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“Newcomer of the Week”: Arizona Edition is Ricky Jean Francois

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 26, 2013 – 9:00 am

Throughout the course of the season, will run a “Newcomer of the Week” following each regular season game. With the Colts having an influx of the newcomers this season here’s a look at the “Newcomer of the Week” from Arizona.

This week’s “Newcomer of the Week” is defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois.

In coming over from the 2012 NFC Champions, Jean Francois has been a welcomed addition to the Colts defensive front.

Jean Francois put together his best game of the season on Sunday with five tackles and a career-best 2.0 sacks.tempD3S_8503--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

The second quarter sack by Jean Francois forced a Cardinals punt and he followed that up with a third quarter takedown of Carson Palmer, which ended that Arizona drive in a punt.

After the game, Jean Francois wasn’t one to talk about his individual performance.

Jean Francois realizes what it’s going to take to get to the Super Bowl and that means an evaluation across the board.

“It’s still the same team,” Jean Francois said after the game. “We are just going to take it back to Indy and we have to break down everything.

“Aint’ no finger pointing. We literally have to break EVERY thing down because to make this run, it ain’t going to be easy.”

Other Newcomers of Note:

Inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard filled in for 30 of the team’s 75 defensive snaps on Sunday in place of the injured Kavell Conner. Sheppard finished the game with five tackles and one quarterback hurry.

Tight end Justice Cunningham made his NFL debut on Sunday, playing 14 offensive snaps while filling in for fullback Stanley Havili. Cunningham had one catch for four yards on Sunday.

Running back Daniel “Boom” Herron had four carries for 33 yards in the fourth quarter on Sunday and had the Colts second longest play of the day with a 22-yard rush.

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Posted by coltsindianapolis on September 3, 2013 – 5:02 pm

The Indianapolis Colts today elevated tight end Dominique Jones from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster and signed tight end Justice Cunningham to the practice squad.

Jones was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent on April 30, 2012. In four games (one start) last season, he caught one pass for eight yards.

Cunningham was originally selected by the Colts in the seventh round (254th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. At South Carolina, he recorded 50 receptions for 581 yards and one touchdown in 53 games played (23 starts).

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Day 13 Impressions: A spirited day in full pads, Coby Fleener is back and could the Colts have their own Darren Sproles?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 14, 2013 – 5:30 pm

The Colts had their final full padded practice in Anderson on Wednesday.

It was an extremely spirited afternoon practice from 1-on-1 drills to some competitive 11-on-11 sessions.

Here are three takeaways from day 13…

A very competitive afternoon in Anderson: With the full pads back on, the Colts definitely got after it during the two-hour plus practice on Wednesday.

Special teams coverage was a focus early on in practice before the team divided into positional groups.

You had some spirited one-on-one blocking drills in the Colts final padded practice before this weekend’s game with the Giants.

The offense and the defense both had their share of wins during 11-on-11 drills and you could tell Chuck Pagano was very pleased with how things operated on Wednesday.

Coby Fleener back out practicing: Fleener was back at practice on Wednesday, which was critical for a tight end group that was down to two healthy bodies the prior day.

Even though Fleener was out there, it was Justice Cunningham and Dominique Jones who continued to make some impressive catches with the first team offense.

The Colts obviously feel comfortable with the Cunningham/Jones duo because they haven’t rushed to make any moves at tight end with Dwayne Allen sidelined.

Speaking of Allen (who is now walking on a boot at practice), there’s no one happier on the Colts sideline when the tight ends catch a pass during practice.

Could the Colts have their own Darren Sproles?: That name might not sit well to many Colts fans but maybe the team has acquired their own version of the former Chargers running back.

Rookie Kerwynn Williams has showed some flashes as an elusive receiver out of the backfield during training camp.

Williams role this season looks to be primarily on special teams but he caught a couple of passes with the first team offense during two-minute drills on Wednesday.

The Colts backfield does not have someone with the shiftiness of Williams so it would not be a surprise at all if down the road the seventh-round draft pick impacts the receiving game.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 21, 2013 – 8:25 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 Friday, June 21st.

Colts rookie to be honored in Calif.

By: Phillip Nardiello

While the Colts rookies hang around today in Indianapolis, seventh round pick Justice Cunningham is out in Newport Beach, Calif. for Mr. Irrelevant week.

