Ryan Grigson made his 13th trade as general manager with the Colts today.
Grigson is a non-stop shopper for any way to improve his football team.
He sent running back Delone Carter to Baltimore for wide receiver/kick returner David Reed.
A fourth-year pro, Reed made a rookie splash with a 103-yard scoring kickoff return in 2010. In 2011, he zipped 77 yards with another return effort.
In 29 career games, Reed owns a healthy 29.5 average on 39 kickoff returns.
The return game is an area on which Grigson and the Colts coaches want to improve.
The value of explosion was underscored last year when Deji Karim bolted 101 yards for a score against Houston in the finale.
Karim’s coast-to-coast effort took 12 seconds, and that was the only clock time the Colts trailed all game.
It was the club’s first scoring return on a deep kickoff since 2009.
“This trade gives us a chance to improve in key areas moving forward,” said Grigson. “David is a very competitive football player, and we welcome his style of play and energy.”
Grigson kids that one of the things he has learned about himself during his tenure with the Colts is just how much coffee he can drink. The man never stops working.
What Colts fans have learned about him is that Grigson’s eyes are always peeled for ways to improve his team.
Tags: david reed, Deji Karim, Delone Carter, indianapolis colts, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The kick returner position last year for the Indianapolis Colts was a revolving door.
Over the course of 16 games, eight different players returned kickoffs with 10 returns being the highest for any of the Colts returnees (Cassius Vaughn).
The unit finally struck gold in the final week of the regular season when Deji Karim, three weeks removed from valet parking cars, took a kickoff back 101 yards against the Houston Texans.
Returns like that are something head coach Chuck Pagano wants to see at a more frequent rate in 2013 and the Colts took a step in that direction late in April’s NFL Draft.
Kerwynn Williams accounted for 3,392 kickoff returns yards in his first three seasons at Utah State and that electricity will undoubtedly be tried on special teams over the next few months.
“(Williams) had I think (135) returns and the next closest guy that we evaluated was at like 90, and he averaged over 25 yards per kickoff return,” Pagano said following the selection of Williams in the seventh round.
“We saw last game of the year what a kickoff return can do for you in the Houston game. It turned that whole thing around and blew that thing open when Deji returned that and this kid (Williams) can do that all day.”
In his first year as a starting running back at Utah State, Williams, who played behind a pair of future NFL running backs, did it all.
He rushed for 1,512 yards and also caught 45 passes for 697 yards and a total of 20 touchdowns.
Kickoff return duties had to be given up in 2012, in order to carry the load offensively, but Williams knows what will get him onto the Colts roster this fall.
“I can contribute on special teams so I think that’s a big thing that I want to look to establish myself on and I’m definitely excited to have the opportunity to come up there,” Williams said.
“I’m just looking to get up there and help the team in any way I can, whether it be returning kicks or covering kicks. I’m just trying to do my part to help make the team better.”
During the draft process, the Colts sent members of their personnel department and assistant special teams coach Brant Boyer out west to scout the elusive Williams.
It was a surprise to many in the Colts war room that Williams, Indianapolis’ No. 1 kick returner, was available come pick No. 230.
This weekend all the coaches will get a first hand look at what exactly goes into one of college football’s most dynamic playmakers.
“He brings a wrinkle to this team that could really help us and that’s as a returner. He’s exciting to watch as a runner and as a returner,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said.
“We’re happy to get him because he fills a tremendous need and he’s also got some real value on third down.”
Tags: Brant Boyer, chuck pagano, Deji Karim, kerwynn williams, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The hole opened like an accordion.
Out of the hole came Deji Karim, as untouched as he was when he received the kickoff from Texans kicker Shayne Graham a yard deep into the end zone.
Karim was introduced to many Colts fans on Sunday afternoon when he took a third quarter kickoff 101 yards to regain the lead for the Indianapolis, a lead that would not be relinquished.
Finding a niche at the kick return position is something the Colts have been searching for all season long and Karim is grasping that opportunity.
Karim has had nine kick returns averaging 36.4 yards over the past three weeks and he appears to have solidified a position that has seen seven different players attempt at least three kick returns this season.
“He’s been a 21, 22+ average as a kick returner in this league. It’s not like he’s some guy who has never done it before,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said of Karim.
“He ran 4.38 (40-yard dash) coming out. If you’re going to sign a guy you might as well sign 4.38. I think everyone saw that speed (Sunday).
After spending training camp with the Colts, Karim was victim of a numbers crunch at the running back position and was cut prior to the season opener.
When Donald Brown and Robert Hughes were placed on injured reserve following the Colts win over the Titans on Dec. 9, Karim’s phone rang while working as a valet driver in Oklahoma City.
“(Director of Pro Personnel) Kevin Rogers called (Karim) and we had to get him here quickly because we wanted to work him out first because he had been out since training camp,” Grigson said. “We brought him in and he said I’ve got to get my work clothes off and I’ll get to the airport as fast as I can. I didn’t know he was parking cars but God bless him.
“He came in and answered the bell and it’s the whole ‘next man up’ thing. The last preseason game he really played well and sometimes in this league it’s just about opportunity and he’s make the most of his right now.”
During his time away from football, Karim has been keeping a keen watch on the Colts season and could not be happier to be back apart of it contributing to a trip to the playoffs.
“What we got going here is amazing,” Karim said. “Just to be part of this family and come back and be a part of it, words can’t even describe it.”
Tags: Deji Karim, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
All season long, pundits have tried to pinpoint why the Colts have gone from a team that found themselves at the bottom of the NFL a year to back into the postseason.
New general manager Ryan Grigson was the first hire Owner Jim Irsay made last January and subsequent moves from there have all contributed to the Colts turning in an 11-5 regular season.
“Is it this guy? Is it that guy? Is it the GM? Is it the head coach? Is it the interim head coach? Who is it?” Grigson said of why the Colts have been so successful.
“It’s because it’s a team.”
It’s that ‘team’ mantra that everyone from Grigson on down has bought into this season and allowed Indianapolis to find itself playing in January.
“No one is waiting to get applauded, singularly. Everyone is here for each other and trying to do things because if we preach the message of a team and Chuck preaches that message to all those guys and we aren’t living it ourselves, that doesn’t bode well for ourselves or for the message,” Grigson said on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show.’
“We just always want the praise to go to the team collectively.”
While Grigson does not want any direct praise for the Colts successful campaign, there is no denying that his staff deserves some attention.
On Sunday alone, the Colts had three players with a sack that were not with the team back in September.
Kick returner Deji Karim was on the streets for the first 14 weeks of the NFL season before taking a kick back 101 yards for a third quarter touchdown.
Grigson acknowledges his staff for willing to go to the ‘nth degree’ in order to build the backend of the Colts roster.
“A lot of that credit goes to (Director of Player Personnel) Tom Telesco and my staff. We have a lot of spontaneous meetings and all of us will come in and we will look at my depth chart and we will just start talking. The name of the game in the NFL to me is being prepared. Being prepared for a doomsday scenario and that’s why you have to prepare.”
“We’ve had Monday’s where I’m looking at signing three running backs. If I didn’t have a great staff and a great bunch of scouts that are out there digging, and digging, and digging, I wouldn’t have a cornucopia so to speak of players that no one has. I feel like in the league, in general, we’ve done well because we’ve just dug that much harder and our guys have worked that much harder.”
This time last year Grigson was preparing for college all-star games with the Eagles, before he received a phone call that changed his life.
Week-after-week Grigson and his staff have brought players into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center expecting them to perform in the Colts continuing to ‘build the monster.’
The production on the field speaks for itself and now less than a year after receiving that phone call he has a little more work on his plate with the playoffs on the horizon.
“The culture we want to create in terms of family is we are going to put our arm around that guy that maybe doesn’t seem like he belongs and we are going to give him a chance,” Grigson said.
“We are going to give him a chance to transform himself. We’ve had a lot of guys like that, that at first they were unsure but then they were reigned in and now they are really producing. It’s a credit to the staff and what they’ve done, my staff as well in terms of finding the players.”
Tags: chuck pagano, Deji Karim, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today signed running backs Deji Karim and Mewelde Moore to the active roster and placed running back Donald Brown and fullback Robert Hughes on Injured Reserve. The team also signed running back Davin Meggett to the practice squad and released running back Alvester Alexander from the practice squad. Offensive guard Justin Anderson was placed on the Practice Squad Injured List.
Karim, 5-8, 209 pounds, has appeared in 23 games over his three-year career, recording 98 rushes for 290 yards and 17 receptions for 130 yards. He was acquired from waivers by the Colts on April 30, 2012 before being waived-injured on September 10. Karim was originally selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round (180th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Southern Illinois University. He spent two seasons with the Jaguars before being waived on April 27, 2012.
Moore, 5-11, 209 pounds, has totaled 503 rushes for 2,261 yards and six touchdowns over his nine-year career. He has also caught 218 passes for 1,911 yards and eight touchdowns. In six games this season with the Colts, Moore has rushed nine times for 14 yards and has caught four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. He was originally signed by the Colts as an unrestricted free agent on June 19, 2012 before being waived on October 29.
