Indianapolis Colts Football

Reggie Wayne adding the title of “Assistant Coach” to his resume

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 7, 2013 – 12:00 pm

When NFL teams add coaches to their staff at the midway point of the regular season, turmoil is usually a precursor of the move.

Yet, here is an exception to that.

While rehab for Reggie Wayne remains the top priority, the Pro Bowl receiver has added another title to his resume.  temp2013_1103_HOU_1676--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

“He’s also got his duties now as assistant wide receivers coach,” head coach Chuck Pagano said on Wednesday.

“So as far as sitting in the meetings, going through the plan, watching the tape, studying the opponent – now he can just dive in and really break down our opponent’s secondary, their corners and give that information to other wide receivers and spread that information in that room and help the young guys.”

Wayne is spending his rehab at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, something that the Pagano regime wanted to make happen with as many IR players as possible.

Obviously the balance is difficult (need the “man power”) with rehab guys and the current players but Pagano loves having everyone around the building.

“We want to keep them engaged because a lot of times they have this separation deal where they feel like they’re not part of it anymore. It’s great to have their presence,” Pagano says.

“They come to team meetings, they sit in position meetings so they stay engaged from a mental standpoint so they’re not removing themselves totally from football. So when they do come back and they’re cleared to participate at some point, it’s not like starting over from a mental standpoint. I think it’s a healthy thing for everybody.”

Even though the competitive nature of Wayne on the field won’t be present for the rest of 2013, that spirit has transferred over to the training room.

“I think (trainer) Dave (Hammer) told me eight and a half hours in here yesterday rehabbing; he beat everybody in. And that’s Reggie being Reggie.”

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Will Hilton and Whalen continue to receive the bulk of third-down targets?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 6, 2013 – 9:41 am

Reggie Wayne’s loss has been analyzed in about every aspect.

One of the main areas that people focused on with Wayne’s loss is where Andrew Luck would turn to on third-down.

It’s no secret Wayne was Luck’s “security blanket” and the Colts signal caller would have to look elsewhere to sustain drives.

The Colts had 13 third downs on Sunday with Luck dropping back to pass on 12 of those occasions (Luck had 11 pass attempts, was sacked once and Donald Brown had one rush attempt).

Against the league’s top pass defense, Luck was 5-of-11 for 50 yards (4 first downs) and a touchdown on third-down. He had an 89.2 quarterback rating on third-down.

Here’s a breakdown of those attempts:

  • T.Y. Hilton’s targets-Hilton was the most frequent target on third-down with five targets including two second-half completions (one that went for a 10-yard touchdown). Hilton bounced back from an early drop with some important catches down the stretch and one would have to imagine the defensive attention will only increase towards No. 13 on the third downs.
  • Griff Whalen’s targets-Whalen was similar to Hilton in his number of targets on third-down with Luck turning towards his college roommate in times of duress. Whalen’s 17-yard catch on the eventual game winning touchdown drive came from a clean pocket for Luck. Whalen was lined up on Houston’s nickel cornerback on many third downs, another reason for his four targets on those downs.
  • Other targets-Luck only targeted Darrius Heyward-Bey once (DHB missed the entire 4th quarter due to injury) and many other times Luck was under intense pressure which forced some balls into crowded coverage. Moving forward, the attention that Hilton receives from opposing defenses will greatly impact the targets for Coby Fleener and DHB on third-down.

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Pagano talks the fortitude of Luck, Wayne’s speech to the team and his halftime message

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 5, 2013 – 11:25 am

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s 27-24 victory in Houston:

On the play of Andrew Luck on Sunday night:

“Right when you think you’ve seen the special, special plays, the ability that Andrew possesses in making plays, doing things for this team, he just one ups it again. He’s remarkable. He’s unflappable. He’s got a positive outlook and approach on everything. He shoulders all the blame. He puts everything on his shoulders. He puts that whole offense on his back and he just looks everyone of those guys in the eye and says, ‘Hey, we are going to get this thing done. We are going to take this thing down the field and we are going to score. We are going to score again.’ The guy is just an incredible, incredible talent but what a leader. We are very fortunate to have him under center.”

On Reggie Wayne talking to team Saturday night:

“That’s Reggie. I had nothing to do with it. We’ve got a great owner in Mr. Irsay that made that thing possible and made that happen. Reggie being Reggie, we say he’s already ahead of schedule. He’s gets the green light from Dr. Uribe down in Miami on Thursday because we had been talking about it. It had been killing him to be away even for one day in going down for the surgery last Friday. It was just killing him to be away from here obviously. Thank God we’ve got the owner we’ve got and having Reggie healthy enough and able enough to say…and he didn’t say much but what he said was so impactful and meant so much to our guys.”

On Pagano’s halftime message:

“Well, this being a family network (laughs) I can’t really go there. But no, all kidding aside Bob, we’ve been there many times before. It’s not a place we want to be. We don’t try to be there but we certainly know that we are more than capable of mounting a comeback, no matter what the circumstances are. We just said, ‘Hey look, nothing in the first half resembled what Colts football is. Let’s go back to fundamentals, go back to technique, do our job and play it better.’ That’s what our guys did sticking to the process.”

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T.Y. Hilton takes Reggie Wayne’s halftime message to heart

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 4, 2013 – 1:55 pm

As T.Y. Hilton walked into the Colts locker room at halftime on Sunday night, his “big brother” wanted to have a few words with him.

Hilton had one catch for six yards in the first half and a third-down drop was eating at the second-year receiver.  temp2013_1103_HOU_3922--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Reggie Wayne pulled the young receiver aside for a message.

“(Wayne) looked me in the eyes and told me, “You owe me one, man. Just go out there and do what you do best, just go out there and have fun,” Hilton said on Monday recalling the story.

Hilton’s definition of “fun” turned out to be six catches for 115 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

When Wayne went down, the popular consensus was that his production would not come from one particular individual but rather a group of receivers.

Yet, on Sunday night there was Hilton carving up the Texans secondary in helping the Colts erase a three-score deficit.

As the final gun sounded and Hilton jogged off the Reliant Stadium field on Sunday night, he knew who was waiting for him when he entered the visiting locker room.

“After the game (Wayne) said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m talking about.” We just kind of took that moment in,” Hilton said of their locker room interaction.

The attention towards Hilton will only grow in the coming weeks as his ability to change the game with a single touch must be accounted for by opposing defenses.

For one night it might not have been a “committee” that replaced No. 87, but Hilton did his best to carry out Wayne’s halftime wish.

“I got a lot of faith and a lot of trust in those guys to make the plays. Griff (Whalen) had a big catch on third down and (Coby) Fleener made a great catch on the two-point conversion. So I feel like we’ll continue to step up and continue to play as a group and we should be good.”

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Five Things Learned, Colts-Houston

Posted by craigkelleycolts on – 9:59 am


INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are 6-2 and have a two-game AFC South lead at the season’s midpoint.  The wins that followed a loss at San Diego came in dramatic style over unbeaten Denver and against a 2-5 Houston group fighting for its 2013 survival.

The Colts produced a 10th comeback win under Chuck Pagano by wiping out an 18-point halftime deficit in a 27-24 victory at Houston.  Plays were made across the board in keeping a two-game AFC South lead over Tennessee.


PERFECT WITH PERFECTION – The Colts are 7-0 under Pagano (3-0 in 2013) in turnover-free performances.  That the club has seven in 24 outings (almost 30 percent of the time) is a pretty healthy percentage and is a testament to his ball security preaching.  Prior to Pagano, it took a 37-game span back to 2010 to encompass seven spotless performances.  The Colts’ six giveaways lead the league.  Only four other teams are in single digits.  Three of those seven miscue-free games have been on the road, further evidence of the ability to play like Pagano preaches.

OVERCOME ADVERSITY – Houston sucker-punched the Colts one minute into the game with a long TD pass.  Adam Vinatieri had a field goal blocked moments later to the delight of the Houston fans, but the defense held on third- and fourth-and-one rushes to thwart the Texans.  One possession later, a near blocked punt helped set up a short field and a second Houston TD in the opening quarter.  After replay overturned what appeared to be a recovered fumble on a kickoff return, Houston added its third TD for an 18-point lead.  It came on a gut punch with 34 seconds left in the first half, a time when late scores can damage a team’s mindset.  The Colts hung tough on the road and after trading field goals in the third quarter, scored on three straight drives to take the lead.  It was producing and being non-judgmental in adversity.  “Chuck (Pagano) puts into us the ‘never-give-up’ spirit,” said Anthony Castonzo.  “It’s a trickle-down effect.  Everybody buys in.  We’re all 100 percent in on every play.  There’s no give-up in this game.”

LUCK REMAINS MASTERFUL – With 10 game-winning drives in fourth quarter and overtime, Andrew Luck has the most of any quarterback in the first two years of a career since 1970.  Luck’s manner in the huddle and calm leadership style affects teammates deeply.  “Andrew basically takes control of the huddle.  He’s telling us, ‘One play at a time, one play at a time.’  He’s focused,” said Castonzo of Luck, who must have read Kipling while earning his architecture at Stanford.  Even after the latest Houdini act, Luck credits teammates and coaches first.  There is no “I” in Luck.  If a player can have a virtuoso career after 24 games, Luck has done it.

LINEBACKERS MORE THAN MATHIS – Houston was able to neutralize Robert Mathis probably better than any team this year.  Still, Erik Walden had a 10-yard second-quarter sack of Case Keenum that preceded a missed field goal that would have put Houston up, 17-0.  After the Colts took the 27-24 lead with four minutes left, Mathis and Angerer stopped Ben Tate for short yardage around midfield, then Angerer stayed at home and dropped Keenum for a three-yard loss on a Pistol keeper, a superb one-on-one effort.  On the ensuing play, Mathis contained Keenum and Angerer delivered a hit on Keenum’s release.  Keenum’s pass hit Walden in the facemask and Mathis nearly corralled the ball for a touchdown.  Three linebackers, three plays in the clutch, and the Colts forced a punt.  While Angerer’s 12 tackles topped the team, Walden was in the middle of key moments for a second straight game.

PRODUCTION PAST WIDE RECEIVERS – With Reggie Wayne gone for the season, developing production past the wide receiving corps is a must.  Luck hit wide receivers 12 times in 29 targets, with more plays being made in the second half than the first.  Indianapolis was able to get three receptions from Coby Fleener, plus a critical two-point snare.  Trent Richardson had two receptions, including a 24-yarder that set up T.Y. Hilton’s third TD.  Success in spreading the ball paid dividends, and the club must continue that as Luck’s cohesion with wide outs continues to develop.

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Pep Hamilton’s bye week plans took a bit of a turn when Reggie Wayne went down

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 1, 2013 – 3:00 pm

Pep Hamilton wasn’t expecting to spend his bye week in this fashion.

Instead of reviewing film of the first two months of the season and getting a head start on the Houston Texans, Hamilton also dealt with the task of preparing for life without Reggie Wayne.

“It’s one of the harsh realities of the National Football League. It was tough to say the least,” Hamilton said of Wayne’s absence.

“We feel like we got to find ways, even if it’s by committee, to continue to move the ball and continue to move the ball in the passing game and be effective as a passing offense without Reggie. Andrew (Luck) had a tremendous amount of trust in Reggie and knowing that Reggie would get to the spot and ultimately that Reggie would make the play. We feel like we’ve got some other guys that are very capable of stepping in and making plays for us.”

Another area that Hamilton focused on during the bye week was creating more chances for new running back Trent Richardson.

Without Wayne, Hamilton knows that more attention will move towards opponents stopping the Colts run game.

“I have to do a better job of coming up with schemes that not only give our offensive line a chance to be successful, but of course to create holes for Trent. Create schemes that complement his wealth of talent,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“That’s one of the things that we spent time as an offensive staff just looking at during the bye week. Finding ways to better feature our playmakers. Not just Trent, but Donald (Brown) and T.Y. (Hilton) and DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) and Coby Fleener and Stanley Havili for that matter. But yes, I have to do a better job of finding ways to get Trent out in space.”

The last time Wayne missed a game with the Colts, Hamilton was a 27-year old offensive coordinator at Howard University, his alma mater.

His game plans for the rest of 2013 won’t include No. 87 but that doesn’t change the goals for this offense.

“We feel like even up until this point we’ve been an offense by committee. We’ve had a lot of different guys step up and make plays for us,” Hamilton said.

“We just know moving forward that it’s the next man up. DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey), T.Y. (Hilton), some of the younger guys that may get an opportunity to go in there and make plays for us in the passing game. Somebody is going to have to step up and make the plays.”

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Colts Daily Headlines: November 1st Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:37 am

The Colts will wrap up Week Nine practice later this morning. Today’s news looks at the play of Robert Mathis in 2013 and the last time the Colts played without Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, November 1st.

Indianapolis Colts LB Robert Mathis Mathis: First in sacks, last in publicity

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Even with a career-high 11.5 sacks after seven games, Robert Mathis still ins’t garnering the national attention in 2013.

A midseason poll of contributors listed Defensive Player of the Year possibilities: Houston’s J.J. Watt, the 2012 winner; Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson, Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs and Buffalo’s Mario Williams.

Colts safety Antoine Bethea shrugged and dismissed the snub. He believes Mathis should join safety Bob Sanders (2007) as the only Colt named Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s got my vote,” Bethea said. “He’s a difference maker.”

Indianapolis Colts will play without Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison for the first time since Dec. 27, 1998

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chappell takes a look back over 15 years ago to the last time the Colts offense was without No. 87 or No. 88.

For the first time since Dec. 27, 1998, the Colts will take the field without either Reggie Wayne or Marvin Harrison in the lineup. That’s 251 games, including the playoffs, with either No. 87 or No. 88 — or both — on the field.

Wayne’s streak of 189 regular-season appearances, 207 including the postseason, will end Sunday due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered against Denver.

Harrison’s final season with the Colts was in 2008; appearing in 190 regular-season games during his 13-year career. The last time the Colts’ offense was without Wayne or Harrison was the final game of the ’98 season against Carolina. Harrison missed the final four games that season with a shoulder injury and Wayne was drafted in 2001.

Like the team as a whole, long-time assistant Clyde Christensen still is trying to come to grips with life without Wayne.

“I hear people asking Andrew (Luck) how it’s going to be without Reggie,” Christensen said with a smile. “Well, how about me? This is the first time I’ve been in the (meeting) room without Reggie.

“Believe me, it’s different. He was such a security blanket.”

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LaVon Brazill ready to be “a big part of (Colts) offense”

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 30, 2013 – 3:08 pm

Standing just a few feet away from Reggie Wayne’s empty locker, LaVon Brazill knows the challenge that lies ahead.

The task might seem daunting but Brazill is ready to embrace it.

“I want to show them what I’m capable of doing and that’s being a big part of this offense,” Brazill said of helping to replace Reggie Wayne.

“Do what got me here, make plays, catch the ball, keep the chains moving, let my work do the talking.”

After returning from a four-game suspension to start the 2013 season, Brazill put in perspective what the time away from playing and practice meant for the second-year wide receiver.

“(Helped me) grow as a man,” Brazill said on Wednesday. “I messed up and paid the consequences. Now I’m ready to move forward and put all that behind me. I’m ready to make a play and I’m ready to do it.”

In his rookie season, Brazill caught 11 passes for 186 yards and was second on the Colts with 16.9 yards per catch.temp2012_1202_DET_bowen_1410--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Those opportunities gave the Colts 2012 sixth round pick the “confidence” to play at the NFL level.

In Wayne’s absence, the Colts young receivers have turned to five-year veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey for leadership.

On Wednesday, Chuck Pagano spoke to DHB’s leadership and the message for the entire receiving corps moving forward.

“I said you guys were around the guy (Wayne) long enough. You understand from a practice standpoint, preparation standpoint, film study, all those type of things, you saw a future Hall of Famer do it for however long you’ve been here, so just emulate that.”