The four-day event highlights the final pick of each NFL draft and Cunningham’s schedule looks like the following:

The four-day long celebration dubbed “Irrelevant Week” began when Cunningham arrived in California on Wednesday with a small party at his hotel.

It continued on Thursday evening with the Lowsman Banquet at the Newport Beach Marriott where Cunningham was presented with the Lowsman Trophy. The trophy pokes fun at the prestigious Heisman Trophy.

On Friday, Cunningham will go to Disneyland and then attend the Angels game where he’ll help drag the infield dirt between innings.

He’ll learn how to surf and then do some sailing on Saturday.




Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 20, 2013 – 8:43 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 Thursday, June 20th.

Colts’ Mr. Irrelevant eager to show team how relevant Justice Cunningham can be

By: Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star

It’s Mr. Irrelevant week for Justice Cunningham and as the final pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the tight end will head to southern California for three days of experience.

Cunningham can draw off of experience from last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish.

“They make fun of you to a certain extent,” said Harnish, the Colts’ second-year quarterback and the 2012 Mr. Irrelevant out of Northern Illinois, “because no one really thinks you’re going to make the team.”

Once this week is over, it will be preparation time for Cunningham as heads to his first NFL training camp.

“Right now, I’m a man trying to earn a job,” he said. “The sooner I can get rid of that title, the better.”

Colts rookies partake in Play 60 event at Arsenal Tech

By: Ken Sothman,

The Colts rookies headed out into the community on Wednesday taking part in a Play 60 event with over 200 kids.

Activities included reading, dancing, fitness and arts and crafts.

For Bjoern Werner, he had to explain his accent to the young children during the reading session.

“They were asking me where I come from because I can’t speak proper English,” said Werner with a laugh. “It was funny. They thought England, and I told them I was from Germany. They were like ‘Germany?’, so I had to do a little teaching.

The trip to the community is apart of several events that the rookies have taken part in this offseason.

“We have just been in meetings, working out, practices, and training,” said defensive lineman and rookie Montori Hughes. “So getting away from football and being able to give back is always fun and good.”

Luck carries Colts in Future Power Rankings

By: Paul Kuharsky. ESPN AFC South Blog

Always looking forward to the future, ESPN broke out 2016 future rankings for NFL teams.

The teams were ranked on six different scales with various ESPN talents weighing in on team’s prospects in each category.

Here is a snippet of what the analysts had to say about the Colts future:

Indy scored a 7.0 in coaching. Said Herman Edwards: “What more needs to be said about Pagano? He was an inspiring story last year and did so much more than help lead a football team. The key for him this year will be building off that. After such an emotionally draining season, can he keep his team’s energy up? Chuck is a great motivator, so it won’t surprise me if the young Colts keep improving. It doesn’t hurt that Luck is running the offense either.”

Andrew Luck got the Colts an 8.8 at quarterback, the second-best score to Green Bay: Says Mike Sando: “The Colts have only six players age 30 or older on their roster, but (Reggie) Wayne is one of them. Quarterbacks make receivers however, and Luck is going to be just fine. His efficiency should climb now that the Colts have reunited him with his college coordinator, Pep Hamilton.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 7, 2013 – 8:58 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 Friday, June 7th.

Colts welcome arrival of Wayne for offseason work

By: Mike Marot Associated Press

Marot takes a look at the 34-year old Wayne and how the six-time Pro Bowler is adjusting to another offseason with new faces and a new scheme.

With faces continuing to change around Wayne, he remains one of the most experienced Colts on the entire roster.

“The last few years my main focus on Day 1 has been just getting to know my teammates, getting to know their names, getting to figure out where everybody comes from and then going into the playbook because at the end of the day, you are out there with them and they are out there with you and you are doing whatever you got to do for each other. So I think it would be bad to go out there and not know the guy next to you, his first and last name,” Wayne said. “It has been a challenge, but I’m getting it done. It’s a little new to me still, but it’s cool.”

Finding the Fits: John Boyett could be solution to Colts’ secondary

By: Rob Rang, CBS Sports

CBS Sports is taking a look at some of the more intriguing draft picks from this April’s draft and Boyett fits the mold for Indianapolis.

Rang analyzes Boyett’s knee injuries that are currently holding him out of OTAs and how that will impact his future at the safety position.

As a sixth-round pick, Boyett isn’t likely to overtake Antoine Bethea or Landry as a starting safety for the Colts this season. His reliable open-field tackling and passion, however, could make him a special teams demon and valuable backup as a rookie. Considering that Landry hasn’t started all 16 games since 2008, Boyett’s readiness could be tested earlier than anyone expects.

The article also takes a look at first round pick Bjoern Werner and fifth round selection Montori Hughes.

Indianapolis Colts must run the ball better in 2013

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

On a day when the Colts news centered around Ahmad Bradshaw visiting the team’s complex, Chappell took a look at the running back position in Indianapolis.

For more than a decade, the Colts have been more prone to go through the air than carving up yardage on the ground.

While the attempts are one thing, Colts coaches look at another stat when evaluating the running game.

“It’s not necessarily how many yards we rush for, it’s … how efficient we are when we’re doing certain things,” said running backs coach David Walker. “If we run it 30 times but only gain 30 yards, we really didn’t do much.

“If we run it 30 times with 120, 130 (yards), then we’ve probably won the game and allowed other parts of our offense to open up.”

Ahmad Bradshaw, if healthy, would boost Colts’ running game

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

In Chappell’s blog, he takes a closer look at Bradshaw and how his potential addition may impact the Colts backfield.

Chappell believes that Bradshaw would “bolster” the position and says the following about the former Giants running back.

Bradshaw, 27, is a proven commodity. He rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns in six seasons with the Giants, and topped the 1,000-yard mark in two of his last three seasons (1,015 yards in 2012, a career-high 1,235 in ’10).

Breakout Player to Watch: Vick Ballard

By: Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

Burke is running a series on players he expects to breakout in 2013 and Ballard was one of his selections.

The article takes a look at a number of reasons on why Burke believes Ballard’s numbers will rise in 2013, including being involved in Pep Hamilton’s scheme.

Simply entering the season as the No. 1 back puts Ballard in position for a statistical boost. Ballard averaged just 5.8 carries per game and a measly 13.4 yards from Weeks 1 through 5; over the Colts’ final 11 contests, those numbers bumped to 16.5 and 67.9, respectively. Those averages, extrapolated out over a full season, put Ballard at nearly 1,100 yards.

How underrated? Well, just for discussion’s sake, Ballard was the 31st running back taken in Sports Illustrated‘s offseason fantasy mock draft (on shelves in our annual Fantasy Football magazine soon), behind such players as Baltimore backup Bernard Pierce, oft-injured Chargers starter Ryan Mathews, rookies Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy, and unproven Jets back Chris Ivory.

Ballard has a very realistic shot to soar past the production of any player listed there — his 67.9 yards-per-game average in his final 11 outings would have been a top-20 mark were it not for his lack of carries in games 1 through 5.

The Colts have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Joseph Addai ran for 1,072 yards back in 2007. If he stays healthy and the Colts do not freeze him out of the offense, Ballard should break that drought.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on – 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 – 8:49 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 Tuesday, May 14th:

Colts rookie minicamp review

By: Paul Kuharsky,

Kuharsky offered a notebook synopsis on the past week for the Colts.

He covered the draft pick signings of the Colts, a brief look into specific draft picks, and a bit of rookie minicamp.

Most of the information includes links to specific articles from the Indianapolis media.

Looking for the most pertinent information all things AFC South than Kuharsky’s blog is a must read.

Antonio Johnson deepens Titans at DT

By: Paul Kuharsky,

A familiar name to Colts fans has found a home in the AFC South.

“Mookie” Antonio Johnson returns to the Tennessee Titans after five seasons in Indianapolis.

Kuharsky tells the story of Johnson being singed off the Titans practice squad back in 2008 when the Colts suffered a rash of injuries along the interior of the defensive line.

The signing off of another team’s practice squads was a bit of a surprise as Polian did not do that often during his time as Colts GM.

Monday Morning Quarterback

By: Peter King, Sports Illustrated

This area usually is reserved for strictly Colts topics but King’s MMQB is too good not to include.

King focuses on Manti Te’o’s first day being included with veterans as the Chargers start-up OTAs again with the rookies in southern California.

Charges head coach Mike McCoy gave King some insight into how Te’o will exactly fit into the Chargers scheme.

“Our plan is for him to play three downs, and when we scouted him, we believed that’s what he’d be,” McCoy said. “But he’ll have to earn that, obviously. We’re going to play the best guys, and if he’s the best guy on all three downs, he’ll be in there.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 13, 2013 – 8:39 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, May 13th:

Colts rookies can look to 2012 season for indication of how much can be contributed

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

The Colts 2013 rookie class doesn’t have to look far in the locker room this week to see a group of players that excelled in their first NFL season.