Brown, 5-10, 210 pounds, tallied 108 rushing attempts for 417 yards and a touchdown and nine receptions for 93 yards in 10 games (four starts) this season. For his career, Brown has rushed 449 times for 1,840 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also recorded 56 receptions for 553 yards. Brown was selected by the Colts in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Hughes, 5-11, 235 pounds, notched one rush for five yards and one reception for three yards in five games (one start) this season. Hughes was originally signed to the Colts practice squad on October 10, 2012 and elevated to the 53-man active roster on October 29.
Meggett, 5-8, 215 pounds, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans out of the University of Maryland on May 14, 2012 and was waived on August 26. He was then signed to the Texans practice squad on September 26 and released on November 27. At Maryland, Meggett saw action in 50 career games (17 starts), carrying the ball 485 times for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Alexander, 5-11, 204 pounds, was originally signed by the Colts on August 15, 2012 before being waived on August 26. He was signed to the practice squad on September 3 and released on October 9. Alexander was signed back to the practice squad on October 30 and released on November 20. He was then signed to the practice squad again on December 4.
Anderson, 6-5, 342 pounds, was originally selected by the Colts in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Georgia. He was placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List on August 27, 2012 and was activated on November 19. He was then waived by the team on November 20 and signed to the practice squad on November 23.
Tags: Deji Karim, donald brown, injured reserve, Mewelde Moore, robert hughes, roster moves
Posted in Colts Blog
For several Colts players, last night’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals was a final interview of sorts. It was their last chance to either make their case to make the Colts’ 53-man roster or get some good action on film so they can possibly hook on with another team. For running backs Deji Karim and Vick Ballard and wide receiver Kris Adams, the night saw them get the opportunities they were looking for and each answered the door when opportunity knocked.
Karim, whom the Colts acquired as a free agent from Jacksonville, was one of a stable of backs hoping to stick with the Colts. Last night he saw his most extensive action of the preseason, rushing 12 times for 36 yards and a touchdown. Now Karim, along with a host of other Colts on the roster bubble, must wait until he finds out today whether or not he’s earned a spot on the Colts’ final roster. For his part, Karim is comfortable letting the chips fall where they may:
“There’s nothing more I can do. It’s all part of God’s plan. I just hope I’ve done enough to impress the coaches.”
Rookie Vick Ballard was similarly pleased with the effort he’s put forth this preseason. Ballard knows well that fifth round draft picks are hardly guaranteed roster spots, especially on teams with the kind of competition at his position present with the Colts.
Ballard only had one official carry last night for four yards, but had a 33 yard run where he showed his speed and elusiveness negated by a holding call. Even though he finished as the team’s leading rusher in preseason, Ballard’s not resting on any laurels just yet.
“I don’t want to fall into complacency. I’m just going to keep working and get better.”
Free agent wide receiver Kris Adams is another who is trying to make the jump from being an unknown to making an NFL roster. Adams has been one of the most impressive players in practice this preseason, but hadn’t really had many game opportunities to show his skills. That changed last night.
Adams hauled in two passes for a team high 55 yards before leaving the game after getting helmet to helmet contact attempting to catch a touchdown pass. Adams was alright afterwards and is excited about what he’s been able to do in preseason.
Adams will await word on the final roster with his family who have joined him in town.
“I’m going to get up early, enjoy my family. When I wake up, if I’m still here, I’m going to be excited. If not, it’s a journey. I just have to keep pushing.
It was nice to get some chances tonight, to get some good things on film. Hopefully I’ve impressed the coaches enough that if they can’t keep me, they can put in a good word for me.”
For these three Colts, the hard part was the effort it took to get to this point and even more hard work awaits them if they hope to advance their NFL careers. A little waiting to find out their fates isn’t phasing them very much.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
Tags: Deji Karim, Kris Adams, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
There was another rookie quarterback that excelled on Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts.
Chandler Harnish completed all three of his passes against the Rams including leading the offense on a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives.
A Fort Wayne, Ind. native, Harnish put on a nice show for some friendly faces in the crowd on Sunday.
“I had a lot of friends and family here today,” Harnish said. “Just coming out there and making a dream come true, playing in the NFL especially for your favorite team growing up is just an unbelievable experience and to take advantage of the opportunity is really just a dream come true.”
Harnish entered the game early in the fourth quarter and wasted no time leading the offense down the field.
