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
The Colts spent most of Monday afternoon’s practice drilling specific situations (Hail Mary, last second field goals, getting out of bounds, etc).
During the live portion of practice though, Andrew Luck caught fire early on, connecting on his first 10 passes.
Here are three takeaways from day eight…
DHB’s injury “not serious”: Darrius Heyward-Bey did not practice on Monday afternoon, watching from behind the receivers group.
The Colts said the injury is “not serious” following practice but without DHB in the lineup the door is open for some significant receiver reps.
T.Y. Hilton added yet another strong day of practice to his impressive training camp. Hilton caught four of Luck’s first seven passes on Monday.
Griff Whalen and Nathan Palmer should see their reps increase with DHB sidelined. Also, Jeremy Kelley and Lanear Sampson have had a nice first week of camp.
Inside Linebacker spot filled with competition: Colts fans were checking their rosters frequently on Monday with some different names sliding into the inside linebackers spot.
Jerrell Freeman was sidelined with a shoulder injury on Monday, which gave some first team reps to Justin Hickman.
Last year, Hickman played extensively on the outside but this year he has also been taking reps at inside and was with the first unit for a quite a while on Monday.
Other names that Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky mentioned for the starting spot next to Freeman includes Kavell Conner, Kelvin Sheppard, Pat Angerer and Josh McNary.
Cornerbacks welcome back Greg Toler: Back with the first unit on Monday afternoon was Colts cornerback Greg Toler.
While Toler was back with the first unit, it was Vontae Davis and Darius Butler who both added to their numerous camp pass deflections.
After Davis was victim of a terrific catch by Reggie Wayne during red zone drills, he bounced back the following play knocking a potential touchdown away from the Colts six-time Pro Bowl receiver.
Earlier in practice it was Butler leaping high in the air to knock away a pass that would have been a significant gain for Wayne.
Tags: darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, Greg Manusky, greg toler, Griff Whalen, Jeremy Kelley, Jerrell Freeman, josh mcnary, kavell conner, kelvin sheppard, Lanear Sampson, nathan palmer, pat angerer, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
In today’s installment of Daily Headlines, Mike Chappell looks at the defensive ends candidates of his all-Indy team. Also, the story of Jerrell Freeman never gets old and another piece on it is below.
Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?
Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, July 17th.
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
The Colts defensive ends are next up on Chappell’s all-Indy team.
The candidates include some elite names and the group consists of Tony Bennett, Chad Bratzke, Dwight Freeney, Jon Hand, Robert Mathis and Donnell Thompson.
By: Staff, KWTX.com
Jerrell Freeman never forgets his roots.
The Waco, Texas native went to Division III Mary-Hardin Baylor for college before embarking on a three-year career in the Canadian Football League and alas the NFL.
“Guys in D-3, obviously, you know, we don’t get scholarships or anything it’s just for the love of the game,” said Freeman. “I just love football. I went to UMHB because I knew we were going to win.”
After a season in which Freeman racked up 203 tackles, he treated the 2013 offseason like he was still a player trying to find an elusive spot on the Colts 53-man roster.
“The reason I went to college was to get a degree,” Freeman said of his major offseason goal. “It was very important to me. Coming out of high school, you know, education is a big thing in my family and getting that degree was very big in my life.”
“It’s very evident in what he thinks is important. Coming back to school to finish his degree, give back to the places that have helped him in his career,” said Fredenburg. “He’s just the most grounded young man that you ever want to meet and we couldn’t be prouder.”
Tags: Jerrell Freeman, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
Jerrell Freman’s aura doesn’t scream someone who is coming off a franchise-record season with 203 tackles.
After a college career playing Division III football and three seasons in the Canadian Football League, Freeman raises his eyes to any question forecasting his play on the field in 2013.
“I’m just trying to make the team. That’s my mindset every year,” Freeman said earlier this week.
“It’s one of those things where I still have that DIII, Canadian over my head. I’m probably going to have that the rest of my life. I really don’t mind proving myself each and every year. That’s always going to be my mindset.”
When Pat Angerer went down during the Colts first preseason game of 2012, the question for the rest of training camp surrounded on who would fill the void in the middle of the Colts new 3-4 hybrid defensive scheme.
Freeman wasted no time answering that question, becoming the first undrafted NFL player to return an interception for a touchdown in their NFL debut when No. 50 scored on a four-yard “pick-six” against the Chicago Bears last season.
Even after a year in which Freeman started all 16 games, including leading the team in tackles the first seven weeks of the season, he had one focus this offseason.
Freeman held true to his word of returning to Mary-Hardin Baylor (Texas) in an effort to try and earn a degree in criminal justice.
“I went back to school and drove back and forth about an hour every day going up to Austin (to train) and going back to Belton, where my college was. It was a little bit of a grind but it was worth it,” Freeman said.
Over the next few weeks, Freeman will wrap up 12 final credits and before trying to ‘just make the team’ back in Indianapolis, there is a little unfinished business the Colts leading tackler will attend to down in Texas.
“I should be graduating here in May,” Freeman said. “Hopefully I can fly back and make this graduation and get my mom and dad and everybody there with all the tears and the hugs.”
Tags: Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog
COLTS NEWS (LOCAL AND NATIONAL)
The NFL is looking to spread out its off-season schedule to keep fans talking
Kelly Tilley: Colts cheerleading head talks about staying limber, choosing the best
No news from Colts on WR front
NFL’s Freeman finds his way back to class
Matt Hasselbeck still in shock from Tennessee Titans release
NFL camp for high schoolers instills character development
Vince Young throws at Texas pro day, hopes for another NFL shot
H.G.H. case could affect NFL talks
Dez Bryant eyes 2,000-yard mark
For Manti Te’o it’s just the beginning
Lewis knew when to quit; other big-name veterans finding out
Dwight Freeney’s demands slow Denver Broncos talks
Tags: Cheerleaders, chicago bears, daily clips, david diehl, Denver Broncos, dez bryant, dion jordan, Dwight Freeney, fred davis, george mccaskey, hgh, Jerrell Freeman, Manti Te'o, matt hasselbeck, new york giants, ray lewis, ryan grigson, tennessee titans, vince wilfork, vince young
Posted in Colts Blog
The Lone Star state will welcome home a few of its own this weekend.
A total of eight players on the Colts active roster will head back to their home state this weekend including a trio that calls Houston their hometown.
Here is a list of the players that will be making the return to Texas as the Colts take on the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon.
- Donnie Avery WR: The Houston native attended the University of Houston (2003-2008) and went to Hastings High School, which is about 20 minutes southeast of Reliant stadium.
- Andrew Luck, QB: Luck, also a Houston native, went to high school about five miles north of Avery at Stratford High School.
- Teddy Williams, CB: Williams hails from Tyler, which is about three and a half miles north of Houston. Williams attended the University of Texas-San Antonio and by joining the Colts on Oct. 29, is happy that the Texans game fell on the schedule in Week 15.
“I’ve actually got eight tickets for my family coming down from Tyler. My fiancé and son, they are already in Houston so some of her family too.”
- Jerrell Freeman, LB: Freeman attended Mary-Hardin Baylor in his hometown of Waco.
- Kellen Heard, DT: Heard is a native of Wharton, which is about an hour outside of Houston.
- Tony Hills, OT: Hills is one of two members of the Colts who attended the University of Texas (2003-2008). Hills hails from Dallas.
- Cory Redding, DE: Redding was the 1999 USA Today Defensive Player of the Year at North Shore High School in Houston. Redding continued his career at Texas from 2000-2003.
“This is a good game for all my friends and family back home to see me that haven’t got a chance to see me play all year or the past few years. It’s always good to go back home where everybody can see me. I like that. It’s good to see them and it’s good for them to watch me play.”
- Jerry Hughes, OLB: Hughes grew up in Sugar Land Texas which is about 20 minutes southwest of Houston but made the four and a half hour trip north to attend Texas Christian University.
“I think right now I’m at about 30 tickets and counting so it’s always good for my family to kind of come out and see me. They didn’t get a chance to see me in up at college so it’s always good for things like this.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, cory redding, donnie avery, Jerr Hughes, Jerrell Freeman, Kellen Herad, teddy williams, Tony Hills
Posted in Colts Blog
The connection between Canada and the Colts linebacker position has been a unique, but successful one this season.
Leading tackler Jerrell Freeman played the last three seasons in the Canadian Football League and has made the transition nearly flawless as the signal caller for the Colts hybrid 3-4 defense.
Outside linebacker Justin Hickman is also coming off three seasons in the CFL and has been a vital component on the Colts special teams, while providing depth on the edge of the Indianapolis defense.
When Hickman went on injured reserve following a leg injury in the Lions game on Sunday, enter another linebacker with ties north of the border.
Jamaal Westerman played his high school football in Ontario and now joins the Colts after four seasons in the NFL.
“I’m just coming in and trying to be a professional, kind of lean on the other guys for things like the playbook and even just finding my way around the locker room and the facility,” Westerman said. “Just come in and be a professional and do what I need to do and what the coaches expect and ask of me.”
If Westerman carries out a similar role to what Hickman provided than he will see ample time on special teams while joining Jerry Hughes as a reserve outside linebacker.
“I think I can go out there and play special teams. I’ve played them before. I can go out and rush the passer,” Westerman said. “I’m getting a little bit familiar with the defense because (there are) some things I’ve done in the past. Wherever they want to put me, just be a professional and execute on Sundays.”
Westerman played five games for the Arizona Cardinals this season after three years with the New York Jets. Last season with the Jets, Westerman played every game (starting three) and racked up 3.5 sacks.
From afar, Westerman is more than intrigued to be joining a team in the middle of a playoff hunt.
“I was definitely impressed by just a very strong team,” Westerman said. “Coach (Pagano) hasn’t been here but guys have pulled together, banded together and it just shows the character and integrity of the guys in the locker room. Sometimes those situations teams do fall apart and get pulled in different directions but it looks like from the outside that these guys really banded together and really pulled each other up and they’re playing for something bigger this year.”
Tags: Jamaal Westerman, Jerrell Freeman, Justin Hickman
Posted in Colts Blog
The fact that Jerrell Freeman finds himself in the top five tacklers in the league this season is astonishing considering his path to the NFL compared to others.
Of the players that rank first through fourth in tackles (Freeman is fifth with 101), each was selected in the top 35 picks of their respective draft class (Jerod Mayo 10th overall, Chad Greenway 17th, James Laurinaitis 35th and Luke Kuechly 9th).
And then there’s Freeman, who went undrafted after 252 picks in 2008, 37 of which were linebackers.
A brief stint in Tennessee didn’t pan out, and after three seasons in the Canadian Football League, Freeman has now become an instant leader for a Colts defense that needed someone to step up when 2011 leading tackler Pat Angerer suffered a foot injury in preseason.
“The kid’s come out of nowhere and become the core of our defense,” Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians said of Freeman. “Fourteen, 15, 16 tackles a week. Sideline-to-sideline, his speed and the plays that he makes, I don’t know where we’d be without him.
While being in charge of the calls for the Colts new hybrid 3-4 defense, Freeman has racked up double-digit tackle games in five games this season.
When Angerer went down in the preseason opener, many wondered where the Colts defense would turn for at least the early part of the regular season.
Freeman has been the guy to solve all those questions and much more.
“I expected to come in and do everything I needed to do to make the team,” Freeman said to ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday’s ‘Pagano Show.’
“Luckily for me, I made the team and I guess I’ve been put into a position to make those plays.”
Following his 16-tackle performance against the Bills last weekend the nickname of ‘Baby Ray’, in reference to Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis, was heard all around the Colts locker room.
Freeman is one of a plethora of new faces that have been asked to take on expanded roles this season and the easy going nature of the Colts locker room has helped ease the transition for him.
“It’s just family all the way around whether you’re the top guy, top dog here or the low man on the totem pole,” Freeman said. “Everybody gets treated the same, like brothers, like a family.”
On the field, Freeman considers himself a ‘sideline-to-sideline’ type player and is excelling in a system that he wasn’t familiar with before arriving in Indianapolis earlier this year.
From a hidden gem to among the league’s top defenders, Freeman has gone from ‘just trying to make the roster’ to an integral part of a potential playoff team.
“We’re really happy we have (Freeman) on our football team because he’s turned into a whale of a football player and really our defensive leader. He’s gotten game balls. He’s been a captain,” Arians said.
“It’s a great honor for a young player like to him to jump into this group of veteran group of guys on defense and then call him ‘Baby Ray.’”
Tags: bruce arians, Jerrell Freeman, pat angerer
Posted in Colts Blog
‘Depth’ is not a word that has been used very often when talking about the Colts roster this season.
Injuries have caused for weekly introductions between new teammates as players try to get to know who they will be lining up next to each week.
One position that is starting to have the ‘depth’ word thrown around is inside linebacker.
