There is a quartet of second-year receivers who Reggie Wayne labeled as “smurfs” last season.
Yes, the group might be small in stature but when it comes to production, Wayne knows their importance in 2013 and beyond.
Wayne has spoken to the young speedsters and the message was brief, but powerful.
“Just to get better,” Wayne said.
“We don’t have room right now to stay the same. You want to see everybody continue to grow, get better and build off of the year that they had last year.
Wayne includes himself in that group, yet it’s obvious that the other receivers have a ways to go before they achieve the numbers that No. 87 has piled up in 13 seasons.
During OTAs, LaVon Brazill, T.Y. Hilton, Nathan Palmer and Griff Whalen have all seen ample playing time with the first unit.
- For Brazill, it’s his first full offseason after academic obligations forced him to miss OTAs last season.
- Hilton has been a frequent target of Andrew Luck’s the past month and the electric receiver/returner has put on some weight this offseason in an effort to sustain an entire NFL season.
- Similar to Brazill, Palmer is getting his first taste of an offseason with the Colts after he was signed off the 49ers practice squad last September.
- Then there’s Whalen, who feels right at home in an offense he played in at Stanford while also feeling healthy after a foot injury sidelined him in 2012.
Luck was not bashful when describing how important his fellow second-year targets will be come September.
“Incredibly,” Luck said. “They are going to be a big, big part of this offense. They were a big part of it last year. They caught a lot of balls, a lot of big balls. For us to be productive we are going to have to have every man on the offensive side of the ball contribute.”
Just two lockers down from Luck, Wayne nods is head in agreement when he hears the need for young receivers to continue to grow.
Expectations in the Colts locker room include plans to play into late January and beyond.
For that to happen, it’s going to take a collective effort from players young and “old.”
“As a team, we set that bar so high, it is going to be tough. But if there is anybody that can do it, it is this coaching staff, it’s these guys in this locker room, it’s this whole organization,” Wayne said of the team’s lofty aspirations.
“We feel like we can go out there and can get better and have a better outcome this year.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Griff Whalen, LaVon Brazill, nathan palmer, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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A total of 18 years of NFL experience was missing from the Colts wide receiver corps on Wednesday afternoon.
With Darrius Heyward-Bey and Reggie Wayne not participating in the Colts fifth OTA, the opportunity was there for first and second year receivers to make an impression with the first unit.
T.Y. Hilton highlighted the afternoon but it was a couple of other second year receivers who relished the chance to work extensively with Andrew Luck.
“Right now it’s valuable to get into a good relationship with Andrew,” LaVon Brazill said. “With DHB and Reggie not here, that will just build our confidence and build the trust with Andrew.”
Brazill caught 11 passes for 186 yards in his rookie campaign but now is in the process of learning a new offensive scheme in his first full set of OTAs after balancing school last offseason.
The offense is still a learning process for Brazill but he has shown flashes with some impressive catches over the past month.
At the other end of the locker room is fellow second year receiver Nathan Palmer.
Last season, Palmer joined the Colts off the 49ers practice squad in late September and played in five games as an undrafted free agent.
Palmer feels like he’s on even ground in 2013 as he enters his first offseason with an offense virtually all at the same learning curve.
“I get to start fresh with everybody, instead of just right into the fire into the middle of things,” Palmer said. “I get to learn the offense from the ground-up, on the same pace as everyone else.”
Before long DHB and Wayne will return and the young, speedy receivers will be blended in with the veterans to complete Luck’s targets.
But for Wednesday, it was a youth movement on the Colts practice field and that was just fine with Palmer.
“Anytime you get a chance to step up in the absence of guys that are starting, it’s a good time to get out there, get more reps than you normally don’t get and just try to take advantage of the opportunity that you have,” Palmer said.
Tags: Andrew Luck, darrius heyward-bey, LaVon Brazill, nathan palmer, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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Last year’s Colts rookie class included a pair of Indiana ties from two different avenues.
There was Chandler Harnish, a Bluffton, Ind. native, who was Mr. Irrelevant in April of 2012 and then made the most of that selection by finding a spot on the Colts practice squad for nearly the entire season.
Harnish’s college teammate at Northern Illinois Nathan Palmer (Elkhart, Ind.) became the 2012’s group second Indiana native when he was signed to the Colts active roster on Sept. 24.
Flash forward to 2013 and the Indiana flavor comes from four different players this spring with three tryout invitees looking to find a permanent spot in their home state.
Below are the four players with Indiana ties that have called the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center home for the last three days.
A pair of Hobart, Ind. natives lead the group with Jordan Bright (Indiana State) hailing from the northwest part of the state.
At 6’7”, 297 pounds, Bright is hoping that his trip down to the state capitol will past a little long so his friends and family can continue to watch the defensive end close to home.
“It was real nice hearing from Indy but getting the call was just nice in general,” Bright said. “It’s real close to home and I just want to do everything I can do to keep rolling here.”
Safety Nick Driskill calls Wabash, Ind. home and was apart of one of the winningest football programs in all levels of college during his time at Division III Mount Union.
Driskill falls in a similar line of thinking with Bright in that any call from any team is special enough.
“Just the call alone is a dream in itself,” Driskill said. “There’s still a lot more to it but I’m just trying to make the most of the opportunity.”
Kicker Mike Josifovski (Hobart, Ind.) might be a familiar name to those around the city of Indianapolis as he won Marian the NAIA National Championship in December thanks to game-winning field goals in the semi-finals and championship.
“It was an amazing call,” Josifovski said. “The Colts have always been my favorite team growing up being from Indiana. It’s indescribable but obviously it’s an opportunity where you want to take advantage of it and make the most of it.”
Purdue center Rick Schmeig closes out the quartet and is the lone non-Indiana native in the group.
Schmeig spent last week with the Jacksonville Jaguars and with A.Q. Shipley no longer in Indianapolis, the opportunity is there for some reps at the center position.
“(The coaches) just tell you what you did wrong, tell you what you need to fix,” Schmeig said of the Colts. “They definitely take time with you and let you know how to fix it. I definitely like it here.”
Tags: Chandler Harnish, Jordan Bright, Mike Josifovski, nathan palmer, Nick Driskill, Rick Schmeig
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Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?
Take a look below at the top five pieces from Thursday, May 9th:
By: Eric Ivie, Yahoo! Sports
Ivie breaks down the 10 receivers that are currently on the Colts roster.
He points out that the Colts have just two receivers with more than two years of experience in the NFL (Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey).
It will be an extremely competitive summer for this Colts position group as one would think that second-year receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill have a firm grip on their roster spots (along with Wayne and Heyward-Bey).
The final few spots at the receiver position will be up for grabs with returnees Griff Whalen and Nathan Palmer competing with four newcomers to complete a position group that has a variety of options.
By: Mike Chappel, Indianapolis Star
At 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Colts will have 1,000 upper-level season tickets for sale to the public.
The season ticket sales for the Colts have been in high demand this offseason.
Fans can head to www.colts.com to take a virtual tour of Lucas Oil Stadium and see the seats remaining.
To purchase tickets, fans can either go online to www.colts.com or call (317) 299-4946.
Tags: darrius heyward-bey, Griff Whalen, LaVon Brazill, nathan palmer, Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton
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If Ryan Grigson’s future draft classes can come close to mirroring the same amount of success his first one in Indianapolis accomplished than the Colts will be a force for the years to come.
The rookie class amassed an NFL record 3,108 yards this season thanks to a handful of skill position players.
Defensively, fifth round pick Josh Chapman is still waiting in the wings after the defensive tackle missed the entire season rehabbing a knee injury.
Grigson beams when talking about his rookie class but he also adds a few names to that group.
What about Bradley Sowell?
The Colts plucked the undrafted free agent off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad on Sept. 11 and Sowell played in 10 games this season.
“Bradley Sowell is a guy, I think he has true left tackle ability,” Grigson said. “It will make himself more valuable if he settles in at right so he can play both.”
Sowell saw his most playing time in the AFC Wild Card loss to the Ravens when he was thrust into action after right tackle Winston Justice went down with an injury in the first quarter.
“Brad is going to be a much better player because of that experience. He fought his tail off.” The Colts GM said
What about Lawrence Guy?
With the defensive line ravaged with injuries, Guy was signed off the Green Bay Packers practice squad on Oct. 17 and played nine games, including starting the final three contests of the year.
Grigson also points to Nathan Palmer, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted, as a receiver that the General Manger calls ‘about as explosive a receiver we have.’
The headliners from this rookie class will still be Luck, Hilton Ballard, Allen etc. but it’s the guys on the backend of the roster that Grigson points to in completing a group that will play a leading role in the future of the Colts.
“Getting those guys is exciting because those are guys that we looked at in the draft and we were able to get without burning a pick,” Grigson said.
“It may be a warped view but I feel like those guys we poached from other teams practice squads early this season, those guys to me feel like draft picks. The nice thing about that is it’s only going to serve us well in the future because what we’ve been through this year as a team and as human beings.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bradley Sowell, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, josh chapman, LaVon Brazill, Lawrence Guy, nathan palmer, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
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The Indianapolis Colts today signed wide receiver Nathan Palmer off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad. The Colts placed wide receiver Austin Collie on Injured Reserve.
Palmer, 5-11, 195 pounds, signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent on May 4, 2012. He was waived on August 31 before being signed to the 49ers practice squad a day later. Palmer played in 48 games (20 starts) at Northern Illinois, totaling 93 receptions for 1,575 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Palmer attended Elkhart (Ind.) Central High School and was a first-team all-state and all-conference selection.
Collie played in one game this season, making one catch for six yards. For his career, Collie has appeared in 42 games (16 starts), totaling 173 receptions for 1,845 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Tags: austin collie, nathan palmer, roster move
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