For several Colts players, last night’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals was a final interview of sorts. It was their last chance to either make their case to make the Colts’ 53-man roster or get some good action on film so they can possibly hook on with another team. For running backs Deji Karim and Vick Ballard and wide receiver Kris Adams, the night saw them get the opportunities they were looking for and each answered the door when opportunity knocked.
Karim, whom the Colts acquired as a free agent from Jacksonville, was one of a stable of backs hoping to stick with the Colts. Last night he saw his most extensive action of the preseason, rushing 12 times for 36 yards and a touchdown. Now Karim, along with a host of other Colts on the roster bubble, must wait until he finds out today whether or not he’s earned a spot on the Colts’ final roster. For his part, Karim is comfortable letting the chips fall where they may:
“There’s nothing more I can do. It’s all part of God’s plan. I just hope I’ve done enough to impress the coaches.”
Rookie Vick Ballard was similarly pleased with the effort he’s put forth this preseason. Ballard knows well that fifth round draft picks are hardly guaranteed roster spots, especially on teams with the kind of competition at his position present with the Colts.
Ballard only had one official carry last night for four yards, but had a 33 yard run where he showed his speed and elusiveness negated by a holding call. Even though he finished as the team’s leading rusher in preseason, Ballard’s not resting on any laurels just yet.
“I don’t want to fall into complacency. I’m just going to keep working and get better.”
Free agent wide receiver Kris Adams is another who is trying to make the jump from being an unknown to making an NFL roster. Adams has been one of the most impressive players in practice this preseason, but hadn’t really had many game opportunities to show his skills. That changed last night.
Adams hauled in two passes for a team high 55 yards before leaving the game after getting helmet to helmet contact attempting to catch a touchdown pass. Adams was alright afterwards and is excited about what he’s been able to do in preseason.
Adams will await word on the final roster with his family who have joined him in town.
“I’m going to get up early, enjoy my family. When I wake up, if I’m still here, I’m going to be excited. If not, it’s a journey. I just have to keep pushing.
It was nice to get some chances tonight, to get some good things on film. Hopefully I’ve impressed the coaches enough that if they can’t keep me, they can put in a good word for me.”
For these three Colts, the hard part was the effort it took to get to this point and even more hard work awaits them if they hope to advance their NFL careers. A little waiting to find out their fates isn’t phasing them very much.
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: Deji Karim, Kris Adams, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
There was another rookie quarterback that excelled on Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts.
Chandler Harnish completed all three of his passes against the Rams including leading the offense on a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives.
A Fort Wayne, Ind. native, Harnish put on a nice show for some friendly faces in the crowd on Sunday.
“I had a lot of friends and family here today,” Harnish said. “Just coming out there and making a dream come true, playing in the NFL especially for your favorite team growing up is just an unbelievable experience and to take advantage of the opportunity is really just a dream come true.”
Harnish entered the game early in the fourth quarter and wasted no time leading the offense down the field.
After four runs by Deji Karim to start the drive, Harnish capped it off with a beautiful throw to wide receiver Jeremy Ross.
Working against man coverage, Ross beat his man on the outside and Harnish placed the ball perfectly into his receiver’s hands for the 33-yard touchdown.
“We had a go-go route called and I saw the defensive back right there so I attacked him,” Ross said. “Just like we go over everyday in practice, something we do all the time. Just made a move at the line (of scrimmage), ran as fast as I could and (Harnish) put it there.”
During training camp, Harnish has had a number of highlights with the deep ball and he added another one on Sunday.
“Jeremy did a great job of getting off coverage and I was really thinking I was going to work the other side of the field because we had a tall receiver in Kris Adams,” Harnish said of the score. “Jeremy did a great job and I saw him get open out of my peripheral so I just gave him a chance.”
Following the touchdown, the Colts defense forced a three-and-out and back came Harnish on the field for another scoring drive.
This time the result was a seven-play drive that was capped off with a 31-yard field goal by Pat McAfee.
The final drive for Harnish was a simple knee as the offense finished the afternoon with double the total offense of the Rams and was an impressive 11-of-15 on third down conversions.
There was no drop off from quarterback to quarterback throughout the afternoon for the Colts.
From the first unit to the last, the agenda remained the same with Harnish leading the offense just like his fellow rookie quarterback had done in the first half.
“Our goal as a third string unit, especially with the score the way it was and the field position we had, was get a score. Whether it was a touchdown or a field goal, get a score,” Harnish said.
Tags: Chandler Harnish, Deji Karim, Jeremy Ross, Kris Adams, pat mcafee
Posted in Colts Blog
The players can sense it.
Less than three days away from finally having the chance to play against someone other than their teammates.
All the offseason talk can finally be put into action as the Indianapolis Colts open up their preseason slate with the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I’m anticipating it. I can’t say I know exactly what we’re going to look like, but I know one thing, we’re going to go out there and play hard,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “We’re going to go out there and play hard. Coach Pagano just instills all the time, don’t beat ourselves. I think that’s one thing that the fans will see, guys out there playing hard.”
For established veterans like Bethea, the preseason will be treated differently than it would be for the younger players fighting for a spot on the opening day roster.
Bethea admitted he will only play a select number of plays knowing that his body needs to handle a 16-game schedule starting in September.
Flip to the other side of the experience meter and you get a second-year player like wide receiver Kris Adams.
After being on three different practice squads during his rookie season last year, Adams is hoping to find a secure spot on the Colts roster.
For a player like Adams, the preseason games take on even more weight, especially if you have struggled during the early part of training camp.
“Last year when I was with Chicago, I came out and had a big first preseason game. I wasn’t doing fairly well in practice and that got me noticed,” Adams said.
“I think (the Bears) gave me the opportunity to stick around there for a little while. I’m doing fine in practice, so I just want to keep that preseason thing going along like it was last year.”
Many times the final roster spots come down to those players who excel on special teams and can help a team in a phase that is often overlooked.
Running back Mewelde Moore is taking part in his ninth NFL training camp and doesn’t take a single game for granted.
“I’m very excited about it,” Moore said. “It’s something we’ve been born to do. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about to get out there and play our first preseason game.”
Tags: Antione Bethea, chuck pagano, Kris Adams, Mewelde Moore
Posted in Colts Blog
Training camp might not be two weeks old, but wide receiver Kris Adams has made the most of his opportunities.
At 6-foot-3-inches and 194 pounds, Adams is the biggest of the Colts receivers and he has used that frame to make several highlight reel catches in Anderson.
“I think I’m being consistent not just making plays, but doing the right thing with the amount of time that I’ve been here,” Adams said.
“I think I pretty much got the offense down. I’m looking at my mistakes throughout practice and they’re going down every day. I’ve even had a couple of days where I didn’t make mistakes at all. So as far as learning what I need to do, I’m making some plays.”
Adams will get an opportunity on Sunday to carry over what he’s done on the practice field to Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I’m going to try to make the same plays in the game that I’ve been making out here in practice and be consistent, run the right routes and make sure I don’t make any mistakes,” he said.
This marks Adams’ second season in the NFL, but his first with the Colts. Last year he bounced around different practice squads with the Bears, Rams and Vikings.
The Colts signed him in early June, so Adams was able to attend Colts minicamp the following week.
From an offensive standpoint, Adams was intrigued by what offensive coordinator Bruce Arians did during his time in Pittsburgh and how he developed receivers.
“Just looking at the offense and the way it’s setup, this is fit to pretty much anybody. If you do what you’re supposed to do in the offense, I think you’re going to come out and you’re going to make plays,” Adams said.
“Back in Pittsburgh (Coach Arians) had guys like Mike Wallace and (Antonio) Brown. Guys that weren’t on the radar. Then they get out there and they’re running that offense, and they got speed, and they’re coming alive,” Adams said.
Last year with the Bears, Adams caught three balls for 53 yards in the preseason opener. It’s a result like that he is looking for in each of the next four weeks.
“It’s always a big game if you’re trying to make a team. You’re trying to go out there and get noticed,” Adams said. “Making plays in practice is fine, but if you’re not doing the same thing in game situations when the lights are on, when your adrenaline is rushing, the pressure is on, coach is going to overlook you.”
Tags: Kris Adams
Posted in Colts Blog