Colts.com regularly features blogs written by one of our fans. This week’s blog was submitted by coltsfan05
Since the Colts have cut Dwight Freeney, Colts fans have been in a particularly bad mood about this move. Everybody has been questioning this move and nobody likes this.
Well let me tell you one thing, do you want a man who only gives you 10 tackles and 5 sacks a season? I know I don’t. I’m not saying that Freeney is a horrible player, but lets be honest; he played god awful this year. He just doesn’t fit the system. If a player doesn’t fit the system, why in the world would you keep a player like that?
I’m not taking anything away from Freeney. He was the most explosive DEFENSIVE END, in football. Remember, I said DE. as a Defensive End in a 4-3, along with Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney was the most explosive player of his time. Dwight Freeney is used to putting his hands on the ground and doing one thing, and that is getting after the quarterback. And he was good at it. But you cant make a guy like that stand and cover the pass and play the run. And you certainly cant just keep the defense in a 4-3 because of him.
So what do you do? You have no other choice but to cut the man. Unless play DE in a 3-4 and gain an extra 30-40 lbs, and he did not want to do that. As of right now, anything beats how Dwight Freeney was playing. And Erik Walden is not the best LB in the NFL. But he is a Temporary replacement for him. He is not the long term solution by any means. but all I’m saying is that there wasn’t a legit reason to keep Dwight Freeney. He was getting old, slow and injury prone.
Tags: Dwight Freeney
Posted in Fan Feature
Freeney, the club’s all-time sack leader with 107.5 produced 66 of his takedowns at home – 37.5 at the RCA Dome and 28.5 in Lucas Oil Stadium.
As Freeney departs Indianapolis, there is one more visual now.
His mural on Lucas Oil Stadium now reads, “Thanks for the memories!”
Freeney will become an unrestricted free agent on March 12, and will continue his career with another team.
The Colts wanted to thank one of their most popular players with the message.
Freeney had 25 multiple-sack games while leveling 53 different opposing quarterbacks.
Tags: Colts, Dwight Freeney, indianapolis colts, lucas oil stadium
Posted in Colts Blog
Today is President’s Day, causing me to remember a special occasion for the Indianapolis Colts.
After winning Super Bowl XLI in 2007, the team was invited to the traditional White House visit made by championship teams.
There, the team would be hosted by President George W. Bush.
The date was April 23 and if President Bush ever had a slow day, this may have been one of them. One week earlier, his day had been marred by the terrible shootings at Virginia Tech.
It was a beautiful day in the nation’s capital and after visiting soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, our entourage hit the White House about 1:00 p.m.
The players, coaches and staff toured the White House prior to the ceremony on the South Lawn.
It was a great time seeing the White House in a way many people never will have the chance to see it. It was fun watching the reaction of our guys. None acted like a caddy at Bushwood.
Joseph Addai chided Peyton Manning that he had been there before. Addai had been part of the LSU football contingent that visited after winning the 2003 national championship. Manning kept asking Joe to knock it off since it was his first time visiting on such an occasion. I think Joe enjoyed applying the needle.
The team assembled on the South Lawn and waited for President Bush to arrive for the ceremony. We were prepared for his arrival and waited to present him with a jersey and a specially-made wooden Stetson.
As many presidents are, Mr. Bush was pleasant, witty and a warm host. When the ceremony was done, I was to take Tony Dungy to do an on-line chat as well as a group of players to meet the media outside the West Wing. The rest of the travel party was to go back to our buses.
This is when a special day became even more so.
The group going to meet the media included Dungy, Bill Polian, Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett, Adam Vinatieri, Dwight Freeney and Jeff Saturday. (That Bill chose to meet the media was amusing to me.)
After taking a few moments to assemble the bunch, we were moving past the Rose Garden and were ready to enter a door when someone to our left whistled like a coach and shouted, “Hey, where are you boys going?”
Stopping, we saw President Bush standing with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and he was holding a door open.
He motioned for us to join him, and we passed through the door and into the Oval Office.
Having home turf advantage to the extreme, President Bush spent 25 minutes telling us stories about the room and moments related to him and other presidents.
He talked about the artwork, how each president chooses the color scheme, and he spent time explaining decorations that adorned his office.