After four runs by Deji Karim to start the drive, Harnish capped it off with a beautiful throw to wide receiver Jeremy Ross.
Working against man coverage, Ross beat his man on the outside and Harnish placed the ball perfectly into his receiver’s hands for the 33-yard touchdown.
“We had a go-go route called and I saw the defensive back right there so I attacked him,” Ross said. “Just like we go over everyday in practice, something we do all the time. Just made a move at the line (of scrimmage), ran as fast as I could and (Harnish) put it there.”
During training camp, Harnish has had a number of highlights with the deep ball and he added another one on Sunday.
“Jeremy did a great job of getting off coverage and I was really thinking I was going to work the other side of the field because we had a tall receiver in Kris Adams,” Harnish said of the score. “Jeremy did a great job and I saw him get open out of my peripheral so I just gave him a chance.”
Following the touchdown, the Colts defense forced a three-and-out and back came Harnish on the field for another scoring drive.
This time the result was a seven-play drive that was capped off with a 31-yard field goal by Pat McAfee.
The final drive for Harnish was a simple knee as the offense finished the afternoon with double the total offense of the Rams and was an impressive 11-of-15 on third down conversions.
There was no drop off from quarterback to quarterback throughout the afternoon for the Colts.
From the first unit to the last, the agenda remained the same with Harnish leading the offense just like his fellow rookie quarterback had done in the first half.
“Our goal as a third string unit, especially with the score the way it was and the field position we had, was get a score. Whether it was a touchdown or a field goal, get a score,” Harnish said.
Tags: Chandler Harnish, Deji Karim, Jeremy Ross, Kris Adams, pat mcafee
Posted in Colts Blog
Monday was the day to talk to the coordinators following the Colts afternoon practice.
Here are a few highlights from offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the quarterback and running backs position.
On how long Andrew Luck will play in Sunday’s preseason game:
“Still up in the air, you know. We want to see how long we want to play that first line and the entire group, so we haven’t really sat down and talked about it yet. We’d like to get in 20 plays, maybe 25. Oh yeah, he needs to play against someone else other than himself and see different coverages and different fronts. We’re looking forward to it.”
On the running back competition among the six on the roster:
“Six good backs, that’s part of the reason I’m anxious to see them and we don’t want our ones going the whole time either. We’ve got to get all those guys in and see what they do and what role they can find. Delone (Carter) did a nice job in his short yardage and goal line period the other day. Donald (Brown)’s had a good camp, (Mewelde Moore)’s had a good camp. Vick (Ballard), I really want to see him in action, see what he’s doing against live bullets. All of the guys have looked pretty solid in the backfield.”
On Mewelde Moore being the go-to-guy, in Pittsburgh, when other running backs got hurt:
“Yeah, it’s funny. He had a bunch of roles. Third down was one. But when, I think it was Willie Parker, got hurt the one year he started, he had 130 (yards) against Cincinnati, 120. He was our goal line runner. We usually put him in the end of the game to run out the clock because he always put the ball where it was suppose to be. It was a great trust thing.”
On running back Deji Karim:
“He’s a speed guy. He brings a ton of speed to the position. His best chance is, you know, obviously kick-returner and homerun hitter in the backfield. We’ll see how he plays between the tackles.”
On quarterback Drew Stanton:
“I’ve seen great improvement. His accuracy has improved a ton, that’s gone along with his knowledge of what we’re trying to get done. He’s had an excellent camp. Every now and then he’ll throw one in there thinking his arm is strong enough and he’ll throw a pick, and just learn from that and don’t do it again. But I’ve been real pleased with him. I feel comfortable if we had to play him that we could win a ball game.”
On the challenges of developing quarterbacks:
“Each and every one is so different. You know, you always say you’d like to get a running game going, boom, boom, boom and run the ball. Well that works nice if you can run the ball and get it into third-and-five or less. If you’re going to put him back there, run it twice, and be in third-and-seven and eight all the time he’s going to get killed. He’s not learning how to throw the football on first-and-ten. I think you still have to be balanced. He has to have a great command of what he’s trying to get done. He has to know his protections because that’s when you get killed, on your hots and your blitzes; especially now with all the zone blitz fires and things that we see. He has to be inside out, up-and-down, on the money on his protections and then building a rapport with his receivers sometimes is a little overrated. We run everything on timing so that part has to be there, especially in the redzone when you’ll know a guy’s subtle moves and stuff. But the protection part of it is the biggest thing in getting ready to play.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, Deji Karim, Delone Carter, donald brown, drew stanton, Mewelde Moore, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog