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Day Seven Impressions: The elusive tight ends, defensive line’s sack-packed afternoon and Antoine Bethea returns

Posted by Kevin Bowen 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.”

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When it comes to setting the edge, Erik Walden knows exactly what to do

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 1, 2013 – 8:00 am

Setting the edge.

When Chuck Pagano talks about the keys to stopping an opponent’s rushing attack those three words are quickly mentioned.

The ability to hold the point of attack and send traffic back inside is the goal of whoever is setting that edge.

Erik Walden considers this a strength of his.

“It’s just about heart,” Walden said on Wednesday.

“Setting up a wall for the defense and allow the inside backers, along with the rest of the pursuit and the other defensive players to be able to make a play on the ball.”

Walden’s ability to set the edge is one of the major reasons the Colts coveted the 250-pound outside linebacker during free agency.

“When we saw (Walden) coming out of Green Bay and when we picked him up as a free agent, he was a great player in the sense of setting the edge,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said.

“We always talk about setting the edge on either side. That’s what he did with the Packers and we expect him to do it here.”

In his last two seasons with the Packers, Walden played in 31 games and compiled 106 tackles and six sacks.

He is expected to line up opposite Robert Mathis this season and is a key cog at one of the Colts deepest positions.

When the pads were strapped on for the first time on Tuesday afternoon, Walden reminded Dwayne Allen who he was going up against.

“I played against (Walden) last year and he destroys tight ends,” Allen said. “He understands pad leverage and hand placement and is a very, very talented guy.”

This season Walden will don No. 93, a number that was worn on the back of Dwight Freeney’s shoulders for over a decade.temp2013_0730_TC_2236--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Walden and Freeney both have a Super Bowl ring on their resume but the Colts new No. 93 was quick to point out that this is a new chapter in his life, one he hopes finishes with a storybook ending.

“Every year is an opportunity, and what you’ve done really don’t mean nothing ‘til this point.”

“I mean anytime you got a great organization with a great quarterback and a winning franchise, that’s half of it right there. I prayed about it and I just felt that this was the best fit for me.”

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Day Four Impressions: DHB’s big catch(es), 7th round picks impress and the defense continues strong start

Posted by Kevin Bowen 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.

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Colts Daily Headlines: July 31st Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 7:42 am

The Colts were in pads for the first time in training camp on Wednesday. Today’s headlines includes a wonderful feature on Andrew Luck, some observations from Mike Chappell on Tuesday’s practice and a look into the growth of T.Y. Hilton.

Each morning will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?

Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, July 31st.  

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts aiming to top heights of 2012

By: Kimberly Jones,

A tremendous piece from Jones on the Colts signal caller and his growth moving into year two.

Here are a few tidbits from the article…

“Right when you see a throw you think you might never see again, five or 10 plays later, you see another ‘wow’ play,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in a quiet moment after practice. “He’s just loaded with them.”

As Wayne, the 12-year veteran, said, “I’m ‘Team Luck,’ you know? I’m all behind him. He’s going to be really good, he really is.”

There’s a reason Luck was given the nickname of “Meal Ticket” last season. Second-year tight end Dwayne Allen explained: “Because he’s everyone’s meal ticket. If he doesn’t perform, nobody eats.”

Luck’s reaction? “He just blows it off,” Allen said with a laugh.

His nickname this season? “Still ‘Meal Ticket,’ ” Allen said.

5 Colts observations: 1st day in pads, RB Ahmad Bradshaw injury update and LB/lieutenant Josh McNary returns

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chappell broke down his five thoughts from Tuesday’s first padded practice of 2013.

Prior to practice, coach Chuck Pagano noted the manner with which he wants his players to approach padded practices: “We want to be competitive, but not combative.”

Chappell takes a look at Antoine Bethea’s new baby girl, charting of Andrew Luck, an injury update on the Colts and the arrival of Josh McNary.

“I think the quote of the day was (GM Ryan) Grigson approaching me, telling me, ‘It’s just like riding a bike.’ He hit it right on the head,” McNary said. “I was kind of concerned going into it, whether if I was going to be overly rusty. But it turned out to be pretty smooth, a smooth transition.”

Colts in good hands with Hilton

By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin

It’s been a nice start to camp for second-year receiver T.Y. Hilton.

Expectations have risen in year two but Hilton feels comfortable in the Colts new offense, alongside Reggie Wayne.

“We know it’s going to be harder,” Hilton said. “Guys are going to expect that. But we did a great job in Miami getting the timing down. He knows where I’m going to be, and I know what he is thinking. So, right now, it should just be fun and just go deep.”

Where exactly Hilton lines up in year two remains to be seen but rest assured he will get his touches.

“That guy’s a freak,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “I’d hate to be the guy on the opposite side of the ball. I know our defensive guys make sure they know where he’s at all the time. He just keeps growing and growing and growing.”




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Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 1, 2013 – 8:44 am

Each morning will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?

Take a look below at the top five pieces from Monday, July 1st

All-time Indy Colts tight ends: Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

On Chappell’s team, he moves on to the tight end position with a pair of mainstays that have donned the horseshoe over the past 15 years.

Chappell spoke with former Colts head coach Tony Dungy to give his thoughts on the duo.

“Marcus was a very good player,’’ he said. “Dallas Clark was special, a unique guy.

“He was Marcus Pollard (before Pollard joined the NFL); in my mind just a little bit better than Marcus Pollard.’’

Police: Colts safety Joe Lefeged arrested after fleeing from traffic stop, found with unregistered pistol

By: Eric Weddle, Indianapolis Star

It was an unfortunate start to the weekend for Colts safety Joe Lefeged.

The special teams standout was arrested in Washington D.C. late Friday night and here’s a few bits of information from Weddle’s article…

Lefeged is being held without bail pending a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Lefeged, 25, was in a white Camaro with two other men when police attempted to stop it for driving erratically. After an unspecified chase, he and another passenger, Timothy Wilson, were arrested, said Officer Araz Alali, a D.C. police spokesman. The driver fled on foot and had not been identified, but Alali said police were confident of apprehending him.

A handgun was found in the vehicle, Alali said.

The arrest occurred in northeast Washington on the 4200 block of Blaine Street Northeast at 12:05 a.m. today.

Colts rookie John Boyett still inspired by late sister’s spirit in the face of death

By: Phillip B. Wilson, Indianapolis Star

Wilson wrote a tremendous feature on Colts sixth round draft pick John Boyett and how he remembers his sister who died a little over two years ago.

Danielle Boyett died after a fight that started with a brain tumor at the age of 12.

“I think about her every day,” said John, 23, during a break from May’s rookie mini-camp. “It’s still tough for me.

“The necklace reminds me that I play the game for a greater cause. Yes, I personally want to be successful and help my team win. But me wanting to make my family and sister proud means the most.”

Applause for Colts TE Dwayne Allen

By: Paul Kuharsky, ESPN AFC South Blog

Colts rookie tight end Dwayne Allen spent a portion of last week at the NFL rookie symposium.

Kuharsky found these words from Allen (through Rick Maese of the Washington Post) where he addressed the issue of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

“A lot of people are afraid of the words, ‘Oh man, you different,’” Allen said. “You damn right I’m different. You damn right I’m different. I got a lot more money in my pocket, and a lot more sense. That’s the way you got to go about it.

“If you just turn on your TV to ESPN, this is a brotherhood. This is a brotherhood. One of our brothers in trouble right now. It really hurts me, man. But one of our brothers is in trouble right now because he didn’t want to be different. You got to make a choice right now. …You’re not the same dude you was when you grew up. You different now. That doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your boys, do things you used to do with your boys. You still do those, but you got to be smart about it, smart about your decisions, man.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 28, 2013 – 9:00 am

The roster for the Colts has been updated to current heights and weights for the 90 players that are scheduled to report to training camp.

Here is a link to the updated roster.

Below are some of the more significant weight changes on the roster.

  • QB-Andrew Luck (239 pounds)- A gain of 5 pounds.
  • RB-Vick Ballard (224 pounds)- A gain of 7 pounds.
  • WR-Griff Whalen (197 pounds) A gain of 12 pounds.
  • TE-Dwayne Allen (265 pounds) A gain of 10 pounds.
  • TE-Coby Fleener (247 pounds) A loss of 5 pounds.
  • TE-Weslye Saunders (261 pounds) A loss of 9 pounds.
  • OT-Anthony Castonzo (307 pounds) A loss of 8 pounds.
  • C/OG-Khaled Holmes (319 pounds) A gain of 17 pounds.
  • OG-Hugh Thornton (334 pounds) A gain of 14 pounds.
  • NT-Josh Chapman (340 pounds) A gain of 24 pounds.
  • DE-Lawrence Guy (318 pounds) A gain of 18 pounds.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 12, 2013 – 10:05 am

The last time the Colts were in Lucas Oil Stadium it was an afternoon that will not soon be forgotten in team history.

Chuck Pagano returned to the sideline and led a Colts team that, despite having their playoff seeding locked up, won one for their head coach back doing what he loves.

Today, Pagano will once again lead the Colts out onto the Lucas Oil turf as the team holds and open practice for fans from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Below are a few comments from Pagano and players on practicing this evening in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Coach Chuck Pagano

“It’s going to be great. It’s going to be awesome. It’s great for our fans. It’s great for guys and another opportunity to give back, showcase our guys out there, let them have some fun, let the fans have some fun, go sign some autographs and hopefully have a productive day and get back home.”

TE-Dwayne Allen

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to interact with the fans. A little fan appreciation, that’s what Coach Pagano and from top to bottom this organization loves giving back to the fans. They’re the ones who give to us during the season with support and being at every game. Every opportunity we get we love to give back to them.”

“I remember last year I caught a wheel route and scored a touchdown so I jumped up on one of the tables and started high-fiving with the fans. Hopefully I score again so I can have that.”

WR-Darrius Heyward-Bey

“It’ll be fun to practice in front of the fans and everything like that. At the end of the day, that’s who we do it for so it’ll be fun.”

