Indianapolis Colts Football

Colts do not travel six players to Kansas City

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 21, 2013 – 7:23 pm

On Friday, the Colts designated five players to be doubtful for Sunday’s game – safety Sergio Brown, guard Jeff Linkenbach, defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, guard Joe Reitz and defensive tackle Montori Hughes.

Among players listed as questionable to participate was guard Hugh Thornton.

All of those players were declared out for Sunday’s game today.

A banged-up Colts team was limited through many parts of the roster in preparation for Kansas City.

To help bolster an offensive line depleted of three guards, Indianapolis elevated Thomas Austin off the practice squad Saturday and released running back Shaun Draughn.

The Colts’ line will be operating with a seventh different starting alignment on Sunday that could include rookie Xavier Nixon at left guard.  A natural tackle, Nixon played 61 plays at right guard last Sunday against Houston when Reitz left with a concussion.

The state of the line on Friday caused Chuck Pagano to say, “It’s like everybody else.  We’re not the only (team) that’s pregnant right now.  We got what we got.  We got a job to go do, and we’re going to get it done.  Try to find a way.”

The Colts have used a league-high 71 players this year and will be starting a different offensive line in a fifth straight game.

Indianapolis will be facing potent Kansas City special teams return units, and Brown has been the club’s top specialty performer this season.  Brown was hurt during last week’s game, and this is his first missed outing.

Francois has missed the past two contests and could be ready for the Jacksonville finale.

Indianapolis is the lone NFL team to clinch a division title.  The Colts currently are the AFC’s fourth seed, with division leaders Denver, New England and Cincinnati owning better records.

Kansas City at 11-3 is tied with Denver record-wise, but the Chiefs lost both games to the Broncos and would need to finished with a better record in the last two games to wrest the AFC West crown.

A loss to Kansas City would cement the fourth seeding for the Colts.  Indianapolis could move to the second seed with two wins to close the season, if Baltimore could win its final two outings.


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Posted in Colts Blog, Colts Casey B, Colts Cheerleading, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES, Colts Photography, Colts.com Web Updates, Events and Promotions, Fan Feature, My Indiana Football, Voice of the Fans

Five Things Learned, Colts-Cincinnati

Posted by craigkelleycolts on December 9, 2013 – 9:46 am

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Intro:  Indianapolis won the AFC South title Sunday in a manner less-preferred than anyone wished.  The Colts fell behind by 21 points early in the second half at Cincinnati and rallied to make it a one-score affair before eventually losing, 42-28.  The Colts have three games left to hone their playoff approach.

 

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ 42-28 loss at Cincinnati was not made any more palatable when three hours later Tennessee lost at Denver to hand Indianapolis its eighth AFC South crown.

The Colts fell behind by 14 points at halftime, a margin that grew to 21 points before the offense roared to life.

Still, four touchdowns in the final 30 minutes could not rescue the day as Cincinnati grew its lead back to 21 before winning.

The Colts are in the playoffs.  Time remains to sharpen aspects of the approach in all three phases, and here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.

PLAYOFFS GUARANTEED – The Colts are one of three teams (Denver, Seattle) to nail down a playoff berth, the only one to claim a division crown at this point.  That cannot be taken away, and it was the first goal the team had entering 2013.  “A division championship is a division championship any way you get it,” said Jim Irsay.  Said Robert Mathis, “I’m not going to sneeze at a division title.  We just have to work from here.”  Sure the team is not functioning at the level it seeks, but a ticket has been punched to play beyond 16 games.  That is an accomplishment.  Every other goal the team has still is in play.

EXECUTION IS ELIXIR – A scoreless first half with no third-down conversions in six attempts had the Colts in a halftime hole.  With five-of-40 third-down conversions in six games, it’s hard not to mention.  The Colts have had a first-half lead in only one of the last six games and have been out-scored, 114-24.  The combined deficit is 49-9 in the first quarter.  During the span, Indianapolis has 15 two- or three-and-outs on 37 possessions, with 16 total possessions not producing a first down.  Opponents have four three-and-outs in 34 possessions, with only five drives not yielding a first down.  The first-half time of possession disparity in the six games is 101:16 for opponents and 78:44 for the Colts.

HOPEFUL SPARK IS FOUND – Eight Colts receivers had first-half receptions at Cincinnati, but T.Y. Hilton was not among them.  Hilton was targeted five times in 46 Andrew Luck passes, and he did not catch a pass until 12 minutes remained in the game.  Da’Rick Rogers (six receptions, 107 yards) and LaVon Brazill (three-for-53) saw significant time, and each had two touchdown receptions.  Granted the tilted scoreboard created a higher number of passes than planned, still a team looking for a spark among receivers may have found one at Cincinnati.  Rogers is young and learning.  Brazill needs to make a push as his second year nears completion.  Yesterday’s production was a needed boost that needs to remain.  Each showed a physical nature that produced yards after the catch.

SERGIO BROWN IS SPECIAL – Sergio Brown has been among many bright spots for the Colts this year.  Every unit likes a go-to performer, and Brown has been that on coverage units.  With seven tackles, Brown is among club leaders.  He also has two fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal.  Twice against Denver, he downed punts deep in Broncos territory.  At Cincinnati, he downed a punt at the one and batted another back into play that was downed at the Bengals’ four.  Brown is a heads-up guy, a play waiting to happen.

STINGIER ON GROUND – Seven times this year the Colts have allowed 140-plus yards in a game.  Seven of the last nine opponents have rushed at least 30 times, each time topping 30 minutes possession time and but once not reaching a 4.0 average.  Cincinnati ran 35 times Sunday, netting 155 yards and a 4.4 average.  Where some games have had skewed rushing totals with quarterback scampers (Ryan Fitzpatrick had 54 of Tennessee’s 162 yards and eight of its 36 attempts a week ago), yesterday was not one of them.  Five times in the last eight games an opponent had at least 33:55 possession time.  Opponents’ rushing production is a factor in the time of possession, and it creates added pressure on the other team to maximize its opportunities.


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Pagano talks Ricky Jean Francois injury, Sergio Brown’s Pro Bowl hopes and more on radio show

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 3, 2013 – 9:17 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 22-14 win over the Titans

On getting a win, even if it was “ugly”:

“We will take them anyway we can get them. We know how difficult it is to win football games in the National Football League. Good football team that came in here (Sunday), playing for the same thing that we’re playing for—a division crown. We knew it was going to be an alley fight, a brawl like I heard a couple of our players talk about it, and it was. It was a 60-minute slugfest and we came out on the winning side of the game. We are never going to apologize for a W.”

On the injury to Ricky Jean Francois:

“Similar injury to what Bjoern (Werner) had during the season, slight tear to the plantar fascia, which is a foot injury. It will cost him a couple of weeks. Hopefully it’s a little less then what Bjoern went through. Ricky Jean has been playing lights out and was having one whale of a ball game (Sunday). He’s been playing really good football for us. Hate to lose him.”

On the four takeaways and Cassius Vaughn’s two interceptions:

“He had a great week of practice, prepared really well and was bound and determined to go out there and play really good football for us and give us everything that he had. He certainly did that. For him to come up with two interceptions, that wasn’t the only production that he had in the ball game. He was steady throughout. Plus three in the turnover margin, you are going to win a lot of football games.”

On special teamer Sergio Brown playing with a broken hand:

“I’d be reminisced if we didn’t talk about him and I’m glad you brought him up because he’s been playing great all year. If he isn’t in Hawaii, I’d be shocked. He’s played great football all year and to have surgery Tuesday morning, put a plate in his hand, put a cast over the top of that thing then to go play the way he played, there’s no tougher guy on our football team than Sergio Brown. I respect that kid so much and what he does for this program, our team and for this organization. Just hats off to him.”

On when he starts looking for playoff scenarios:

“When they start (laughs). In all honestly, we’ve just got to stick to the process. We are in the last quarter of the season. For us to get ahead of ourselves and start worrying about seedings and who you might play and who has to do what, I think that’s just a recipe for disaster. Our focus and mindset has to be on one thing and one thing only and that’s this upcoming ballgame.”

On if linebacker Josh McNary will play more on passing downs moving forward:

“He had an opportunity. We had a little package put together for Josh. He played a lot more plays on special teams and did a nice job for us. The three plays that he went in (defensively), none bigger then the third down we blitzed Josh and he beat the running back one-on-one right in the hole, hit Fitzpatrick right when he released the ball. Obviously that thing sailed right over everybody in the backend and that was just a great, great football play by Josh. That just showed his speed, his athleticism, all those things. We look to get him more involved.”


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Pagano talks the Titans game, Coby Fleener and an update on Chris Rainey/Da’Rick Rogers

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 25, 2013 – 8:52 pm

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 40-11 loss to the Cardinals:

On the stakes this weekend:

“Tennessee going out there and beating Oakland, winning that football game, being two games back, obviously they are still in the hunt. They know that. We know that. It’s not going to be easy Sunday, but we control our own destiny. We’ve got to go back to work. We’ve got to have a great week of practice. We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to do it better. It’s at our place. It’s at Lucas Oil Stadium. They’ve got to come in here. This is like déjà vu all over again, coming off that disappointing loss to St. Louis then having to go down there on a short week and get that win. Same situation. Same scenario. We’ve got to put the time in, prepare and play well.”

On Sergio Brown’s blocked field goal:

“It was a great play by him and he did some outstanding things in that football game. The blocked field goal was one of them. He covered punts. He drew a couple of flags. As a gunner, he’s just a dominating force out there. He’s been playing at a high level for us on special teams and we certainly need him to do that.”

On the play of tight end Coby Fleener:

“I think he’s risen up to the challenge. When Dwayne (Allen) went down, he was obviously asked to do more and he’s done that. No. 1, Alfredo Roberts (tight ends coach) has done a tremendous job with all the tight ends. He’s with Coby 24/7, around the clock. Coby’s stepped up his game. You are not only seeing the level of his play go up on Sunday’s, but it’s because what he’s doing Monday-Saturday. He’s practicing really well. He’s putting the time in that you need to put in, in the meeting room. He understands the concepts and the schemes that we’re running. He’s playing fast because he’s practicing fast. I think the level of play and production that he’s giving us is just a byproduct of the hard work that he’s put in.”

On why weren’t Chris Rainey and Da’Rick Rogers active on Sunday:

“Two young, talented players, as we all know. There’s been a lot of talk about these two young players and excited about having them up, having them on the roster. Having Chris here just one week and Da’Rick being up on the active roster two weeks, there’s an acclimation period. These guys are working hard. They’re doing everything they can. As soon as they are more familiar with the playbook and we can start to implement them into our plan offensively, we are going to try and get them out there as soon as we can.”

On the schedule for this week with Thanksgiving:

“We practice every Thanksgiving. All we do is we move up the schedules. We move up practice time and try to get the players and coaches out of here so they can spend some time with their families in the afternoon.”


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Do the Colts have a Pro Bowler in gunner Sergio Brown?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 8, 2013 – 10:00 am

While the names Andrew Luck and Robert Mathis will appear on many Pro Bowl ballots, there’s another Colts player that certainly deserves a consideration.

Sergio Brown might not be a household name but what he has done to flip field position for the Colts this year has been noticed.

As one of the Colts gunners, Brown has forced numerous fair catches and downed several punts inside of the opponent’s 10-yard line.

“As soon as Sergio got here, we knew we had something special,” punter Pat McAfee said earlier this week. “People don’t understand the importance of a gunner on a punt team. Sergio is a guy who can change the game not only for me but for our team”

On Sunday, Brown downed a punt at the Houston one-yard line and drew a holding penalty that pushed the Texans back to their own 33-yard line for the game’s final drive. temp2013_1103_HOU_2211--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Brown has five solo special teams tackles on the year. Special teams coach Tom McMahon also gives his guys a “tackle” for any player that forces a fair catch or downs a punt inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.

“Sergio is consistent,” McMahon says. “The best thing he does is he gets all the way down and then he looks late (meaning his back is facing the opponent’s goal line before turning around to find the ball).

“At the end of the day when he pins them down there and then forces a 98-yard drive, it makes everybody better.”

The combination of McAfee and Brown has allowed the Colts to win the hidden yardage debate at critical times.

“I pride myself on doing that,” Brown says of downing the football deep. “It definitely helps when you have an outstanding punter like Pat and he can hang them up there for me and give me time to get down there and do the other half of it.”

And what does McAfee think of Brown?

“He’s the best in the league and I don’t think it’s really a question.”


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“Back-Up of the Game” is safety Sergio Brown

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 21, 2013 – 9:27 am

This week’s “Back-Up of the Game” presented by Venyu is safety Sergio Brown.

