It’s a feeling that 31-of-32- teams in the NFL feel at the end of each season.
For the Colts, pundits thought that feeling wouldn’t come in the playoffs but Indianapolis defied those odds by earning a spot into the postseason.
Just 30 minutes after having your season come to an end isn’t the ideal time to reflect on the past year but the Colts players know that the growth created in 2012 will lead to a motivational offseason.
“Hopefully, this is a good learning stone for us. Hopefully we can take this and take this season and learn from it, good and bad,” wide receiver Reggie Wayne said.
“We’re such a young team, we got the feel of it, we got what a playoff game feels like, especially on the road. So we can use this as a learning tool and we’ll have a bad taste in our mouth this offseason. And hopefully we can capitalize on that.”
Wayne has been through this ordeal before in suffering a playoff defeat before coming back and returning to make a deeper run in the postseason the following season.
The veterans made sure to speak up following Sunday’s 24-9 AFC Wild Card defeat in delivering a message they hoped resonates with their younger teammates.
“We just said remember how this feels, so that when next year gets here we won’t have to go through this,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Just remember how we ended the season, when we’re lifting weights, do whatever we have to do so that next year we can just keep it going.”
Along with the players, Sunday’s contest brought an end to an extremely emotional season for the Colts coaching staff.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was not able to attend the game on Sunday after being taken to a local Baltimore hospital earlier that morning.
It was another case of ‘next man up’ for the Colts and Chuck Pagano will head into his first complete NFL offseason as a head coach with the itch of wanting to get back to work in continuing to ‘build the monster.’
“I just, and again, remember this feeling,” Pagano said of what he told his players in the postgame locker room. “Because we’ve got the foundation, the foundation is set. We said we were going to build one on rock and not on sand, because you can weather storms like this and you can learn from times like this.”
“The disappointment and the feelings that they all have right now, that’s what is going to propel us to 2013. That’s what’s going to motivate us to come back and work even harder. We’ve got a young group, as you know, and we’ve got a bright future.”
Tags: Antione Bethea, chuck pagano, Reggie Wayne
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The players can sense it.
Less than three days away from finally having the chance to play against someone other than their teammates.
All the offseason talk can finally be put into action as the Indianapolis Colts open up their preseason slate with the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I’m anticipating it. I can’t say I know exactly what we’re going to look like, but I know one thing, we’re going to go out there and play hard,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “We’re going to go out there and play hard. Coach Pagano just instills all the time, don’t beat ourselves. I think that’s one thing that the fans will see, guys out there playing hard.”
For established veterans like Bethea, the preseason will be treated differently than it would be for the younger players fighting for a spot on the opening day roster.
Bethea admitted he will only play a select number of plays knowing that his body needs to handle a 16-game schedule starting in September.
Flip to the other side of the experience meter and you get a second-year player like wide receiver Kris Adams.
After being on three different practice squads during his rookie season last year, Adams is hoping to find a secure spot on the Colts roster.
For a player like Adams, the preseason games take on even more weight, especially if you have struggled during the early part of training camp.
“Last year when I was with Chicago, I came out and had a big first preseason game. I wasn’t doing fairly well in practice and that got me noticed,” Adams said.
“I think (the Bears) gave me the opportunity to stick around there for a little while. I’m doing fine in practice, so I just want to keep that preseason thing going along like it was last year.”
Many times the final roster spots come down to those players who excel on special teams and can help a team in a phase that is often overlooked.
Running back Mewelde Moore is taking part in his ninth NFL training camp and doesn’t take a single game for granted.
“I’m very excited about it,” Moore said. “It’s something we’ve been born to do. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about to get out there and play our first preseason game.”
Tags: Antione Bethea, chuck pagano, Kris Adams, Mewelde Moore
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As veterans in the Colts secondary, safety Antoine Bethea and cornerback Jerraud Powers have taken on a strong voice in the team’s locker room.
Both have been mainstays in the starting lineup during their careers with the Colts, and have helped mentor a young secondary this training camp.
Who is the third most experienced returnee in the 20-member Colts secondary?
That distinction would fall to No. 37 Brandon King.
“I’ve got to prove everything just like everybody else does,” King said. “It’s a performance-based league. You get paid by how you perform. So if you don’t perform you can’t get paid.”
King’s performance during the team’s first week and a half of training camp has been impressive. The Purdue product has three interceptions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
This is King’s third season on the Colts roster. After spending all of 2010 with the team, he was on the Dolphins roster until December of 2011 when the Colts signed him off Miami’s practice squad for the remainder of the year.
In fighting for a spot in a crowded secondary, King keeps things simple heading into the first preseason game of the year.
“Just being consistent,” King said. “You’ve got to make plays. But just being consistent and playing to the best of my ability and just playing team defense.”
The 2012 training camp is the third one King has spent with the Colts but this is the first time the team faced a little adversity in having to leave Anderson on Thursday due to inclement weather.
“I’ve never been back to (Indianapolis) for practice during camp. We’re going to make the best of it though. They always make sure we get all our work in,” he said.
The Colts did get their work in back at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Facility, as the team put the pads back on after a day off on Wednesday.
At 25 years of age, King definitely doesn’t consider himself ‘old,’ but he did offer some advice for his ‘younger’ teammates.
“Don’t ever take anything for granted, go hard every chance you get, and make the most out of every repetition you get,” he said.
Tags: Antione Bethea, Brandon King, jerraud powers
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By number only, 25 years-old isn’t normally considered an age for a ‘leader’ in the NFL.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers provides an example of exactly that.
First, Powers is of a rare breed. He went out of his way to take a leadership role early in his NFL career.
Second, the cornerback position that Powers is currently leading has 10 other players that have combined to play a total of four seasons with the Colts.
Put those two things together and Powers is the go-to man on and off the field at the cornerback spot during the 2012 training camp.
“I’ve got to speak up a little bit and let those guys hear and see what and how it should be done, the right way,” Powers said. “I’ve been embracing everything that’s happened this whole entire offseason, with the new staff, new front office, new players and all that.”
On the field Powers has been leading with his play. During the Colts’ first two days with pads on, Powers made a diving play to break up a potential touchdown in the end zone and then had an interception return for a touchdown on Thursday.
“We’ve been having a tremendous camp at the corner position, a lot of competition at the position. I think it’s bringing the best out of everybody,” Powers said. “We were looked at as a thin group but we got some guys that are going to prove themselves. I think we are going to be pretty deep at the position when it’s all said and done.”
Safety Antoine Bethea and Powers are the only players in the Colts secondary that have had more than two years with the team.
With a relatively inexperienced secondary entering training camp, Powers knew that he had to tweak his leadership style in order to handle so many new faces.
“The young guys in the secondary know if they need anything from me as far as trying to study the playbook extra to do that. They can just come to me and I’ll be right there to do it. I’m more of a guy that tries to lead by action rather than words. I’m not a big ‘rah rah’ guy but I think this year is a year we have so many young guys, I have to speak up more,” Powers said.
The message throughout training camp from all units is the feeling that everyone is buying into the new system. Even though people on the outside have their doubts about the Colts, those on the inside are ready to prove the doubters wrong.
“As a team, everybody has bought in and has embraced the challenges that we have coming ahead and they’re embracing the idea of everybody sort of having their back turned to us now, probably one of the first times in Indy. Everybody is embracing it and I think we are building something special and I think they brought in the right guys to do it,” Powers said.
Tags: Antione Bethea, jerraud powers
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