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Pagano talks the 6-4 Cardinals, the Colts improving on 3rd downs and a Reggie Wayne update

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 19, 2013 – 9:19 am

With the regular season back in action, the Chuck Pagano show returns hosted by ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey on Monday nights.

Here’s some of the highlights from Pagano’s show following the team’s 30-27 victory over the Titans:

On moving on from Thursday night and gearing for the final six weeks:

“We’ve got to move on. Guys were back in the building (Monday) morning and it was great to have them back. We got things cleaned up from that game that we needed. It’s in the rearview mirror and it’s on to Arizona and preparing for that game. Delano Howell, Josh Gordy and Greg Toler were all out there today. We’ll monitor their reps, their pitch count so to speak and make sure that we don’t overdue it. It was great to have them back at practice.”

On the 6-4 Arizona Cardinals:

“Bruce has done a great job. Their staff has done a great job. They have a roster that is full of talented, talented players, both sides of the ball. Carson (Palmer) obviously lit them up yesterday in Jacksonville, throwing for over 400 yards. Michael Floyd had a huge day (193 receiving yards). They have a ton of great players out there. They are extremely well coached. They play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. They are physical. (Arians’) done a great job so it’s no surprise to myself, any of our players, any of our coaches, that he’s done well. We have to have a great week of preparation, Bob, in order to go out there and play well.

On Pagano’s relationship with Bruce Arians:

“Same as it’s always been. It’s great. Bruce and I are obviously great, great friends and that’s not going to change. It’s hard during the season. I don’t have enough time to talk to my wife, my brother, my immediate family, let alone. Everybody is so busy so a text here and there, so we try and stay in touch that way.”

On improving on third downs in the first half of the last three games:

“We obviously haven’t played well the last three ball games. Everybody knows that we’ve been outscored 66-9. That’s something that we aren’t running from, aren’t hiding from. We got some extra time so you start looking, put your finger on reasons why. Went back and looked all the 3rd downs. In those three ball games, in the first half Bob, we only converted 13% offensively and our opponent converted 62 percent of the time against our defense. If you can’t move the ball chains offensively and you can’t get off the field well that’s probably one good reason that we’ve been able to dig ourselves a hole the last three ball games.”

On the running game bouncing back with a good performance on Thursday night:

“The runners ran hard and credit our offensive line, tight ends and backs. (They) did a great job to open up some holes for Trent (Richardson) and Donald (Brown). It was great to see especially in crunch time when you have a lead and you are trying to take the air out of the game and you get in your four-minute offense and you are able to run the football and move the chains when everybody knows you are going to run the football. I think that’s the hallmark of a really good football team being able to close out teams like that.”

On an update on Reggie Wayne:

“Reggie is doing great. He’s rehabbing his tail off. He’s in here 24/7, in the training room, in the film room, breaking film down and helping out the young receivers.”

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Five Things Learned, Seattle-Colts

Posted by craigkelleycolts on October 7, 2013 – 8:18 am


INDIANAPOLIS – In Sunday’s 34-28 win over Seattle, Indianapolis snapped 60 offensive plays.  After only nine, the Colts were staring adversity squarely in the face.

Those opening plays gained nine yards and no first downs, and Pat McAfee’s third punt was blocked through the end zone.  Undefeated Seattle led, 12-0.

Antoine Bethea motioned teammates together on the sideline to deliver a message.  Indianapolis forced a three-and-out, then scored two quick touchdowns for a 14-12 lead.

After Seattle countered by taking a 25-17 advantage in the third quarter, the Colts scored 17 points and snuffed out two late drives to earn a comeback victory over a team that had won nine straight games.

The victory was the ninth comeback triumph in 21 outings under Chuck Pagano.  It placed the Colts alone atop the AFC South five games into the season.


GRIT BEATS RABBITS – A heavyweight fight is not determined when one boxer pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  It happens when he reaches inside and finds the extra something that has put him in the ring.  The Colts have been relevant under Chuck Pagano, jumping nine games in the standings a year ago and now sitting among AFC leaders and on top of their division at 4-1.  Pagano had his players at halftime, down 19-17, say they would run and tackle better in the second half.  Eighty of 109 rushing yards followed, and the Colts defensively halved the Seahawks’ first-half ground total in the last 30 minutes.  Holding Seattle to three field goals (the second with a defensive stand in Indianapolis territory after a turnover) was key, as were two late stops.  The offense responded with 86- and 42-yard drives for 11 fourth-quarter points to earn the win.  A true prize fight has both boxers landing blows.  The one who summons the most wins.  Out-pointed in early rounds, the Colts rose again with play from three units.  “Nobody’s built better to win these close games, especially in the fourth quarter, than this team,” said Pagano.  “(It’s) character, resiliency, toughness, grit, never quit, belief, faith.  We’ve got something special.”

HILTON IS CENTRAL ELEMENT – Four plays after falling behind 12-0, T.Y. Hilton was in the end zone with a 73-yard grab (32 yards coming after the catch).  On third-and-22 from the seven six minutes before the half, Hilton was interfered with and the Colts had 39 penalty yards.  Hilton then had a 13-yard reception to convert another third down, leading to a half-ending field goal.  Hilton’s lone third-quarter reception was a 29-yard TD strike.  Early on the fourth-quarter 86-yard scoring drive, Andrew Luck targeted Hilton on third-and-10 from the 25.  Interference, 16 yards. On second-and-11 from the 40, Hilton had a 13-yard catch.  On third-and-eight from the Seattle 45, Luck found Hilton again for 12 more clutch yards.  That was the last time Hilton was targeted, and he had done an afternoon’s work.  On six targeted times, he had five receptions for 140 yards and two scores, his seventh 100-plus outing.  Two penalties added 55 more yards, coming on drives that accounted for 11 points.  Well done, #13.

FREEMAN FACTOR – Jerrell Freeman has been a disruptive presence all season.  Strip-sacks against Miami and San Francisco made him the first Colts linebacker since 2004 not named Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis to have quarterback takedowns in consecutive games.  The mobile Freeman tracked down Russell Wilson for no gain on third-and-two with seven minutes to go.  The Colts were clinging to a 31-28 lead that was in doubt.  Up 34-28, Freeman rushed Wilson into an interception with 1:23 left.  Game-set-match, or, according to Reggie Wayne, “Ding, ding,” the bout was over and the referee held up the Colts’ hand.  Either way, Freeman has had a telling hand in many plays.  This is not something truly learned, just something cited as contributing factors in a big-time win.

A FEW GOOD MEN – Pagano has his men believing that every one of them can make a difference.  Take bows Delano Howell and Lawrence Guy.  Howell has started twice in place of LaRon Landry.  He has made plays before, but his 61-yard return of a blocked field goal was a huge comeback impetus.  The person who triggered it was Guy, who was signed recently to add depth to a thin defensive line.  Howell had the eye candy with a great return (the third-longest in club history off a blocked field goal), but Guy provided the grit.  Neither player garners a great deal of spotlight, but both’s professionalism created a big play Sunday against a team that excels on specialty units and against a kicker whose first miss of the year resulted in points for the opponent.  While we’re at it, bow yourself Tom McMahon.

NO JUDGES – After two blowout wins by a 64-10 combined margin, the Colts were on the ropes down 12 and with a Seattle offense that had knifed for two scores and 92 yards on 13 snaps.  Seattle would land more haymakers and Indianapolis would have to rally from behind most of the day.  It did so on the one-year anniversary of the 30-27 comeback victory over Green Bay.  That day a year ago was one of the most compelling in the club’s Indianapolis era, with its head coach in a hospital battling leukemia.  Pagano was present Sunday to marshal another special victory.  Outsiders tend to tune out themes used by coaches.  Pagano’s players don’t.  They live the themes and play them out on Sundays.  It would have been easy to fold under pressure and deficits yesterday, but the Colts didn’t.  Fans now have first place team (with 11 challenges ahead), one that hangs together.

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Colts Daily Headlines: September 25th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on September 25, 2013 – 8:36 am

Tuesday’s off day for the Colts came with a quiet news day minus a pair of roster moves. Today’s news looks at the unheralded play of Delano Howell and the disciplined nature the Colts have played with after the first month of the year.

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, September 25th.  

Delano who? Colts reserve safety Delano Howell quickly makes name for himself

By: Phillip B. Wilson, Indy Star

Starting for LaRon Landry on Sunday afternoon, Delano Howell had some extra motivation in his first NFL start.

When CBS had its TV production meeting with Colts coach Chuck Pagano to advance Sunday’s game at San Francisco, one question was to be expected: Who will start for injured safety LaRon Landry?

The answer was a surprise: Delano Howell.

“They were like, ‘Who?’ ” Pagano said Monday, a day after the Colts’ 27-7 win over the 49ers. “I made sure I told Delano that before the game started.”

Not that the second-year safety needed incentive to play well in his first NFL start, but Pagano’s motivational ploy resonated.

“It definitely fired me up,” Howell said.

Colts not beating themselves with penalties

By: Mike Wells,

The Colts have been extremely disciplined in 2013 as the team’s seven penalties are the fewest in the NFL by four penalties.

One of the reasons the Colts are 2-1 is because they aren’t beating themselves with penalties (outside of the illegal shift call on receiver Reggie Wayne that took away tight end Coby Fleener’s touchdown against Miami). The Colts have only been called for seven penalties this season, which puts them at the top of the league in that category. The 49ers, meanwhile, have been called for 29 penalties on the season.

“Just shows that our coaches are doing an outstanding job and our players are doing a great job of playing with proper fundamentals and technique and playing smart football, playing great situational football,” Pagano said. “We talk about the enemy being in our camp. It’s not necessarily your opponent. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.”

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Players on the roster bubble talk about their mindset heading into Thursday’s preseason finale

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 28, 2013 – 6:00 pm

A total of 75 players will take the field Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.

For those players, the 60 minutes of football will serve as one final audition to see if they will survive the 53-player cut that comes less than 48 hours later.

Here’s a look at five Colts who are sure to see plenty of playing time on Thursday:

Outside linebacker Caesar Rayford

Rayford has become the unsung hero of the 2013 preseason with five sacks. The former Arena Football Leaguer would be continuing his job as a juvenile counselor if he weren’t in opposing NFL backfields week-after-week.

“My mindset is like it doesn’t matter what I did last game. I’m just going to go out and compete like nothing happened, make the best of every play, every opportunity I get. What I did last game doesn’t matter about this game. It’s all about Cincinnati and got to go out there and compete, because those guys, they ain’t worrying about what I did last game. It’s what I do now.”

Quarterback Chandler Harnish

Harnish calls the preseason his “Super Bowl” and that’s especially the case in game No. 4 where the third string quarterback will get more than a bulk of the snaps. Last year, Harnish played three and a half quarters in the preseason finale and led the offense on a pair of touchdown drives, thus earning a roster spot.

“This is a big evaluation for myself. Last year, I had the opportunity to play most of the game and I’m expecting a lot of playing time this year too. I’m just going to go out there play my game, have fun, prepare like I’m a starter and just go out and show my value to this team.”

Safety Delano Howell

In Week One of the preseason, Howell played 89 snaps (99 percent of all defensive snaps) against Buffalo. He led the team in tackles and has continued to impress all preseason long.

“This is the one we’ve been looking forward to for the young guys, for guys that are trying to prove something, trying to claim a spot. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity, a lot of snaps and everything. I know all of us, all the young guys and everything, people that are fighting to earn a spot, they’re all going to be taking advantage of it.”

Inside linebacker Mario Harvey

Harvey turned in a strong performance last week against the Browns and he has fond memories of last year’s preseason finale. Harvey recorded six tackles, two for loss and eventually earned a roster spot.

“Every chance you get on the field is very important because you are fighting for a spot on the team, to feed your family, fighting for your legacy, your name so it’s very important.”

Safety Joe Lefeged

As an undrafted free agent in 2011, Lefeged had seven tackles in the final preseason game and earned a roster spot. Injuries have sidelined the third-year safety for much of training camp but he is expected to be out there on Thursday evening.

“It’s big but you don’t want to think about it too much. You want to focus on your assignment and go out there and have fun. If you think about the result and things you can’t control, that’s when the mistakes happen.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 23, 2013 – 7:40 am

The Colts secondary currently has 17 members.

Of those 17, just one was with the team prior to the 2012 season.

Antoine Bethea is the mainstay and his 107 games of experience in a Colts uniform is almost half of the total number the rest of the secondary carries with them into 2013.

Player Games Played in Indianapolis
S-Antoine Bethea 107
S-Joe Lefeged 32
CB-Cassius Vaughn 16
S-Sergio Brown 16
CB-Josh Gordy 15
CB-Darius Butler 11
CB-Vontae Davis 10
CB-Teddy Williams 7
S-Delano Howell 6

This is season No. 8 for Bethea and while OTAs for some veterans might not seem like a drag, the Pro Bowl safety remembers his days as a youthful defensive back trying to make the roster.

“At one point, you were that young guy and you never really want to be that guy walking around the locker room, never really saying anything to you, feeling like a loner,” Bethea said. “So most definitely you’ve got to pull those guys closer and show them the ropes.”

Bethea was one of the loudest voices on the practice field on Wednesday as the unit attempts to gel in year two of a new defensive system.

The secondary was very active on Wednesday afternoon with numerous pass breakups and a pair of interceptions.

To many Colts fans the names in the secondary are still a bit foreign but ask Bethea, and the system is beginning to sound familiar with a year of experience.

“This time last year my head was spinning in circles but this year right now, I feel a lot more comfortable to really just go out there, make plays and use my athletic ability,” Bethea said.

“We are talking a lot more, very vocal and that’s a good thing.”

Back in 2006, there was Bethea as a rookie starting safety helping the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI.

Now he stands in the secondary as the elder statesmen, by a wide margin, and it’s the hunger he sees in the guys around him that has the No. 41 striving to get back to the game’s pinnacle.

“We’ve got some young guys that are ready to step in and help this team, so I’m excited,” Bethea said. “I’m pretty sure they’re excited. I’m sure it’s overwhelming right now with everything that the coaches are throwing at them but they are doing a good job.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on January 7, 2013 – 8:08 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had four catches for 51 yards against the Ravens. The rookie tight end had two catches for 35 yards on the Colts initial scoring drive.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard had 22 carries for 91 yards on Sunday. The 91 rushing yards for Ballard were the most in the postseason by a Colt since Dominic Rhodes (113) in Super Bowl XLI.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill had one catch for 17 yards against Baltimore. The 17-yard reception came on a third down midway through the third quarter and extended a drive that led to the Colts final field goal on the afternoon.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had three catches for 25 yards on Sunday and his seven-yard reception midway through the second quarter helped set up Adam Vinatieri’s first field goal.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton’s was second on the team with eight catches for 66 yards. Hilton’s 25-yard reception late in the second half set up a 52-yard field goal by Vinatieri at the halftime gun.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 28-of-54 for 288 yards on Sunday and added 35 rushing yards on four carries. Luck’s 54 pass attempts were the most in postseason club history. Luck became the first signal caller to be chosen No. 1 overall and start a playoff game in the same season. Luck’s 288 passing yards were the second most for a rookie in postseason NFL history.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell filled in at right tackle for the Colts on Sunday, playing the majority of three quarters.

Rookie safety Delano Howell wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Ravens.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 31, 2012 – 9:02 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had two catches for 21 yards on Sunday and finished the season with 45 catches for 521 yards. His 45 catches set a tight end rookie record for the Colts and Allen led all first-year tight ends in receiving.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard had a season-high 27 carries for 78 yards and helped grind out the final 9:46 off the clock against the Texans. For the season, Ballard had 211 carries for 814 yards as the feature back during the Colts run of winning nine of their last 11 games. Ballard finished fifth among all rookies with his 814 rushing yards this season.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday. He finished the season with 11 catches for 186 yards including a 42-yard touchdown in the comeback victory over the Lions.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for one-yard and a touchdown on Sunday afternoon. The Stanford product overcame a shoulder injury to haul in 26 catches for 281 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton notched his fifth 100-yard receiving day on the season with four catches for 111 yards. His 70-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage this season for the Colts. On the season, Hilton had 50 catches for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. Hilton finished second among all rookies in receiving yards, just four yards behind the Jaguars Justin Blackmon

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his fifth game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams with one tackle.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 14-of-28 for 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Texans. He has now gone 14 quarters without an interception. Luck’s 11 wins is four more than any other rookie quarterback who was drafted No. 1 overall has recorded in their first NFL season. Luck finished the regular season 339-of-627 for 4,374 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell was active and returned a short kickoff 11 yards on Sunday.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Chiefs.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 24, 2012 – 8:29 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had three catches for 18 yards on Sunday and brings his season total to 43 receptions and 500 yards. He ranks third on the team with three touchdowns.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard’s ran 20 times for 69 yards against the Chiefs. The 20 carries ties a season-high for Ballard and the rookie now has 736 rushing yards on the season.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday and finished the game with one tackle. The tackle came at the 10-yard line on the kickoff following the Colts touchdown to take a 20-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for two yards against the Chiefs. He also recovered a fumble in the first half. On the season, Fleener has 25 catches for 280 yards.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton’s had two catches for 34 yards on Sunday. Hilton ranks third on the team with 46 catches for 750 receiving yards and continues to the lead the team with six touchdowns.

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his fourth game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Chiefs.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 17-of-35 for 205 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on Sunday. His 4,183 passing yards is an NFL rookie record and he also tied a league record with his seventh fourth quarter comeback on the season. Luck also set a rookie record with 599 pass attempts in a season.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell was active but did not play on Sunday.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Chiefs.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 17, 2012 – 9:49 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had three catches for 36 yards on Sunday including his third touchdown of the season. Allen is now three catches away from the Colts rookie record for tight ends (Ken Dilger, 42).

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard’s 105 rushing yards were a career-high, as he became the Colts first 100-yard rusher since last season. Ballard now has 164 carries for 667 rushing yards on the season.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday but did not record a catch.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for 21 yards on Sunday and now has 24 receptions on the season.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton’s 61-yard touchdown in the second quarter was the longest play from scrimmage this season for the Colts. In all, Hilton had three catches for 78 yards and his six touchdowns are two short of the Colts rookie record.

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his third game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Titans.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 13-of-27 for 186 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday afternoon. Luck has now thrown for 20 touchdowns in his rookie campaign and his 3,987 passing yards are 74 shy of the NFL rookie record.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell played on special teams on Sunday in the field goal unit.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Texans.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 10, 2012 – 9:06 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had just one catch for 11 yards on the afternoon. However, the timeliness of Allen’s one grab was significant. With the Colts facing a second-and-10 with 2:25 remaining, Allen hauled in an 11-yard catch, allowing the Colts to take three kneels to complete the win.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard had 19 carries for a season-high 94 yards on Sunday but the numbers don’t do him justice for his durability shown in the second-half. Ballard was the Colts lone running back for the entire fourth quarter and fought through a stinger to finish off the 27-23 victory.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill had just one catch for eight yards against the Titans but it came in the fourth quarter and helped set up Adam Vinatieri’s 53-yard field goal with 6:23 remaining.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for nine yards on Sunday and was apart of a three-tight end set that helped the Colts cap off the victory.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton had two catches for 50 yards on Sunday including a 36-yarder that showed off his top-end speed after the catch and set up the Colts first touchdown. Hilton now has 41 catches for 638 yards on the season.

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his second game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Titans.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 16-of-34 for 196 yards for one touchdown and two interceptions on Sunday afternoon. Luck engineered his sixth fourth quarter/overtime comeback for the Colts, which ties an NFL record for rookie quarterbacks. He also passed Peyton Manning for the second most passing yards (3,792) for a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer and offensive tackle Bradley Sowell were inactive against the Lions.

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