Indianapolis Colts Football

Colts Daily Headlines: September 13th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 13, 2013 – 8:41 am

The Colts will wrap up their final day of preparation for the Miami Dolphins this afternoon. Today’s news looks at defending the Dolphins wide receivers, and how to involve T.Y. Hilton into the Colts offense.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, September 13th.  

Colts Insider: Dolphins’ receivers pose major test for Indy’s Vontae Davis, Greg Toler

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

After a week in which the Colts secondary was not really tested, the Dolphins have a pair of receivers that can certainly change that on Sunday with Ryan Tannehill giving them the ball.

Tannehill has the benefit of throwing to two accomplished receivers, free-agent prize Mike Wallace and his sidekick, Brian Hartline. Though considered the No. 2 receiver, Hartline got off a hot start against the Browns last week, catching nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Wallace caught just one pass for 15 yards and sulked. But that only means the Dolphins are likely to double down and try even harder to make register some of the quick-strike plays Wallace became known for with the Steelers.

What this means is that Colts cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Greg Toler are going to have their work cut out for them.

“Everybody knows Mike can run,” said Davis, who will be facing his former team for the second time in two seasons. “He’s a fast guy, got a lot of ability and I’m pretty sure they’re looking forward to using Mike to make different mismatches. We got a challenge ahead of us with Mike Wallace and also Brian Hartline. They’ve got real good receivers.”

Bob Kravitz: Colts need more T.Y. Hilton, less Stanley Havili

By: Bob Kravitz, Indy Star

Kravitz’s Friday column looks at T.Y. Hilton’s snaps from Week One and how he sees the Colts offense evolving over time.

Listen to Jim Sorgi, the Colts’ former backup quarterback and current radio analyst, whose honesty is refreshing.

“Why are we taking some of our playmakers off the field?” Sorgi said in an interview on WFNI-1070 AM this week. “I know we want to run the ball with the power running game with two, three tight ends, and that’s fine. But you can also run the ball with two, three wide receivers in there. It’s easier to identify where they’re coming from and that’s where we got in trouble (Sunday against the Oakland Raiders).

“We did a good job on the two opening series, but the next four, we get in those two, three tight end sets and they start packing the box and you don’t know where they’re coming from, who’s coming, who to identify. Plus you’re taking the game out of Andrew’s hands as far as being able to check in and out of run plays to pass plays when you have numbers. I just don’t like T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey on the bench. I don’t.’’

Ditto on that.

Hamilton trying to spread the ball around

By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com

Ever since taking the Colts offensive coordinator job early in the year Pep Hamilton has been stressing the importance of getting the ball into the hands of playmakers.

“You only have one football, so it’s hard to spread the wealth,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “It’s even harder when you only run 53, 54 snaps.”

Hamilton said in his weekly meeting with the media Thursday that it’s a bit “premature” to read too much into the play calls against the Raiders because they had only seven offensive series, which tied for the fewest in the league.

“I thought we had a pretty good mix, a pretty good balance as far as running and the passing,” he said. “The ratio was pretty close to being even. I just feel like we have the athletes on the offensive side of the ball that afford us the ability to be mobile, the ability to be multiple in personnel groupings and find a lot of different ways to feature our playmakers.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: September 6th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 6, 2013 – 9:00 am

The Colts will embark on their final day of practice this morning in preparation for the regular season opener on Sunday. Today’s news looks at Cory Redding away from football, the return of Anthony Castonzo and Andrew Luck’s low profile.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, September 6th.  

Colts DE Cory Redding on grandmas knowing the plays in Texas high school football, his proudest moment and ‘Duck Dynasty’

By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star

Holder’s Q and A with Cory Redding covers a variety of topics.

Redding answers questions on high school football in Texas, his charitable organizations, what type of music he listens to and his favorite television shows.

Colts notes: LT Anthony Castonzo returns to practice field, line at full strength

By: Stephen Holder and Mike Chappell, Indy Star

The man who is in charge of protecting the blindside of Andrew Luck returned to practice on Thursday afternoon.

With Castonzo returning to the lineup, it looks like the Colts will have their starting offensive line in tact to start the season.

“It all starts up front,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said Thursday. “Our offensive line has consistently gotten better since the start of camp. We expect that we’re going to be able to come out and control the line of scrimmage. That’s our ultimate goal.”

Face of the Franchise: Colts QB Andrew Luck says he’s just another second-year player. He is anything but.

By: Zak Keefer, Indy Star

Keefer’s feature on Luck looks at the signal caller away from the gridiron and the low profile he has kept after on year in the NFL.

“I try not to get too wound up in the commercial side of things,” Luck says. “And I wanted to be sure with anything I did … could I put my whole heart in it?”

Luck was busy, after all; the extracurriculars were simply bumped down the list. He finished his degree at Stanford, moved into a downtown Indianapolis apartment and dove into his new playbook. Football came first. The rest waited its turn.

“A big part of me wanted to make sure: If you can handle things on the football field, the opportunities will come,” Luck said.


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Return of Ahmad Bradshaw makes for a happy Vick Ballard

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 5, 2013 – 3:44 pm

Late in the 2012 season when Vick Ballard looked towards the Colts sidelines running backs coach David Walker simply just stared back at him.

Ballard was the bell cow and injuries hardly let him catch his breath.

Come Sunday, Ballard will be more than happy to allow other backs get into the fray.

“I’ve been in two-back systems my whole career playing. It’s a way to get the other back rest. And like you said, I feed off the energy of the other back,” Ballard said earlier this week.

Fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw is expecting to make his Colts debut on Sunday afternoon and his offensive teammates can’t wait to see him in action.temp2013_0904_prac_0596--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Says quarterback Andrew Luck of Bradshaw:

“I know he’s been chomping at the bit. He’s a tough sucker and we’re lucky to have him on our team.”

And the fullback Stanley Havili who will be paving the way on Sunday:

“I’m excited and I think the whole team is excited to get Ahmad out there. We all know what he can do and we all know what Vick and Donald (Brown) can do so we’re just excited to get someone out there fresh that can run the ball.”

Pep Hamilton said on Thursday that he isn’t exactly sure how running back carries will be split up against the Raiders.

Sunday will be Hamilton’s first in-person look at Bradshaw but he likes what he sees on film.

“He’s consistent. He’s a power runner. He can run between the tackles but when he breaks through that first line of defense, he has the ability to score touchdowns,” Hamilton said of Bradshaw.

Whether it’s Ballard, Bradshaw or Brown, the man calling the shots on Sunday knows that multiple backs are required in his offense.

And he’s confident that those backs will be running behind an imposing offensive line.

“Our offensive line, they’ve progressively gotten better since the start of camp and we expect that we’re going to be able to come out and control the line of scrimmage. That’s our ultimate goal,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“It’s a long season and we expect to be able to run the football. We are sure that there will be enough opportunities to go around.”


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Evaluating the 1st team offensive numbers from last year’s preseason versus this year

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 28, 2013 – 9:00 am

With the majority of the preseason behind us, I thought I would break down how the first-team offense has fared this season compared to last season.

The stats below include the offensive numbers for the first-team offensive drives led by Andrew Luck through the first three preseason games of 2012 and 2013.

2012 Stats:

16 offensive drives led by Andrew Luck. Those drives added up to 577 total yards, 33 first downs, 45 points and 2 turnovers.

-Luck: 40-of-64 (62.5%) for 514 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions.

-34 total rushes for 99 yards.

2013 Stats:

13 offensive drives led by Andrew Luck. Those drives added up to 468 total yards, 28 first downs, 34 points and 2 turnovers.

-Luck: 29-of-44 (65.9%) for 322 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interceptions.

-31 total rushes for 134 yards rushing.

Takeaways

-When breaking down the numbers per drive, the stats are very similar from a production standpoint (yards, points, first downs). It was pretty remarkable how prolific the Colts first-team offense was during the preseason last year. That has carried over in 2013 with Luck only throwing one interception, and one could argue that wasn’t the quarterback’s fault.

-It was no secret that Bruce Arians entered every game with a handful of deep balls on his play sheet and the clock didn’t hit triple zeroes until he used them all. We haven’t seen the deep ball much in the preseason, but the yards per attempt numbers don’t show a major discrepancy. In 2012, Luck averaged 8 yards per attempt. This season he has averaged 7.3 yards and the offense does not have the stereotypical ‘dink and dunk’ style of most West Coast systems.

-The rushing numbers are the major change from 2012 to 2013. For everything that has been made about Pep Hamilton’s ‘balanced’ offensive attack, there’s no denying that the numbers speak for itself. In 2013, the first-team offense has averaged 4.3 yards per carry versus last year where the unit averaged 2.9 yards per rush. Luck isn’t quite throwing the ball as often and the first-team offense has done a very efficient job on the ground.


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Kerwynn Williams catching the eye of important people

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 23, 2013 – 9:00 am

With Delone Carter being traded earlier this week, a few more reps have opened up at the running back position.

One back who has gotten a ton of reps for the Colts this training camp is Kerwynn Williams.

The 2013 seventh-round draft pick has made the most of those chances.

“Every time he touches the ball, he seems to make things happen,” head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week. “Whether it’s returning kicks, returning punts, lining up at tailback, he’s done a lot of good things.

“He’s got good vision, quick feet. He’s a tough kid, a quick study, quick learner. He’s a guy that has caught everybody’s eye and making a case for himself to make this roster.”

Kerwynn Williams’ Stats

  Bills Giants
Touches 12 14
Yards 126 72

 

Against the Bills, Williams returned five kicks for 89 yards, and touched the ball via rush, catch and punt return an additional seven times.

The following week against the Giants, Williams had a kick return for 22 yards and two punt returns for 21 yards.

Those number of reps should not dwindle as the Colts head into the final preseason games of 2013.

“He’s one of the guys that has been somewhat opportunistic as far as getting an opportunity to make a play and of course making the play,” offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said of Williams.

“He’s been able to create his own yards. Even in our scrimmages over the course of training camp, he shows a knack for making a guy miss in the hole and getting more out of plays that in most cases you would think we’re starting to break down. He’s done well for himself.”

Williams was very politically correct when talking about his first NFL training camp.

He feels as if he’s improving each week with the biggest challenge coming with the multiple opposing defenses and picking them up in pass blocking situations.

As a late round draft pick fighting to secure his spot on the 53-man roster it’s pretty clear that Williams play alone is doing enough talking.

“I’m definitely trying to do the best that I can and hopefully I can continue to do that and earn that praise.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 22nd Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 22, 2013 – 8:37 am

The Colts will conclude their home preseason slate on Saturday night with the Cleveland Browns traveling to Lucas Oil Stadium. Today’s news looks at Reggie Wayne’s impression on Pep Hamilton, the story of Caesar Rayford and a trade for the Colts that broke Wednesday afternoon.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, August 22nd.  

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne’s acrobatic catches make his offensive coordinator a fan

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

As the Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton almost never gets caught up in ‘watching’ the game

That changed on Sunday night after watching Reggie Wayne make a one-handed grab, Hamilton forgot he was the Colts offensive coordinator for a brief second.

“It’s funny,” Hamilton said Wednesday, recalling the play. “I try to not watch our play. I’m focusing on the defense and we’ve got to be ready as coaches to make adjustments on the fly.

“But I caught myself just a moment. I was somewhat in awe of the one-handed catch and I wasn’t really focused on the next play call, and I had to just gather my thoughts quickly and move on to the next play.”

Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Caesar Rayford stands tall while trying to make the NFL

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

New Colts outside linebacker Caesar Rayford has turned some heads this preseason with three sacks in two preseason games.

Rayford, who is a bit of a journeyman through the Arena Football League, has an interesting take on the path he is taking to the NFL.

“You got the guys that get the front door,” Rayford said, smiling broadly. “You got guys that get the back door.

“Then you got guys like me that got to climb the house and jump through the chimney. Hopefully, that landing doesn’t hurt too bad and (you) get back up. I’m definitely blessed for the opportunity and getting found.’’

Ravens get Carter from Colts for Reed

The Associated Press

Just before the Colts hit the practice field on Wednesday afternoon it was announced that running back Delone Carter had been traded to the Ravens for wide receiver/kick returner David Reed.

Reed, 26, has five career receptions for 66 yards over three years. All five catches came last year. To this point in his career, his biggest plays have come on special teams.