He spoke about his desk which went back through many presidencies.
At one point, I glanced at my watch. It was 3:45 p.m. I wondered what I would be doing the next day at this very time since where I was standing at the moment likely was going to be a bit more special.
A White House photographer captured the action, and Florida Governor Jeb Bush joined the group.
To this day, I can recall President Bush’s comments almost word-for-word. It was that compelling.
President Bush shook our hands as the occasion adjourned. It was off to the on-line chat and the assembled reporters. Five buses of people had to wonder where we were.
President Bush was not the first to host a sports team. He is not the last as well, and it is a special moment when the leader of the free world can make time for small ceremonies.
Thank you again, sir, and here’s hoping the Colts get that moment again. If so, we can take Joe Addai. He knows the layout quite well.
By the way, on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:45 p.m., I was in my office. I volunteered to write a free agent biography for our media guide. I waited until that very time to do it, so I could be truthful whenever I relayed the anecdote. I specifically chose Craphonso Thorpe, a nice kid (who made the team) but one whose first name I thought added to the story.
Happy President’s Day.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Bill Polian, Dwight Freeney, Gary Brackett, indianapolis colts, Jeff Saturday, Joseph Addai, Peyton Manning, President George W. Bush, Tony Dungy
Posted in Colts Blog
Dwight Freeney is one of 14 unrestricted free agents the Colts have heading into the off-season. The free agency period starts on March 12, and teams can work with their own players prior to that date.
On the NFL Network on Friday, Freeney said he wants to stay with the Colts. It is the only franchise he has known.
Freeney was the club’s first-round pick in 2002, and he is the franchise leader with 107.5 career sacks. He had 5.0 sacks in 2012.
Tags: Dwight Freeney, indianapolis colts
Posted in Colts Blog
Different positions. Same postseason.
After an offseason of fielding question after question regarding the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are back in a familiar spot of playing in January.
Not only has the Colts pass rushing duo adjusted to new positions but they have also accepted another challenge upon the departure of many veterans in the offseason.
“This year is special because we have such a young team,” Mathis said. “I would say this year is more so of a leadership role for myself. A few of us kind of had that hat put on us to be the leaders and just lead the guys, just to lead by example and by your work on the field.”
Last season at this time, the Pro Bowl pair watched the playoffs from home for the first time in their NFL careers, making this year’s run that much more enjoyable.
“It’s very satisfying,” Freeney said. “Obviously we’re not done yet in our minds. But coming from a 2-14 season to winning 11 games, that definitely means a lot.”
The leadership role that Freeney and Mathis have embraced this year has continued this week in addressing what the atmosphere will be like come Sunday afternoon.
Both were on the field for the Colts 2006 AFC Divisional victory in Baltimore and have had a message for the young players making their playoff debut.
“Don’t really change anything that you’ve done to get you to this point because it has got you to the playoffs. Whatever you have been doing, keep doing it but just do it at a higher level,” Mathis said.
“The good thing about our young guys is that they listen. They are very humble and very attentive. So whatever we pretty much say, they take it to heart and they roll with it.”
With Freeney (11) and Mathis (10) both reaching the double-digit total in NFL experience, opportunities like this weekend are numbered.
Both realize that and are ready to make the most out of a chance Sunday afternoon.
“Obviously we’re doing tremendous things with a lot of young guys. I don’t know if there’s a record or what to that, how many wins with so many young guys on one team, I have no idea,” Freeney said.
“But we set goals at the beginning of the year. It wasn’t just to get to this point and that’s it. Our goals are to win the Super Bowl. This just happens to be the next challenge.”
Tags: Dwight Freeney, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts ability to show their resiliency in not having back-to-back losses on the season is a major reason why they control their own destiny in making the playoffs. A fifth win following a loss is the goal this weekend and here is a closer look at the four previous times the Colts have achieved that feat this season:
Bouncing Back the First Time: Win over the Minnesota Vikings, 23-20.
The Setting: Week 2, September 16, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: In its home opener, the Colts held Vikings running back to a season-low of 60 rushing yards and a long rush of just six yards. The Colts jumped out a 20-6 third quarter lead but the Vikings came back and tied the score with 31 seconds remaining. Quarterback Andrew Luck orchestrated a final drive down to the Indianapolis 35-yard line before kicker Adam Vinatieri connected on a 53-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining. The 53-yard game-winning field goal was Vinatieri’s 24th of his 17-year career and the longest he has to give his team the victory.
Bouncing Back the Second Time: Win over the Green Bay Packers, 30-27.
The Setting: Week 5, October 7, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: A Week 3 home defeat to the Jaguars was followed by a bye week and the unfathomable news of head coach Chuck Pagano being diagnosed with leukemia. In playing for their sicken coach, the Colts turned in the highlight of the 2012 regular season with another final-minute comeback victory. Down 21-3 at halftime, the Colts sparked a spirited second-half charge led by the orange-clad gloves of wide receiver Reggie Wayne. With less than a minute remaining, Luck found Wayne for a four-yard, game-winning touchdown as the Pro Bowl wideout racked up 13 catches for 212 yards on the afternoon.
Bouncing Back the Third Time: Win over the Cleveland Browns, 17-13.
The Setting: Week 7, October 21, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: Following a 40-27 road loss to the New York Jets, the Colts returned home and began a four-game winning streak. Luck ran for two first-half touchdowns and the Colts held on to a 17-13 third quarter lead thanks to a strong defensive performance and an offense that had a 11-minute difference in time of possession. Indianapolis came into the game with a 2-3 record but the victory over the Browns would lead to seven wins over the next eight weeks for the Colts.
Bouncing Back the Fourth Time: Win over the Buffalo Bills, 20-13.
The Setting: Week 12, November 21, at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Result: A month after following up a road loss to an AFC East team, the Colts were up to their old tricks again. Similar to the win over the Vikings, the Colts took at 20-6 third quarter lead but this time held on without any final-minute theatrics. Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton became the first Colts rookie to return a punt for a touchdown and record a receiving touchdown in the same game. Hilton’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first for a Colts player since T.J. Rushing’s 90-yarder in December of 2007.
Here are some player’s thoughts on why the Colts have been so resilient:
-Running Back Vick Ballard:
“Twenty-four hour rule. Win, lose or draw, you know that the last game is over with. You’ve got to look forward to the next week and we are going to come in Wednesday, get ready for Kansas City so we can hopefully give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs.”
-Safety Antoine Bethea:
“Regardless of whatever game we play, it’s a 24-hour rule. Win or loss, we’ve got to put it in the past and get ready for our next opponent. We’ve been doing a good job of that. Like I said, correcting the mistakes that we made in the previous game and just going out there and playing hard.”
-Outside Linebacker Dwight Freeney:
“We just realize it’s one week and whatever happened that one week, doesn’t matter for the next, whether we win or lose. You just learn from the mistakes in a win and in a loss and just move on to that next week and that is the most important game.”
-Quarterback Andrew Luck:
“I think guys want to come back and play, bounce back and atone for their mistakes. I think it’s sort of the DNA of the team and hopefully we can do that again this week. We realize it’s going to be tough against a team that is much better than their record indicates in a tough environment.”
-Defensive End Cory Redding:
“Never allow one loss to turn into two, period. You have to dig deep a little bit more to learn what you messed up on, work on it and challenge yourself to be better. If you made those mistakes a week before, don’t make them again. Don’t let one loss turn into two. We’ve come too far to reach this point to let it all go away, let it all be in vain. I won’t stand idly by and let that happen and I know my teammates won’t either. We’re going to come back this week and fight, watch tape, lift weights, run, eat right, do all we have to do to get in this game in Arrowhead and find a victory.”
-Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians:
“I think the biggest thing is the veteran leadership. Those guys bounce back, they know how to get the young guys off the 24-hour rule and come right back in and start working. We had really good meetings today, watched the tape, and this one will be out of our mouth by tonight and we’ll get started on Kansas City.”
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, bruce arians, Chcuk Pagano, cory redding, Dwight Freeney, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
Dwight Freeney had a message he wanted to relay to his younger teammates on Monday afternoon.
Yes, the Colts hopes for a division title were dashed with Sunday’s loss to the Texans but the chance to get into playoff still remains.
“You weren’t winning the Super Bowl (Sunday),” Freeney said. “It’s a learning process and every game you go out, it’s an opportunity to learn how to get this team to play together and make plays in whatever we need to correct.”
Freeney season started with a high ankle sprain he suffered in the season opener against the Bears and returned three weeks later in the Colts 30-27 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
In last week’s loss to the Texans, Freeney notched his third sack of the season in the Colts recording their fourth game of the season with at least three sacks.
The pass rush was one of the positives the Colts hope to carry with them for the remainder of the season.
If the Colts do qualify for the playoffs, Freeney knows Indianapolis will be playing away from home so learning from what went wrong in Houston is critical to reversing those fortunes in potential matchups.
“On the road, you can’t beat yourself and we definitely did that. In the games that we’ve lost on the road, there are times that we seem to be playing really great together and everything is working together and then there are times that we turn the ball over and we’re not in the gap or a busted coverage. At home, you can get away with that but on the road, you really can’t,” Freeney said.
The Colts will have a chance to make that opportunity come to fruition this weekend when traveling to Arrowhead Stadium in taking on the Kansas City Chiefs.
Some players relish going on the road and having ‘everyone’ against them and for Freeney, Arrowhead provides that chance.
“I love the history behind (Arrowhead). All the fans, all the red, the national anthem, home of the Chiefs. It’s kind of what you envision what home field is all about,” he said.
Putting this weekend’s environment aside, Freeney wants another chance to put on the white jersey and taste his 10th trip to the NFL playoffs.
“Obviously one of our goals is to win the division and that didn’t happen but the next most important goal is to get into the playoffs and to make it to that dance,” Freeney said.
Tags: Dwight Freeney
Posted in Colts Blog
That was the amount of time Bruce Arians had to transition from receiving a phone call form Chuck Pagano telling him he had leukemia until the Colts offensive coordinator addressed a room full of 60+ players to deliver the devastating news of their head coach.
In a time where the team’s psyche would be challenged, Arians and the rest of the Colts coaching staff has not wavered from the values that was created by their head coach.
“Bruce has done a great job in continuing to keep on preaching what Chuck (started) and not coming in here and saying, ‘this is my team, I’m changing up everything.’ No, nothing like that,” outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “He believed a lot of what Chuck believes in and he continues the same things and traditions that Chuck instilled here, of the mindset on how to go out and prepare and believe in the process. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Arians has the Colts (9-4) in a position to become the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more games following a season with two or fewer victories (and just the second since 1974).
When news broke of Pagano’s illness and talk switched over to the logistics of the football team, the interaction between Arians and his pupil, Andrew Luck, was a frequent topic.
Would Arians have time to balance his head coaching duties along with continuing to develop another young signal caller?
Luck wasn’t worried.
“He’s got great people skills and he’s a football guy,” Luck said of Arians. “He’s been around football forever. He’s been a head coach before so it didn’t surprise me too much.”
“I do really appreciate how much he’s focused on not letting the communication stop or lesson. I know I’ve spoken on this before but I think it’s a credit to him for doing everything extra he still did in those however many hours, on top of that.”
Last season, defensive end Cory Redding considered Arians a foe.
As a member of the Baltimore Ravens, Redding prepared for Arians’ Steelers offense twice coming out on top in both meetings.
Now, the two are together striving for the same goal of watching their friend and head coach come out of the tunnel on Dec. 30 when the Colts take on the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Redding joked that at first it was unusual hearing Arians cheer for the defense making plays in practice but credits the job the offensive coordinator has done in his new role .
“Just how (Arians) handles every situation and how he handles the team, his leadership, how he demands guys to do things and call them out when it’s not done. That’s what makes him a great coach,” Redding said. “He’s been good at it and stepped and done the job unbelievingly well. He’s getting the guys ready to play mentally and physically.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, chuck pagano, cory redding, Dwight Freeney
Posted in Colts Blog
Gary Kubiak has had a keen eye on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for longer than almost every other NFL coach.
In working just 20 miles away from Luck’s high school (Stratford High School), Kubiak watched the Indianapolis signal caller back in the days where the NFL seemed so far away.
“(Luck) grew up right here down the road and I watched him throw some seven-on-sevens tournaments and stuff while my kids were growing up and he’s been exceptional at every level he’s played,” Kubiak said.
“Now, he’s at the highest level and he’s doing it again. I think he’s going to do it a long, long time. You can tell he’s a student of the game, has a total grasp from that standpoint and he’s a tremendous competitor that seems the tougher the situation, the better he is as a player.”
With the initial meeting of the season between the Colts and Texans coming this weekend, Kubiak is getting his first look at Indianapolis this weekend but he has been impressed by the consistency of the team sitting just two games behind his heading into the final three weeks of the season.
“They’ve got a lot of young speed on their football team,” Kubiak said. “Defensively, those two guys (Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis) holding down the edges have been there, it seems like they’re on my NFL lifetime.”
“This team’s been in every ball game. They seem to make their biggest plays when it really counts the most.”
One player that Kubiak was asked about on Wednesday morning was second-year defensive end J.J. Watt. The Colts saw Watt’s talent up close twice last season and the then rookie racked up 10 tackles, one sack and three pass deflections in the two meetings.
This year, Watt has already set a franchise record with 16.5 sacks and the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has quickly become one of league’s top defensive players.
“He’s done some things this year, after (14) weeks, that’s never been done in this league,” Kubiak said of Watt. “We knew we had a great kid but he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty. He’s on to some great things in this league. Hopefully we can keep him healthy and he can do it for a long time.”
Along with Watt’s successful rookie campaign, the Texans made the playoffs last year for the first time in franchise history by winning the AFC South.
The Colts have been the dominant team in the division for the greater part of the past decade and now with three weeks remaining, each team is in control of their own destiny in deciding the 2012 winner of the AFC South.
“(The Colts) have had a stranglehold, I guess that’s a good word, if there’s anything stronger you could use that too,” Kubiak said of the Colts and the AFC South over the past decade.
“They took care of this division for a long, long time. They’ve been exceptional and they’ve regrouped and done a hell of a job putting a team together right now that’s playing exceptional right now. Last year’s gone. We’ve got to worry about this year. We’ve got some big, big games coming up here against (the Colts) and none bigger than this week.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Dwight Freeney, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
Throughout the first three months of the season, the Colts defense has had to deal with injuries in each respective position group.
Perhaps no position has been hit as hard as the outside of the defensive line.
Nose tackle Antonio ‘Mookie’ Johnson has been a mainstay in the middle of the 3-4 hybrid defense but the players flanking the nose position will be ever-changing the rest of the season.
Fili Moala and Drake Nevis were placed on injured reserve at different times this month, sending Ricardo Matthews into the starting lineup.
The loss of Moala and Nevis means more playing time for Clifton Geathers, who was signed by the Colts at the start of October when Moala was inactive for four weeks.
“It’s hard to see a player go down,” Geathers said. “Fili and Drake, they helped me out a lot but as football goes on I do look at this as another opportunity, another football game, another day to get better.”
Geathers and defensive end Lawrence Guy (signed on Oct. 17) will take on a greater role in the coming weeks as the Colts continue to plug in interchangeable parts along the defensive line.
“We’ve just done a good job around here of having guys pick up the baton,” outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “Really hats off to management on bringing the right guy in so that he can fit right in and it’s not really a big deal. Obviously, it’s a big deal because you don’t want to lose Fili, you don’t want to lose those guys but it’s football and unfortunately these things happen.”
Earlier this week, the Colts signed defensive tackle Kellen Heard and interim head coach Bruce Arians is anxious to see the 6-foot-6-inches, 339-pound Heard in action.
After injuries with outside linebackers Robert Mathis and Freeney early in the season, the Colts defense was just starting to get completely healthy in the front seven before the losses of Moala and Nevis.
“When I look out there right now, the core guys are there,” interim head coach Bruce Arians said.
“We’re going to miss Fili (Moala), but we didn’t have him for three weeks, we know how to play without him, it’s not the first time. So plug in the guys that we have and never use it as a crutch or an excuse.”
Tags: Antonio Johnson, bruce arians, clifton geathers, drake nevis, Dwight Freeney, Fili Moala, Kellen Heard, Lawrence Guy, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog