Weslye Saunders was keeping something from his teammates on Wednesday morning.
They knew Saunders had played with new running back Chris Rainey in Pittsburgh and against him in college.
Yet, Saunders wanted his teammates to get their own look at the electric Rainey on the football field before he offered his own opinion.
“We are getting a special player,” Saunders said of Rainey. “That guy is a hell of a player. Tough little dude.”
The 5-9, 180-pound Rainey is known for his All-American track speed that he showcased in the University of Florida’s spread offense.
Rainey was chosen in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft and played in all 16 games of his rookie season with the Steelers.
Whether it was running the ball (26 carries for 102 yards), catching it (14 receptions for 60 yards) or impacting the game on special teams (39 kick returns for 1,035 yards), Rainey showcased his versatility last season.
However, the Steelers cut Rainey after an off the field incident in early January.
Rainey is “blessed” to have a second chance and says he has learned from his mistakes.
“Hell yeah,” Rainey said when asked if he’s learned. “Eleven months is a long time, so I’m just glad to be back.”
In practice on Wednesday, Rainey worked as a return man and also a scout team running back.
His dynamic ability was used in multiple ways at Florida and while he’s not exactly sure where he will fit in with the Colts, he’s grateful to be back in the NFL and playing for a contenting team.
“I know I’m a playmaker,” Rainey said. “I came to help the team win. Wherever they put me, I’ll be ready.”
As a former SEC opponent, Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman can attest to Rainey’s playmaking ability.
Safe to say Chapman is glad to have Rainey in his locker room this time around.
“We got a fast, dangerous player,” Chapman said of Rainey.
“You don’t find many small guys that run that tough. He’s pretty fast and I know I don’t like chasing him.”
Tags: Chris Rainey, josh chapman, Weslye Saunders
Posted in Colts Blog
The name “Drake Nevis” had barely gotten out of my mouth before Donald Thomas started ‘oohing’.
Thomas is in his first year with the Colts but is fresh off three weeks of training camp work where he was a frequent recipient of Nevis’ multi-faceted pass rush.
“It’s just really impressive he can create that much pass rush because just looking at him, no offense, but he doesn’t look as athletic as he is,” Thomas said of Nevis on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to get your hands on him. He starts one way, then goes the other. He uses his hands well. You’ve got to sit back on him. You can’t be overaggressive because that’s when he gets you.”
Even an Alabama guy in Josh Chapman is praising Nevis, an LSU product.
“He’s one of those guys that is constantly working,” Chapman said of Nevis. “He’s got that power and fast twitch and you rarely find guys that have both. With him, he has three or four counter moves that people don’t really think of.”
At 310 pounds, Nevis doesn’t have ideal size as a 3-4 nose tackle but has found a niche as an interior pass rusher on passing downs.
Nevis was a force against the Giants on Sunday night with a pair of sacks and his high motor has caught the eye of Chuck Pagano.
“He’s relentless in his pass rush. Going in there getting a couple of sacks late in that game that’s just Drake,” Pagano said.
“He’s snap to whistle, all out. If he gets singled up, he’s got the ability to beat guys.”
Tags: chuck pagano, donald thomas, drake nevis, josh chapman
Posted in Colts Blog
Below are a few of the highlights from the interview:
On the performance against the Bills:
-“We’ve got to get better. It was glaring. Everyone is accountable in our entire building and Jim (Irsay) expects excellence and so do we. That’s why we have all those banners in our facility because whether it’s the preseason game or not, our third’s against their two’s, or the two’s against their one’s, that’s how we all look at it, that we just have to improve. That’s what the preseason is about. It was kind of nice in a sense. It’s good for us because it shows what we need to work on, what we need to work on in practice this week, the things we need to do to get better. It’s what the preseason is for and I think it ends up being a blessing in disguise.”
On how patient he is with the second and third string players:
-“Well everyone is in a different situation, a case-by-case basis. You have to look at a broad scope, how long are the contracts, how much money are you giving them up front. There’s a lot of things that come into play but at the end of the day if the guy is not getting it done, you have to have some tough discussions and make moves because this is a bottom-line business in this league, and everybody will tell you that. It’s hard sometimes but we are always trying to move forward and not be on our heels. You’ve got to keep making forward progress. If you have guys that you evaluated and you really thought they were going to do this and that and they’re not, at some point the light has to come on or else they will be on the outside looking in. Again, it was our first game and we just expect to make big strides each week.”
On Josh Chapman and that position’s importance:
-“It’s a very key, critical piece in the 3-4 (defense). That’s why we drafted him. We felt really good about one, a guy that works as hard as he does and two, a guy that we knew would rehab and do everything that he had to do. Another thing is the guy ended up having a successful year without an ACL, so everything pretty much pointed to him being a pretty good player. I think he’s in a perfect situation behind a true vet that’s a wily, old, crafty veteran in Aubrayo Franklin, that knows the system and has given pointers and tips to him, and to even other players on our defense, including the linebackers and those are tricks of the trade of this defense. It’s nice to have Josh in a position now where we don’t have to thrust him in there, throw him to the wolves. He’s still getting a lot of snaps at the right pace.”
On Griff Whalen:
-“Right now, he’s dinged up a little bit. Griff is one of those guys where you know exactly what he is. You know his skill set. You know that he rarely drops the ball. I don’t know if I can even recollect him dropping a ball in practice. He doesn’t say boo. He just does what he’s supposed to do and he’s a really good pass-catching receiver.”
On his impressions of Daniel Adongo:
-“Well, he had a little bit of a problem with his arm that is getting well so he hasn’t been able to take a lot of reps. We flew him here from Johannesburg one-way, that was before the connection. The guy just has the body type. He’s such a fascinating person to talk to, his background and such. He played (rugby). I know it’s not football but it’s a distant relative and you can see the fierceness, the competitiveness and the toughness that he plays with, and the athletic ability and speed. Hopefully he has the character and the mental capacity to make the transition. He’s showing that each time he gets another rep.”
-“Just to give you an example, I’ve been to a gazillion workouts in my life, and when you have a guy fly that long, that insists on coming into the building and learning about American football the day before he actually works outs, instead of sacking out in the hotel, and he walks up to the line and he broad jumps 11 feet, when he’s never done it before, that get’s people excited. People start grinning and you look over your shoulder after (Adongo) runs the hoop and Chuck (Pagano) kind of gets a grin on his face. Like I said to other people, he’s a lump of Clay and we know he’s a long shot. But the kid has such a good sense of intelligence and integrity and he has all those Colts traits at a really high level that I hope can be the x-factor in transitioning to this sport.”
Tags: chuck pagano, Daniel Adongo, Griff Whalen, Jim Irsay, josh chapman, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts are in their final days of training camp in Anderson. Today’s news begins with a financial look at the team, how the secondary is shaping up and the debut of Josh Chapman.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, August 15th.
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
For yet another year, the Dallas Cowboys continue to lead the arms race of the to NFL Franchises based on Forbes Valuations project.
Where do the Colts check in?
The Colts check in as the NFL’s No. 11-ranked franchise at $1.2 billion, the fourth straight year they’ve held that spot.
A closer look at the top 10 reveals the Colts are not that far out of the No. 8 spot. The San Francisco 49ers are No. 10 at $1.224 billion, behind the Baltimore Ravens at No. 9 ($1.227 billion) and the Chicago Bears at No. 8 ($1.25 billion).
By: Zak Keefer. Indy Star
Thanks to some reinforcements and another year in the system for many Colts defenders Chuck Pagano is a happy man at night.
“Yeah, I sleep better at night,” Pagano said this week, offering a brief smile.
He should. Unlike last year, Davis, a former first-round draft pick, enters the season with a full training camp under his belt. He was traded to the Colts 14 days before the season-opener in 2012 and wound up starting 10 games, including the opener in Chicago.
“The difference is night and day,” Davis said of Year 1 vs. Year 2 with the Colts. “Now, I feel like I’ve been in Indy. This feels like home. I’m not rushing to learn the scheme before the first game like I was last year.”
The Herald Bulletin
For the Colts fans that stuck around on Sunday in the preseason opener, many eyes wanted a look at No. 61 Josh Chapman.
The 340-pound nose tackle made his NFL debut after missing all of last season while recovering from knee surgery.
“It felt pretty good,” Chapman said of his first action since helping Alabama beat LSU in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, 2012. “I got a little nervous about it, but at the same time when I got the first pop it was back to normal.”
Chapman was credited with four tackles, but his primary job is to soak up blockers and allow the linebackers behind him to make plays. He was particularly adept at that when the Bills ran their stretch-cut running game.
It’s a scheme the Colts will see again during the regular season against the Houston Texans, and Chapman’s play against it impressed defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
“Houston’s a little bit better and pronounced at doing it, but he did a good job of getting down the line,” Manusky said. “He’s a little sore, which is to be expected, but he did a fabulous job for us. I’m excited about what we’ve seen from him.”
Tags: chuck pagano, Greg Manusky, josh chapman, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
1070 The Fan was back in Anderson on Wednesday for one final broadcast at Colts training camp.
Grady and Big Joe Show
The Ride with JMV
Tags: ahmad bradshaw, Bjoern Werner, darius butler, josh chapman, pat angerer
Posted in Colts Blog
The sun is shining on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, and there is no place like an NFL stadium on game days. Within moments of kickoff, it is an exciting time for many.
Chuck Pagano’s return to Lucas Oil Stadium is on the minds of some. This will be his sixth game patrolling the sideline. It is a welcome sight.
There have been past seasons when the preseason did not hold as much anticipation as this one does.
The Colts hit preseason with the bar set high and with aspirations of earning another playoff berth.
Still weeks away from league play, seeing a number of young players in action again is fun. Andrew Luck has worked doggedly in camp (who hasn’t?), yet the second season for a starting QB is one fans are excited about.
Coby Fleener has had a great camp. Ditto T.Y. Hilton. Hilton had a wondrous rookie season, and he and Fleener both are poised for exciting years.
Dwayne Allen is out with a foot injury. He is confident of a quick return. LaVon Brazill needs good preseason work since he is out of the mix for the first four games.
Josh Chapman is getting his first action after missing last year with a knee injury. Chapman has drawn praise from Pagano and teammates, with the coach calling him a “900-pound safe” in the middle of the line.
Vick Ballard hopes to build on a solid rookie year. More mature physically, the second year of a running back’s career is exciting just as it is for a QB, too.
This will be the first game as a Colt for about 40 players on roster. Seeing a free agent class in action is in order for today. The Colts hope the influx of veterans will lead to more physical play.
The ball will be in the air in less than 30 minutes.
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, indianapolis colts, josh chapman, LaVon Brazill, lucas oil stadium, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
Day Seven Impressions: The elusive tight ends, defensive line’s sack-packed afternoon and Antoine Bethea returnsPosted by on August 4, 2013 – 5:41 pm
The largest crowd (6,200) of the 2013 Colts training camp took in Sunday’s padded practice at Anderson University.
It was a bit of a quiet afternoon in terms of highlights for the Colts as the team returned to the practice field after being off since Friday morning.
Here are three takeaways from day seven…
Tight Ends constantly causing mismatches: Early on in practice, the Colts took part in one-on-one drills with linebackers having to cover running backs and/or tight ends.
It’s pretty impressive to watch Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener create separation in these drills.
When Allen and Fleener see linebackers across from them, their eyes should be nice and wide this fall.
Do safeties have the physicality to line up against the tight ends or should teams risk a slower linebacker to match-up for size purposes?
That will be a discussion in opponent’s defensive meeting rooms each week this year, one that doesn’t come with an easy answer.
Defensive line racks up the “sacks”: Yes, the red jerseys on the three Colts quarterbacks indicate a no-touching rule but on Sunday several plays were stopped due to “sacks”.
Drake Nevis and Josh Chapman were among the handful of Colts defensive linemen who got into the backfield on passing downs.
The defensive line was also able to get their hands on a few batted balls on Sunday.
It should be mentioned that the Colts offensive line (specifically the second unit) was without the services of guards Joe Reitz (stinger) and Hugh Thornton (ankle), along with center Khaled Holmes (ankle).
Nonetheless, it was a strong afternoon for the Colts defensive front.
Bethea back in Anderson: The Colts welcomed back safety Antoine Bethea after his fiancé gave birth to their first child, Siani, last week.
Sunday’s practice was Bethea’s first in pads this year and the eight-year veteran mentioned that he’s playing for a little bit more after becoming a father.
“It was definitely a feeling that I’ve never had before,” Bethea said of the birth of his daughter.
“My perspective is not just ‘Antoine’ any more. I’m out here doing this for my family.”
Tags: antoine bethea, Coby Fleener, drake nevis, dwayne allen, josh chapman
Posted in Colts Blog
With Week One in the books in Anderson, here are four defensive 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.
Josh Chapman’s development-The “900 pound safe” has been very impressive working with the second unit in Week One.
The nose tackle position will undoubtedly need more than one body in 2013 so expect Chapman to play big minutes along with starter Aubrayo Franklin.
It can’t be stated enough how much Chapman truly embraces the role of a 3-4 nose tackle and his presence will go a long way to stopping the run this year.
Bjoern Werner’s role-Werner’s high motor was evident last week and you can see why the Colts valued the German native during April’s NFL Draft.
If he was at any other position, Werner probably would be starting but with Robert Mathis and Erik Walden ahead of him, it looks like the rookie’s role will be primarily on special teams and passing downs this year.
Fans should get frequent looks at Werner coming off the edge this season with the outside linebacker depth allowing the Colts to bring the first round pick along at his own pace.
Can the secondary continue its hot start?-The ball-hawking nature of the Colts secondary has been prevalent in 2013.
The takeaways number of 15 last year is a point of emphasis this season and if Week One is any indication than the Colts defensive backs will be getting their hands on numerous balls.
Vontae Davis and Darius Butler have been particular strong with Greg Toler hoping to rejoin the secondary this week after suffering a concussion on Wednesday.
Return of Antoine Bethea-The Colts Pro Bowl safety has not been in Anderson since Tuesday as he was back home for the birth of his daughter.
Coach Pagano said he expects Bethea back very soon and fans are eager to see No. 41 pair with LaRon Landry at the backend of the defense.
Bethea has been in the Colts starting lineup every game since the 2007 season and getting him back on the practice field will be a welcoming sight for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
Tags: antoine bethea, Aubrayo Franklin, Bjoern Werner, chuck pagano, darius butler, erik walden, Greg Manusky, greg toler, josh chapman, laron landry, robert mathis, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
Day Four Impressions: DHB’s big catch(es), 7th round picks impress and the defense continues strong startPosted by on July 31, 2013 – 5:53 pm
Spitting rain in the morning ceased in the afternoon as the Colts moved over to Macholtz Stadium for Wednesday’s padded practice.
With the pads on, the spirit continued to rise in the trenches and some of the Colts rookies at the skill positions shined on Wednesday.
Here are three takeaways from day four…
DHB wastes no time getting involved: Pep Hamilton talked about the diligent work that Heyward-Bey is putting in trying to sure up his hands.
The jugs machine seems to be DHB’s second home, before and after practice.
The hard work paid off on Wednesday.
On the Colts first 11-on-11 rep of the afternoon, Andrew Luck went deep to DHB and the new receiver hauled in the 50+-yard grab.
DHB said he needs to make plays in order to gain Luck’s trust and the one to start Wednesday’s practice, along with several others throughout the two-hour session added up to a very strong afternoon for the 219-pound receiver.
A day for the seventh-round draft picks: The Colts 2013 rookie class won’t come anywhere close to the same production of last year’s group but a few skill players stood out on Wednesday.
Running back Kerwynn Williams made a few nice catches out of the backfield and showcased an ability for yards after the catch. While kick returns might be Williams’ first opportunity on the playing field, he showed that he’s more than capable of getting reps in the backfield.
At the tight end position, Justice Cunningham is putting together some quality reps in the receiving department.
There are some chances behind Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and Cunningham is a true tight end (where as Dominique Jones is more of a hybrid) that caught the ball much more consistently on Wednesday than he did during OTAs.
Defense right on pace: With two padded practices in the books, the Colts appears to be right on queue with their progress in the 3-4 system.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said that is usually the case early on in training camp but it has been impressive to see the Colts secondary get their hands on so many passes.
The front seven has been winning their fair share of battles during run game drills and a second unit with guys like Josh Chapman, Drake Nevis, Bjoern Werner and Lawrence Sidbury creates quality depth.
It will be interesting to see how the offense vs. defense plays out the rest of the camp, with Pep Hamilton’s system getting more familiar with the unit.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bjoern Werner, Coby Fleener, darrius heyward-bey, Dominique Jones, drake nevis, dwayne allen, Greg Manusky, josh chapman, kerwynn williams, lawrence sidbury
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