As a rookie in 2010, he led the NFL by averaging 29.3 yards per kickoff return. That included a 103-yard return for a touchdown to open the second half at Houston.

”This trade gives us a chance to improve in key areas moving forward,” Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson said. ”David is a very competitive football player and we welcome his style of play and energy. At the same time, we wish Delone well with his opportunity to play for another first-class organization and we thank him for his efforts.”

 


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Quick passes to T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey allow for potential big plays

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 19, 2013 – 10:47 am

When Pep Hamilton had his opening conference call upon being named the Colts offensive coordinator, he made one thing clear.

West coast or no coast, the ball would be finding the hands of the Colts playmakers.

This was evident on Sunday night with Darrius Heyward-Bey being a frequent recipient of quick passes.

Getting DHB comfortable and confident in this offense will be something to watch moving forward and Sunday was certainly a step in the right direction.tempDD4_2611--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

On several occasions, DHB hauled in short passes down the line of scrimmage and turned them into gains of nine and seven yards.

“You see those quick throws out to the wide outs, they are actually called runs, but they are loading the box up, putting eight, nine, 10 guys up there to stop the run,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said after the game.

“We feel like that is just a long hand-off when you toss it out there. You get it out to a guy like T.Y. (Hilton), you get it out to a guy like DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey), all they have to do is break one tackle and you are looking at one of those long hand-offs going for a 50 or 60-yard touchdown.”

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE COLTS WIN OVER THE GIANTS

DHB caught a total of four catches for 42 yards against the Giants and showed an ability to rack up yards after catch.

With DHB back from a knee injury and having an up and down end to training camp, quarterback Andrew Luck wanted to find his new receiver early on Sunday night.

“(DHB) is a phenomenal athlete. We need to get the ball in his hands and that was a focus on my end this week,” Luck said. “This game was, ‘let’s make sure we get the ball in Darrius’ hands and let him do what he does best’ and he had a heck of a game.”

Almost a half year later, Luck is speaking the same language that his offensive coordinator did back in the winter.

The playmakers and balance at the skill positions are there, now it’s time to accentuate that.

“It’s always important to get the ball in as many guys’ hands,” Luck said. “We’ve got great running backs, we’ve got great tight ends, we’ve got great wide receivers. The ball needs to be in their hands as much as possible.”


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Day 12 Impressions: Bradshaw off PUP, the search for another WR and the outlook for Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 13, 2013 – 6:28 pm

The Colts were back in Anderson on Tuesday to wrap up their final week at Anderson University.

Even though the players were not in full pads on Tuesday afternoon, you couldn’t tell by the physical nature of the 90-minute practice.

Here are three takeaways from day 12…

Ahmad Bradshaw off PUP, but still rehabbing: Like he has done for the majority of the past two weeks of practice, Ahmad Bradshaw was busy rehabbing during the Colts afternoon practice.

Bradshaw said following Tuesday morning’s walk-through that he would like to get some playing time during the Colts third preseason game.

Chuck Pagano said the Colts offense is looking for more balance and pointed to an “angry, downhill” running style of Bradshaw to help that cause.

The NFL is a multiple-back league and having a multi 1,000-yard rusher in Bradshaw would aid Pep Hamilton’s rushing attack.

Will another wide receiver emerge? Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton (in whatever order you want) are the Colts top three wideouts.

It appears as if Griff Whalen is the No. 4 man but he is day-to-day after suffering a groin injury against the Bills.

Who’s next?

LaVon Brazill would seem to be the guy but he will miss the first month of the season.

How about Nathan Palmer? Or Jabin Sambrano?

A fifth wide receiver (not Brazill) will in all likelihood dress for the first four games of the season so these next three preseason games should go a long way in deciding that spot.

What’s in store for Daniel Adongo and Josh McNary?: Some of the more interesting sights on Tuesday was seeing Adongo in pads and going through positional drills.

It appears Adongo’s biceps injury has pushed his growth back a bit so a practice squad position is probably the best case scenario for the rugby star.

Josh McNary is still recovering from a hamstring injury but when he’s been on the field he has produced.

The West Point product was signaled out by Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for his play early in training camp, even though McNary is making the transition to a new position at inside linebacker (granted he hasn’t played any football since 2010).

McNary was in the thick of the ILB position battle so getting him back on the practice field will be an interesting topic to watch moving forward.


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Colts fans will see a new runner in Vick Ballard this season, says No. 33

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 9, 2013 – 9:15 am

By virtually all accounts Vick Ballard’s rookie season exceeded expectations.

Not many fifth round draft picks go on to start 11 games and rush for over 800 yards in their rookie campaign.

When Ballard sat down with his running backs coach David Walker to evaluate the 2012 season, they came to a common goal of working on the running back’s vision this year.

“Last year I was kind of just running off ability and this year I’m running smarter by recognizing defensive fronts and knowing what to expect from our blocking schemes.” Ballard said on Thursday.

Ballard hopes with improved vision he can reach the elusive 1,000-yard mark in 2013.temp2013_0805_TC_1139--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

With Pep Hamilton implementing a more balanced offensive attack, the opportunities will certainly be there for Ballard.

“It’s more catered to the running backs so that’s always a good thing for me,” Ballard said of the Colts offense. “As long as I get the right reads down, and the things like that, then I can be real productive.”

For the past two weeks Ballard has also had the ability to share a meeting room with seven-year NFL veteran Ahmad Bradshaw.

With three 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, Bradshaw knows all about being a productive back at the professional level.

“Ahmad, he’s one cool dude,” Ballard said. “He talks to me about football and then other stuff off the field too, kind of like a big brother to me. I’m kind of happy we brought him in. I can learn so much from him.”

No matter who is at running back for the Colts this season, that player will have the luxury of a fullback leading them into holes.

For Ballard, it brings him back to his Junior College days where the presence of a fullback helped him earn a SEC scholarship.

Stanley Havili will be paving the way for Ballard in 2013 and the new Colts fullback likes what he sees from the guy soon to be following his path.

“(Ballard) runs hard and he doesn’t shy away from fullback and that’s what us fullbacks like to see in our running backs.”


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Colts Daily Headlines: August 8th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 8, 2013 – 8:19 am

It was an off day for the Colts on Wednesday. Some tremendous features on Coby Fleener and Donald Thomas along with a column from Dan Wetzel highlight today’s headlines.

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 pieces from Thursday, August 8th.  

Indianapolis Colts TE Coby Fleener is flashing his potential in training camp after an uneven rookie season

By: Zak Keefer, Indy Star

A really nice feature from Keefer on Colts second year tight end in Coby Fleener.

It wasn’t the rookie season that Fleener was expecting coming out of an All-American season at Stanford.

“I would characterize my rookie year as a learning experience,” Fleener said during a break at training camp this week, speaking slowly, choosing his words carefully. “There was definitely a lot of ups and some downs.”

Fleener has turned some heads as the Colts are a little more than halfway through the 2013 training camp.

“He’s probably having the most productive camp, including his time at Stanford, that I’ve seen,” Hamilton gushed. “In the time that I’ve been around Coby, he’s a lot more explosive and confident right now.

“He’s making plays that big-time NFL players tend to make.”

Thomas’ mission: Protect Colts’ Luck

By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin

Bremer writes a feature on new Colts offensive lineman Donald Thomas, who heads over to Indianapolis after a few seasons with the New England Patriots.

Thomas is expected to become a full-time starter at left guard this year and is eager to protect Andrew Luck.

“We’re going to get the ball out of his hands obviously a little bit sooner with some of the quick (passing) game, screens and draws and things like that,” he said. “Just keep growing, stay consistent. I think we’ve got a pretty cohesive unit (on the offensive line) that’s stayed healthy and stayed together for the most part through training camp. So we just want to continue to trend in that same direction.”

A smiling Chuck Pagano a picture of perfection at training camp for Colts

By: Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports

As always, Wetzel hits a home run with this piece and he paints a great picture of Pagano back doing what he loves to do.

“Really, just being back to normal is huge,” Pagano said. “And that didn’t happen overnight for obvious reasons. No. 1, being in remission. No. 2, going through a whole offseason healthy. Then coming back and going through another training camp.”

Pagano’s players are taking notice too and they couldn’t be happier to have their head coach back in the saddle.

“The way he’s bouncing around,” said defensive end Robert Mathis, “You’d never know he was a sick guy last year.”

 


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