Indianapolis has lost two players via unrestricted free agency – cornerback Jerraud Powers and quarterback Drew Stanton.
Powers joined the Colts in 2009 as a third-round draft pick. He started 34 games over his first three seasons, while opening eight contests in 2012.
Powers ended this past season on injured reserve with a toe injury. He started every career appearance and played on the club’s 2009 Super Bowl XLIV squad.
Stanton opened four of 12 career games with Detroit from 2007-11, then departed for the New York Jets. The Colts obtained Stanton in a trade with the Jets last March.
Stanton was the only veteran quarterback on the Indianapolis roster last year, but he saw no action as rookie Andrew Luck took every offensive snap.
His departure leaves the Colts with two quarterbacks, Luck and Chandler Harnish.
The Colts wish the best for Powers and Stanton.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Chandler Harnish, drew stanton, free agency, jerraud powers
Posted in Colts Blog
While the Colts have been winning four of their past five games, cornerback Vontae Davis has been merely an observer during the Colts successful month of November.
As the calendar turns to December, Davis looks to be back on the gridiron this weekend after being a full participant in practice the past two days.
“I’m just happy to be back with the team,” Davis said on Thursday. “We have a lot of good guys in the locker room and I mean it’s home for me right now. It’s football. I love football. It’s a fun game and I can’t wait to get back on the field.”
The potential addition of Davis in the secondary comes at a welcoming time for the Colts defense.
All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson awaits the Colts this weekend and no matter who lines up across from him this weekend, you can expect multiple players to be assigned to him throughout the game.
“Put two guys over (Johnson) and even then sometimes he goes up and gets some balls,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said of defending Johnson. “I’ve seen a good performance from him over the last couple of weeks and over the entire season. He’s a formidable guy that’s out there and we’ve got to defend him.”
Cornerbacks Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn have been the starters the last three weeks after Jerraud Powers was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury following the Jaguars game on Nov. 8.
In trying to limit the league’s second best offense, Butler stressed trying to force someone other than No. 81 to make plays.
“Obviously, a lot of the offense is based around (Johnson) and they are going to get him the ball,” Butler said. “They’ve got a good quarterback and players around him. You have to limit his production to make somebody else beat you.”
During the past month, Davis has been thrilled with his teammates’ success and chooses to have a positive spin on his knee injury.
“It’s a blessing. Everything happens for a reason, a humbling experience,” Davis said of the injury. “
“My grandma always tells me, ‘Be patient, stuff might not happen when you want it to happen but you be patient, then it comes when you least expect it.”
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, darius butler, Gerg Manusky, jerraud powers, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
Darius Butler sat and watched, waiting for that call.
After being cut by the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 31, Butler found himself every Sunday watching NFL games.
It took three weeks, but that call eventually came from the Indianapolis Colts.
“I spent some time with my family and obviously calling my agent everyday, every time I saw a guy go down or somebody get hurt or released. You just keep your eye on it because you want to play so bad,” Butler said on the ‘Pagano Show’ on Monday night
“Watching those games, it kind of re-lit a fire under my butt. I felt whenever I got my chance, I was going to do whatever it took to take full advantage of it.”
Butler has done more than take advantage of the opportunity, recording three takeaways in his first start last Thursday against the Jaguars.
His third quarter interception returned for a touchdown gave the Colts a 21-3 lead and helped keep the momentum with the visitors.
“On that play I kind of anticipated the play, because of the formation that I got,” Butler said of the 11-yard interception return. “Once I read it, I took a chance on it and made a play.”
He added a game-clinching fourth quarter interception after a Chad Henne pass caromed off a couple Colts defenders.
Butler joined the Colts following a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars in which the Colts gave up an 80-yard touchdown in the game’s waning minutes.
When Butler walked into the locker room the following week, he was greeted by college teammates from Connecticut in running back Donald Brown and linebacker Scott Lutrus.
But it was also the guys in his position group that has made it a smooth transition for the fourth-year pro.
“From the first day I got there, guys kind of took me in and helped me out. Guys like (Antoine) Bethea and (Tom) Zbikowski and (Jerraud) Powers just kind of giving me the nuances of the defense. I feel comfortable right now,” Butler said.
