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
Intro: Indianapolis gained momentum with a 25-3 win over Houston, the club’s second-largest victory margin of the year. The Colts grabbed the lead from the outset and did not need any comeback in assuring an 18th winning season in Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS – Three of the Colts’ previous eight wins needed fourth-quarter comebacks, and the club had not earned an advantage larger than one score since November 14 at Tennessee.
Indianapolis had been plagued by slow starts in the last six outings but ended all of that by scoring early and building a 17-point halftime margin in a 25-3 win over Houston.
The Colts gained a measure of momentum heading into a week 16 showdown with 11-3 Kansas City, a possible playoff foe.
The Colts were the only AFC division leader to win last weekend, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
RESERVES TRAIN LIKE STARTERS – Chuck Pagano and his staff have said numerous times that reserves train like starters. Trent Richardson yesterday credited the scout team (comprised also of practice squad players) for providing great ‘looks’ in practices that only help hone the starters. Joe Reitz, Fili Moala, Griff Whalen and Darius Butler figured to get heavy work Sunday. Tackle Xavier Nixon did not, but he went in early for Reitz at RG and played the duration of the game after never having played the position before. With Reitz starting at RG, the Colts were using their sixth different opening configuration. His early exit with a concussion almost makes this count as a seventh different opening bunch. Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler have split starting time for Greg Toler, and both had multiple interceptions in the Colts’ last two wins. Credit coaches, credit players, but give credit when looking for one way how the team won Sunday.
EARLY ADVANTAGE, EASIER PLAY CALLS – Andrew Luck said the faster start yesterday made “a world of difference.” Pagano said it opens things up on both sides of the ball and makes calls easier because the outcome is not hanging in the balance with so much time left on the clock. The Colts won late against Oakland, Seattle and Houston, while making plays down the stretch to subdue Denver and Tennessee (twice). San Francisco (27-7) and Jacksonville (37-3) were the only real wide-margin days for a battling Colts club. It’s not that yesterday didn’t have stress, there was just less of it by finding a rhythm, getting an advantage larger than one score and finishing out an opponent.
RICHARDSON UNSELFISH – Trent Richardson lined up in different spots in the offense. He did so at blocking back. He works hard enough during the week when moved elsewhere that he wants to contribute as a receiver. He has caught nine passes in the last two games, and yesterday he produced a season-best 102 scrimmage yards. His adaptation to the offense has had fits and starts. Yesterday was a good day for Richardson, and he needs to remain a building block.
POINTS A PREMIUM – Yesterday’s 25 points could have been more had a handful of chances been cashed in better. A red zone turnover early led to Houston’s lone score. Takeaways that started possessions at Houston’s 17 and 44 produced field goals. Those happened in the first half when Indianapolis still built a 20-3 lead. Later, a long punt return set the Colts up at Houston’s 28, but a field goal was the result. Pagano cited these afterward as points left on the field. It did not bite harshly on Sunday, but there are other Sundays looming.
DEFENSE WAS NEARLY AIRTIGHT – Houston’s only points came off a 32-yard drive that only produced two first downs. The next 11 defensive possessions for the Colts ended with seven punts, two takeaways, a turnover on downs and a sack-strip-safety. Those 11 possessions netted nine downs for the Texans, while the Colts pitched first-down shutouts on five straight possessions just after halftime. Indianapolis held Houston to 16 yards on 10 plays in the third quarter. It was an overall performance that included four sacks, a two-thirds failure on third downs (the best since week five), 12 first downs and 26:49 possession time (the season’s third-lowest mark). Well done.
Tags: Cassius Vaughn, chuck pagano, darius butler, Fili Moala, greg toler, Griff Whalen, indianapolis colts, joe reitz, trent richardson, Xavier Nixon
Posted in Colts Blog
It’s a shortened week at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center with the Colts traveling to Cincinnati for the preseason finale on Thursday night. Today’s news looks at the good news surrounding Anthony Castonzo’s knee injury and the beginning of cuts for the Colts.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Tuesday, August 27th.
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
With Anthony Castonzo sidelined on Thursday evening, versatile lineman Joe Reitz will get the starting nod at left tackle against the Bengals.
Adaptability has been one of the Hamilton Southeastern High School product’s strongest attributes, and might prove invaluable once again as he attempts to spend a fourth season with the Colts.
“It’s just wherever you can fit in,” Reitz said Monday. “As a lineman, the more versatility the better.”
Spoken like someone who has been here, there, everywhere since he was a standout in basketball and football for the Royals.
Reitz likely will start at left tackle in Thursday’s preseason finale at Cincinnati while Anthony Castonzo deals with a mild sprain to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com
As Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Paul Kruger rolled into Anthony Castonzo’s leg on Saturday night, a collective gasp came over the Colts faithful.
Imagine how Castonzo himself felt.
“When it happened, you kind of get rolled up on, you start thinking about all the hard work you put in the offseason and to get that news that it’s only going to be a short-term thing was very good,” Castonzo said Monday.
The MRI done on Castonzo’s knee revealed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament. He believes he’ll be ready for the season opener against Oakland at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 8.
“Kind of just taking it day-by-day,” said Castonzo, who is responsible for protecting quarterback Andrew Luck’s blindside. “Hoping that yeah, that will be plenty (of time). My goal is to be ready for Oakland.”
Tags: anthony castonzo, joe reitz
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
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
Day 10 Impressions: Darius Butler doing what he does, power running game featured and the thin secondaryPosted by on August 8, 2013 – 5:00 pm
Mother Nature opened up her skies on Thursday afternoon but held off just enough for the Colts to get a two-hour practice done on the turf field at Macholtz Stadium.
Thursday was the Colts final full padded practice before the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Here are three takeaways from day 10…
Butler not to be forgotten in the secondary: Darius Butler continued his strong camp on Thursday by making the same plays he made last season.
Butler had a pair of pick six’s on Thursday (one each off Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck). Butler’s knack for making big plays is something that can’t be overlooked in this defense.
With a formidable starting secondary, Butler is the odds on starting nickel back which means he will see a ton of playing time against a Colts schedule that includes some of the game’s top passers.
There’s a reason why Butler was chosen in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft and he has taken full advantage of the Colts giving him another chance to live up to that billing.
Power running gets some work in on Thursday: With the rain falling on Thursday afternoon it seemed fitting that the running game was a focus.
The Colts first and second team offensive line both had successful days opening up holes for the running backs.
Having the starting offensive line in tact for the entire first two weeks of training camp has been a key for the Colts rushing attack.
Sunday will provide the chance for the Colts rush defense to go up against one of the league’s top backs in C.J. Spiller.
Depth thin in the secondary: The injuries are starting to pile up on the defensive side of the ball, particularly at the back end.
Safety Delano Howell and Antoine Bethea are the only healthy safeties with newly signed Ashante Williams going to have to a play a lot on Sunday.
Other injury news included Darrius Heyward-Bey going through a few reps of 11-on-11 work on Thursday. Offensive lineman Joe Reitz returned to the practice field.
Tight end Dwayne Allen did not participate on Thursday as the Colts are evaluating the second-year tight end’s foot.
Tags: Andrew Luck, darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, dwayne allen, joe reitz, matt hasselbeck
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
Competition is something Joe Reitz more than welcomes.
Whether it’s on the hardwood playing for the 2004 Indiana All-Stars or fighting for a roster spot in the NFL, Reitz has relished any opportunity that he’s earned.
The next form of competition for the Fishers, Ind. native will come over the next month and a half when he enters an offensive line battle that is surely to be one to watch at Colts training camp.
“I think competition is something that brings out the best in everybody,” Reitz said last Wednesday on “The Dan Dakich Show” on 1070 AM. “It’s always done that for me, whether it’s been high school or college or the NFL. Also, I know it’s going to make me be the best player I can be.”
Reitz has started 17 games for the Colts over the last two seasons and has found a niche in the NFL as a versatile, athletic lineman.
He’s in the process of fighting to maintain a spot on an offensive line that has added a mix of veteran and young pieces this offseason.
“I know that last year at times we didn’t do as good of a job as we needed to but I think our offensive line as a whole has a great attitude about them,” Reitz said. “We really got after it (this offseason) and we added some new guys into the mix who are going to help us.”
“The bottom line is that we’ve got playmakers on offense. We’ve got No. 12 back there who can pick people apart. Our job as offensive linemen is we have to block for (Luck) and protect him.”
Coming off an 11-5 campaign, Reitz knows that expectations from those on the outside will be higher in 2013.
Many wonder if the emotional 2012 season will wear off this season but Reitz quickly debunks that when discussing the man leading the Horseshoe.
“When you talk about enthusiasm, Coach (Pagano) brings it every day. He’s one of the most enthusiastic guys I’ve ever been around. He’s got just as much (enthusiasm), if not more, than he had last year because we all tasted that success last year,” Reitz said.
“I think when you get that close like we did, into the playoffs, into the dance, it just makes you want it that much more.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, joe reitz
Posted in Colts Blog
The inquiries were not about bouncing back from a loss, the Chiefs or possible playoff scenarios.
Instead, Colts players fielded questions about the potential return of their friend, and head coach, Chuck Pagano to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
“It’s going to be crazy,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “It’s going to be a great moment, just having him back on an everyday basis with the team, knowing that’s what he really wants, back with us coaching and back on the sideline. Obviously we know it’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be a great time.”
The definite date of when Pagano returns has not been determined but interim head coach Bruce Arians said the goal remains for sometime next week.
While his message has remained with the Colts players, having Pagano’s physical presence around the facility will be a welcoming sight.
“We are so blessed to have a leader like Chuck,” offensive guard Joe Reitz said. “We’ve all been praying for him and are glad that things have gone well. I think we all look forward to the day when he’s back in there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Arians also mentioned that he is looking forward to the day when his head coach will be back doing what he has longed to do.
With Arians in the interim role, the Colts are 8-3 and the players made sure to point out what an incredible job the offensive coordinator has done under unforeseen circumstances.
“Coach of the Year caliber,” outside linebacker Robert Mathis said of Arians’ performance. “Nothing short of amazing what he’s done. He’s came in and just kept the train rolling. Kudos to him.”
When the announcement of Pagano’s diagnosis came on Oct. 1, Arians stood in front of cameras and did not speak long, but brought a powerful message.
“If Chuck can’t make it back for the regular season, why can’t we extend the season? Play a few more games until he gets back,” Arians said back on Oct. 1.
With two games remaining in the regular season the Colts are in position to not only extend the season for Chuck, but also have a chance to get their head coach back for the season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It would mean the world to us,” Mathis said of Pagano’s return. “Just for him to fight this, well he’s not fighting it alone, we are here, heart and mind and souls are with him. He’s coming back to whip this thing and get back to work.”
Tags: antoine bethea, bruce arians, chuck pagano, joe reitz, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
Back in training camp, when asked about the depth along the offensive line offensive coordinator Bruce Arians talked about the importance of needing at least seven guys up front.
Arians knew that over the course of an NFL season, the attrition up front usually forces multiple bodies into the fray throughout the 16-game schedule.
Center A.Q. Shipley has been one of those invaluable pieces along the offensive line, playing in 11 contests including starting a pair of victories.
“I think the biggest thing is that I understand the offense and I don’t understand just one position,” Shipley said on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show.’
“If you understand the whole scheme you’re ready. I might not get as many reps during the week in practice but part of my job as a professional is to be ready to play center, guard, wherever they need me.”
When left guard Joe Reitz left the Lions game two weeks ago with a concussion, there was Shipley filling in the comeback victory.
This past weekend against the Titans, Shipley was back at his natural center position when an ankle injury sidelined Samson Satele.
“He’s always stepped up to the plate when needed,” Arians said. “He’s a very valuable guy now that he’s been able to play guard. We have a lot of confidence in him as our center.”
Shipley and fellow offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach have been the most frequent interchangeable parts along the unit.
“It’s the closest group that I’ve ever been apart of,” Shipley said of the offensive line. “When one guy gets the opportunity, everybody trusts one another, everybody’s close with one another. When you get in the game with one another it’s just like the next guy picks each other up.”
On two separate occasions (Green Bay on Oct. 7 and Jacksonville on Nov. 8) Shipley has started at center and helped lead the Colts on two of their highest scoring outputs on the season.
His role might be fluctuating on a weekly basis, but Shipley has proven to deliver each time his number is called.
With three games remaining in the regular season, Shipley is itching for another chance to put together a complete effort in hopes to achieve goals that didn’t seem attainable by many pundits back in August.
“We control our own destiny and that’s half the battle. We know what we have to do,” Shipley said of the Colts positioning in the AFC.
“The belief in this locker room is amazing and we just have to keep doing that. We have to put 60 minutes together. If we put 60 minutes together, and hopefully it’s this week, it’ll be pretty special.”
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, bruce arians, Jeff Linkenbach, joe reitz, Samson Satele
Posted in Colts Blog
For the first time all season, the Colts offensive line put together the starting five that they carried into the 2012 preseason with them.
Left guard Joe Reitz got his first start of the season on Sunday after playing sparingly in his season debut against the Titans.
“It felt great,” Reitz said. “It was tough being on the sidelines and not getting out there but it felt really good to get back in the lineup.”
Reitz and the offensive line helped protect Andrew Luck on Sunday afternoon as the quarterback was sacked just once on 50 drop backs. That effort came against one of the league’s best pass rushes.
While Luck wanted to thank his protection in keeping him clean for the most of the afternoon, it was Reitz returning the favor on Monday.
“We give a lot of credit to (Luck) first off because he continues to do great things back there. He can make up for a lot of mistakes,” Reitz said.
“He’s so athletic and can move around that a play is never over. As linemen, we have to sustain our blocks and make sure that we are blocking to the whistle every play because you never know what’s going to happen back there.”
The pass protection was dealt a little adversity with center Samson Satele and right tackle Winston Justice leaving the game due to injuries.
Now, Reitz and the offensive line will move forward to a rematch with the Jacksonville Jaguars in three days.
“We got a quick turnaround now and got to go to Jacksonville right away because we got a real big one Thursday night,” Reitz said. “It’s really going to come down to preparation and taking these three days here, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and making sure that we’re ready to go because it is such a short week. The mental preparation becomes even more important in a short week like this.”
Back in the starting lineup and getting to contribute on the field for Reitz is something he has longed for since the start of the regular season.
He had been regulated to a spectator for the first six games of the season but now is happy to be apart of a group that has positioned themselves in the top half of the AFC.
“I think that we’ve got a bunch of guys that are hungry, a bunch of guys that love the game. We have a great leader in coach Pagano who’s put forth the message from day one back in April of what we were going to do. Now, B.A. (Bruce Arians) is carrying the torch,” Reitz said.
“We just have a bunch of guys that love the game, want to get better and our best days are ahead of us. We’re moving forward. Like coach said, there’s not rearview with this team. We’re moving forward trying to get better every week because we know that we still have better football to be played.”
Tags: joe reitz
Posted in Colts Blog