After a quiet week on the transaction front, the Colts broke that silence on Thursday afternoon when they signed former Army linebacker Josh McNary.
McNary’s playing career at Army ended in 2010 and he left West Point as one of the most decorated Cadets on and off the gridiron.
How does this acquisition impact the Colts?
First, let’s talk about McNary the player.
What McNary might lack in prototypical NFL-type size he makes up for with his pass rushing ability.
The 6-0, 250-pound linebacker thrived as an elite pass rusher during his time at Army. He set school records in tackles for loss (48.5) and sacks (27.5).
McNary moved to defensive end during his sophomore season but at just 250 pounds, one would think that a standup, probably outside linebacker, position would be a better fit at the next level.
With Dwight Freeney no longer in a Colts uniform, the need is there for a pass rusher opposite Pro Bowl outside linebacker Robert Mathis.
Head Coach Chuck Pagano has preached the need for competition throughout the entire roster. When McNary arrives to Indianapolis (upon finishing his active duty) you can expect to add his name to the group of Justin Hickman, Jerry Hughes, Lawrence Sidbury and Erik Walden as edge rushers.
Off the field, McNary embodied what Army is looking for in its student athletes.
The former walk-on was recipient of the 2011 Pat Tillman Award, which is given to a player at the East-West Shrine Game who ‘best demonstrates service, character and sportsmanship.’
After McNary’s playing career came to an end in 2011, he served, and is continuing to serve, in the United States Military.
All in all, the Colts are getting a high character individual, who was one of college football’s most disruptive pass rushers from 2008-2010.
Tags: josh mcnary
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The Indianapolis Colts today signed free agent linebacker Josh McNary and placed him on the team’s Reserve/Military List. McNary, who is currently commissioned in the United States Army, will finish his active duty service prior to joining the team.
“Josh had an outstanding career at West Point,” said General Manager Ryan Grigson. “His production speaks for itself, but his intangibles rival any stats. He is still fulfilling the commitment he made to serving our country, but we look forward to him wearing the horseshoe here in the near future.”
McNary, 6-0, 251 pounds, finished his career as Army’s all-time leader in sacks (28.0) and tackles for loss (49), while adding 195 tackles (117 solo), nine passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He is the only player in school history to record two double-digit sack seasons and also holds school records for the most sacks in a single game (4.0) and a single season (12.5).
As a senior in 2010, McNary capped off his career by returning a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown in the Black Knights’ 16-14 victory over Southern Methodist University in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The win gave Army its first winning season since 1996 and first postseason victory since the 1985 Peach Bowl.
Following his senior year, McNary was honored with the 2011 East-West Shrine Game Pat Tillman Award, given to the player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service. The award is about a student-athlete’s achievements and conduct, both on and off the field. Upon his graduation from West Point, McNary was commissioned as an officer in the Army, which prevented him from being selected in the 2011 NFL Draft.
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Monday is the first day of club’s voluntary nine-week off-season program that is conducted in three phases.
The first phase runs two weeks and includes strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Players are starting to filter into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center a bit more these days, and one of the most seasoned veterans has a feeling of excitement and expectation.
Only once has Antoine Bethea had a non-winning season. Last year had a better feel for him as the club jumped back to 11-5.
“It most definitely was a stepping stone, heading back in the right direction,” said Bethea. “The year before we had a down year, but the new pieces that came into the building last year did a great job of coming together.
“We were just trying to reach that common goal (of the Super Bowl), but we fell short. This year we have a lot to look forward to.”
Last season brought a number of new faces to Indianapolis with the additions of Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano.
Year Two of their regime has seen the club shop heavily in unrestricted free agency, and the club landed safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Greg Toler to bolster the secondary.
Landry, 6-0, 220, is a physical presence described by Grigson as an “absolute game changer and a true impact player.” Landry has started 79 career games with Washington and the New York Jets, making the Pro Bowl last season.
Toler, 6-0, 192, is a snap-to-whistle player, too, and he will try to help the club solidify a corner position opposite of Vontae Davis.
“They’re two good football players. I’m very excited to go out on the field and play with those guys,” said Bethea. “LaRon is a specimen out there, a big, physical guy. To line up alongside him and make plays (is exciting). Toler is a good corner. I’m ready to go out there, get together and do some good things.”
Spring work is not on the level of training camp, but it is vitally important to the gelling of a team. Almost no unit needs it more than the secondary, and Bethea seeks comfort with all members of the secondary during the spring.
“The plan is to build the camaraderie and feel comfortable with one another out there on the playing field. That’s the main thing,” said Bethea. “Once you go out there, you can play well with one another, know what each other’s going to do without really even thinking about it. That’s what builds a great team.
“We want to be a great team, be close on and off the field. The off-season training, you go out and have some fun and get ready for the season.”
Phase Two goes for three weeks. On-field workouts can include individual player instruction and drills. Team practice is fine as long as it is done on a separate basis, and no contact or team offense-versus-defense work is permitted.
Phase Three is the final four weeks. Teams may have a total of 10 days of organized team practice (called OTAs). No contact is allowed again, but seven-on-seven, nine-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills are part of the process.
The Colts will hold a rookie mini-camp from May 10-12, and the mandatory veteran mini-camp is June 11-13, including a practice at Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday, June 12 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. that is open to the public.
Tags: antoine bethea, greg toler, indianapolis colts, laron landry
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Between now and the beginning of the NFL Draft (April 25), Colts.com will take an offseason look at each of the Colts 2013 opponents. The second installment comes today with the Tennessee Titans:
Tennessee Titans 2013 Offseason:
2012 Season: 6-10 regular season. Finished 3rd in the AFC South.
Key Offseason Additions: QB-Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB-Shonn Greene, OG-Andy Levitre, S-Bernard Pollard, TE-Delanie Walker, WR-Kevin Walter.
Key Offseason Losses: S-Jordan Babineaux (Free Agent), TE-Jared Cook (Rams), QB-Matt Hasselbeck (Colts), T-Steve Hutchinson (Retirement).
2013 Draft Picks: 1-10, 2-40, 3-70, 3-97, 4-107, 5-142, 6-202, 7-216, 7-248
Analysis: During the Colts/Titans Oct. 29 meeting, one overtime flip from Vick Ballard catapulted Indianapolis into a run to the playoffs but sent Tennessee into a downward spiral. The Titans lost six of their final nine games. Quarterback Jake Locker is now entering his third season in the NFL and after a strong free agency, the Titans seem primed to challenge the top of the AFC South.
The Titans made a few splashes in the free agency period, many coming on the offensive side of the ball. Levitre was thought to be one of the top offensive linemen in this year’s free agent class and he will upgrade the interior of the Titans offensive line. Walter comes over from division rival Houston and provides some veteran leadership in a young receiving corps. Walker is a versatile piece that showcased his ability to do a number of things during his time with the 49ers. While Titans fans hope new backup quarterback Fitzpatrick doesn’t see the field often, former Jets running back Shonn Greene will spell Pro Bowl back Chris Johnson.
Pollard gives the Titans a physical presence at the safety position and he will step in for a 12-game starter in Babineaux. The Titans added some depth along the defensive front but it’s Pollard, the former Baltimore Raven, that headlines the free agent class on the defensive side of the football.
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COLTS NEWS (LOCAL AND NATIONAL)
Indianapolis Colts season ticket sales have returned to Peyton Manning-era renewal rates
Indianapolis Colts’ worst draft picks: No. 7, cornerback Don Anderson
Say it’s so, Joe: Former Colts offer Flacco tips for playing Unitas
Colts sign former army standout Josh McNary
AFC SOUTH BLOG
A peek into Todd McShay’s new mock
Texans re-sign ILB Dobbins for 1 year
Tennessee Titans new wideout Kevin Walter expects to keep pace
Getting the word out on Jaguars’ London appearance
Ravens, Rolando McClain agree
Richard Sherman: ‘Half the league’ takes Adderall
Hall expects record turnout for 50th year
Peyton Manning throws to Wes Welker at workout
NFC TEAM NEWS
Te’o makes pre-draft visit to Bears
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