The name “Drake Nevis” had barely gotten out of my mouth before Donald Thomas started ‘oohing’.
Thomas is in his first year with the Colts but is fresh off three weeks of training camp work where he was a frequent recipient of Nevis’ multi-faceted pass rush.
“It’s just really impressive he can create that much pass rush because just looking at him, no offense, but he doesn’t look as athletic as he is,” Thomas said of Nevis on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to get your hands on him. He starts one way, then goes the other. He uses his hands well. You’ve got to sit back on him. You can’t be overaggressive because that’s when he gets you.”
Even an Alabama guy in Josh Chapman is praising Nevis, an LSU product.
“He’s one of those guys that is constantly working,” Chapman said of Nevis. “He’s got that power and fast twitch and you rarely find guys that have both. With him, he has three or four counter moves that people don’t really think of.”
At 310 pounds, Nevis doesn’t have ideal size as a 3-4 nose tackle but has found a niche as an interior pass rusher on passing downs.
Nevis was a force against the Giants on Sunday night with a pair of sacks and his high motor has caught the eye of Chuck Pagano.
“He’s relentless in his pass rush. Going in there getting a couple of sacks late in that game that’s just Drake,” Pagano said.
“He’s snap to whistle, all out. If he gets singled up, he’s got the ability to beat guys.”
Tags: chuck pagano, donald thomas, drake nevis, josh chapman
Posted in Colts Blog
Day Seven Impressions: The elusive tight ends, defensive line’s sack-packed afternoon and Antoine Bethea returnsPosted by on August 4, 2013 – 5:41 pm
The largest crowd (6,200) of the 2013 Colts training camp took in Sunday’s padded practice at Anderson University.
It was a bit of a quiet afternoon in terms of highlights for the Colts as the team returned to the practice field after being off since Friday morning.
Here are three takeaways from day seven…
Tight Ends constantly causing mismatches: Early on in practice, the Colts took part in one-on-one drills with linebackers having to cover running backs and/or tight ends.
It’s pretty impressive to watch Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener create separation in these drills.
When Allen and Fleener see linebackers across from them, their eyes should be nice and wide this fall.
Do safeties have the physicality to line up against the tight ends or should teams risk a slower linebacker to match-up for size purposes?
That will be a discussion in opponent’s defensive meeting rooms each week this year, one that doesn’t come with an easy answer.
Defensive line racks up the “sacks”: Yes, the red jerseys on the three Colts quarterbacks indicate a no-touching rule but on Sunday several plays were stopped due to “sacks”.
Drake Nevis and Josh Chapman were among the handful of Colts defensive linemen who got into the backfield on passing downs.
The defensive line was also able to get their hands on a few batted balls on Sunday.
It should be mentioned that the Colts offensive line (specifically the second unit) was without the services of guards Joe Reitz (stinger) and Hugh Thornton (ankle), along with center Khaled Holmes (ankle).
Nonetheless, it was a strong afternoon for the Colts defensive front.
Bethea back in Anderson: The Colts welcomed back safety Antoine Bethea after his fiancé gave birth to their first child, Siani, last week.
Sunday’s practice was Bethea’s first in pads this year and the eight-year veteran mentioned that he’s playing for a little bit more after becoming a father.
“It was definitely a feeling that I’ve never had before,” Bethea said of the birth of his daughter.
“My perspective is not just ‘Antoine’ any more. I’m out here doing this for my family.”
Tags: antoine bethea, Coby Fleener, drake nevis, dwayne allen, josh chapman
Posted in Colts Blog
Day Four Impressions: DHB’s big catch(es), 7th round picks impress and the defense continues strong startPosted by on July 31, 2013 – 5:53 pm
Spitting rain in the morning ceased in the afternoon as the Colts moved over to Macholtz Stadium for Wednesday’s padded practice.
With the pads on, the spirit continued to rise in the trenches and some of the Colts rookies at the skill positions shined on Wednesday.
Here are three takeaways from day four…
DHB wastes no time getting involved: Pep Hamilton talked about the diligent work that Heyward-Bey is putting in trying to sure up his hands.
The jugs machine seems to be DHB’s second home, before and after practice.
The hard work paid off on Wednesday.
On the Colts first 11-on-11 rep of the afternoon, Andrew Luck went deep to DHB and the new receiver hauled in the 50+-yard grab.
DHB said he needs to make plays in order to gain Luck’s trust and the one to start Wednesday’s practice, along with several others throughout the two-hour session added up to a very strong afternoon for the 219-pound receiver.
A day for the seventh-round draft picks: The Colts 2013 rookie class won’t come anywhere close to the same production of last year’s group but a few skill players stood out on Wednesday.
Running back Kerwynn Williams made a few nice catches out of the backfield and showcased an ability for yards after the catch. While kick returns might be Williams’ first opportunity on the playing field, he showed that he’s more than capable of getting reps in the backfield.
At the tight end position, Justice Cunningham is putting together some quality reps in the receiving department.
There are some chances behind Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener and Cunningham is a true tight end (where as Dominique Jones is more of a hybrid) that caught the ball much more consistently on Wednesday than he did during OTAs.
Defense right on pace: With two padded practices in the books, the Colts appears to be right on queue with their progress in the 3-4 system.
Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said that is usually the case early on in training camp but it has been impressive to see the Colts secondary get their hands on so many passes.
The front seven has been winning their fair share of battles during run game drills and a second unit with guys like Josh Chapman, Drake Nevis, Bjoern Werner and Lawrence Sidbury creates quality depth.
It will be interesting to see how the offense vs. defense plays out the rest of the camp, with Pep Hamilton’s system getting more familiar with the unit.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bjoern Werner, Coby Fleener, darrius heyward-bey, Dominique Jones, drake nevis, dwayne allen, Greg Manusky, josh chapman, kerwynn williams, lawrence sidbury
Posted in Colts Blog
Mother Nature held off long enough on Tuesday as the Colts got through their first padded practice of the year.
The hitting was revved up during the afternoon practice with the running game being the focal point.
Here are three takeaways from day three…
Physicality taken to another level: The first of nine padded practices are in the books after Tuesday’s afternoon session.
The hitting started early and often with 1-on-1 drills between the running backs and linebackers and then the offensive and defensive lines.
Some of the biggest hits on the afternoon came from inside linebacker Kavell Conner and new safety LaRon Landry.
It might not have the excitement of a two-minute drill but watching blocking drills can be very telling of who will see playing time on a team that has preached physicality since the start of training camp .
Over the next few weeks the competition should separate themselves with the running game continued to be focused on with the padded practices underway.
Josh McNary can still ride this bike: The Colts welcomed linebacker Josh McNary fresh off his service in the Army.
McNary trotted out to practice early in the afternoon and wasted no time making an impression.
He dominated his first two reps in one-on-one drills and showed the pass rushing prowess that led him to set Army’s school record for sacks (28.0).
Ryan Grigson told McNary before practice that being back out on the football field “would be like riding a bike” and the 251-pound outside linebacker agreed with that sentiment following his first NFL practice.
McNary’s progress will be interesting to watch at one of the Colts deepest positions.
Depth on lines critical moving forward: Perhaps no position on the football field has to rely on more bodies during the course of the game than the defensive line.
After day one, it’s pretty clear the Colts have a ton of defensive line depth with rookies Montori Hughes and Bjoern Werner (with his hand on the ground) winning a majority of their reps.
Having guys like Josh Chapman, Drake Nevis and Hughes not running with the first team just shows how deep the line can be.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts are still waiting to see what they have in picks Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes.
Thornton is nursing an ankle injury that he suffered late last week.
Holmes now joins his fellow rookie on the sideline after the Colts fourth round draft pick left Tuesday’s afternoon practice with a right ankle injury.
Joe Reitz seems to be firmly entrenched as the Colts sixth offensive lineman, seeing some time in jumbo packages on Tuesday.
Tags: Bjoern Werner, drake nevis, Hugh Thornton, josh chapman, josh mcnary, kavell conner, khaled holmes, laron landry, Montori Hughes
Posted in Colts Blog
Kelvin Sheppard walked into the Buffalo Bills facility on Monday morning not expecting anything out of the ordinary.
He was summoned up to the Bills personnel department and the news he received put him in a state of shock.
After two years as the Bills starting middle linebacker, Sheppard was on the move to Indianapolis after the Colts traded for the 2011 third round draft pick out of LSU.
Thoughts were swirling through Sheppard’s head but it didn’t take long for him to feel right at home inside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
“I hopped on a flight (Monday) night, got in town that night and went straight into the facility the following morning,” Sheppard said of his arrival to Indianapolis. “By the time I stepped in the doors it’s just been all open arms, from everybody top to bottom.”
Part of easing Sheppard’s transition to Indianapolis is a few of his college teammates on the defensive side of the football.
A total of four former LSU players are across the Colts defense with end Drake Nevis being the closest to Sheppard (the two were separated by 19 picks in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft).
“We’ve done everything together,” Sheppard said of Nevis. “The grind, the summer grind, the spring grind, all the way to winning National Championships, we’ve done it all.”
“Drake, I know what he brings to the table with his work ethic, his Christian faith, everything like that, the same with me. I’m going to bring my hard hat every single day and I come to try and hoist that trophy and that sounds like exactly what they’re trying to do here.”
During Sheppard’s two seasons in Buffalo, the 6-2, 244-pound linebacker started 24 games and racked up 138 tackles in the middle of the Bills 4-3 defense.
He will now switch back to his college scheme of a 3-4 defense and the combination of system and coaches has Sheppard eager for 2013.
“I like it because it’s very multiple. You can do a lot more things in the 3-4,” Sheppard said.
And the coaches?
“To be honest, I just truly fell in love with this coaching staff. I love their attitude, the way they coach the game, everything.”
Tags: drake nevis, kelvin sheppard
Posted in Colts Blog
With the 2013 NFL Draft less than 12 hours away, Colts.com takes a look back at a few of the team’s recent draft picks and their stories of draft weekend:
Running Back Delone Carter (2011 NFL Draft: Pick 4-119)
Carter came out of Syracuse fresh off a dominating 2010 Pinstripe Bowl performance (197 yards on 28 carries) but he wasn’t about to read into any draft projections. Watching with family and friends, Carter actually dozed off during the 2011 NFL Draft before his mom awoke him with a phone call from the Colts.
On Wednesday, Carter offered some advice to prospects who will spend the next three days nervously awaiting their name to be called at Radio City Music Hall.
“Enjoy the process,” Carter said. “Don’t get too anxious and get yourself out of the element of having fun with it. It’s a blessing and it will never happen again. It’s something you’ve been training for your whole life and you’re having the opportunity to have it happen.”
Defensive Tackle Drake Nevis (2011 NFL Draft: Pick 3-87)
It was getting late on day two of the 2011 NFL Draft and Nevis was in his home state of Louisiana watching the draft with his family.
Nevis hailed from LSU, where NFL defensive linemen were abundant. The National Championship winning Nevis was added to that list when then Colts general manager Bill Polian phoned the Tigers defensive end.
“It was exciting because that’s what you dream about all your life, playing in the National Football League,” Nevis said. “Even though that’s the beginning, you know that’s where the next phase of your career is going to be.”
Running Back Vick Ballard (2012 NFL Draft: 5-170)
As the fifth round was coming to a close in last April’s draft, Vick Ballard still felt a bit of a burden. He was coming off back-to-back seasons of 980+ rushing yards in the vaunted SEC West, yet was still waiting to hear his dream come true.
“When I got drafted, it was a weight lifted off my shoulders,” Ballard said. “To me, it was the first step to becoming a professional football player.”
Offensive Tackle Justin Anderson (2012 NFL Draft: 7-208)
Anderson did not really know what to expect after injuries held him back during his time at Georgia. For Anderson, he was simply praying that he would hear his name called; the round or position did not matter.
“I couldn’t even watch it past the fourth round,” Anderson said. “I just stopped watching it and I didn’t watch it anymore until I got called. The Steelers called me in the sixth round saying they had a couple of picks coming up. About 10 minutes after I hung up with them the Colts called and it was the best feeling in the world.”
Tags: Delone Carter, drake nevis, Justin Anderson, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog
Ryan Grigson’s connection with the Philadelphia Eagles helped contribute to three trades for the Colts last season.
The Colts general manager dipped back into that well on Thursday afternoon when Indianapolis acquired Eagles fullback Stanley Havili in a trade for defensive end Clifton Geathers.
How does this trade impact the Colts?
One of the first questions offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was asked upon arriving to Indianapolis was if he would utilize a fullback.
In 2012, rookie tight end Dwayne Allen was the Colts primary fullback (h-back) and players such as running back Robert Hughes and inside linebacker Mario Harvey also saw time at the position.
With Havili, the Colts are adding a versatile threat out of the backfield and the USC product set a Trojans’ school record in receptions for fullbacks.
Last season, Havili played in 15 games for the Philadelphia Eagles carrying the ball six times and catching seven passes.
The 245-pound fullback will be entering his third season in the NFL and adds another dimension to Hamilton’s offense. The Colts offensive coordinator preached that he wanted multi-faceted players to line up in a variety of spots and Havili appears to fit that role.
On the other side of the football, Geathers played in eight games at defensive end for the Colts last season.
Geathers, who was signed on Oct. 3 by the Colts, added much needed depth during the season when the Colts began losing bodies (Fili Moala and Drake Nevis) at the defensive end position.
The Colts are expected to have Moala and Nevis back in the fold this season and have added Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency. That trio goes along with Cory Redding and Lawrence Guy (who both started in the AFC Divisional Round game against the Ravens). Kellen Heard and Ricardo Mathews also bring depth along the outside of the three-man front.
Tags: clifton geathers, cory redding, drake nevis, Fili Moala, Kellen Heard, Lawrence Guy, Pep Hamilton, Ricardo Mathews, Stanley Havili
Posted in Colts Blog
Throughout the first three months of the season, the Colts defense has had to deal with injuries in each respective position group.
Perhaps no position has been hit as hard as the outside of the defensive line.
Nose tackle Antonio ‘Mookie’ Johnson has been a mainstay in the middle of the 3-4 hybrid defense but the players flanking the nose position will be ever-changing the rest of the season.
Fili Moala and Drake Nevis were placed on injured reserve at different times this month, sending Ricardo Matthews into the starting lineup.
The loss of Moala and Nevis means more playing time for Clifton Geathers, who was signed by the Colts at the start of October when Moala was inactive for four weeks.
“It’s hard to see a player go down,” Geathers said. “Fili and Drake, they helped me out a lot but as football goes on I do look at this as another opportunity, another football game, another day to get better.”
Geathers and defensive end Lawrence Guy (signed on Oct. 17) will take on a greater role in the coming weeks as the Colts continue to plug in interchangeable parts along the defensive line.
“We’ve just done a good job around here of having guys pick up the baton,” outside linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “Really hats off to management on bringing the right guy in so that he can fit right in and it’s not really a big deal. Obviously, it’s a big deal because you don’t want to lose Fili, you don’t want to lose those guys but it’s football and unfortunately these things happen.”
Earlier this week, the Colts signed defensive tackle Kellen Heard and interim head coach Bruce Arians is anxious to see the 6-foot-6-inches, 339-pound Heard in action.
After injuries with outside linebackers Robert Mathis and Freeney early in the season, the Colts defense was just starting to get completely healthy in the front seven before the losses of Moala and Nevis.
“When I look out there right now, the core guys are there,” interim head coach Bruce Arians said.
“We’re going to miss Fili (Moala), but we didn’t have him for three weeks, we know how to play without him, it’s not the first time. So plug in the guys that we have and never use it as a crutch or an excuse.”
Tags: Antonio Johnson, bruce arians, clifton geathers, drake nevis, Dwight Freeney, Fili Moala, Kellen Heard, Lawrence Guy, robert mathis
Posted in Colts Blog
The Indianapolis Colts today activated nose tackle Josh Chapman from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List and elevated tight end Kyle Miller from the practice squad to the active roster. The Colts placed defensive tackle Drake Nevis and cornerback Jerraud Powers on Injured Reserve.
Chapman, 6-0, 316 pounds, was originally selected by the Colts in the fifth round (136th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Alabama. During his 54-game collegiate career, Chapman was a part of two Crimson Tide National Championship teams (2009 and 2011) and produced 88 tackles (44 solo), 13.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and four passes defensed. As a senior, he contributed to a defensive unit that led the nation in total defense (183.6 ypg), rush defense (72.2 ypg) and scoring defense (8.2 ppg).
Miller, 6-5, 260 pounds, was signed by the Colts as a free agent on April 3, 2012. He was waived on August 31 and signed to the practice squad a day later. Miller was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Mount Union on July 26, 2011 before being waived on September 3. At Mount Union, Miller totaled 87 catches for 1,259 yards and 16 touchdowns in 47 games, while earning All-Ohio Athletic Conference first-team, All-North Region first-team and All-America honors.
Nevis, 6-1, 310 pounds, appeared in nine game this season (three starts), totaling 20 tackles (seven solo) and one sack. For his career, he has played in 14 games (three starts) and has recorded 39 tackles (16 solo), one sack and one pass defensed.
Powers, 5-10, 187 pounds, started in eight games this year and registered 45 tackles (34 solo), seven passes defensed and an interception. Over his four-year career, he has started all 42 games he’s played while making 220 tackles (165 solo), 32 passes defensed, seven interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Tags: drake nevis, injured reserve, jerraud powers, josh chapman, kyle miller
Posted in Colts Blog