This time a year ago, Bruce Arians had no idea what 2013 would hold for him.
Today, he strolled into Lucas Oil Stadium, a stadium he inhabited in 2012, wearing a Cardinal red hat in the style made famous by Payne Stewart.
He strolled in as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, a post the 30-year coaching veteran would never gained had it not been for the work he did in Indianapolis last year.
“A career (laughs),” said Arians about what he got out of last year serving as an interim for Chuck Pagano. “Nothing will ever take away the memories from last year. Just everything that went on (was fun).
“The relationships with a great group of players were special. The rookie class was special. The whole thing that happened with Chuck Pagano and being the interim coach led to this opportunity. Basically this time last year, I was retired.”
Arians took over for Pagano after three games, earning a 9-3 record while Pagano battled leukemia. The unique story spawned off-shoot honors as Arians won some coach-of-the-year awards.
During his run last year, Arians said he never had felt more wanted than he did in being with the Colts last year. He said that feeling never will subside.
“There’s no doubt (that feeling will remain). It was meant to be,” said Arians of serving in Indianapolis last year. “Everything happens for a reason. It was meant for Kris and me to be in Indianapolis last year. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it was so special.”
Arians says life has not slowed down, estimating he’s been in Phoenix for only about 10 days with all his football-related travels.
The Colts will visit Arizona next season, meaning Arians’ old team will visit his new one.
“It will be fun,” said Arians. “Going back (to play a former team), it’s happened a couple of times through the years for me. There won’t be any losers that day.”
Arians took Harold Goodwin with him to Arizona. Goodwin had been the Colts’ offensive line coach last year. Arians added Tom Moore, too.
“Tom is going to help me run the offense. I’m going to call plays,” said Arians. “He’s going to help Harold Goodwin coordinate it and basically be my right-hand man. He’ll be a guy I can lean on. As I get torn back and forth between being offense and head coach, I know I have guys in there who have done it.”
Tags: bruce arians, harold goodwin, indianapolis colts, Payne Stewart, Tom Moore
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It’s an extra familiar homecoming for newly signed Colts offensive guard Trai Essex.
Not only will the 6-foot-5-inches 324 pounds Essex be back in the state he went to high school but he will also be reunited with his offensive coordinator and position coach.
Essex graduated from Fort Wayne Harding High School in 2001 and has spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He will now be playing in the same offense Bruce Arians conducted with the Steelers (2007-2011) and under former offensive line coach Harold Goodwin (2007-2011).
In his seven seasons in the NFL, Essex has played in 76 career games with 28 starts while winning two Super Bowls with the Steelers.
He brings versatility to a Colts offensive line that is in need of some depth. Last year, Essex played all five positions along the Steelers offensive line.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said on Monday that offensive guard Joe Reitz will miss his second straight game due to a leg injury.
The status of right tackle Winston Justice is also up in the air after he left the Bears game with a concussion.
Pagano said the offensive line needs to be better up the middle in protecting its rookie signal caller.
“For the most part we’re on the right guys, and now it’s just a matter of firming things up a little bit,” Pagano said. “Being a little more stouter in there, and trying to give Andrew (Luck) that pocket, that comfort zone in there where he can see the field and step up and make the throws that he needs to make.”
The 324-poound Essex will certainly add some bulk to wherever he fits onto the line as his knowledge of Arians’ scheme should speed up the process for him this week.
It remains to be seen whether or not Essex finds himself in the lineup come Sunday but his eight years of NFL experience is the second most on the Colts offense.
Pagano stressed the importance of finding a consistent running game to help out an offense filled with young pieces.
“If we can run the ball like (the balance) you’re talking about and not get behind so to speak and keep that thing balanced it’s obviously going to help (Luck) too,” Pagano said.
Tags: bruce arians, chuck pagano, harold goodwin, joe reitz, Trai Essex, winston justice
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For an Indianapolis kid playing in front of families and friends week in and week out, Colts offensive guard Joe Reitz has a message for the team fans will see in 2012.
“We’re going to be exciting. There’s just great energy, great enthusiasm. We had it since we started back in April,” Reitz said.
The excitement of Sunday’s preseason contest was a theme heard again and again following Tuesday morning’s walk-through.
The constant positive emotion that has been echoed throughout training camp by player after player began with the guys above, Reitz said.
“It starts with coach (Chuck) Pagano and it trickles down. It’s like he never, never has a bad day. He’s always upbeat and always excited,” Reitz said.
“That goes the same way for B.A. (offensive coordinator Bruce Arians) leading the offense, to our offensive line coach Goodie (Harold Goodwin). It’s been great getting to work under those guys and just how excited they are to come to work, that fires us up as players. We just try to emulate them.”
Currently, Reitz and fellow offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach are battling for the left guard position.
No matter who runs out there on September 9 against Chicago, Reitz knows the most important piece for the offensive line to succeed is communication among all five voices.
“The offensive line, that’s the one position on the field where it’s not five guys playing, it’s one unit. The more and more we can play together, (we can) learn each other’s strengths and nuances. I think every day we are growing as an offensive line and we’re just going to continue to get better,” Reitz said.
Growing up just outside of the Circle City in Fishers, Indiana, Reitz has had a close view of the Colts unparalleled success over the last dozen years.
This marks the third season that Reitz has played for the Colts and after starting nine games last season he is anxious to regain that team success he witnessed for so many years.
“I think we’ve had a great camp overall as a team,” Reitz said. “I know as an offense we are getting better every day. As an offensive line we are getting better every day. We are just getting excited for the season.”
Tags: chuck pagano, harold goodwin, Jeff Likenbach, joe reitz
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By Kevin Bowen, Colts.com
Of all the units on the Colts roster to see an influx of new talent this offseason, the offensive line received the most veteran additions with a trio of lineman made the move to Indianapolis.
Center Sampson Satele (6 years), guard Mike McGlynn (5 years) and tackle Winston Justice (7 years) all bring together ample NFL experience to a unit that is trying to blend it’s young talent around them.
Offensive line coach Harold Goodwin talked about each of the new additions and what they will bring the Colts in the trenches:
On Satele: “He’s been in the battle. He’s been in the wars. For him to come in, it’s just transitioning the terminology to what he’s heard in the past and flipping it over. He’s been great because he’s a smart football player and anything I teach him he picks up right away.”
On McGlynn: “He’s a huge leader in the room and a powerful, smart football player.”
On Justice: “We have a flexible guy who can play right tackle or play left tackle.”
The unit was a little undermanned on Wednesday afternoon with first year players Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana both sidelined along with guard Joe Reitz.
Castonzo and Reitz saw extensive action on the line last season and with them sidelined the veteran returnee came in the form of third-year pro Jeff Linkenbach.
“As far as the guys who’ve been here, Jeff (Linkenbach) is doing a great job. (We’re) kind of bouncing him around from tackle to guard, just trying to find him a home because I think he’s maybe one of our top five or six lineman.”
Goodwin said that even though the line is ever changing during the month of May he expects that to change come training camp.
“I know I’m kind of bouncing them around a little bit, but I just told them ‘stick with me’ and once we get to training camp and have healthy bodies we can start slotting guys into a single spot and go from there,” Goodwin said.