At first Dwayne Allen was worried.
After drafting a tight end in the second round of April’s NFL Draft, the Colts went back to the same position and selected Allen with the first pick of the third round.
Not knowing where he would actually fit into an offense that had chosen a guy at the same position in the round before, Allen can now put those worries away thanks to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
“Initially it’s, where do I fit? Then when I found out that Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator I knew exactly where I fit into this offense and where he sees me in this offense,” Allen said.
The Colts wrapped up their second practice in pads of the 2012 training camp on Thursday afternoon. Arians signaled out Allen as one of the players that has caught his eye early on in training camp.
“I’ve been really pleased with him. His strength is evident. It’s very hard for a young tight end to come in and block at this level, and he’s shown an outstanding effort and ability to do it,” Arians said.
“His pass catching is – everybody thinks of Coby (Fleener) as a pass catcher – but the guy has got really good hands, and he’s probably as sudden a guy with the ball in his hands as I’ve seen in a while at tight end.”
The two tight ends have served as a nice compliment to each other and provided quarterback Andrew Luck with a pair of big-bodied targets to look for in the passing game.
Luck and Fleener’s chemistry is well documented dating back to their days at Stanford and Arians has been impressed by the 6-foot-6-inch tight end’s ability in both the receiving and running game.
“More than anything, he can catch the football. But I’m really pleased with his in-line blocking and inside run drills. He’s been extremely good at the tight end position, and that was a pleasant surprise,” Arians said of Fleener.
One thing that Arians made clear on Thursday afternoon was he doesn’t believe you can strictly classify the two rookie tight ends as a ‘pass catcher’ and a ‘blocker.’ He believes both guys can do each, and expects them to.
“I think they’re both complete. They both can block, they both can catch, they can split out wide. Dwayne (Allen) is more suitable to put in the backfield than Coby (Fleener). Between the two, we can cover all our bases and be multiple in all our different sets without substitutions,” Arians said.
Throughout the early part of training camp, Luck has found his two tight ends often and both are expected to have a vital role in the offense.
It remains to be seen how Arians will use the two tight ends but he said it’s up to them more than anything now that the offense is almost fully installed.
“Most of it is how much they can handle. With their ability we can come up with different packages every week with two or three guys, and have them in a lot of places where we think we can create a mismatch,” Arians said.
“We found a good one with Coby (Fleener) and a linebacker in the red zone today. Andrew (Luck) found him for a touchdown. So it’s just trying to create mismatches with those guys, either lined up at tight end or out wide.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen
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The relationship goes both ways, coaches getting to know players and players getting to know coaches.
That has been the theme of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts as virtually a new coaching staff has been paired with a ton of new faces in the locker room.
Over the course of the offseason, the Colts brought in three former Baltimore Ravens who are some of the few Colts players that had previous ties to head coach Chuck Pagano.
Safety Tom Zbikowski had Pagano as a position coach from 2008-2010, and a defensive coordinator in 2011.
He says although Pagano is in a different role this season and has more to deal with, he still sees the same guy.
“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive backs coach, as a defensive coordinator. He’s a players’ coach.” Zbikowski said.
“It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Building off that ‘players’ coach’ mentality, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the top or bottom of the depth chart, Pagano is determined to get to know each and every one of his players.
“(Coach) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said of Pagano. “From the guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”
Former Ravens Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding have joined Zbikowski as new Colts.
For the 10-year veteran in Redding, taking a role as a leader in helping his new teammates get to know their new coach is nothing new to him.
Redding spent last season playing under Pagano’s defense and hasn’t seen a bit of change from his new head coach.
“Same guy, same mentality. The approach he’s having with us as a head coach is the exact same approach he took the year he was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens. Straight up, tell it like it is,” Redding said.
The three new defenders are helping their teammates learn a new hybrid 3-4 system that at times might seem a bit foreign.
Helping their new teammates with the X’s and O’s part of the scheme is one thing, but Redding wants to make it clear he is here for all teammates in helping to them get to know their coach on a personal level.
“The guys can react in a certain way, but to have all three voices in the locker room to let the guys know why Chuck said what he said, why Chuck is doing some of the things that he’s doing that kind of eases the guys’ minds,” Redding said.
“Then they’re like ‘OK, we’ll trust the system, we’ll trust you guys, because you have been there, you understand and you all know him, so we’re going to go ahead and trust him.’ And that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room who have been there before us. They’re willing to accept change. Change is great and this one will be great. So as long as everybody gets on board it will be fine.”
Tags: brandon mckinney, chuck pagano, cory redding, tom zbikowski
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Perhaps no unit on the Colts roster was happier to have a full offseason in 2012 than the offensive line.
Injuries riddled the offensive line throughout the 2011 season and four new veteran faces made their way to Indianapolis via free agency or trade this offseason.
As the first week of training camp is nearing a close, the new faces along the line are pleased with the progress they are making.
“So far, I think it’s going good,” offensive tackle Winston Justice said. “I still think we have a lot to work on, but so does every other offensive line in the NFL. I just think we have guys that want to get better and that’s all you can really ask for at this point.”
Justice was acquired via trade during the offseason and has started 31 NFL games with the Philadelphia Eagles in his six NFL seasons.
A day after trading for Justice on March 14, the Colts made another move along the offensive line in signing offensive guard Mike McGlynn.
The combination of Justice and McGlynn provided some continuity for the two as they spent three seasons together in Philadelphia.
“I played with Winston (Justice) in Philly so that’s a familiarly to me that’s been a smooth transition,” McGlynn said.
Getting the line to gel together is always a vital key for any group, but takes on added importance in protecting a rookie quarterback. That will still be the case come September but even McGlynn admitted this quarterback isn’t your typical rookie.
“Normally, yes but with Andrew (Luck) he’s not the normal quarterback,” McGlynn said. “Normally with a rookie there’s growing pains, but this guys sharp and he’s on his game.”
Protecting for Luck will be goal number one for the unit and Justice is glad that this unit all shares the same objective.
“The best thing we have is a drive to be better,” Justice said. “I think this group really puts the team first and we just want to be the best individual players we can be and the best line we can be too.”
The four new faces along the offensive line have a combined 25 years of NFL experience and they will mix with some young returnees who are early in their NFL careers.
When asked if the normal amount of time for an offensive unit to feel organized is around a year, McGlynn is hoping this line has higher expectations.
“I think that’s fair, but we don’t want to look at it that way. We want it right now,” McGlynn said. “Like I said, we’ve got that chip on our shoulders. Nobody is expecting anything out of us so we want to make sure these guys in this room are ready to go so we can surprise a lot of people.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, mike mcglynn, winston justice
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Hey Colts Nation, long time no talk guys! Sorry, I’ve been busy working on some things that are going to make the 2012 Colts season very fun and exciting. That’s all the time I have for explaining, now onto football!
I can’t believe that we’re less than two weeks away from the first preseason game of the 2012 season. For the first time ever, that I can remember, I am excited about the preseason. As Jim Irsay said this past week, “the preseason takes on a special meaning now,” and boy does it ever.
This year’s preseason will the first time we will see many of the rookies and new players in their Colts uniforms. It will also allow us to see some of the hard work these guys have done in the offseason to prepare. Most importantly, it will be the first kickoff of the “new era,” one that seems to have all the characteristics of something special. If you’re not excited about that then you should check your pulse.
I’ve been lucky enough to make it up to Anderson University for a couple of practices and it’s been really good to see some of these piece slowly but surely come together. There also seems to be a new sense of excitement and energy from everyone on the field. If you’ve been to a practice then you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, well then you need to make it up to training camp to see for yourself!
Well those are a few things that are on my mind for today. I will be back here soon to talk about some more training camp and of course I will be taking a deeper look into the first preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, http://twitter.com/ColtsFanCasey
Yours in Football,
P.S. I will have more information on it soon, but I have a neat way that I am going to scour Colts Nation and find the best tailgaters out there. Get excited, because you should be!
Posted in Colts Casey B, Voice of the Fans | No Comments »
The Indianapolis Colts have announced that a limited number of single-game tickets for the team’s eight regular season home games are available for purchase on Tuesday, August 7 at 10 a.m. Tickets for the Colts vs. Packers game are only available as part of a two-game package that includes the Cincinnati Bengals preseason game. Ticket prices per game are $48, $58, $79, $109 and $136.
Fans can purchase tickets while they last at the Lucas Oil Stadium ticket office or by visiting Ticketmaster ticket centers. Purchases can also be made by calling 800-745-3000 or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.
A limited number of season and group tickets are also available. Fans can call 317-299-4WIN for more information.
Date Opponent Time
8/12 ST. LOUIS 1:30 p.m.
8/30 CINCINNATI 7 p.m.
Date Opponent Time
9/16 MINNESOTA 1 p.m.
9/23 JACKSONVILLE 1 p.m.
10/7 GREEN BAY 1 p.m.
10/21 CLEVELAND 1 p.m.
11/4 MIAMI 1 p.m.
11/25 BUFFALO 1 p.m.*
12/9 TENNESSEE 1 p.m.*
12/30 HOUSTON 1 p.m.*
* Denotes Flexible Scheduling
Posted in Colts Blog | 7 Comments »