Last season’s rookie class led the Colts to an 11-5 record and the offensive players accounted for an NFL record 3,112 yards of total offense.

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows that the needs aren’t glaring with this year’s rookie class and frankly, that’s what he is looking for in years to come.

“That doesn’t mean to say some of these guys that we drafted or any of the tryout guys or college free agents can’t come in and contribute in some capacity, especially on special teams,” Pagano said. “With what we did in free agency, there’s not that many holes to fill.

“That’s means you’re getting closer from a roster standpoint and team standpoint to where you want to be.”

Colts rookie camp ends on a ‘Detroit scenario’

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

It was a chorus of elation for the offense at the close of the rookie minicamp this weekend at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

Head Coach Chuck Pagano implemented a “Detroit scenario” with seventh round draft pick Justice Cunningham hauling in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Arkansas Tech quarterback Tanner Marsh.

“We try to do all these must-win mock situations,” Pagano said. “Fourth down, gotta have a touchdown and we hit a walk-off home run, if you will.

“It was a good way to end camp.”

Other factoids in Chappell’s notebook include Hugh Thornton working strictly at right guard during camp and Josh Chapman working as the No. 1 nose guard during OTAs.

Colts Notebook: Cunningham’s catch completes camp

By: George Bremer, Anderson Herald Bulletin

Bremer also takes a look at Cunningham’s heroics but his notebook piece includes a variety of topics.

The second notebook item is a roster move the Colts made following their rookie minicamp as cornerback Allen Chapman turned his tryout into a roster spot and he ironically takes the place of college teammate Nigel Malone on the 90-man roster.

Along with the note on Thornton working at right guard, Bremer mentions the success that first round draft pick Bjoern Werner received from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

“Usually, it takes players probably a whole offseason to get their feet underneath them,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “For him, he looks good the first day I saw him out of a two-point stance. He’s been working, I know, down in south Florida. He’s been working on it a lot. Usually, the hardest thing is once they standup, they don’t shoot their hands, but he seems like he’s doing a pretty good job of it.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 6, 2013 – 7:50 am

Here is a compilation of highlights for virtually all of the Colts rookies. Apologies to the quality and music choices of some of the videos but I wanted to include highlight clips so people can get a look at what the Colts will be working with the next few months.

2013 Colts Draft Picks

OLB Bjoern Werner, Florida State

-A highlight film of Werner’s senior season at Florida State showcases his ability to get off the ball extremely fast while also including clips in pass coverage. Check out the 2012 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and his 13 sacks below.

OG Hugh Thornton, Illinois

-The Thornton highlight film shows the All-Big Ten offensive lineman’s versatility along the line and compiles clips from multiple seasons.

C/OG Khaled Holmes, USC

­-Holmes’ highlight film shows his strengths and weaknesses and includes clips from his senior season, where he fought through a high ankle sprain in his final season as a three-year starter.

NT Montori Hughes, Tennessee-Martin

-The footage on Hughes is from the 2013 Senior Bowl. The film begins with individual drills from Hughes (No. 54) before moving into plays in the game where the Colts fifth round draft pick was on the field.

S John Boyett, Oregon

-Boyett’s highlights showcase the All-American safety’s impressive instincts and a blocked kick against UCLA.

RB Kerwynn Williams, Utah State

­-These highlights don’t include Williams’ kick return ability but it does show his senior film with numerous big plays both via rush and out of the backfield.

TE Justice Cunningham, South Carolina

­-While Cunningham is thought to be more of a blocker, these clips prove that he can be a threat in the passing game, too.

2013 Undrafted Free Agents

CB Dax Swanson, Sam Houston State

­-Many draft scouts thought Swanson would be drafted and this interview with Sam Houston State includes highlights of the school’s all-time leader in interceptions.

RB Dan Moore, Montana

­-This highlight film doesn’t come from the greatest of angles but gives people a look at the running ability that the 235-pound Moore brings to the fold..

LB C.O. Prime, Wagner

­-Wagner did an interview with Prime following his signing with the Colts.

WR Rodrick Rumble, Idaho State

­-The highlights on Rumble include his 10-catch, 218-yard performance he had against Washington State back in 2011.

RB Denodus O’Bryant, Lindenwood

­-The highlights on Rumble include his 10-catch, 218-yard performance he had against Washington State back in 2011.

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