It will be a bit of homecoming this weekend for Butler as he was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
He played 29 games in his two seasons with New England before being cut during the first month of the 2011 regular season.
With Powers being placed on injured reserve on Monday afternoon, the starting spot is Butler’s and he is more than grateful for it.
“This is my fourth year and you only get so many chances, especially on this level with so many guys in and out every year,” Butler said. “It’s rare you get two opportunities so I’m blessed to get another opportunity here with the Colts and I’m trying to make the best of it.”
Tags: antoine bethea, darius butler, jerraud powers, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today activated nose tackle Josh Chapman from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List and elevated tight end Kyle Miller from the practice squad to the active roster. The Colts placed defensive tackle Drake Nevis and cornerback Jerraud Powers on Injured Reserve.
Chapman, 6-0, 316 pounds, was originally selected by the Colts in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Alabama. During his 54-game collegiate career, Chapman was a part of two Crimson Tide National Championship teams (2009 and 2011) and produced 88 tackles (44 solo), 13.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and four passes defensed. As a senior, he contributed to a defensive unit that led the nation in total defense (183.6 ypg), rush defense (72.2 ypg) and scoring defense (8.2 ppg).
Miller, 6-5, 260 pounds, was signed by the Colts as a free agent on April 3, 2012. He was waived on August 31 and signed to the practice squad a day later. Miller was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Mount Union on July 26, 2011 before being waived on September 3. At Mount Union, Miller totaled 87 catches for 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns in 47 games, while earning All-Ohio Athletic Conference first-team, All-North Region first-team and All-America honors.
Nevis, 6-1, 310 pounds, appeared in nine game this season (three starts), totaling 20 tackles (seven solo) and one sack. For his career, he has played in 14 games (three starts) and has recorded 39 tackles (16 solo), one sack and one pass defensed.
Powers, 5-10, 187 pounds, started in eight games this year and registered 45 tackles (34 solo), seven passes defensed and an interception. Over his four-year career, he has started all 42 games he’s played while making 220 tackles (165 solo), 32 passes defensed, seven interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Tags: drake nevis, injured reserve, jerraud powers, josh chapman, kyle miller
Posted in Colts Blog
Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians filled in for Chuck Pagano on the ‘Pagano Show’ on Monday evening. Below are some of the highlights Arians had to say to ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey:
The Packers jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead. The Colts came storming back with 22 unanswered points. Green Bay responded with a touchdown with 4:30 remaining to take a 27-22 lead before the Colts had their final heroics with Reggie Wayne’s four-yard, game-winning, touchdown. Here are Arians thoughts on how back-and-forth the Packers game was:
“We took it from the top to the bottom and up and down the elevator twice I think emotionally. Playing as poorly offensively in the first half as we could and then probably as could as we could play in the second half as a team. It was a great team win.”
Down 21-3 at halftime, the message was pretty simple at halftime for the Colts:
“We had no reason to panic. We had a great plan. We had great practices. Why were we having so many mental errors and breakdowns? A couple of guys stood up and said, ‘It’s time to stand up and be accountable.’”
The comeback started on the first possession of the second half as cornerback Jerraud Powers intercepted a third-and-two pass intended for James Jones, giving the Colts offense a short field from the Packers 28-yard line. Here is Arians importance of Powers first interception of 2012:
“That was the play of the day. Then we were fortunate enough to take it in for a touchdown. I think that got the guys believing they could do it.”
The 89 offensive snaps for the Colts is a club record for a single game. How important was keeping the ball from the Packers?
“To have the ball for 35 minutes was crucial in that game. We needed to make first downs but not just hold onto it, we needed to score points. When you’re playing against Aaron Rodgers holding onto it isn’t going to do any good. He’s going to get his points, you’ve got to get yours. We always talk about production time. We want a point per minute. We were down their (in the red zone) with a first-and-goal from the four-yard line and kicked a field goal or else we would have hit it on the nose.”