OLB-Bjoern Werner

“I really am excited. It’s the first time I’m going to be in the stadium, practice with the team. I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome.”

Here is a run down of today’s activities at Lucas Oil Stadium with the doors opening at 2:00 p.m.

  • Admission and parking is free (South Lot). Half-price concessions.
  • Limited edition Mini Camp poster to the first 5,000 fans.
  • Colts Rummage Sale, which benefits the Colts Foundation.
  • Colts Cheerleader Autographs: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • On-field activities: Play60 Zone, Colts Inflatables, Photo Opportunities and more, 2:00 p.m.-4:00p.m.
  • Team Autographs: 5:00-5:20 p.m.
  • Full team practice: 5:30 p.m.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 7, 2013 – 7:30 am

When taking a glance at the Colts new offensive scheme during OTAs a number of things stand out.

One of the more intriguing observations over the past month has been the role of the tight end in Pep Hamilton’s new offense.

As the practice days go by, numbers 80, 83, 85 continue to find themselves stretching the field, hauling in receptions for large chunks of yardage.

“It’s definitely more of a focal point this year,” tight end Weslye Saunders said of the role of the tight end in the Colts new offense.

“They are definitely expecting more things out of us in the passing game and in the running game as well. It’s definitely exciting to have more of a vital role in this offense.”

Saunders joined the Colts early last season and has been a frequent target with OTAs coming to a close on Thursday afternoon.

The Colts tight end group does not bring much to the table in experience but makes up for that in versatility.

There’s the 23-year olds in Dwayne Allen and rookie Justice Cunningham.

One year older comes Saunders and Coby Fleener.

Dominique Jones is the eldest statesman at the age of 25.

We are probably by far the youngest tight end group in the league,” Saunders said. “But it’s pretty excited especially with the amount of strides those guys are making and we haven’t even made it to training camp yet.”

Late in OTAs, Fleener is one name that has begun to garner attention with some impressive catches in traffic and his ability to utilize a 6’6” frame.

Fleener was a terror scoring touchdowns during his one season with Hamilton as his offensive coordinator at Stanford.

The progress of Fleener is being observed around the Colts locker room, including by a certain Pro Bowler receiver.

“I see (Fleneer) growing every day,” Reggie Wayne said. “I think this offense is something that he’s more familiar with and may help him out even more. He’s already a big kid, so hopefully he can just grasp everything, as he’s been doing.

“I really believe the sky is the limit for him.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 14, 2013 – 1:33 pm

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports compiled an interesting list earlier this week when he ranked the top 10 players in the NFL under the age of 23.

Last year’s top two picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III missed the cut off at the age of 23 but the Colts did find themselves represented on the list.

Check out Prisco’s top-10 list here and his analysis on the Colts representative.

10. Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts As a rookie fifth-round pick in 2012, he ran for 814 yards and showed a powerful running style. He will get even more carries in 2013 as he takes over as the starter (Prisco).


Bowen’s Take: To many Colts fans it might come as a surprise that Ballard’s name finds this list. Sure, Ballard had a tremendous rookie campaign but consider that he’s the lone player on Prisco’s list that wasn’t a first or second round selection out of college. (Josh Gordon was a supplemental selection of the Browns and Cleveland eventually forfeited a second round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft).

The list includes just three skill position players and they all come from the AFC in Trent Richardson, Gordon and Ballard. Along with Luck, both Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton fall in the 23-year old age group. It’s nice to see a player like Ballard gain some national recognition after a season in which he (understandably) flew under the radar thanks to his fellow rookie teammates.

For those curious, Ballard will turn 23 years old on July 16th.

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Posted by coltsindianapolis on April 25, 2013 – 9:06 am

2013 NFL Draft: What are the Colts looking for? Anything but a quarterback
Indianapolis Colts’ best/worst picks review: what might have been
Pro Football Writers take a stab at aligning NFL Draft’s 1st round
Andrew Luck, Colts share NFL draft experiences from a year ago
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
Colts Notebook: Hilton has come a long way in one year
Colts could land Pro Bowl player at No. 24
Manti Te’o could find perfect home with Colts
Colts Dwayne Allen ‘can’t stand the draft,’ after it cost him millions

2013 NFL Draft: Kickers
McDonald follows steps
Colts Mailbag
Colts top draft pick: Safety
Two weeks in

Who’s most likely to trade back?
One more run-through with Mel, McShay
Why Titans need pass-rush help

Texans anything but handcuffed with No. 27 pick
This NFL Draft stumps Tennessee Titans, experts
Jaguars seek cornerstone with No. 2 pick in NFL Draft
ESPN, NFL Network agree to not tip off picks on Twitter during 2013 draft
Chiefs could make rare choice of OT at No. 1
Roger Goodell says Jimmy Haslam ‘is doing everything he’s asked’

Can’t get read on Pats
To stay, Rex Ryan may need NY Jets to pick quarterback in first round of draft

NY Giants could snag a linebacker in first round of NFL draft for first time since 1984
How low can Bears go?

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