.

Matt Hasselbeck brings 15 seasons of NFL experience to the Colts quarterbacks room and has already made an impression with his fellow signal callers.

“You can see Chandler (Harnish) and Andrew (Luck) look at (Hasselbeck) and go ‘Whoa, this guy comes out slinging it’ and just has run the concept so many times the ball comes out quick. He knows what’s going on, the way he studies and then just has a professional air about him that’s different from your average football player. He’s been great. He’s been terrific. There’s a guy, same thing, that after that many years, you’d dread these practices. He might be the most excited, comes in excited every day and has some fun and keeps the place loose. He’s been terrific.”

Running backs coach David Walker was a victim of injuries across his position group last season with Vick Ballard being the lone constant over the course of the season.

Walker was very high on Ballard when he came out of Mississippi State in 2012 and after an 814-yard rookie campaign, it’s the little things that are the focus this offseason.

“The good lord has given (Ballard) a lot of physical ability. It’s not so much he needs to get bigger, faster, stronger. It’s how he trains his eyes, gets better as a pro. Like anything, to be able to sense things before they happen that’s the key at any position and with experience that’s going to come forward.”

Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert is familiar with most of his group but now he is the one leading the room after spending last season as an assistant offensive line coach.

Curious minds have wondered what type of schemes the Colts offensive line will implement this season and Gilbert cleared that up with a detailed answer.

“I mean we’ve got everything. We’re a gap team. We’ve got gap schemes, we’ve got zone schemes, we’ve got man schemes. I think the one thing we’ve got enough of in our arsenal is we can pick and choose game week going in and seeing how somebody going to defend us. How can we take advantage of them personnel-wise? How can we create mismatches by formations and by schemes. I think that gives us a little bit of flexibility with what we have.”


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COLTS DAILY HEADLINES: MAY 24TH EDITION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 24, 2013 – 9:13 am

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 five pieces from Friday, May 24th.

26 Cities With Young Franchise-Caliber Duos

By: Staff, Indianapolis Star

Thanks to a tremendous 2012-2013 seasons for a pair of Indianapolis finest professional athletes, the state capitol is starting to garner some attention with Andrew Luck and Paul George.

The Indianapolis Star ranked the top 26 city duos taking into consideration players 26-years and younger in the four major sports.

The duo of Luck and George find themselves No. 3 on the list behind San Francisco’s Buster Posey and Colin Kapernick and Washington D.C.’s Robert Griffin III and Bryce Harper.

Here is the analysis of Luck and George:

Luck (23): A Pro Bowler in his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 was tabbed as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway. Not bad company. Luck set a rookie record for passing yards in a single game (433 vs. Miami) and recorded the most wins by a No. 1 overall pick in his rookie season leading the Colts to the postseason. Colts fans were spoiled with Peyton Manning, but Luck has helped ease the pain of No. 18’s departure… and then some.

George (23): After showing glimpses of his All-Star potential in his first two seasons, George broke through in 2013 earning All-NBA third team, the NBA’s Most Improved Player and an All-Star apperance in guiding the Pacers to the Central Division title and Eastern Conference finals. Danny Granger’s injury thrust George into a more prominent role and the Fresno State product has been more than up to the challenge.

Luck having fun with his first OTAs

By: Tom James, Terre Haute Tribune-Star

James followed in a similar fashion to the pieces we saw yesterday on the Colts Wednesday OTA open to the media.

He mentions about Luck finally being able to take part in all of the Colts OTA schedule, along with the quarterback’s high praise for new wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

“Darrius had been great. He’s been a great addition. He has great speed, obviously, and he’s got a real knack for football,” he said. “He’s played a lot of football and he understands situations. He’s a good force in the wide receiver rotation. He’s done a phenomenal job so far.”

James provides a brief update on who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s OTA and talks about running backs coach David Walker’s assessment of the running back position.

On Tony Dungy changing player habits

By: Paul Kuharsky, ESPN AFC South Blog

ESPN is in the process of a project that ranks the top 20  coaches in NFL history.

At No. 20 checks former Colts leader Tony Dungy.

The piece highlights Dungy’s greatest accomplishment of helping the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI.

Kuharsky points out an excerpt from the book “The Power of Habit” that mentions Dungy.

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things,” Dungy would explain. “They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”


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IN THIS DAY AND AGE OF THE NFL, MORE THAN ONE RUNNING BACK IS NEEDED

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 7:40 am

The NFL is an ever-changing league.

New offensive and defensive schemes are implemented every year with trends and fads making for endless nights for coaches around the NFL.

One of those tendencies has caused for deeper and deeper backfields in the recent years.

Personnel departments all over the NFL know the need for more than one reliable threat in the running game and position coaches echo the same notion

“Most people are going to use two, if not three (running backs), unless you are fortunate enough to coach in Minnesota where you give one guy (Adrian Peterson) the ball the majority of the time,” Colts running backs coach David Walker said earlier this week.

Last season the Colts utilized a trio of backs who carried the ball at least 32 times.

Player Carries Yards YPC Touchdowns
Vick Ballard 211 814 3.9 2
Donald Brown 108 417 3.9 1
Delone Carter 32 122 3.8 3

Injuries late in the season forced Walker to rely heavily on Vick Ballard and while the rookie was extremely productive, his running backs coach knows that for long-term success a stable of runners is needed.

“We’ve got a group of guys that have different skill sets but within the realm of offense, they all can be solid contributors,” Walker said.

“So whenever your number is called, be ready to contribute and play to a high standard. We don’t really look to what guys can’t do, we look to what guys can do and put them into situations where they can have success.”

In 2012, Brown began the season as the starter but a knee injury forced Ballard into the No. 1 role, where he thrived.

Walker knows that the guy who is getting 20+ carries in September might not be in the fold later in the season.

It’s life in the NFL and to prepare for that Walker feels the Colts have a trio of established backs that will each hear their number called in 2013.

“We’ve got a good group and really we’ve got to continue to develop the third guy because just like last year and the season before, at some point, whoever is third on our depth chart is going to be starting a football game and helping us have to win,” Walker said.

“What we realize is we’re going to need three very capable backs to get us through the season.”


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