Donald Brown had a season high with 89 yards on 17 carries (4.9 average) against the Packers. Even with two new starters on the offensive line, the run game had one of their best afternoons of the season. Here are Arians thoughts on Brown and the line:
“The whole focus the whole week was to get into the no huddle, wear them out and let Donald find some creases and use his speed. We’ve been trying to pound him up inside because he really loves to run the powers and the counters but we had to stretch that defense. The offensive line, God bless them, we haven’t had the same guys up there all year and this crew jumped up there. They just played their tails off.”
With everything that transpired last week, how much did this win mean to you?
“Personally, it felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. We had to win that game. The way it happened, it was storybook. You can’t put into words emotions. The elation on those players and Mr. Irsay’s face, everybody, Ryan (Grigson), the whole organization on what it meant to get that game ball down to the hospital.”
The Colts will head on the road for four of the next six games. How do the coaches keep the player’s emotions in check moving forward to the Jets?
“We have a 24-hour rule. Whether you win, lose or draw, you go onto the next one. This team is too young to have a rearview mirror. We can’t be looking back and patting ourselves on the back. We have to go. We have to get ready. The foundation has been laid as far as practices and schedules to get us prepared properly to go win a ball game.”
Looking back at the final two quarters, is the key now to turn the momentum created in the second half to the final 12 games?
“That last 30 minutes of football, we set a standard of what we are capable of. Anything less is unacceptable. That was the message (Monday). We know we can play with the best teams in the league, now we’ve got to do it on the road. At home, it’s easy. But on the road in a hostile environment we have to be able to sustain what we had the last 30 minutes of the game because that was Colts football, the way Chuck always wanted it to be.”
You talked about allowing yourself to expand your role on the coaching staff with the absence of Pagano but how important was your coaching staff this week and the part they played in delivering this win?
“You’ve got to give Ryan and Chuck a great deal of credit for putting that type of staff together. The family (aspect) was huge in the entire thing, trust, respect and loyalty, faith, family and football. It is a group of guys that are really compatible. We all get along well. We have our scars from other places. I know I’ve moved 14 times. Chuck’s had 12 moves. Everyone’s been fired and hired. We love the game and you can’t have one guy that’s going in a different direction. That one splinter, that will crack the floor.”
Tags: bruce arians, chuck pagano, jerraud powers, Reggie Wayne
Posted in Colts Blog
In the first half, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers carved up the Indianapolis secondary like so many others he’s faced during his stellar NFL career. He had already thrown two touchdowns and guided the Packers to a 21-3 halftime lead. With the Packers getting the ball to start the second half, it appeared that the Colts’ undermanned secondary was ripe for Rodgers to deliver the death blow.
After Rodgers scrambled 12 yards for a first down, it looked like the Packers were ready to do just that. Jerraud Powers had other ideas. On a third down and two, Rodgers called a pass play intended for James Jones who was covered by Powers. Jones ran his route down the right sideline and pulled up ready to bring in one of Rodgers’ patented back-shoulder throws that are virtually impossible to defend. Nobody told Powers that though.
Powers read Jones perfectly and stepped in front of the Rodgers pass for an interception, giving the Colts their first possession of the second half. Andrew Luck would convert the short field into a touchdown, giving the Colts the needed confidence to go on what would be an incredible comeback victory. It all started with the veteran Powers stepping up to make a play when the opportunity came to him.
“Any time you face the Packers, it’s going to be tough,” Powers said after the game. “We knew we were going to have opportunities because they throw it so much. As a corner, that’s what you want, the opportunity to make plays.”
“I was reading the receiver and saw which way he was going to turn. I read the play and the ball was right there.”
One of the reasons Rodgers was picking on Powers was because of the play of Cassius Vaughn, who was making only his fourth NFL start in place of injured starter Vontae Davis. Rodgers went at Vaughn early in the first half, but except for a questionable pass interference penalty, he didn’t find much there when he looked Vaughn’s way.
For Vaughn, he was just happy he acquitted himself well for his teammates and Coach Pagano”
“I was out there for myself and out there for Chuck. All I wanted to do was make sure my teammates and everybody here knew that I could be accountable.”
“I knew they were going to try me early and if I gave them anything, they were going to keep coming after me.”