All week the Colts talked about the importance that field position would play in taking on the undefeated Denver Broncos.

It was the Colts special teams that dominated the field position category with Sergio Brown on top of his game at the gunner position.

Late in the first quarter, Brown found himself in the perfect place to make a game-changing turnover.

Denver punt returner Trindon Holiday fielded a McAfee punt at the Colts seven-yard line before changing fields up the far sideline.

Colts fullback Stanley Havili was there to strip Holiday and Brown recovered the bouncing ball, which set up the Colts first touchdown of the evening.

Brown had a pair of special teams tackles and downed two Pat McAfee punts inside of the Broncos 10-yard line.

The special teams phase wasn’t the only area that Brown impacted the game.

With the Colts thin in the secondary, Brown played spot duty at the safety position in the second half and added another tackle.

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BETHEA’S 107 GAMES PLAYED DWARFS YOUTHFUL SECONDARY IN INDIANAPOLIS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 23, 2013 – 7:40 am

The Colts secondary currently has 17 members.

Of those 17, just one was with the team prior to the 2012 season.

Antoine Bethea is the mainstay and his 107 games of experience in a Colts uniform is almost half of the total number the rest of the secondary carries with them into 2013.

Player Games Played in Indianapolis
S-Antoine Bethea 107
S-Joe Lefeged 32
CB-Cassius Vaughn 16
S-Sergio Brown 16
CB-Josh Gordy 15
CB-Darius Butler 11
CB-Vontae Davis 10
CB-Teddy Williams 7
S-Delano Howell 6

This is season No. 8 for Bethea and while OTAs for some veterans might not seem like a drag, the Pro Bowl safety remembers his days as a youthful defensive back trying to make the roster.

“At one point, you were that young guy and you never really want to be that guy walking around the locker room, never really saying anything to you, feeling like a loner,” Bethea said. “So most definitely you’ve got to pull those guys closer and show them the ropes.”

Bethea was one of the loudest voices on the practice field on Wednesday as the unit attempts to gel in year two of a new defensive system.

The secondary was very active on Wednesday afternoon with numerous pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.

To many Colts fans the names in the secondary are still a bit foreign but ask Bethea, and the system is beginning to sound familiar with a year of experience.

“This time last year my head was spinning in circles but this year right now, I feel a lot more comfortable to really just go out there, make plays and use my athletic ability,” Bethea said.

“We are talking a lot more, very vocal and that’s a good thing.”

Back in 2006, there was Bethea as a rookie starting safety helping the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI.

Now he stands in the secondary as the elder statesmen, by a wide margin, and it’s the hunger he sees in the guys around him that has the No. 41 striving to get back to the game’s pinnacle.

“We’ve got some young guys that are ready to step in and help this team, so I’m excited,” Bethea said. “I’m pretty sure they’re excited. I’m sure it’s overwhelming right now with everything that the coaches are throwing at them but they are doing a good job.”


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THREE COLTS PLAYERS HAVE BRAGGING RIGHTS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT

Posted by Kevin Bowen on March 27, 2013 – 12:20 pm

The NCAA Tournament has been trimmed down to the Sweet 16 and for nearly all the 75 players currently on the Colts roster, fandom will have to turn elsewhere than the colleges they attended.

For wide receiver Reggie Wayne (Miami), nose tackle Brandon McKinney (Michigan State) and running back Delone Carter (Syracuse) hope is still there to watch their respective schools cut down the nets in Atlanta a week from Monday.

For others like Erik Walden (Middle Tennessee State) the dream died in the play-in game.

A trio of Ole Miss Rebels (cornerbacks Marsahy Green/Cassius Vaughn and offensive tackle Bradley Sowell) saw their school go from a No. 13 seed to a shot away from making the Sweet Sixteen.

Players that saw their schools bow out in round of 64 included: safety Sergio Brown/running back Robert Hughes (Notre Dame), outside linebacker Justin Hickman (UCLA), offensive tackle Ben Ijalana (Villanova), offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach/defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews (Cincinnati), wide receiver Jabin Sambrano (Montana), nose tackle Martin Tevaseu (UNLV) and kicker Adam Vinatieri (South Dakota State).

Defensive tackle Kellen Heard (Memphis) watched his Tigers drop a round of 32 matchup with McKinney’s Spartans.


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