Indianapolis Colts Football

Five Things Learned, Colts-Kansas City

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 23, 2013 – 9:52 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis controlled every aspect of the game at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  The Colts did not allow a point, ran for 135 yards, forced four turnovers and had four sacks and won going away (23-7) in a very tough road venue.

INDIANAPOLIS – With one game left in the season, Indianapolis is in play to move to the AFC’s second playoff seed, or it could shift to third or stay put at fourth.

Regardless, it has been a season of accomplishment on all fronts, and the Colts are gearing for a 16th playoff berth in 30 seasons in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis was dominant at Kansas City on Sunday, bouncing back from a 7-0 deficit with 56 strong minutes on defense and with an offense that thrived accordingly.

A two-game winning streak has the Colts at 10-5 and creating momentum beyond next Sunday.

After the club’s fourth-largest victory margin and the fourth over an opponent with 10-plus wins, here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

OFFENSIVE LINE INTEGRITY – If Chuck Pagano had his way, Santa Claus might put a little something extra in the stockings of OL coaches Joe Gilbert and Hal Hunter.  The Colts started their seventh different line of the season Sunday at Kansas City, and it was the fifth straight week a different unit opened.  While Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn are regulars, along with tackles Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo, Xavier Nixon was making his first start at left guard.  Nixon, a natural tackle, made his career debut (in extended play) the previous week against Houston at right guard.  The Colts managed with a 10th 100-yard ground day, played turnover-free ball and Andrew Luck was sacked once.  While the offense is an 11-man operation, if the line doesn’t perform everything gets ugly (in all phases).  Kudos to the coaches and everyone associated with a stellar performance.

RESILIENCY IN GETTING BACK ON TRACK – A band of brothers hung tough after a 6-2 start went to an 8-5 juncture.  Indianapolis has rallied with two straight wins where every phase of the team performed well – particularly the defense and ground game.  The Colts have forced six turnovers and eight sacks in two games and have allowed only six-of-23 third downs to be converted.  The Colts led for the final 54 minutes against Houston and did not surrender a point at Kansas City over the final 56 minutes.  Indianapolis held the Texans without first downs on seven-of-14 possessions, including a five-possession marathon stretch.  While Houston had no post-season designs, Kansas City did, and Indianapolis shutout the Chiefs on five-of-seven drives, while one that did yield a first down ended two snaps later with a fumble.  The season never was in extreme jeopardy, but a five-game lull tested moxie around the locker room.

MAKING YOURSELF RELEVANT – Chuck Pagano used the phrase about Griff Whalen in training camp and while Whalen has done a very good job of doing so, Donald Brown has done a whale of a job.  Brown on Sunday scored on a 33-yard reception and a 51-yard run.  It was the first scoring run beyond 50 yards for Indianapolis in 33 games, and Brown had that last one as well in 2011.  Brown has a 5.6 average on 90 rushes, bucking to become only the fourth Colts back ever to have a 5.0 average on 80 seasonal attempts.  It has been done just once in the team’s Indianapolis era (George Wonsley, 1985), and Brown has contributed 24 receptions for two more scores.  Undervalued by many outside observers, Brown has cast himself in a much different public light.  His integrity and ethic are exemplary in all areas.

TEN WINS TRULY NOTEWORTHY – Indianapolis had a nine-year streak (at the time the NFL’s second-longest in history) with 10-plus wins end in 2010.  Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano have reconstructed a roster where only 10 players remain from 2010 and before.  Indianapolis has gotten to 10 wins in a year when a league-high 72 players have been pressed into service.  Getting to 10 wins is an accomplishment for any team and though this is the 13th in 30 seasons in Indianapolis, it is only right to acknowledge achievement.

PLAY TO WIN – Pagano was vocal in recent weeks about the NFL scheduling 16 games and that he intends to play them all.  Indianapolis still can grab the coveted second seed.  The Colts could jump to third or stay fourth.  Regardless, he plays to win and this Sunday should be no different.  Pagano has instilled a process around the team in which players buy in and excel.  The process sustained through his 12-game absence last year and with his full-time presence this year.  So much of coaching is messaging to players.  Players buy Pagano’s message.


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Five Things Learned, Tennessee-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 2, 2013 – 10:29 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis earned a 22-14 victory over Tennessee to move within one win or a Titans loss of the AFC South crown.  It takes 60 minutes and 45 players to win a game, and rarely does one like yesterday symbolize that more.  Here are Five Things Learned from Sunday’s win.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ 22-14 victory over Tennessee was a 60-minute effort that needed something from every player.

Indianapolis got it to vanquish Tennessee and move much closer to a second straight playoff berth.  It was a good bounce back after a difficult loss at Arizona, and the club kept alive its nearly two-season streak of not losing consecutive games.

The Colts are on the cusp of a divisional title that yields a home playoff game, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

FOCUS DURING ADVERSITY – The clamor around the Colts last week was loud as observers asked how the team would respond to a 2-2 stretch that included 29- and 30-point losses.  Some outsiders who might have thought the ship was sinking heard Colts players talk about doing what they do, but only doing a little better.  The process put in place by Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson in 2012 has been modified cosmetically as needed as things do through 28 games, but the bedrock foundation of trust, faith and philosophy stays rooted.  Players knew execution and fundamentals were needed to beat Tennessee.  The mid-week message was repeated afterward.  From statesman Cory Redding after the win:  “We settled down.  We trusted one another to get the job done.  We went back to basics, and it worked.  That’s what we kind of got away from, guys trying to do too much.  Just do your job and trust the man next to you to do theirs.”

BIDE YOUR TIME, SERVE YOUR TEAMMATES – Donald Brown waited 12 games this year to get a starting nod.  He had not opened a game since week four of 2012.  Brown came through as the leading rusher for the fourth time this season.  After four straight starts for Greg Toler, Cassius Vaughn did not start.  His focus then was to be the best CB on the field should his time come.  It came – two interceptions.  Jeff Linkenbach started at RG for the third time this season, and the Colts won for a third time.  Mike McGlynn contributed in other roles, and Pagano praised every player involved for professionalism.  It truly was a mature mindset by a team that listens to its coach.  His mantra of, ‘45 Men, 60 Minutes, Don’t Judge, All You Got,’ was on full display.

PRODUCE IN CRUNCH – The Colts mustered 25 rushing yards through three quarters, but had 79 when it counted the most, including a four-yard Brown TD burst.  The defense gave up a long TD drive to open the second half.  An unsightly three-and-out offensive possession that included a penalty and sack, plus a long punt return, put the defense at its 32 just two minutes later.  Robert Mathis had a sack-strip that led to a field goal to re-gain the lead.  Four plays after the kick, Vaughn intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Takeaways on consecutive drives kept Tennessee from scoring again.  The Colts scored 10 unanswered points, while the defense forced two punts and had one more interception with 33 seconds left to seal the game.  Indianapolis produced in the crunch.  Not always does a team win going away.  Many do so by making plays when it matters.

ADAM VINATIERI VINTAGE – Adam Vinatieri twice before had made five field goals in a game, but not since 2004.  Vinatieri tied a club record done seven other times by hitting from 47, 48, 45, 37 and 49 yards.  His first, third and fifth kicks put the Colts ahead.  It looked like Indianapolis would have to win a game without scoring a touchdown for the first time since 2003 – until late.  Vinatieri is 26-of-29 this year, including 15-of-18 from the 40-plus range.  He has made 22 of his last 23 efforts, 34-of-35 inside 50 yards.  In addition to joining Morten Andersen as the only kickers with 800-plus points with two different teams, Vinatieri joined eight others (done a total of nine times) who hit four times from the 40-yard range in a game.  Of all free agent signings in Colts history, his is one of the best.

STEADY IS MONEY – In going 4-2 at home and away, the Colts are 8-4.  After going 3-1 in the first two quarters of the season, Sunday’s win put the Colts at 2-2 in the season’s third quarter.  That steady production has the Colts within grasp of a 16th playoff berth since moving to Indianapolis.  Under Pagano and Grigson, the Colts started 2-2 in the first quarter of 2012 with nearly a completely rebuilt team.  Afterward, Indianapolis was 3-1, 3-1 and 3-1 to reach 11-5.  This year’s two 3-1 starts meant five consecutive quarters of seasons had that steady production. Fighting injuries and uneven play, the Colts ended the third quarter with a .500 mark.  An extended period of play since 2002 has seen the Colts have only five non-winning seasonal quarters – a span of almost 12 full seasons.  Colts fans – current and long-time – should appreciate that feat.


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Five Things Learned, Colts-San Francisco

Posted by craigkelleycolts on September 23, 2013 – 9:28 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis posted a dominant 27-7 win at San Francisco on Sunday.  The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw and earned their most lop-sided road victory since 2009.  Facing a physical defending Super Bowl team, the Colts were more physical.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts answered a tough home setback by meeting the challenge of their first road game with a 20-point victory margin over a team (San Francisco) that made the Super Bowl last year and nearly did the previous season.

The Colts met a physical opponent by being even more so.  On a national television stage, Indianapolis showed a much different blueprint for victory than past seasons have had.

Colts 27, San Francisco 7.

Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL – Nothing is more telling than the words of an owner.  In this case, Jim Irsay, “To bring in Ahmad Bradshaw and now to have Trent Richardson…You can see Trent with his lateral movement, his explosion, he’s always going forward.  What we’re looking for is what we saw today.”  When Irsay changed his organizational dynamic in early 2012 by bringing in Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano, the new duo spoke of a different style of play.  Every move since then has reflected that approach and progress made over 18 games prior to yesterday was incremental.  Yesterday, it was dramatic.  The Colts ran 12 more times than they threw, a first for that disparity since 2011.  The Colts are 4-0 in the last 19 games when they have rushed more often than thrown, and they are 4-0 in games in that span when out-rushing opponents by 59 yards.  “Run and stop the run” has been a mantra.  It was reality yesterday.  It is a much different feeling for long-time Colts fans.  This new pair of shoes could be broken in quickly.

1-2 PUNCH, AND MORE – Ahmad Bradshaw carried 19 times for 95 yards.  Trent Richardson had 13 carries for 35 yards.  Bradshaw said the plan never was to ease his new buddy in, “We’ve got a one-two punch and we used it.  It’s going to be tough for a lot of opponents this year.”  The duo had 32 of the team’s 39 rushes.  Get used to it.  Pep Hamilton mentioned Friday that Donald Brown would be in the mix.  Brown had 25 yards on three carries, including a 16-yarder for a first down that led to a field goal.  Indianapolis has a more pronounced “hammer” look to the offense.  Pagano spoke 20 months ago of the Colts having an AFC North look (like that of Pittsburgh and Baltimore).  That was the look at San Francisco.

MULTI-POSITIONAL OFFENSIVE LINEMEN – The offensive line had one of its grittiest and most productive performances of recent memory.  Mike McGlynn shifted to center for the injured Samson Satele (the third time he has done this in 19 games), and played well.  He competed successfully while being battered all game.  Jeff Linkenbach showed his versatility again by starting at right guard for McGlynn.  In 29 career starts, Linkenbach has opened five times at LT, four at LG, four at RG and 16 at RT.  Mixed in among stalwart veterans Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus was rookie left guard Hugh Thornton.  Versatility among all linemen provides big-time currency for the offense.  Often is it not acknowledged, but Sunday it was on full display.  They ventured into Candlestick and shined.  Well done, gents.

VALUE OF KICKERS, COVERAGE, FIELD POSITION – San Francisco started nine of its 11 possessions at or inside its 20.  Pat McAfee reached the end zone on four of his six kickoffs, producing three touchbacks.  The other three returns reached the 13, 11 and 12.  McAfee pinned the 49ers to their eight (twice) and nine with three of his four punts.  Adam Vinatieri hit clutch efforts from 43 and 41 yards, and his lone miss from 51 yards was wide while attempted into the wind.  The Colts won the average field position drive start by eight yards, and three-of-five three-and-outs defensively for Indianapolis came after solid kicks.  Again, a part of the game sometimes overlooked.  Not today.  It was probably great flights home for special teams and offensive line coaches.

BELIEVE IN COACHES – Defensive players heard it for two weeks after Terrelle Pryor ran for 112 yards.  With Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson looming in the next month, getting squared away on a diverse offense was necessary.  Chuck Pagano said research was done and that players would be prepared.  Kaepernick rushed seven times for 20 yards, and the only TD run by a quarterback belonged to Andrew Luck.  The phrase heard after Sunday’s win was “assignment football.”  Assignments were sound and execution was solid.  The Colts are 13-6 under the new regime, with players buying in and competing for each other.  They’re coachable, and everyone enjoyed the fruits of a decisive win.


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Rookie Hugh Thornton plays with the first team offense and excels in his NFL debut

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 25, 2013 – 4:45 pm

After missing the entire 2013 training camp with an ankle injury, rookie Hugh Thornton made his NFL debut on Saturday night.

Thornton entered on the Colts third offensive series and would go on to play the entire second and third quarter at right guard (42 snaps).

“It felt awesome just being out there after not playing in camp and not practicing as much as I’d like to,” Thornton said after the win. “I had the opportunity to go in (Saturday) with the 1’s for a little bit so it was great to be out there.”

Just a few days before the Colts were scheduled to head to Anderson, Thornton got rolled up on during the rookie camp and he just recently returned to practice.temp2013_0824_CLE_3654--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Not only was Thornton effective against the Browns (apart of both Colts touchdown drives), the third-round pick was frequently running down the field picking his teammates off the turf.

“It was a good night for the whole team, defense came out and shut them down,” Thornton said. “Offense came out and we played physical and we were able to play our game at home.”

“I’m excited where we are heading as a team.”

With starter Mike McGlynn sidelined with a bruise knee, the opportunity is there for some significant reps at the right guard spot.

Interior depth along the offensive line has been somewhat of a mystery with Thornton and fourth round pick Khaled Holmes also missing a bulk of training camp.

Thornton’s play on Saturday night showed the “mauler” mentality that the Colts saw when drafting the Illinois product.

“I thought (Thornton) played really well for a guy that hasn’t taken any snaps since he finished the rookie minicamp prior to training camp,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said. “He looked pretty good in there in the rush and the pass game, very pleased with his performance.”


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CONTINUITY ON OFFENSIVE LINE STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 25, 2012 – 8:01 am

Heading into the Sunday’s game between the Colts and Browns, no one on Cleveland’s starting offensive line had ever missed an NFL start.

The five players combined for 190 starts in their 15 years of NFL experience.

Compare that to an injury-ridden Colts offensive line that was starting the same five players together it had the previous week for the first time all season.

Bruce Arians saw a jump from Week 6 to 7 with his offensive line and is hoping that continues.

“The communication was (better),” Arians said. “It was easier at home than it has been on the road but it was better. It showed up in the running game more than anything.”

The Colts attempted 37 rushes on Sunday afternoon which was seven more than the high from the first five games.

It wasn’t just the attempts that were a season high for the Colts. They turned those carries into 148 yards rushing with 10 of the 37 attempts resulting in first downs.

A balanced Colts offense sits just fine with quarterback Andrew Luck and the rookie knows the continuity among the offensive line is key.

“I think it’s great, especially for the o-line guys knowing who is next to them, knowing their calls, their tendencies, how they operate,” Luck said. “Hopefully we can build off last week’s performance which they did a great job and continue to get better.”

The offensive line might even benefit from a little depth this weekend as offensive guard Joe Reitz was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.

Reitz was the starter at left guard during the preseason but due to a leg injury, he is still waiting to make his debut.

For now, left guard Jeff Linkenbach will continue to start but Arians loves having some options up front.

“He’s going to get more practice time. His reps will grow in practice,” Arians said of Reitz. “Right now I don’t know if we’re ready to make any switches, we’re playing pretty well in there. He’d have to knock my socks off on the practice field to make me take Jeff Linkenbach out of there right now.”

Heading into this week’s matchup with the Titans, the Colts are expected to carry that same starting five of LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Linkenbach, C-Samson Satele, RG-Mike McGlynn and RT-Winston Justice on the offensive line for the third straight game.

“I think it’s important to have that continuity. It needed to happen some time,” Justice said with a laugh on Wednesday. “It’s good to have the same guys out there. It’s more important to play with the same person next to you,”


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MORE THAN FIVE OFFENSIVE LINEMEN? NOTHING NEW TO ARIANS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 19, 2012 – 8:42 pm

During training camp, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was asked about the importance of developing depth along the offensive line.

“You’ve got to have seven guys and if you think you’re just going to play with five, that doesn’t happen,” Arians said. “That’s Godsend if that ever happens. We went to the Super Bowl with seven offensive tackles and four quarterbacks in Pittsburgh.”

“The next man standing, the next man in line, he jumps in and he plays. There’s no drop off. There’s never an excuse for an injury. If you’re a backup, you’re one of the most valuable players on the team.”

Just two weeks into the regular season, the Colts have experienced every part of what Arians said back in August.

-Left tackle Anthony Castonzo is the only penciled in starter who has been at his normal position for each of the first two games.

-At left guard, Seth Olsen has started both games for Joe Reitz (leg).

-At center, Samson Satele left the Vikings game late in the second quarter with a knee injury and was replaced by right guard Mike McGlynn.

-At right guard, when McGlynn slid over to center, newly signed lineman Trai Essex played the final two-plus quarters on Sunday.

-At right tackle, Jeff Linkenbach has been playing there since Winston Justice exited the Bears game with a concussion.

Through eight quarters of the regular season, the Colts have already used seven different players along the offensive line with Reitz still waiting to make his season debut.

Head coach Chuck Pagano talked about his beat up offensive line and their availability come Sunday.

“(Satele) saw the doctor, the MRI came back and it was negative so he’s just got some bone bruising in there but he’ll be day-to-day,” Pagano said. “We anticipate him being available for the game but you never know. If Satele isn’t able to go, then McGlynn will get the nod at center.”

During the 2010 season with the Eagles, McGlynn was the starting center for 14 games after starter Jamaal Jackson went down in the season opener.

“It’s a challenge just because we haven’t worked together and guys are just coming in,” McGlynn said of the ever-changing line. “It’s tough, but there’s not going to be any excuses come Sunday.”

Justice was a full participant at practice on Wednesday and his return to the line would give the Colts another veteran presence to protect Luck.


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Injuries Force Colts Offensive Line to Show Versatility

Posted by Chuck Chapman on September 16, 2012 – 9:58 pm

Heading into the 2012 season, the Colts offensive line was full of question marks. How quickly would the new starters like Winston Justice and Samson Satele gel with Anthony Castonzo and the other returning Colts’ linemen? Could this unit that lacked depth stay healthy enough to keep prize quarterback Andrew Luck healthy?

Already two games into the season, we seem to have an answer to those questions. After struggling against the Chicago Bears in week one, the Colts faced down injury and showed their versatility and their resolve in the 23-20 win against the Minnesota Vikings.

The news wasn’t good to begin the game, with starting right tackle Winston Justice being declared inactive with the lingering effects of a concussion suffered last week. In his place, veteran Jeff Linkenbach stepped up into a starting role he previously held. If the best compliment to an offensive lineman is never hearing your name called, Linkenbach had a successful day. He and the rest of the Colts’ line held the Vikings, one of the NFL’s best units at rushing the passer, to two sacks, one of which was more a result of Andrew Luck holding the ball too long than the line’s inability to protect him.

Leading that effort was second year left tackle Anthony Castonzo. A week after facing the Bears’ Julius Peppers, Castonzo lined up across from the Vikings’ Jared Allen most of the afternoon. The Vikings defensive end already ranks 20th all-time on the NFL’s sack list. Thanks to Castonzo, Allen couldn’t add to that number on Sunday.

After the game, Castonzo was proud of the effort put forth by him and his linemates:

“It’s really awesome to start of the year that way, with two elite pass rushers…I feel like I held my own against both. It’s a great launching pad for the rest of the season.”

On the shift in personnel required by Justice’s injury and Samson Satele going out with a knee injury just before the half, Castonzo said he was confident in the abilities of those pressed into action.

“Next man up is our motto. Somebody gets hurt, the next guy has to come up and do the job.”

One who did two jobs on Sunday was Mike McGlynn. McGlynn started at guard, but when Satele went down, he moved over to center, a position he hadn’t played since a playoff game against Green Bay in 2010 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. McGlynn felt good about his performance, but admitted it was a challenge for him to take over that role in the middle of a game after not getting many reps there during the week.

“It’s a big transition because you have to direct the line, which directs the whole offense. It’s something I’ve always been comfortable with (playing center)…I think I did some good things, but I’m sure I’ll see on film some things that need to get fixed.”

The extent of Satele’s injury is unknown at this time, so it’s unclear whether McGlynn will be back at center next week against Jacksonville. McGlynn’s move to center also brought in newcomer Trai Essex who filled in competently at guard.

Both Andrew Luck and Bruce Arians have to be encouraged by the progress and versatility shown by their offensive line in the Colts’ initial victory of 2012.

 


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SOME NOTES ON THE BENGALS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 29, 2012 – 8:17 am

-Similar to the Colts, the Bengals are fighting injuries heading into the preseason finale. The Bengals held 16 players out of action against the Packers last week.

-That number included defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Rey Maualuga, and cornerbacks Jason Allen, Adam Jones, and Dre Kirkptarick.

-In last week’s 27-13 loss against the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 12-of-22 for 154 yards, an interception and two rushing touchdowns.

-Bengals outside linebacker Dontay Moch leads the NFL with 3.5 sacks through three games of the preseason. Colts linebacker Jerry Hughes is right on his heels with 3.0 sacks.

-The Colts and Bengals is the closest geographical matchup among cities in the AFC at 110 miles. The Browns and Steelers come second at 137 miles.

-The Colts and Bengals have met in the preseason in 20 of the 21 past seasons.

-Former Colts defensive end Jamaal Anderson (2011) is now with the Bengals.

-Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was drafted by the Bengals in 1995.

-Colts offensive guard Mike McGlynn (2011), cornerback Korey Lindsey (2011) and defensive tackle Jason Shirley (2008-2011) all spent time with the Bengals.

-New Colts wide receiver Kashif Moore was cut earlier this week by the Bengals


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ARIANS TALKS PRESEAON OPENER, LUCK, BALLARD AND INJURIES

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 15, 2012 – 9:21 am

The start couldn’t have been scripted much better for offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

One play. Twelve seconds. Sixty-three yards and a touchdown for the first offensive snap of the 2012 preseason.

“An easy completion to Donald (Brown) but Dwayne Allen made an unbelievable effort block and Anthony Castonzo made a great block. The whole group just executed to perfection. Donald just had to run. It was a nice way to start,” Arians said.

Sunday’s offensive production stayed consistent through all three Colts quarterbacks, as the 38 points scored are the most Indianapolis has scored in the preseason since 1989.

Like any coach striving to get better, Arians is still searching for that complete performance offensively.

“I thought we played fairly fast. Obviously, made some explosive plays but we lacked consistency,” Arians said. “There were so many plays out there to make. (We) didn’t handle some of their blitzes well so we’ve got a lot of improvement to do. We’ve got to run the ball better and each week just continue to improve.”

It’s the running game that Arians was focused on following Tuesday’s practice as the Colts are dealing with a banged up backfield.

The Colts had four healthy running backs during practice on Tuesday and then signed running back Alvester Alexander later in the evening to provide some depth.

Arians has said he wants to see ‘physicality’ out of the running game and he stressed the need for the small things out of his backs.

“Four yards or more, don’t be dancing around and trying to make long runs,” Arians said of his running backs. “Get positive yardage, block linebackers and safeties in pass protection and play all around football. We have quality guys at the position and it’s high competition right now to get guys on the field.”

One player that Arians said will see some extended workload this week is rookie running back Vick Ballard.

With running backs Delone Carter and Mewelde Moore nursing rib injuries, Ballard saw some extra playing time on Sunday against the Rams and his offensive coordinator has liked what he’s seen from the rookie.

“I’ve been really impressed with (Ballard),” Arians said. “I like his pass protection too. I think he’s improving in that area. The sky’s the limit with that kid.”

While Arians expects Ballard to get more action this week, he will be doing it behind a different offensive line.

Offensive guard Mike McGlynn suffered an ankle injury against the Rams and is expected to miss some time.

Finding more than five bodies along the offensive line is a must according to Arians over a taxing 16-game regular schedule.

“You’ve got to have seven guys and if you think you’re just going to play with five that doesn’t happen,” Arians said. “We went to the Super Bowl with seven offensive tackles and four quarterbacks (in Pittsburgh). The next man standing, the next man in line, he jumps in and he plays. There’s no drop off. There’s never an excuse for an injury. If you’re a backup you’re one of the most valuable guys on the team.”

An established, well-oiled running game will go a long way to making things easier for quarterback Andrew Luck.

The rookie had an impressive debut in front of home fans at Lucas Oil Stadium but to his offensive coordinator who has seen him for the better part of the last three months it was nothing he didn’t expect.

“Nothing surprises me about him anymore,” Arians said. “I kind of expect it now and I think it surprised other people. I wouldn’t have anticipated anything else from him.”

 

 

 

 

 


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Mike McGlynn Hoping This Deja Vu Continues

Posted by Chuck Chapman on August 12, 2012 – 10:54 am

New Colts offensive lineman Mike McGlynn is noticing some parallels between his 2011 season in Cincinnati and this one, his first as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

McGlynn was picked up off waivers by the Bengals prior to the beginning of last season. There McGlynn was going to a team breaking in a rookie quarterback with a young receiving corps and new offensive coordinator. It was a team coming off a losing season having jettisoned many of its stars from previous years (Carson Palmer, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco). Most thought it more likely the Bengals would draft Andrew Luck than make the playoffs.

Sound familiar?

Cincinnati, with Mike McGlynn starting most of the season at guard, surprised everyone and made the playoffs as a wild card team last season behind rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. McGlynn thinks that this year’s Colts team could similarly surprise people.

“The strides we’re making with our personnel have been great… Andrew is a unique player. I’ve never been around a guy like him at the position.”

That’s pretty high praise from a lineman who not only blocked for Andy Dalton last season, but has also protected Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick.

It’s not just the football side that has McGlynn excited for this season. He couldn’t be happier to have made the move up I-74 to Indianapolis.

“The city is awesome. I love everything about it! This is one of classiest organizations I’ve ever been a part of.”

McGlynn, a self-described “blue collar guy who brings his lunch pail to work,” is fighting for a starting guard spot on the rebuilt Colts offensive line. Thus far he’s gained the majority of the snaps with the first team, but he knows his real test will begin Sunday afternoon when the Rams start going after Andrew Luck.

If McGlynn and his fellow linemates can keep Luck upright, the Colts will have an outstanding opportunity to emulate the surprise season the Bengals put together last year.


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