Colts 2011 leading tackler Pat Angerer returned to the lineup on Sunday and looked like he never missed a beat.
Angerer had six tackles on Sunday and a pair of quarterback hurries on Brandon Weeden.
“It was fun,” Angerer said. “When you are away from it so long, you don’t think you got it anymore. It was nice to finally hit somebody.”
Bruce Arians said the staff wanted around 20 snaps for Angerer on Sunday and were able to achieve a number that should increase as his conditioning improves.
Angerer combined with leading tackler Jerrell Freeman on Sunday and along with three-year starter Kavell Conner, the Colts have a trio of young, aggressive linebackers.
“I hope we’ll see a lot of that,” Arians said of the Angerer and Freeman combination. “We purposely put Pat at the Mike position so that they could get out there together.”
“Not that Kavell was doing anything wrong but when you’ve got double-digit tacklers out there at the same time who are extremely quick and showed up in crunch time in that ball game. It was nice we hit the number of snaps for Pat pretty close to where we wanted, about 22.”
For the past three seasons, Angerer and Conner have been mainstays in the linebacker corps. When Angerer went down in the preseason opener, uncertainty surrounded a position that seemed to be set in stone.
Fresh out of the Canadian football league, Freeman has led the Colts in tackles in each game this season.
It’s a great problem to have on where to play three hungry, young linebackers and Arians assures that each will be in the action moving forward.
“There’s a spot for all those guys and you always want to keep a role for everybody,” Arians said.
Tags: Jerrell Freeman, kavell conner, pat angerer
Posted in Colts Blog
Trying to guess who the Colts will have available in the front seven of the defense on Sunday is like solving a 1,000-piece puzzle.
Inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Kavell Conner, defensive end Cory Redding and nose tackle Antonio Johnson are the four players in the front seven who have been in the starting lineup for each of the Colts five games this season.
After those four, it has been a wait and see approach week-to-week for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
For the second straight week, the Colts will be without defensive tackle Fili Moala.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis is hoping to return to the lineup after missing the Jets game with a knee injury.
Redding’s status is up in the air after leaving the Jets game in the first half.
Inside linebacker Pat Angerer is looking to see his first action of the season as a foot injury during the preseason has sidelined the Colts leading tackler from last season.
The Colts are already without nose tackles Brandon McKinney and Martin Tevaseu.
Defensive linemen Ricardo Matthews and Drake Nevis have seen action in every game this season and their health has been critical among a defensive front that has seen its fair share of fronts.
Currently three Colts defensive linemen on the active roster have been in Indianapolis for less than two weeks (defensive end Clifton Geathers was signed on Oct. 3, nose tackle Antonio Dixon was signed on Oct. 9 and defensive end Lawrence Guy was signed on Tuesday).
Offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t know who will be out there on Sunday, but can’t thank his staff enough for dealing with so many new faces.
“It’s a credit to the coaching staff to do what they’re doing. Our backup defensive line right now has a cumulative after today 10 practices. So, that’s a lot of new.”
“(Defensive line) Coach (Gary) Emanuel is earning his paycheck and he’s doing a heck of a job and we’ll see how it goes. We might get fortunate enough to get a couple guys back and they won’t have to play. But we’ll get ready for them to play and we’ll see how it goes.”
Freeman, the Colts leading tackler, hasn’t been in the NFL for more than a year but even he admitted that it seems like he’s introducing himself on a daily basis.
“New guys coming every day. That’s just the nature of this business,” Freeman said. “People come and go all the time. I just have to do what I can to keep my spot, keep my position.”
The middle of the front seven has remained intact (Johnson, Freeman and Conner) through the first five games but it’s the outside that has needed to be reshuffled.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney missed two of the first three games of the season and the Colts are still waiting to get their Pro Bowl duo on the outside together for longer than one game.
Mathis considers himself a fast healer and while he is hoping to play this weekend, he knows whoever is on that active roster must accomplish the task they were brought in to do.
“Whoever’s out there has to do their job. Everybody is here because they are special in some way. If you are on the field, you have to do your job, whether it’s pass rushing, defending passes, or throwing passes. You just have to get the job done.”
Tags: Antonio Dixon, brandon mckinney, bruce arians, Clfiton Geathers, cory redding, Dwight Freeney, Fili Moala, gary emmanuel, Greg Manusky, Jerrell Freeman, kavell conner, Lawrence Guy, Martin Tevaseu, pat angerer, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog