On Friday, the Colts designated five players to be doubtful for Sunday’s game – safety Sergio Brown, guard Jeff Linkenbach, defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, guard Joe Reitz and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.
Among players listed as questionable to participate was guard Hugh Thornton.
All of those players were declared out for Sunday’s game today.
A banged-up Colts team was limited through many parts of the roster in preparation for Kansas City.
To help bolster an offensive line depleted of three guards, Indianapolis elevated Thomas Austin off the practice squad Saturday and released running back Shaun Draughn.
The Colts’ line will be operating with a seventh different starting alignment on Sunday that could include rookie Xavier Nixon at left guard. A natural tackle, Nixon played 61 plays at right guard last Sunday against Houston when Reitz left with a concussion.
The state of the line on Friday caused Chuck Pagano to say, “It’s like everybody else. We’re not the only (team) that’s pregnant right now. We got what we got. We got a job to go do, and we’re going to get it done. Try to find a way.”
The Colts have used a league-high 71 players this year and will be starting a different offensive line in a fifth straight game.
Indianapolis will be facing potent Kansas City special teams return units, and Brown has been the club’s top specialty performer this season. Brown was hurt during last week’s game, and this is his first missed outing.
Francois has missed the past two contests and could be ready for the Jacksonville finale.
Indianapolis is the lone NFL team to clinch a division title. The Colts currently are the AFC’s fourth seed, with division leaders Denver, New England and Cincinnati owning better records.
Kansas City at 11-3 is tied with Denver record-wise, but the Chiefs lost both games to the Broncos and would need to finished with a better record in the last two games to wrest the AFC West crown.
A loss to Kansas City would cement the fourth seeding for the Colts. Indianapolis could move to the second seed with two wins to close the season, if Baltimore could win its final two outings.
Tags: chuck pagano, Hugh Thornton, indianapolis colts, Jeff Linkenbach, joe reitz, Montori Hughes, Ricky Jean-Francois, Sergio Brown, Thomas Austin, Xavier Daniel
Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B, Colts Cheerleading, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES, Colts Photography, Colts.com Web Updates, Events and Promotions, Fan Feature, My Indiana Football, Voice of the Fans
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 Tennessee.
This week’s “Newcomer of the Week” comes in a combo effort on the Colts offensive line.
Free agent right tackle Gosder Cherilus and rookie left guard Hugh Thornton helped pave the way for a 137-yard effort on 32 carries Thursday night.
The Colts are now 11-0 when rushing at least 30 times since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Chuck Pagano summed it up pretty directly when describing the offensive line’s mindset heading into Nashville.
“They took this personal,” Pagano said of the offensive line.
For a majority of the season, the Colts offensive line has been under heavy scrutiny.
Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton has not wavered in his belief of the Colts rushing attack and games like Thursday night are the reason why he has faith in the ground game.
The unit helped pave massive holes in the second half with the Colts rushing for over 100 yards for the seventh time this season.
“What a great job up front by the o-linemen,” quarterback Andrew Luck said after the game. “Staney Havili, the tight ends, Trent [Richardson] and Donald [Brown] getting tough, tough yards. We know to win football games consistently we are going to have to run the football well. We did a decent job in the first half. I think the game sort of dictated that we couldn’t run it as much as we wanted, but I think it was great to settle down and to get points at the end of the half and to start the second half with points was big.
“To get that run game going, and that last drive, what a great job. It’s tough in the fourth quarter for o-linemen when you continually pound and pound and pull and block and hit. They did a heck of a job.
Other Newcomers of Note:
–Running back Daniel Herron was in the right place at the right time when he pounced on a fumbled kickoff return midway through the third quarter. The turnover gave the Colts the ball at the Titans 20-yard line.
–Outside linebacker Erik Walden bounced back from a foolish first half penalty to record four tackles (two for a loss) and had a sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
–Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois sniffed out a second-half screen pass for a tackle for loss, which forced a Titans field goal attempt.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Daniel Herron, donald brown, erik walden, gosder cherilus, Hugh Thornton, Ricky Jean-Francois, Stanley Havili, trent richardson
Posted in Colts Blog
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 San Francisco.
For the second straight week, running back Ahmad Bradshaw takes home the honor and this one comes after a week in which he fell under the radar.
New Colts running back Trent Richardson received the headlines late in the week but it was Bradshaw’s “angry” running style that sealed the victory on Sunday.
Bradshaw had 19 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown in the 27-7 win. He also added three catches for 16 yards.
Following halftime, Bradshaw rushed for 62 yards and it was his three-carry, 42-yard stretch on the fourth quarter, seven-minute touchdown drive that sealed the game.
Early in the second quarter, Bradshaw was shaken up following a one-yard rush and it looked as if the Colts would have to rely on Trent Richardson and Donald Brown for the rest of the afternoon.
However, the toughness of Bradshaw was evident when he returned later in the quarter and that was needed considering how little of the playbook Richardson had learned since Thursday.
The physical nature that Bradshaw brings to the running back position is something his teammates continually rave about and those runs were a major reason why the Colts knocked off the defending NFC Champions on Sunday.
“A lot of people didn’t believe we were physical. A lot of people thought we were just finesse,” defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said after the game.
“But we can do both and when you have both, that’s a dangerous weapon to have. We want to show the Porterhouse steak and the meat and potatoes with the gravy on it.”
Other Newcomers of Note:
–Running back Trent Richardson ran for 35 yards on 13 carries and scored a one-yard touchdown in his first game with the Colts. Richardson’s touchdown on his first ever rushing attempt with the Colts marks the first time a player achieved such a feat since Gordon Brown on 10/4/87.
–Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had five catches for 59 yards on Sunday and his yards after the catch were particularly effective.
–Offensive guard Hugh Thornton started his first NFL game on Sunday. Playing left guard, Thornton helped the Colts offense amass 172 rushing yards on 39 carries on Sunday.
Tags: ahmad bradshaw, darrius heyward-bey, Hugh Thornton, trent richardson
Posted in Colts Blog
Intro: Indianapolis posted a dominant 27-7 win at San Francisco on Sunday. The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw and earned their most lop-sided road victory since 2009. Facing a physical defending Super Bowl team, the Colts were more physical.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts answered a tough home setback by meeting the challenge of their first road game with a 20-point victory margin over a team (San Francisco) that made the Super Bowl last year and nearly did the previous season.
The Colts met a physical opponent by being even more so. On a national television stage, Indianapolis showed a much different blueprint for victory than past seasons have had.
Colts 27, San Francisco 7.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
LET’S GET PHYSICAL – Nothing is more telling than the words of an owner. In this case, Jim Irsay, “To bring in Ahmad Bradshaw and now to have Trent Richardson…You can see Trent with his lateral movement, his explosion, he’s always going forward. What we’re looking for is what we saw today.” When Irsay changed his organizational dynamic in early 2012 by bringing in Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano, the new duo spoke of a different style of play. Every move since then has reflected that approach and progress made over 18 games prior to yesterday was incremental. Yesterday, it was dramatic. The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw, a first for that disparity since 2011. The Colts are 4-0 in the last 19 games when they have rushed more often than thrown, and they are 4-0 in games in that span when out-rushing opponents by 59 yards. “Run and stop the run” has been a mantra. It was reality yesterday. It is a much different feeling for long-time Colts fans. This new pair of shoes could be broken in quickly.
1-2 PUNCH, AND MORE – Ahmad Bradshaw carried 19 times for 95 yards. Trent Richardson had 13 carries for 35 yards. Bradshaw said the plan never was to ease his new buddy in, “We’ve got a one-two punch and we used it. It’s going to be tough for a lot of opponents this year.” The duo had 32 of the team’s 39 rushes. Get used to it. Pep Hamilton mentioned Friday that Donald Brown would be in the mix. Brown had 25 yards on three carries, including a 16-yarder for a first down that led to a field goal. Indianapolis has a more pronounced “hammer” look to the offense. Pagano spoke 20 months ago of the Colts having an AFC North look (like that of Pittsburgh and Baltimore). That was the look at San Francisco.
MULTI-POSITIONAL OFFENSIVE LINEMEN – The offensive line had one of its grittiest and most productive performances of recent memory. Mike McGlynn shifted to center for the injured Samson Satele (the third time he has done this in 19 games), and played well. He competed successfully while being battered all game. Jeff Linkenbach showed his versatility again by starting at right guard for McGlynn. In 29 career starts, Linkenbach has opened five times at LT, four at LG, four at RG and 16 at RT. Mixed in among stalwart veterans Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus was rookie left guard Hugh Thornton. Versatility among all linemen provides big-time currency for the offense. Often is it not acknowledged, but Sunday it was on full display. They ventured into Candlestick and shined. Well done, gents.
VALUE OF KICKERS, COVERAGE, FIELD POSITION – San Francisco started nine of its 11 possessions at or inside its 20. Pat McAfee reached the end zone on four of his six kickoffs, producing three touchbacks. The other three returns reached the 13, 11 and 12. McAfee pinned the 49ers to their eight (twice) and nine with three of his four punts. Adam Vinatieri hit clutch efforts from 43 and 41 yards, and his lone miss from 51 yards was wide while attempted into the wind. The Colts won the average field position drive start by eight yards, and three-of-five three-and-outs defensively for Indianapolis came after solid kicks. Again, a part of the game sometimes overlooked. Not today. It was probably great flights home for special teams and offensive line coaches.
BELIEVE IN COACHES – Defensive players heard it for two weeks after Terrelle Pryor ran for 112 yards. With Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson looming in the next month, getting squared away on a diverse offense was necessary. Chuck Pagano said research was done and that players would be prepared. Kaepernick rushed seven times for 20 yards, and the only TD run by a quarterback belonged to Andrew Luck. The phrase heard after Sunday’s win was “assignment football.” Assignments were sound and execution was solid. The Colts are 13-6 under the new regime, with players buying in and competing for each other. They’re coachable, and everyone enjoyed the fruits of a decisive win.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, ahmad bradshaw, anthony castonzo, chuck pagano, donald brown, gosder cherilus, Hugh Thornton, indianapolis colts, Jeff Linkenbach, Jim Irsay, mike mcglynn, pat mcafee, Pep Hamilton, ryan grigson, trent richardson
Posted in Colts Blog
It’s gameday with the Colts wrapping up the preseason schedule this evening with the Cincinnati Bengals for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Today’s news looks at the improved Colts defense, the brutal process of cutting to 53 and what tonight means for some of the younger Colts
Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, August 29th.
By: Tom James, Tribune-Star
It’s not a secret that over the better part of the last decade, the Indianapolis Colts have been known as an offensive juggernaut.
Robert Mathis has been apart of all those teams and he’s ready to change that stereotype.
“We want to put it out there that we have defense in Indy too. It’s something that we’ve been working hard for and just want to make the most of it,” outside linebacker Robert Mathis said earlier this week.
“I feel like we’re doing a lot of things the right way and heading in the right direction. But there’s still a lot we need to work on. And it’s still about timing and meshing as a unit.”
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
When the final whistle blows tonight on the preseason finale, Chuck Pagano will have no time to rest.
Over the next 48 hours, Pagano and his staff will have to tell 22 players that their dream is over, for now.
Chappell’s article goes into detail on how Pagano deals with those cuts.
“The way we do business around here, we talk about family,” he said. “You build relationships in a short period of time. (Players) understand it. Coaches understand it.
“We deal man-to-man, face-to-face on everything. Doesn’t matter what it is.”
By: Phillip B. Wilson, Indy Star
For names like Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne, Thursday night’s preseason finale might not call for many minutes played.
However, take a rookie like Hugh Thornton.
The rookie saw his first NFL action last week and Chuck Pagano said the third-round pick could get a starting nod this evening.
This last exhibition is traditionally for reserves trying to make the team. While much of the work has been done and opinions formed, it’s that final opportunity for guys to make a lasting impression. Thornton doesn’t fit that definition. A healthy body insures he will have a roster spot. But he’s still treating this game against the Bengals like the other guys with everything on the line.
“I’m excited to go to Cincinnati and play,” he said. “It’s going to be fun after having this short week of practice added onto last week’s practice and game, a lot of things I’ve been able to correct and go over with coach (Joe Gilbert) and some of the older guys. I’m ready to get out there and just play again against someone other than my own teammates.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Hugh Thornton, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
After missing the entire 2013 training camp with an ankle injury, rookie Hugh Thornton made his NFL debut on Saturday night.
Thornton entered on the Colts third offensive series and would go on to play the entire second and third quarter at right guard (42 snaps).
“It felt awesome just being out there after not playing in camp and not practicing as much as I’d like to,” Thornton said after the win. “I had the opportunity to go in (Saturday) with the 1’s for a little bit so it was great to be out there.”
Not only was Thornton effective against the Browns (apart of both Colts touchdown drives), the third-round pick was frequently running down the field picking his teammates off the turf.
“It was a good night for the whole team, defense came out and shut them down,” Thornton said. “Offense came out and we played physical and we were able to play our game at home.”
“I’m excited where we are heading as a team.”
With starter Mike McGlynn sidelined with a bruise knee, the opportunity is there for some significant reps at the right guard spot.
Interior depth along the offensive line has been somewhat of a mystery with Thornton and fourth round pick Khaled Holmes also missing a bulk of training camp.
Thornton’s play on Saturday night showed the “mauler” mentality that the Colts saw when drafting the Illinois product.
“I thought (Thornton) played really well for a guy that hasn’t taken any snaps since he finished the rookie minicamp prior to training camp,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said. “He looked pretty good in there in the rush and the pass game, very pleased with his performance.”
Tags: Hugh Thornton, khaled holmes, mike mcglynn
Posted in Colts Blog
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.
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bjoern Werner, chuck pagano, darrius heyward-bey, Hugh Thornton, Jerrell Freeman, joe reitz, josh mcnary, kavell conner, kelvin sheppard, khaled holmes, laron landry, Mario Harvey, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
With Week One in the books in Anderson, here are four offensive items to look towards in Week Two.
The Colts will practice the next three days before an off day on Wednesday. Things will pick back up Thursday and Friday, with the preseason opener coming on Aug. 11 against the Buffalo Bills.
Pads rev up the hitting-Chuck Pagano was very pleased with what he saw out of his team once the pads were put on last Tuesday.
The only full-live tackling the Colts do during training camp comes in goal line drills.
Staying healthy has to be atop the most important goals list moving forward, especially when you look around the NFL and see some significant injuries.
Andrew Luck’s growth-As the first week moved along, Luck turned in some impressive stretches with his best day coming on Friday morning.
Pep Hamilton alluded to the offense not being fully installed yet so we should continue to see that over the next few weeks.
While Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey remain the most frequent targets of Luck, the second-year quarterback has done a wonderful job spreading the pigskin around to the other receivers, tight ends, running backs and even a fullback.
Depth on Offensive Line-The Colts starting five that came out of minicamp remains intact after Week One.
However, after those five you have Hugh Thornton who has been nursing an ankle injury and missed the entire first week. Fellow rookie Khaled Holmes also hurt his ankle last week and has been in a boot ever since.
Guard Joe Reitz got a “stinger” on Friday and Pagano said he expects him to miss a few days.
None of the injuries appear to be serious and getting a look at Thornton will be a focus the rest of camp.
DHB’s consistency-Similar to Luck, DHB had his best days of camp late last week.
Wayne marvels at the skill set that DHB brings to the receiver position and has high hopes for the new Colts receiver in 2013.
Stacking together consistent practices is key this week for DHB as we are just over a month away from the regular season opener against his former team.
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, darrius heyward-bey, Hugh Thornton, joe reitz, khaled holmes, Pep Hamilton, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog
Mother Nature held off long enough on Tuesday as the Colts got through their first padded practice of the year.
The hitting was revved up during the afternoon practice with the running game being the focal point.
Here are three takeaways from day three…
Physicality taken to another level: The first of nine padded practices are in the books after Tuesday’s afternoon session.
The hitting started early and often with 1-on-1 drills between the running backs and linebackers and then the offensive and defensive lines.
Some of the biggest hits on the afternoon came from inside linebacker Kavell Conner and new safety LaRon Landry.
It might not have the excitement of a two-minute drill but watching blocking drills can be very telling of who will see playing time on a team that has preached physicality since the start of training camp .
Over the next few weeks the competition should separate themselves with the running game continued to be focused on with the padded practices underway.
Josh McNary can still ride this bike: The Colts welcomed linebacker Josh McNary fresh off his service in the Army.
McNary trotted out to practice early in the afternoon and wasted no time making an impression.
He dominated his first two reps in one-on-one drills and showed the pass rushing prowess that led him to set Army’s school record for sacks (28.0).
Ryan Grigson told McNary before practice that being back out on the football field “would be like riding a bike” and the 251-pound outside linebacker agreed with that sentiment following his first NFL practice.
McNary’s progress will be interesting to watch at one of the Colts deepest positions.
Depth on lines critical moving forward: Perhaps no position on the football field has to rely on more bodies during the course of the game than the defensive line.
After day one, it’s pretty clear the Colts have a ton of defensive line depth with rookies Montori Hughes and Bjoern Werner (with his hand on the ground) winning a majority of their reps.
Having guys like Josh Chapman, Drake Nevis and Hughes not running with the first team just shows how deep the line can be.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts are still waiting to see what they have in picks Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes.
Thornton is nursing an ankle injury that he suffered late last week.
Holmes now joins his fellow rookie on the sideline after the Colts fourth round draft pick left Tuesday’s afternoon practice with a right ankle injury.
Joe Reitz seems to be firmly entrenched as the Colts sixth offensive lineman, seeing some time in jumbo packages on Tuesday.
Tags: Bjoern Werner, drake nevis, Hugh Thornton, josh chapman, josh mcnary, kavell conner, khaled holmes, laron landry, Montori Hughes
Posted in Colts Blog
The roster for the Colts has been updated to current heights and weights for the 90 players that are scheduled to report to training camp.
Here is a link to the updated roster.
Below are some of the more significant weight changes on the roster.
- QB-Andrew Luck (239 pounds)- A gain of 5 pounds.
- RB-Vick Ballard (224 pounds)- A gain of 7 pounds.
- WR-Griff Whalen (197 pounds) A gain of 12 pounds.
- TE-Dwayne Allen (265 pounds) A gain of 10 pounds.
- TE-Coby Fleener (247 pounds) A loss of 5 pounds.
- TE-Weslye Saunders (261 pounds) A loss of 9 pounds.
- OT-Anthony Castonzo (307 pounds) A loss of 8 pounds.
- C/OG-Khaled Holmes (319 pounds) A gain of 17 pounds.
- OG-Hugh Thornton (334 pounds) A gain of 14 pounds.
- NT-Josh Chapman (340 pounds) A gain of 24 pounds.
- DE-Lawrence Guy (318 pounds) A gain of 18 pounds.
Tags: Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, Griff Whalen, Hugh Thornton, josh chapman, khaled holmes, Lawrence Guy, vick ballard, Weslye Saunders
Posted in Colts Blog