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Pagano talks Reggie Wayne’s surgery, return from bye week and his team’s outlook on the 2nd half

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 29, 2013 – 9:37 am

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights (Tuesday this week due to Monday Night game).

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s bye week:

On the tempo of Monday’s practice:

“They were really on point. They were fresh obviously and eager to get back out there. The mental part of it was great but the speed at which they practiced at and the tempo, it was a little bit shorter then normal, but it was outstanding.”

On Reggie Wayne’s surgery last Friday:

“That phone doesn’t stop blowing up. He’s watching games yesterday. You get a text every five, 10 minutes, “Coach, did you see that? Could you believe what they just did there?” Surgery went well. It was last Friday down in Miami. Spirits are good. He’s going to take it one day at a time, like everybody has to do and just keep chopping wood as we say. He’s already started his rehab. He’s going at it three times a day. It’s Reggie being Reggie so if there’s any doubters out there, forget it.”

On playing Houston and five divisional games to close out the year:

“We are happy where we are at but records don’t mean anything, especially with a division game, on the road. These guys, the past two years they’ve been the division champions. We just got to stick to the process. The minute you start reading the press clippings, the minute you start patting yourself on the back, that’s when you get your fanny kicked. We know how hard it is to play down there, great football team.”

On the resiliency of his football team:

“We’ve got a tight group, great locker room, great veteran leadership. They just won’t allow themselves to buy into the notion that because we’ve lost this guy, that guy, whoever, we will never use that as an excuse. There’s no player, no coach, nobody in this organization who will ever use that as an excuse. We hate to lose anybody. We know that’s part of the game. That’s why we stress to these guys week-in-and-week-out that you never know when you’re number is going to get called. You may not be a starter today but make sure you are preparing for a starter because you never know.”

On the biggest improvements from last season to 2013:

“Being familiar on the defensive side system wise and even though we changed coordinators on the offensive side, the guys have done a great job on both sides of the ball. We are taking care of the little things. You look at turnover margin—plus 7, you look at penalties, leading the league or top two in the league in (fewest committed) penalties. We are not shooting ourselves in the foot. We are taking care of the football, managing the game. We are doing the little things.”

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Clyde Christensen talks about the loss of Reggie Wayne and the impact for Andrew Luck, Colts offense

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 8:41 am

Clyde Christensen is the longest tenured coach of the Colts coaching staff.

Entering his 12th season with the Colts, Christensen was the team’s receivers coach from 2002-2009.

Reggie Wayne was a pupil under Christensen during that stretch and No. 87 earned four straight Pro Bowl appearances.

Christensen, now the Colts quarterbacks coach, knows maybe better than any Colts coach what the loss of Wayne means to the offense.

“You can’t replace Reg,” Christensen said last week. “It’s kind of your security blanket. When all heck is breaking loose, you know where Reg is going to be.”

“I’ve been here 12 years and I’m probably the most shocked of anybody because I’ve never seen him miss a game, very seldom seen him miss a snap of practice. He’s been such a warrior.”

That security blanket has nine third-down conversions in 2013, which is more than double of any Colts receiving target.temp2013_1016_colts_1326--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Christensen used an interesting analogy describing the loss of Wayne from Andrew Luck’s standpoint.

“We’ve all had a kid and we’re (now) taking your favorite animal. You’re 13 now. You got to grow up and go,” Christensen said. “So it’s going to have to be the same thing. Some folks are going to have to step up. We have to keep the same level of consistency that (Wayne) brought.”

Over the past dozen years, Christensen has watched Wayne grow into one of the game’s all-time receivers.

Yet, it’s the impact that Wayne has had away from the gridiron that has Christensen ready for the second half of the season.

“You see the effects of being in the room with Reggie (Wayne) and T.Y.’s game and how it’s stepped up and how consistent he’s become and that has to permeate through the whole unit and certainly the receiver room,” Christensen said.

“He gives the team a mentality of how you have to play this game, of how important it is to practice, how important it is to just keep grinding. So now we got to take it and go. Some guys got to step up and we’ve got some good young guys who are going to do that.”

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