Vaughn’s performance caused Rodgers to look elsewhere for success. This allowed the front seven time to get to Rodgers, which they did five times overall.
For the game, Rodgers threw for only 243 yards. He had only one score in the second half.
With the Colts secondary banged up and facing one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, most pundits (including this one) expected the Packers to have their way in the passing game. Jerraud Powers and his fellow defensive backs had other ideas.
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: Aaron Rodgers, Cassius Vaughn, jerraud powers
Posted in Colts Blog
Throughout the entire offseason, Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has often heard the same question regarding his Pro Bowl outside linebackers.
It didn’t take long Thursday afternoon for Manusky to hear it again and he’s looking forward to seeing No. 93 and 98 on the field for extended action against the Bears.
“I don’t think you’re ever right where you want to be every week but we’re making a lot of progress,” Manusky said. “I think both guys are really taking hold to what their job is supposed to be and they’re rolling with it and they’re doing a great job.”
This offseason the buzz surround Manusky’s hybrid 3-4 defense has been the influx of players familiar with the system along with getting the other Colts caught up with the scheme.
Even Manusky admitted there is a little more anticipation for this season opener considering all the changes.
“It’s a little bit different coming from a 4-3 (defense) to a 3-4 defense with these guys,” Manusky said. “With Vontae (Davis) being a little bit new, even Justin King having a little bit of newness to him. We’re all working together as a unit, trying to go out there and get a victory.”
Getting Davis acclimated with his new teammates and the system has been high on the priory list for Manusky over the past week.
Davis is expected to start opposite cornerback Jerraud Powers on Sunday and his knowledge of playing in similar defenses has helped him out immensely.
“He’s ready,” Manusky said of Davis. “I think there is a little bit of familiarity with Mike Nolan’s system. So the calls might be a little bit different but for the most part he’s played in that kind of system a little bit, our system, so it’s good.”
The task for Manusky’s defense will be a multi faceted offense leaning on Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
In the first three weeks of the season, the Colts rush defense will be tested by trying to stop a trio of Pro Bowl running backs.
“That’s the way this league is,” Manusky said of the running backs. “You’ve got to make sure you set your sights on stopping the run, that’s the most important thing. We’ve been stressing that since we got here so that’s what we got to do on Sunday.”
Tags: Dwight Freeney, jerraud powers, robert mathis, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
Robert Mathis sat at his locker on Monday afternoon and slowly shook his head while staring at the shirt he was about to put on.
In big, bold font the shirt indicated the Colts were chosen No. 32 in NFL power rankings chosen by media members.
Mathis cracked a wry smile when asked if he and his teammates are playing with a ‘chip’ on their shoulder this season.
“We’ll say it’s more than a chip. It’s a whole two-by-four wood block,” Mathis said. “We know what we got in this locker room. We know what we’ve been working hard towards all offseason so it’s time to put it on the field.”
According to many Colts players, those preseason predictions that indicate the Colts as the ‘worst team’ in the NFL is based solely off last season.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers addressed the issue of outside expectations and made it clear that this locker room is strictly focused on 2012.
“We’re not going to talk about what happened last year,” Powers said. “If we went 16-0 last year, we still wouldn’t be talking about that this year. This is a new season, new team, everything is new about the Colts.”
During the offseason, the Colts brought in a trio of veteran offensive lineman to combine with some talented skill positions taken in April’s NFL Draft.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts added players familiar with the new 3-4 hybrid defense to the Pro Bowl defenders already in Indianapolis.
It’s that combination that has the 53 players in the locker room itching to get on the field this Sunday.
“The people in this building believe in what we can do. We know what we have,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “The system that has been brought over has done a tremendous job in the past. Like we’ve been saying as players, if we just grasp onto the concept and buy in, we’ll be fine. As far as the naysayers are saying, you can’t be worried about that.”
The Colts will head into the 2012 season looking to continue an NFL trend that truly epitomizes the parity the league has seen over the last several years.
Since 2003, at least one team has gone from the bottom of their respective divisions the previous season to the top the following year.
Eighteen teams since 2001 have captured division titles the year following finishing fourth in that division.
The Colts are hoping to find their name on that list come January.
“Nobody has given us a chance. Power rankings had us at 32. Somebody else wrote that we would be 1-15,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “You can just go on down the line. We use it as motivation. I know they are. I know our coaching staff is. We’ve all got something to prove.”
Tags: antoine bethea, chuck pagano, jerraud powers, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
He has been a member of the Colts for just over a week but cornerback Vontae Davis will be running out with the first team defense on Sunday.
As a former defensive backs coach, head coach Chuck Pagano has observed his former position closely this offseason and likes what he sees in his newest addition.
“He’s doing really well,” Pagano said of Davis. “He’s spending extra time with his position coaches and putting the time in obviously.”
“I could tell just by sitting back and watching, he’s not making mental (mistakes), and you can see his athleticism out there and his playmaking ability. That’s only going to get better as he becomes more comfortable in the system, with the terminology.”
Davis brings a wealth of young talent to the secondary and his fellow defensive backs like the progress he has made in just over a week.
“For him, it’s just getting comfortable with what we’re doing. Pretty much right now he’s getting there,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Of course, a couple more days of practice and he’ll be there but when we’re out there on the field, I got confidence in all my guys.”
One advantage that Davis has had in learning the Colts defense is his familiarity with the system.
Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan (2010-2011) overlapped two seasons in San Francisco (2007-2008) with current Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Being able to be ready for the season opener from a physical standpoint for Davis wasn’t the question when he arrived in Indianapolis early last week.
It was his ability to handle new calls that presented the biggest challenge.
“He’s grasped onto the system well for the past week or so that he’s been here,” cornerback Jerraud Powers said. “It’s kind of easy for him because he was in a similar system with the defensive coordinator in Miami.”
Now with Davis opposite Powers, the Colts starting secondary has four players each with four years of NFL experience, with all having started at least 14 games over their respective careers.
The trade comes at an opportune time for the Colts as they will face a very talented Bears receiving crops in the season opener.
“Vontae is a hell of a football player and he’s going to come out and help us out a lot,” Powers said. “I think we got a good group in the secondary. He’s just another dimension, another playmaker added onto this defense.”
Tags: antoine bethea, chuck pagano, jerraud powers, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
Colts fans will see a welcomed sight at Solider Field on Sunday as wide receiver Austin Collie will return to the lineup.
Head coach Chuck Pagano said Collie looked like he hadn’t missed a beat at practice on Monday.
“(Collie looked) great, fresh legs, ran all over the place,” Pagano said. “He caught everything. He looked good.”
Collie has missed the last two preseason games after suffering a head injury in the fourth quarter of the Week 2 matchup with the Steelers.
Prior to the injury, Collie had been having a very productive training camp and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the preseason opener.
It looks as if Collie will get a full week of practice in before retuning to the playing field and after watching him on Monday, Pagano isn’t worried about a lack of conditioning for No. 17.
“We put him through a pretty extensive practice just now. Indoors, it’s muggy in there, it’s hot in there, there’s not a lot of air flow. He can run all day,” Pagano said. “I didn’t see him once take a knee, walk back to a huddle. I mean, he was fresh as a daisy so no I’m not concerned at all.”
Having another veteran target back in the fold for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck is something that has his teammates ecstatic heading into Chicago.
“I think a lot of people had some doubts with Collie with the concussion problems but he’s a warrior. He’s a fighter,” cornerback Jerraud Powers said.
“He’s going to do what’s best for his family. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t put himself out there if he didn’t believe he was capable of being productive and being able to go. I was happy to see him out at practice (Monday).”
In 2011, Collie played in all 16 games for the Colts and has caught at least 50 passes in each of his three NFL seasons.
Known as a reliable, sure-handed target, what Collie means to his teammates was pretty evident in the locker room on Monday afternoon.
“I consider him a brother,” outside linebacker Robert Mathis said. “We’ve been playing together for years now. You never like to see anybody get hurt but just to see him fight through it and just get back on the field and help us out (is great).”
Tags: austin collie, chuck pagano, jerraud powers, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog