The Indianapolis Colts today signed linebacker Jamaal Westerman to the active roster, activated offensive guard Seth Olsen from Injured Reserve and placed linebacker Justin Hickman on Injured Reserve. The team also signed running back Alvester Alexander and tight end Dominique Jones to the practice squad and released cornerback Isaiah Green and tight end Martell Webb from the practice squad.
Westerman, 6-3, 260 pounds, has played in 41 games (three starts) over his four-year career, making 31 tackles (25 solo), 4.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. This season, he contributed with two special teams tackles in five games with the Arizona Cardinals. Westerman was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 1, 2009. He then signed with the Miami Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent on March 20, 2012 and was waived on August 31. Westerman was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals on September 1 and was waived on November 21.
Olsen, 6-5, 305 pounds, started at left guard for the first three games this season and has played in a total of 12 games (four starts) in his career. He was placed on Injured Reserve on October 8, 2012 and returned to practice on November 28. Olsen was originally acquired by the Colts from waivers on September 12, 2011.
Hickman, 6-2, 258 pounds, has recorded 14 tackles (six solo) and one pass defensed in 12 games this season. He was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on February 9, 2012.
Alexander, 5-11, 204 pounds, was originally signed by the Colts on August 15, 2012 before being waived on August 26. He was signed to the practice squad on September 3 and released on October 9. Alexander was then signed back to the practice squad on October 30 and released on November 20.
Jones, 6-3, 255 pounds, has one reception for eight yards in four games (one start) this season. He was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent on April 30, 2012 before being waived on October 8. He was signed to the practice squad on October 10 and released on October 16. Jones was then signed to the Miami Dolphins practice squad on October 23 and released on November 19. Jones was signed back to the Colts active roster on November 21 and waived on December 3.
Green, 5-10, 180 pounds, was signed to the Colts practice squad on October 9, 2012. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills on May 31, 2012.
Webb, 6-3, 276 pounds, was signed to the Colts practice squad on November 13, 2012. He was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent on July 26, 2011 and was released on August 29. After spending time on New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squads, Webb signed with the Arizona Cardinals on January 5, 2012 and was waived on August 31.
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The race for the NFL’s Rookie of the Year is basically a two-horse race right now between the Colts’ Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, and Robert Griffin III, whom the Redskins traded up to take with the second pick. The airwaves are loaded with the debate over who is more deserving. As one who has had the privilege of watching Luck since his first snaps at mini-camp, let me lay out the argument for why Luck deserves the award over RGIII.
Before getting into the argument, a brief disclaimer. First, I’m a Colts beat writer. Obviously I’ve watched a lot more of Andrew Luck than I have of RGIII. That obviously influences my opinion. Second, there are still four games left to play in the regular season. An awful lot can happen between now and then. With that out of the way, onto the argument.
Statistical Most who support RGIII as rookie of the year start right away spouting statistics, specifically RGIII’s QB rating of 104.4 which puts him behind only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning in the NFL. By contrast, Andrew Luck ranks 29th, just below Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker at 76.1. While Griffin’s completion percentage and interception numbers far outstrip Luck’s that doesn’t tell the entire story.
Luck has attempted the second most passes in the NFL, 503, tied with Carson Palmer and just behind Matthew Stafford. What do all three of these players have in common? An almost non-existent running attack which puts a greater burden on the quarterback to generate offense. Griffin has attempted only 325 passes, second fewest of any QB to start every game for his team. Only Seattle rookie Russell Wilson has attempted fewer passes. What do these two have in common? Each has a 1000 yard rusher in their backfield.
Not only that, but both RGIII and Wilson are known for their ability to run the football. That means when their pockets break down, they’re likely to scramble for whatever yardage they can pick up. While Andrew Luck has been far more nimble that Peyton Manning ever dreamed of being, he’s simply thrown the ball away on more than a few occasions rather than take a sack.
Luck is fourth in the NFL in passing yardage. Griffin is 19th, almost a full thousand yards behind Luck. When we look a little deeper, we see that Luck’s passing yards account for 73% of the Colts’ total offensive output. He’s also rushed for 216 yards and five touchdowns, giving him a hand in 77% of the Colts’ total yardage and 85% of the Colts’ touchdowns.
RGIII, by comparison, accounts for only 54% of the Redskins’ total offense with his passing. Even when Griffin’s prolific rushing numbers are added in, he accounts for slightly less than 70% of Washington’s total offensive output. He has been a part of 74% of his team’s scoring plays.
Supporting Cast The above numbers spell out Luck’s case fairly well. Simply put, Luck has far more of an offensive burden on him as a rookie than does RGIII. RGIII also has the benefit of throwing to Santana Moss, a 12 year NFL veteran, and Pierre Garçon who is in his fifth year. Having those veterans to depend on has made a huge difference in RGIII’s ability to succeed.
Andrew Luck has had the incomparable Reggie Wayne and… a bunch of fellow rookies. TY Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, all figuring out the NFL right alongside their quarterback.
Let’s not forget that Luck has been taking snaps behind an offensive line that a) has only played a fraction of snaps together as a starting unit because of injuries and b) considered second-year tackle Anthony Castonzo the “returning veteran” of the group. It’s also important to note that while Andrew Luck entered the NFL alongside a brand-new head coach and offensive system being implemented team-wide, RGIII had the benefit of being under Mike and Kyle Shanahan who have been with the Redskins since 2010.
Winning The most compelling argument for Luck’s winning Rookie of the Year is team record. The Colts stand 8-4 and poised to make the playoffs. No other number one overall pick has even led his team to a winning season! Not Aikman, not Manning, no one. There’s a reason for that and it has a lot to do with why the team had the number one overall pick to begin with.
Washington is 6-6 and could still make the playoffs, which would be quite a feat for RGIII. Still, Washington traded up from the number six spot to take RGIII number two overall. They didn’t make the playoffs last season, but they weren’t exactly the dregs of the NFL either.
Robert Griffin III is a very, very good football player. He may even win a Super Bowl some day. In this, his rookie season, however, there is one better among his peers. Andrew Luck has put together a historic rookie season, one which will be the benchmark for rookies for a long time to come.
Chuck Chapman is entering his second season as the editor and lead writer for Colts 101. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals for the Sports Media 101. Chuck and his family are originally from Ohio, but have settled in Central Indiana and become big Colts fans. You can read Chuck’s other writing about the Colts at www.colts101.com.
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When Coby Fleener was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts at the top of the second round, his ability to create mismatches in the red zone was near the top of the list on why the Stanford tight end was so highly sought after.
It took a little longer than he was hoping but Colts fans saw the effectiveness the six-foot-six-inch Fleener can provide near the end zone on Sunday.
Isolated against Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, Fleener went over the smaller Levy and hauled in his first NFL touchdown on a 26-yarder midway through the second quarter.
The touchdown was then followed by an animated celebration and Fleener had to thank Colts fans for the idea.
“The dance was the jackhammer and it was actually sent to me via Twitter from a fan so I appreciated his creativity and I will send him some gloves for his creativity,” Fleener said to Bob Lamey on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show.’
Fleener returned to the field on Sunday for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the Colts 19-13 overtime victory against the Titans on Oct. 28.
“I was excited to get back,” he said. “To stand on the sidelines is a great view for a spectators position but honestly I wanted to help the team. Getting back on the field was the only way to do it.”
Even without the services of Fleener, the Colts have found themselves in numerous one-possession games this season.
Over the past four seasons, Fleener has watched quarterback Andrew Luck orchestrate similar comebacks late in the game, so these victories don’t come as a surprise to him.
“I never count Andrew out in anything that he does,” Fleener said. “He’s a great a kid and a superb football player so I was really proud of what he did (Sunday).”
“We’ve been in situations like that before, games like that before and have come out on top in the past, so we knew it was a possibility. It was just a mentality of one play-at-a-time.”
Missing the past four games wasn’t how Fleener envisioned his rookie season after he played 51 games over four seasons at Stanford.
The All-American tight end caught 17 touchdowns over his final two seasons and was one of two tight ends the Colts selected in the first three rounds of April’s NFL Draft.
Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen and Fleener have both excelled in their first season with Bruce Arians’ offense and the duo has formed a friendship away from the gridiron.
“I think you have to give credit to (Ryan Grigson) and the scouting department in really picking quality guys that would mesh well together,” Fleener said.
“Dwayne Allen and I, despite competing for positions, get along great and are constantly joking back and forth,” Fleener said. “It’s not an ‘at each other’s throat type of rivalry.’ It’s basically we are all trying to make the team better. We are always trying to communicate any little things that we see and trying to really help the other guy with stuff that he may not catch during the game.”
With Fleener back in the lineup, the number of rookies on the Colts offense is at eight and that number helped the Colts move their record to 8-4 while recording their third road victory of 2012 over the weekend.
“Any win that we can get in the NFL is huge. It’s tough to win in this league and anytime you can sneak out with a one-point victory, or a 30-point victory, it makes no difference to us, it’s still a win in the ‘W’ column,” Fleener said.
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen
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Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians covered a variety of topics on Monday evening while on the ‘Pagano Show’ hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey. Below are some of the highlights:
On following LaVon Bazill’s 42-yard touchdown to make the score 33-28, if he thought the Colts would win:
“There was no doubt. I knew if we could get it back to a one score game, our guys were going to fight on defense to get the ball back to us with as much time as we could possibly have left on the clock using our timeouts so that we could win the game.”
On the continued success in one-possession games this season:
“They find ways to win. Again, I always go back to the veteran leadership in the room. It’s quality people leading them and then the young players having enough talent and enough gumption about themselves to make sure that they don’t let anybody down.”
On the play of the offensive line on Sunday that included backups Jeff Linkenbach and A.Q. Shipley filling in throughout the game:
“That’s the one nice thing about having back-to-back two-minute drills, you tire out the defensive line pretty good. You can’t say enough about Link. He played over 60 some plays, two different positions, no mental errors, played his heart out. It isn’t always pretty but there is a great effort and tenacity about him. A.Q. is a good, little football player. He’s always telling me that he can play guard. He got his shot and he did a nice job. You can’t give them enough praise for it.”
On the closeness of the team and the numerous players that have been added to the roster throughout the season without missing a beat:
“They will welcome anyone who is willing to put their hand in the pile. We’ve had to call guys in and sign guys, probably four or five guys have had to jump out there and play. I’ve had to learn some names quick. They did a heck of a job. Delano Howell did a good job on special teams and I think Kellen Heard has a chance to help us down the road here on the defensive line.”
On the Tennessee Titans and how they’ve changed since the team’s first meeting, six weeks ago:
“They’ve gotten better and better. The injury bug has hit them to like everybody else. They are as explosive as they’ve ever been, if Kenny Britt plays. Chris Johnson is as good as it gets. We’ve got our work cut out for us. They gave us problems with their pass rush down in Nashville that we’re going to have to work on. I think we’ve gotten a little bit better also so I think it’s going to be a fun game. If we get the crowd going like we always do, I like our chances.”
On the biggest advantage to playing at Lucas Oil Stadium with two home games remaining:
“I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s the crowd, especially when the roof’s closed. You can’t communicate hardly at all offensively, snap count is pretty much useless, you just watch the ball. If an offensive lineman is looking at the ball, he’s not going to get off on time with his eyes back on his target because you play the game with your eyes. So it’s a huge, huge advantage when the guy next to you can’t even communicate, offensive lineman especially.”
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, bruce arians, Delano Howell, Jeff Linkenbach, Kellen Heard, LaVon Brazill
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Taking over at the Indianapolis 15-yard line with 4:02 remaining and down by 12 points, the Colts executed two efficient touchdown drives with a pair of timeouts in recording their seventh one-possession victory of the 2012 season.
Brazill’s 42-yard touchdown:
The scene: Down 33-21, the Colts take over following a Detroit punt at their own 15-yard line with 4:02 remaining.
The anatomy of the drive: Eight plays, for 85 yards in 1:23. The drive included quarterback Andrew Luck scrambling for eight yards on a fourth-and-two from the Indianapolis 23-yard line.
Key play: With the Colts facing a third-and-five at the Detroit 49-yard line with 3:12 to play, Luck found running back Vick Ballard for a seven-yard reception. The third down conversion was the first for the Colts in over three quarters and on the next play…
The score: Luck was flushed from the pocket and rolled to his left. As he felt the pressure from his backside, Luck flung the ball into the end zone and found rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill for the 42-yard touchdown. With the Lions defense focused on a corner pattern towards the sideline for Reggie Wayne, Brazill slipped past the secondary for his first career NFL touchdown.
Avery’s 14-yard touchdown:
The scene: Down 33-28, the Colts take over following a Detroit punt at their own 25-yard line with 1:07 left and no timeouts remaining.
The anatomy of the drive: 11 plays, for 75 yards in 1:07. The drive included Luck carrying the ball twice for 25 yards, including breaking two tackles on his initial rush of nine yards. Then later in the drive, Luck out ran Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the sideline for a 16-yard gain.
Key play: With the Colts facing a third-and-one at the Indianapolis 34-yard line with 52 seconds remaining, Reggie Wayne lined up in the middle of a trips set to the left. Wayne had a quiet afternoon by his standards, but he found a seam in between a trio of Lions defenders and Luck placed the ball perfectly over two of them into the outstretched arms of Wayne for a 26-yard gain into Lions territory.
The score: With a five wide receiver set, wide receiver Donnie Avery lined up furthest to the left as the Colts faced a fourth-and-10 with three seconds remaining from the Lions 14-yard line. On the snap, Luck rolled to his right and found Avery underneath at the 10-yard line. The speedster turned up field and beat the Lions defenders to the goal line for the Colts first game-winning touchdown as regulation expired since 1990.
Tags: Andrew Luck, donnie avery, LaVon Brazill, Reggie Wayne, vick ballard
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