He is just two games into his NFL career but Andrew Luck’s ability to thrive in the two-minute offense rivals that of almost any veteran quarterback around the league.
Luck has led the Colts offense on three two-minute drives (the three drives have lasted a combined 2:04) and each time has put his team in a place to score.
Head coach Chuck Pagano has taken notice of how Luck has performed in those situations and credits his rookie quarterback’s demeanor to be able to handle such a chaotic time.
“He’s calm. He doesn’t get rattled,” Pagano said of Luck. “He sees the field, he understands the offense extremely well, and he knows exactly what he’s getting because he puts the time in.”
Against the Bears, Luck and the offense got the ball back at the Indianapolis 22-yard line with 44 seconds remaining in the first half.
He connected on four straight passes for 59 yards, setting up a field goal opportunity with six seconds left in the half.
With the first half clock winding down again on Sunday, Luck was back at it again looking for a late score.
The Colts defense forced a three-and-out and gave the offense the ball back at Indianapolis’ own 36-yard line with 1:11 left until halftime.
Luck hit three of his first five passes (including a spike) on the drive for 24 yards and then scrambled seven yards to the Vikings 30-yard line with 14 seconds left in the half.
Instead of playing for a field goal with no timeouts remaining, Luck wanted the whole thing.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne beat press coverage from the slot and Luck placed a perfect pass just over Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson for the 30-yard touchdown.
The Wayne score gave the Colts a 17-6 halftime lead and the touchdown proved to be pivotal when Luck took the field with 31 seconds left.
The Colts had surrendered their two-touchdown lead and overtime was staring Indianapolis right in the face.
However, Luck and the offense had other ideas, driving 45 yards behind a pair of 20-yard completions to set up kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 53-yard game-winning field goal.
“It’s just amazing that the guy is able to go out there and do the things that he does for a rookie,” Pagano said of Luck. “Obviously, we’ve talked many times before that he never acts like one. He certainly didn’t in that situation. It’s just a testament to him, the work that he puts in, all the guys around him, the receivers, everybody that made plays, he certainly had to put the ball on them and he did.”
Pagano said his staff has looked into more ‘no-huddle’ offense but the need for a stable offensive line is a key for success in those situations.
In his three two-minute drives this season, Luck is 10-of-14 (with two spikes) for 153 yards and has helped the offense produce 10 points.
“The way Coach Arians has it set up and it’s very friendly to the quarterback. Not having to call 18 words for a play, its two words and let’s go,” Luck said.
“I think Reggie Wayne, who’s probably done 1,000 two-minute drills in his life, seen every situation. He is a guy you can lean on. Donnie (Avery), did a great job getting open (Sunday), using his speed in two-minute, but I think it comes down to practice time and the O-line really just pressing, making sure you get that extra push in there and get that foot in the ground.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, donnie avery, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog
Reggie Wayne sees something in his wide receiver group that he has never seen in his 12-year career with the Colts.
Speed, speed and more speed.
It all started back in late Match when the Colts signed free agent Donnie Avery who recorded a 4.27, 40-yard dash at his 2008 pro day.
The influx of speed continued a month later when the Colts drafted wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill in the third and sixth rounds respectively.
For the rookies, the speed element in their games is already there but they know who to talk to in trying to become a complete receiver.
“We look to him a lot. That’s Reggie Wayne, a 12-year (veteran),” Hilton said. “There isn’t too much a defense can throw at us that he hasn’t seen, so watching film with him, breaking it down, out on the field, just asking him any questions you want and he’ll pretty much answer them.”
Hilton missed most of OTAs with an injury and felt like he was a bit behind coming into his first NFL training camp.
“The first two days (were a bit overwhelming) but now I’m pretty much comfortable. Coach gives me plays right now. I’m running with the ones, twos and I’m feeling good so I kind of settled down and just got back to being me,” Hilton said.
Now that Hilton is ‘back to being him’ fans are starting to get a taste of his electric skill set that led him to score 24 touchdowns receiving, seven rushing, four on kickoff returns and two on punt returns during his four-year career at Florida International.
That speed has been evident during the first week of training camp but in order to become more like Wayne, the work needs to continue to be done off the field as well.
“Guys take good notes, heavy notes,” Wayne said of the rookies. “I’m a big note-taker so whenever I see them taking notes, I know they want to get better. They want to go out there and make plays. We have a lot of guys who can run, a lot of guys who are hungry.”
Tags: donnie avery, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
When wide receiver Donnie Avery became a free agent following last season he was not only looking for the right fit for him, but a team that wanted his talents as well.
Avery is known as a speed receiving threat and his ability to stretch the defense intrigued the Colts staff who were looking to fill a need at the wide receiver position.
Injury free and back in a role that will be counted on during the regular season, Avery feels as though this has been the best training camp he has had in his four-year NFL career.
“I’ve been fresher. I’m bigger as a receiver. I’m knowledgeable. I’m just out here having fun now,” Avery said following Friday morning’s walk-through.
Part of the reason Avery feels as though this has been his best camp is learning under the tutelage of fellow wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
Rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill and T.Y. Hilton are frequently thought of as the ones hounding Wayne for questions about life in the NFL, but even Avery admitted that he has chatted with the Pro Bowler about becoming a more complete receiver.
“It’s really important because like I said he’s been here for a lot of years and he’s been to Super Bowls,” Avery said of Wayne. “He’s been to numerous training camps so he knows what it takes to excel when you feel like you hit your wall.”
During Avery’s first two seasons in the NFL he caught 53 and 47 passes respectively for the St. Louis Rams including leading the team in receiving during the 2009 campaign.
In 2010, he suffered an unfortunate knee injury, and played in just eight games last year with Tennessee.
Now, Avery feels like the same player who was the first receiver taken in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has shown off his 4.27, 40-yard dash speed he ran in his pro day at Houston that year.
The speed that Avery and the fellow rookies have brought to the offense has caught the eye of Wayne and even sparked an interest in a potential race between the trio in the near future.
“We have some burners. That’s something we really haven’t had in the past. We’ve had one here, two there, but we have quite a few of them right now. It’s good to see those guys actually go out there and run. Guys are out there just acting like they’re in the Olympics,” Wayne said.
Tags: donnie avery, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
A RUNDOWN OF TODAY’S HAPPENINGS AT TRAINING CAMP
Intro: Monday, July 30 is the second day of practice for the Colts at Anderson University. The 2012 training camp will run in Anderson until August 18.
ANDERSON – Another day of training camps is in the book for the Indianapolis Colts after an afternoon practice that included a little fan interaction.
Early on in the afternoon practice, safety Tom Zbikowski noticed a fan in a Steelers uniform sitting in the front row of the bleachers and knew something needed to be done.
Anderson native Zach Simmons, 24, was wearing his Steelers uniform and said he was at practice to watch former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and running back Mewelde Moore.
However, once coach Chuck Pagano caught a glimpse of his attire a plan was in place to get Simmons some Colts gear.
“It’s kind of our motto, you are either ‘all the way in or all the way out.’ I went over there and he’s a huge (former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians) Arians fan obviously, and (former Steelers running back) Mewelde Moore,” Pagano said.
“With a little bit of coaxing, and a brand new Andrew Luck jersey, I said ‘look you’ve got to put this jersey on. If you do it you get to stay, and if you don’t we’ve got to escort you out of here.’ He wanted to watch practice and meet Bruce and them after wards so it was a good deal.”
Simmons took in the rest of practice and General Manager Ryan Grigson went over to talk with him before he met the former Steelers after practice.
“I’m trying to get Bruce Arians and Mewelde Moore’s attention,” Simmons said while sporting the new No. 12 ‘Luck jersey’. “I am still kind of in shock but it was pretty cool for my buddies I came with.”
The interaction with Simmons wasn’t the only fan and player exchange during the practice as Reggie Wayne handed a football over to eight-year old, Cody Burris after making a catch near the sideline.
On the playing field, both the offense and the defense had opportunities to make plays and they did that on Monday afternoon.
Quarterback Andrew Luck once again shared the wealth during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills as 10 different Colts caught passes.
Safety Jermale Hines had the lone interception of the afternoon when he picked off quarterback Drew Stanton.
With the offense running a two-minute drill near the end of practice, cornerback Jerraud Powers saved a potential touchdown by knocking down a pass intended for wide receiver Donnie Avery.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis even got into the action in the pass defense game as he had a pass deflection in coverage.
It has been a whirlwind offseason for Mathis as he re-signed with the Colts and now is learning a new position.
The Pro Bowler has embraced the challenge and is full in with the new Colts mantra.
“Everybody is hungry and ready to hunt. Everybody is having fun,” Mathis said. “You are just having to get the grind out of the way, and that’s camp. So we’re going to do that and then we’ll be on our way.”
Tuesday will bring another round of two-a-days and before the Colts have an off day on Wednesday. They will strap on the pads tomorrow afternoon for the first time this training camp.
It will be a welcoming sight for the fans that attend to see some live hitting and Pagano wanted to make it clear that his staff and the players truly appreciate the support they have gotten in Anderson.
“I’d like to publically thank our fans. I’ve got the upmost respect for the fans and the people of Indiana and this great city of ours. The dog days of two-a-days, the first day is easy but then the second and the third and the fourth day (our players) feed off these (fans). We really thank them for coming out,” Pagano said.
PLAYERS WHO DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN AFTERNOON PRACTICE INCLUDE:
LB-A.J. Edds (knee)
OT-Ben Ijalana (knee)
WR-Griff Whalen (foot)
Monday’s practice was highlighted by a few impressive plays on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Andrew Luck had two beautiful sideline throws to wide receivers Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton. On the defensive side of the ball safety Jemale Hines had an interception and near the end of practice cornerback Jerraud Powers broke up a potential touchdown pass intended for Avery.
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY
Quarterback Andrew Luck on whether he has gotten any advice from Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis:
“Absolutely. They’ve been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I know the first day I was here Freeney called me over into, ‘his office’ as he said, over by his locker, and just sort of gave me some heads up on training camp and some things that he’s learned. So I’m very thankful for them going out of their way and trying to help the young, know-it-all rookie out.”
Coach Chuck Pagano on putting on the pads tomorrow afternoon:
“I can’t wait until tomorrow. I told (offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo) tomorrow (we will wear pads), I’ve said it before, where rubber meets the road. Like Bruce (Arians) said he’s tired of soccer. I kind of like soccer but he’s tired of the soccer practice. When you’re in shorts you get to see athleticism. You get to see guys run around. The mental part you get and you understand, but you always say look we’ll find out a lot about everybody when we put the pads on. I’ve got a good idea of what we’re going to see.”
Who holds the Colts record for most consecutive games with an interception and how many games was it?
The team will follow the same practice schedule on Tuesday they had on Sunday and Monday
with the 1:50-4:30 p.m. practice being open to the public.
The weather in Anderson on Monday was a high of 88 degrees as some cloud cover and slight breeze greeted the fans during most of the afternoon practice. The forecast on Tuesday calls for a high of 89 degrees with a 30 percent chance for an afternoon shower.
Monday’s Trivia Question: Who holds the Colts record for most consecutive games with an interception and how many games was it?
Answer: Ray Buchanan with five straight games in 1994. ‘Big Play Ray’ registered five interceptions in Weeks 10-14 and finished the year with eight interceptions, including three being returned for touchdowns.
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, donnie avery, Jermale Hines, Jerruad Powers, Mewelde Moore, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
by Kevin Bowen
It was match that seemed too could to be true.
The Colts were looking for a receiver that could stretch the field and Donnie Avery wanted a fresh start to showcase his speed that made him the first receiver chosen in the 2008 NFL Draft.
That combination turned into a free agent signing for Avery and the Colts. Avery said the dedication by the Colts staff outweighed his other four suitors in ultimately deciding on Indianapolis.
“Chuck (Pagano), the head coach, he called me about four or five times and told me how he could get me back to my early years in the NFL, how I can look up to Reggie Wayne and the rest of the guys and how I can fit in the offense,” Avery said.
Avery entered the NFL in 2008 and caught a total of 100 passes in his first two seasons with the St. Louis Rams.
A preseason knee injury would sideline him for the entire 2010 season and Avery then played in eight games for the Tennessee Titans last season.
“This is a great start overcoming from the injury in 2010,” Avery said. “I feel like it is a great start with the organization, with the coaches, just feeling good about coaches that want me, that want me again.”
In getting back that speed, Avery worked with Olympic Track Coach Allan Powell during last season’s lockout and has seen the benefits.
“He got me back up to speed. Had me do a lot of long distance running,” Avery said. “When I saw long distance, I mean 100s and 200s at full speed to train myself, to train those fast-twitch nerves to get back working.”
One of the many reasons that sold Avery on playing in Indianapolis was a chance to learn from one of the franchise all-time leading receivers Reggie Wayne.
Avery, although not the most vocal person, said he won’t bother Wayne too much for advice but you can be assured he will be paying close to the Pro Bowl receiver’s every move.
“I just like to sit back and observe and pick up everything they do; how they carry themselves on the football field and how they recover from a drop or how they block or come out of their breaks and stuff. It is going to be awesome just getting a first-hand look at that.”
With new faces across the board on the Colts offense, Avery said he feels as though everyone will be on the same page as he looks to get back to the player he was in St. Louis.
“I feel like I am on level ground because of the new offensive coordinator coming in, you know, so everybody is learning the playbook at once,” Avery said. “Going into OTAs you get to build chemistry with the quarterbacks, you know that foot memory with running your routes.”
Tags: Colts, donnie avery, football, indianapolis colts, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog
Moving out to the skill positions, the Colts signed speedy wide receiver Donnie Avery on Friday to add to their offensive influx.
The 5-foot-11-inch Avery spent his first three seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams before playing for the Tennessee Titans last year.
He was the first wide receiver taken in the 2008 NFL Draft and caught 100 passes in his first two seasons with the Rams.
“He ran a 4.27 (40-yard dash) coming out,” said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson. “He’ll be getting a physical here, but he’s always been a fast guy. He’s had considerable production early on in his career and of course, he as well as we (do), hope he gets back to that level. It’s a nice get for us based on what he brings to the table and what he can help in this (offense) with much needed wrinkle of speed. And he’s a welcomed addition.”
That speed will compliment a Colts receiving corps that returns veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, who caught 54 passes last season.
Avery suffered a season ending injury in the preseason in 2010 but bounced back to play eight games last year with the Titans.
“I was able to look at the limited film and touches he had in 2011 as best I could,” Grigson said.” I tried to gauge those flashes of his old self and I felt comfortable moving forward based on where we’re at with our receiving corps situation. He’s a very viable candidate to come in and contribute immediately and I’m excited about him being in the fold.”
This off-season marks the first time that Grigson has had the reigns as a general manager in the NFL.
He and his staff have been extremely busy in acquiring a total of eight players via free agency or through trade in the last two weeks.
“I addressed some areas that I thought were very key for us moving forward. And the type of player that fits Coach (Pagano) and my vision moving forward on a lot of different levels,” Grigson said. “I think we acquired those types of guys with the means we had. So, I’m very pleased with where we are at right now moving forward. We have a lot of work left to do, but I’m excited about the players we’ve acquired thus far.”
Tags: austin collie, Colts, donnie avery, football, indianapolis colts, Reggie Wayne, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog