Tags: Andrew Luck, darius butler, donald brown, indianapolis colts, infographic, Jerrell Freeman, robert mathis, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
Tags: 2013 nfl season, Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, arizona cardinals, Bjoern Werner, boom herron, chuck pagano, cincinncati bengals, cory redding, da'rick rogers, darius butler, darrius heyward-bey, Denver Broncos, divisional playoffs, donald brown, Griff Whalen, houston texans, indianapolis colts, infographic, jacksonville jaguars, Jerrell Freeman, kansas city chiefs, laron landry, LaVon Brazill, miami dolphins, new england patriots, nfl playoffs, Oakland Raiders, Reggie Wayne, Ricky Jean-Francois, robert mathis, san diego chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, st. louis rams, T.Y. Hilton, tennessee titans, wild card weekend
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts are the midst of their bye week and that means the team’s assistant coaches were available to the media earlier this week.
Here are some tidbits from the assistant coaches as the Colts have finished the first two months of the 2013 season:
Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen:
The longest tenured Colts coach on the staff talks about what the team is losing in Reggie Wayne:
“Just the culture. He’s a big part of our culture and how we want to do things and how we compete and how we practice and all those things. I’m just trusting that he got us off to a start. He got the receiver room off to a good start and the passing game.
“The consistency factor, hopefully he’s communicated enough and other guys have to respond now and do the same thing. He has been that security blanket. All of a sudden, we’ve all had a kid and they have their, there’s a time when you got to take the security blanket away. There’s no more of that. We’re taking your favorite animal. You’re 13 now. You got to grow up and go. So it’s going to have to be the same thing. Some folks are going to have to step up. We have to keep the same level of consistency that he brought. He’s been big with those young receivers. T.Y. (Hilton) now, right? You see the effects of being in the room with Reggie (Wayne) and T.Y.’s game and how it’s stepped up and how consistent he’s become and that has to permeate through the whole unit and certainly the receiver room.”
Running Backs Coach David Walker
Coach Walker was a popular interview on Tuesday and he chatted about what he’s seen from Trent Richardson:
“A guy that’s working real hard to understand and learn the nuances of our offense. He’s doing a good job with that. It’s still a work in progress. Certain phases were quicker than others, but he’s making progress there. He’s obviously a guy that has the ability to make defenders miss tackles, he’s made a lot of missed tackles in his short time here, and he finishes runs. All the things when he was in Cleveland and throughout his college career that people see in him, those things have showed up and will continue to show up.”
Wide Receivers Coach Charlie Williams
Another popular coach talked about how his room is handling the loss of Reggie Wayne:
“It’s a very tough loss to lose a guy like Reggie and what he does and brings to our team both on the field and off the field. As Coach Pagano always talks about, the next man is up. Whoever that next man may be, we’ll get ready to go and do what we do, continue to win football games.”
“(Reggie’s) going to be a coach on the field just like as if he was playing. He knows what to look for and he can help these guys tremendously. He does it all the time when he’s on the field and when he’s out there playing he can help when we’re off the field in terms of when the defense is on the field. He’s going to be a tremendous help to us. He’s going to stay in the game.”
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel
On rookie Montori Hughes and his progress:
“He’s just improving in all aspects of the game. He’s understanding playing at this level and what it takes consistently to play in there. The hardest part to play for a young guy is really defensive line because you have so many offensive linemen that have so much experience and they know all the tricks of the trade so it really puts you behind the eight ball a little bit. But he’s developing, he’s getting better. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great size so we are looking forward to him continuing to get better.”
Linebackers Coach Jeff FitzGerald
The exuberant FitzGerald was asked about what Jerrell Freeman means to the Colts defense:
“Tremendous. He does a great job. We’ve given him more and more responsibility on the defense and he’s handled every bit of it. He doesn’t balk at it whatsoever. I think he enjoys having the extra responsibility that we put on him and he does a good job with it. I think he looks at it as a challenge. He’s hard on himself. He’s great to coach. We’re hard on him, but he’s probably ultimately the hardest guy on himself to get better.”
Secondary Coach Mike Gillhamer
On if Vontae Davis is the ideal cover corner:
“Yeah, I think Vontae sees himself that way but I think also we try to get across that he’s got to be a complete corner and he’s got to do the complete things, play off. Since he’s got here, we’ve really worked on his technique. A lot of times, I think what’s happened in Vontae’s past is that when things go bad, you revert back to old habits. You need something that you can go back to when things are going bad. That’s the thing that we try to get across to him is technique and staying intense and staying everything that way. He’s responded real well.”
