With 20 years of NFL experience, Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has seen his fair share of exceptional talents.
From Pro Bowlers to Hall of Famers, Arians has coached and coached against numerous players with endless resumes.
Arians had the privilege to coach former Colts running back Edgerrin James for his first two seasons (1999-2000) in the NFL and hasn’t seen a finer back.
“As good as there’s ever been in my opinion,” Arians said of James. “I mean he could do it all. He’s in the top five or six backs to ever play the game in my opinion. He was fun-loving, he practiced hard, he played hard, and I just have great, great memories of him.”
James will be inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday’s contest with the Jaguars.
Memories of James ran through Arians head on Thursday as he recalled what type of player James was on the field.
“He never had to come out of the game, never would come out of the game,” Arians said. “I had to laugh because we were talking about it this morning, it’s kind of become fashionable now for a running back to fall down at the end of the game when all the defensive guys are going to let you score. Edge said, ‘I ain’t falling down, I’m going in for a touchdown.’
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis is just one of three Colts players on the current roster who called James a ‘teammate’ in Indianapolis.
Mathis played his first three seasons in the NFL with James and enjoyed how No. 32 always seemed to ‘lighten the mood’ in the Colts locker room.
“I view him as a big brother because he helped show the ropes and helped you out,” Mathis said. “He’s not a guy that’s going to tear anybody else down in the locker room to build himself on. He’s going to bring you up to this level.”
“You couldn’t ask for a better teammate. It will be a good to see him and he’s well-deserving of his honor.”
Since James retired from the NFL in 2009, there has been a lot of debate on whether or not he will find himself in Canton, Ohio one day.
If it was up to Arians, that would not even be a question.
“Oh there’s no doubt, first ballot, has to be,” Arians said of James’ Hall of Fame candidacy. “With all the things he did early in his career and then finishing up. Everybody ahead of him is already in. A lot of people were upset when we traded Marshall (Faulk) and didn’t take Ricky Williams, but Bill (Polian) knew what he was doing.”
Tags: bruce arians, Edgerrin James, robert mathis
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It wasn’t one of the main attributes pundits raved about when explaining why Andrew Luck had the tools to be selected with the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
But when things have bogged down in the passing game early on in the regular season, Luck has shown the ability to use his legs, not his arm, to keep plays alive.
Against the Vikings on Sunday, Luck twice had seven-yard runs on designed pass plays, not to mention the numerous times he avoided pressure in the pocket to buy time and make completions.
Despite having the knack to make positive plays with his feet, Luck isn’t oblivious to the fact that his strength is throwing the football.
“I think I know that there are players much more capable of running on this team than I am, so let’s get the ball in those guys’ hands,” Luck said with a smile on Wednesday. “If a first down is needed on third down, then I think if the running is there, then I’ll try and take it.”
Luck knows that even though running might seem like the best option at the time, his health is the most important factor.
He is just two games into his professional career and while he hasn’t admitted to many things being a challenge for him, taking on an NFL defender isn’t likely to be on the horizon.
“I think I realized that one hit in the NFL is equivalent to about 10 in college. Try and minimize those,” Luck said. “As a quarterback you don’t have to prove your toughness by trying to run people over. It’s much more important to take care of your body and slide.”
The execution of the slide is something head coach Chuck Pagano would like to see his quarterback improve on.
It might seem minute compared to everything else Luck is dealing with, but Pagano knows first hand the importance of keeping your starting signal caller healthy.
“We’ll continue to make a point of emphasis with Andrew as far as extending plays and getting first downs when he can get first downs, but certainly we’d love him to get out of bounds, slide, throw the ball away whenever possible,” Pagano said.
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano
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