Tags: Charlie Williams, Clyde Christensen, David Walker, Gary Emanuel, Jeff FitzGerald, Jerrell Freeman, Mike Gillhamer, Montori Hughes, Reggie Wayne, trent richardson, Vontae Davis
Posted in Colts Blog
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have played poised football and executed consistently in winning 15-of-21 under Chuck Pagano prior to Monday.
At San Diego, the Colts had one of their tougher outings and were not able to win many “situational” moments, according to Pagano.
While results rarely are as good or bad as they seem, there are points on which to improve as Indianapolis seeks to retain its lead pace in the AFC South.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
POSSESSION AND POINTS – After the Colts opened with a sustained scoring drive and forced two San Diego punts to start the game, it looked like it would be a night of accomplishment on the national stage. Instead, San Diego owned the ball for almost 21 minutes of the second and third quarters and beyond the first five minutes of the fourth period. Sixteen of their 19 points came from the 55 plays on those drives, while the Colts labored almost in vain. Indianapolis had a near-32-minute possession average in its first five games and produced on the scoreboard while having the ball in getting to 4-1. A sobering defeat saw San Diego control the game with a near two-to-one possession advantage and getting points to close those drives. The Colts had to be efficient when they got the ball, and they were not.
EXECUTE – Pagano is a player’s coach in every respect, including a post-game message: “I told the players, it isn’t about heart. It isn’t about toughness. It isn’t about preparation. Our guys do that week-in and week-out. They’re going to play their hearts out. We just have to play smart. We have to play better football. We didn’t play good football. We didn’t play good situational football. We’ll get that fixed.” Penalties have not been a season-long problem. Seven at Jacksonville did not hinder a 34-point win. Five at San Diego perpetuated defeat, with three coming on third downs to extend drives. Ten points came on drives where penalties hurt. Offensively, two-of-10 on third downs and about six dropped passes kept the defense on the field. Effort is not the issue. Smart effort has made this team a success – one able to avoid consecutive losses under Pagano.
FREEMAN FACTOR – Jerrell Freeman missed parts of the game Monday with a concussion, plus had a cut on his chin. Freeman has been a big factor in the club’s defensive success, and missing him for more than a half at San Diego might have proved his value in absence as much as what he has done while playing. His leadership is key to a defense that will need a solid performance Sunday, and a concussion baseline must be met in a short week.
VINNY’S GREATNESS – This is not really a lesson learned, just a citation for a Hall-worthy player being at the top of his game in an 18th season. Adam Vinatieri nailed 50- and 51-yard field goals at San Diego. Nailed – into the net. He has made 12-of-14 this year. A 49-yarder pushed a late lead against Seattle from three to six points. He kept the Colts within arm’s distance at San Diego. Vinatieri is seven-of-nine beyond 40 yards this year, with a 52-yarder that hit halfway up the upright against Miami and a 51-yard miss into the win at San Francisco. Those who dare to question of the game’s greats may have to wait a few more years.
DEFEND THE RUN – Two straight games the Colts have allowed 100-yard rushers. Marshawn Lynch and Ryan Mathews both reached 102, and this is in addition to Terrelle Pryor (112) and Russell Wilson (102). Seattle ran for 218 yards and a 6.4 average. San Diego got 147 at a 4.0 clip. It is a two-game matter that bears watching.
Tags: Adam Vinatieri, chuck pagano, indianapolis colts, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog
On perhaps the last read-option play the Colts defense will face in a while, it seemed fitting Jerrell Freeman made the tackle.
With Russell Wilson having only Freeman to maneuver around before endless green turf in his sights, there was the Colts inside linebacker stopping the Seattle quarterback on a key third-and-two in the fourth quarter.
“I got to get him down,” Freeman said of what was going through his mind when he saw Wilson in the open field.
“I knew he was going to go to that stiff-arm. He tried to throw it out there and I just knocked it down and made the tackle. I just ended up being one-on-one with him. It was like yeah, just got to make this play. I was like, he’s not about to outrun me, so I definitely got to go get him before he gets this first down.”
Freeman’s game-high 13 tackles against the Seahawks puts him 10th in the NFL in tackles after five weeks.
The Colts defense will now transition to one of the league’s best passers in Philip Rivers but Freeman is glad to see the read-option absent from the schedule for a while.
“Rivers presents his own problems. He is a gun-slinger,” Freeman said. “He puts the ball where he wants it. He just brings a lot of knowledge of the game.
“We got a nice little string of quarterbacks we’re going to play here that do the same thing, so we’re definitely going to have to be on our P’s and Q’s about disguising things and not letting him see what we’re doing.”
Now in his second season as the signal caller of the Colts 3-4 defense, Freeman says the familiarity in this scheme has allowed his game to grow (3.0 sacks in 2013).
Pagano acknowledges the plays Freeman made on Sunday and the head coach loves what he’s seeing from the Colts 2012 leading tackler.
“He’s just starting to pick up where he left off last season, coming on the scene and playing as well as he played last year and all the production that he had,” Pagano said of Freeman.
“He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great speed and he’s got a nose for the football and he’s got playmaking ability.”
Tags: chuck pagano, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog
With Monday Night Football on the schedule this week, the Colts will ramp up their practice pace on Thursday afternoon. Today’s news looks at the early talk of Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis and the play of Jerrell Freeman.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Thursday, October 10th.
By: Jarrett Bell, USA Today
At NFL owners meetings in Washington D.C., Bell caught up with Colts owner Jim Irsay to take a look ahead at the October 20th meeting with the Denver Broncos.
Obviously, Peyton Manning was the topic and the Colts plans for welcoming back No. 18.
“We’re going to have a great tribute to him,” Irsay said while in Washington for NFL owners meetings on Tuesday. “It’s going to be something where you go into it wanting to have a lot of fun, where you love Peyton as a Colt fan, but now we’re competing against him.”
“For this one day, we’re competitors,” Irsay said. “You look for a great game and that’s the main thing.”
By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star
The calendar has turned to 2013 but Jerrell Freeman is once again turning heads, especially after his game-high 13-tackle performance against Seattle.
“He was all over the field,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Jerrell, he’s a good player, great player. He’s very athletic. He can do everything. He’s good in the run game. He’s good in the pass game as well. There’s no liability when you speak of Jerrell.”
Freeman, according to the Colts (who keep their own tackle statistics), had a team-record 203 tackles last season. Not the kind of thing you generally expect from a guy who played college ball at a former women’s school and began his career with three years in obscurity north of the border.
But that’s in the past. Freeman didn’t get here by being easily satisfied.
“The mark of a good pro is being able to be consistent year-in and year-out,” Freeman said. “It’s about getting better at what you do and not staying the same. I didn’t want to come back and be the same guy. I wanted to get better this year.”
By: Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
In the first of many national stories comparing Luck and Manning over the next week and a half, Wetzel looks at the questions surrounding the former Stanford signal caller when he was drafted by the Colts.
There were just a few things no one could measure.
Could Luck handle the pressure of replacing a legend? And if, yes, what if that legend returned to greatness with another team, offering a weekly reminder to players and fans back in Indianapolis of what they were missing, what they had let go?
What no one could imagine was the possibility that Manning might not only return to form, but actually be better than ever – as he’s been this season in Denver. Or, to take even further, to play the position better than anyone has ever played it.
What kind of a young player could handle that?
As it turns out, Andrew Luck.
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
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.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, antoine bethea, chuck pagano, Delano Howell, indianapolis colts, Jerrell Freeman, Lawrence Guy, pat mcafee, Reggie Wayne, robert mathis, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts will wrap up their practice schedule this week on Friday in preparation for this weekend’s match up with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s a look at today’s news with Chuck Pagano’s one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with leukemia, the task of stopping Maurice Jones-Drew and Jerrell Freeman’s pass rushing.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Friday, September 27th.
By: Bob Kravitz, Indy Star
The one-year anniversary of Pagano being diagnosed with leukemia took place earlier this week and Kravitz looks at the head coach’s perspective on life.
Every day now is a gift.
Has been since Dr. Larry Cripe of the IU Health Simon Cancer Center declared he was in remission.
“I was talking to my wife (Tina on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning), and we were saying, it almost seems surreal that it’s been a year,’’ Pagano said. “Just the way things are going, how good I feel, I feel like it almost never happened. It’s crazy. It went so fast. Now, those first couple of months, it didn’t go fast when we were going through it (chemotherapy), but now it’s like it happened to somebody else.
“I know it’s always going to be there, but I feel so lucky, very lucky.’’
By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star
Colts fans know all too well what Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew can do to an opposing defense.
The Colts defense is MJD’s opposition this week.
“He’s built like a fire hydrant, runs like a shorebird,” he said. “Tree trunks for legs. Never stops churning. Powerful, powerful guy.”
Jones-Drew is 5-7, 210 pounds. He routinely has his way with the Colts’ defense. In 13 appearances, he’s averaged 106.8 yards per game and 5.4 yards per attempt. Eight of his 24 career 100-yard games have come against the Colts, including 177- and 169- and 166-yard outings.
DE Cory Redding has the sure-fire remedy for containing Jones-Drew.
“One guy get there, hit him high, slide down to the ankle and hold on until the other 10 guys get there. That’s how you stop him,” he said.
By: Mike Wells, ESPN.com
No inside linebacker in the NFL has more sacks in 2013 than Jerrell Freeman.
Last year, Freeman was one of the top tacklers in the NFL and now he has added a pass rushing element to his game.
“He’s a good athlete,” coach Chuck Pagano said about Freeman. “He studies the game, he works hard, he can run. He’s got intangibles. The guy’s got instincts. Again, he knows what’s coming before it comes.”
Getting strip-sacks has been a staple of Freeman’s already this season. He had one against Miami’s Ryan Tannehill in Week 2. Then he had one in the in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Freeman sacked and stripped the ball from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at San Francisco’s 8-yard line. The Colts scored three plays later to take a 27-7 lead.
“It’s just making the most of an opportunity,” Freeman said. “Guys up front, my linebackers blitzing in and doing their thing. They’re doing all that work, the least I can do is make a play when I get the opportunity. It’s just the opportunity presented itself and I’m making the play.”
Tags: chuck pagano, cory redding, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
Back in late May, Colts linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald talked about the versatility his group had and how implementing that would be the next step heading into 2013.
Moving players around and allowing the Colts pass rush to thrive on third downs was something Fitzgerald was looking for out of his linebackers.
Freeman 3.0 sacks are tied for ninth in the NFL and he’s the only inside linebacker in the league with more than 1.5 sacks.
“It’s just making the most of an opportunity,” Freeman says. “Guys up front, my other linebackers blitzing in and doing their thing. They’re doing all that work, the least I can do is make a play when I get the opportunity.”
Two of those sacks have come on third downs and in both of those cases Freeman has forced a fumble with the Colts recovering the loose ball.
The 15 takeaways the Colts had last season were one of the fewest in the NFL and Freeman is doing everything he can to change that number.
“We just try to get turnovers, try to make a difference out there. That’s what we preach,” Freeman said on Wednesday.
“Last year, we wanted to do more with the turnover battle and I think we’re at plus-four now. It’s a big thing. Get old Andy (Andrew Luck) the ball over there and I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Perhaps the most impressive indication of Freeman’s play in 2013 is he still has 26 tackles, which ranks near the top of the NFL.
Freeman’s 26 tackles is the most tackles for the top 64 players on the sack list after three games.
Last year, Freeman was a much needed catalyst in the middle of the Colts defense.
He is once again doing that in 2013 and has even added another dimension to his game that not many inside linebackers possess.
“He’s a good athlete. He studies the game, he works hard, he can run,” head coach Chuck Pagano says about Freeman.
“The guy’s got instincts. He knows probably what’s coming before it comes. He’s effective both in coverage, he’s effective in the run game, and when we do blitz he finds a way to get to the quarterback, so he’s got a knack for that.”
Tags: chuck pagano, Jeff FitzGerald, Jerrell Freeman
Posted in Colts Blog
While many Colts players traveled to tropical islands and other destinations this offseason, Pat Angerer stayed right here in Indianapolis rehabbing.
No NFL player wants his offseason spent doing the ‘r’ word but that’s what was in store for Angerer.
Angerer tied for the team lead in tackles during the first half and his fellow defenders were glad to see him back in the starting lineup.
“Another tackling machine out there, alongside (Jerrell Freeman),” safety Antoine Bethea said of Angerer’s return.
“We’ve got two guys who can get to the ball, know the defense, intelligent guys. Having (Angerer’s) leadership in the linebacker corps and out on the field is going to help us out a lot.”
During Angerer’s first two seasons in the NFL, the second-round draft pick started 27 games and did not miss a contest.
However, a foot injury limited Angerer to just three starts last season.
Angerer, who was the Colts leading tackler in 2011, ran out with the starting unit against the Browns and wasted little time making an impact.
“Last year (Angerer) was kind of limited and this offseason, so having him back out on the field gives us a veteran guy that has played a lot of downs in this league so that’s always good for the defense,” cornerback Darius Butler said.
“I’m out there in nickel so I’m communicating a lot with him, Jerrell so it’s good to have a guy in there who knows what’s going on.”
With Angerer back in the starting lineup, the Colts inside linebackers both have finished in the top five of the NFL in tackles over the past two seasons.
“It’s always good to get one of your leaders back,” backup linebacker Mario Harvey says of Angerer.
“It’s just another addition to the team that we lost during the spring. It adds more depth on the defense and I’m happy to see him play.”
Tags: antoine bethea, darius butler, Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey, pat angerer
Posted in Colts Blog