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What did a few Colts players think of the Michael Sam news?

Posted by Kevin Bowen on February 10, 2014 – 10:36 am

Last year when the NFL Combine invaded Lucas Oil Stadium, the hoard of media waited…and waited for the press conference of former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.

Prior to Sunday night it looked like Johnny Manziel’s 2014 combine press conference would rival that of Te’o.

But now that distinction belongs to Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

On Sunday night, Sam told the New York Times: “I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay.”

Sam was one of the most dominant players in college football last year. He had 11.5 sacks in 2013 and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year for a Tigers team that captured the Cotton Bowl.

NFL draft pundits have the 260-pound Sam projected to be drafted in the later rounds of the 2014 draft.

Below are a few excerpts of Sam’s article in the New York Times.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” said Mr. Sam, who also spoke with ESPN on Sunday. “I just want to own my truth.”

“I’m not naïve,” Mr. Sam said. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the N.F.L.”

Also, a few Colts players went to Twitter to express their support for Sam deciding to come out a week and a half before the Combine.


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Rookie Hugh Thornton plays with the first team offense and excels in his NFL debut

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 25, 2013 – 4:45 pm

After missing the entire 2013 training camp with an ankle injury, rookie Hugh Thornton made his NFL debut on Saturday night.

Thornton entered on the Colts third offensive series and would go on to play the entire second and third quarter at right guard (42 snaps).

“It felt awesome just being out there after not playing in camp and not practicing as much as I’d like to,” Thornton said after the win. “I had the opportunity to go in (Saturday) with the 1’s for a little bit so it was great to be out there.”

Just a few days before the Colts were scheduled to head to Anderson, Thornton got rolled up on during the rookie camp and he just recently returned to practice.temp2013_0824_CLE_3654--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Not only was Thornton effective against the Browns (apart of both Colts touchdown drives), the third-round pick was frequently running down the field picking his teammates off the turf.

“It was a good night for the whole team, defense came out and shut them down,” Thornton said. “Offense came out and we played physical and we were able to play our game at home.”

“I’m excited where we are heading as a team.”

With starter Mike McGlynn sidelined with a bruise knee, the opportunity is there for some significant reps at the right guard spot.

Interior depth along the offensive line has been somewhat of a mystery with Thornton and fourth round pick Khaled Holmes also missing a bulk of training camp.

Thornton’s play on Saturday night showed the “mauler” mentality that the Colts saw when drafting the Illinois product.

“I thought (Thornton) played really well for a guy that hasn’t taken any snaps since he finished the rookie minicamp prior to training camp,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said. “He looked pretty good in there in the rush and the pass game, very pleased with his performance.”

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Burning Topics heading into the final week of Colts Training Camp

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 12, 2013 – 4:20 pm

The Colts will conclude their 2013 training camp at Anderson University this Friday.

Practices will take place each afternoon through Thursday, before a final Friday morning session wraps up three weeks in Anderson.

With a preseason game in the books, here’s a look at five topics to focus on before the Colts travel east this weekend to take on the New York Giants.

Andrew Luck looking for scoring drives: It was a short, but solid, afternoon for the Colts first-team offense on Sunday.

Luck admitted to a mental error with his cadence at the line of scrimmage that led to a sack. Also, a Coby Fleener fumble ended a potential scoring drive.

Against the Bills, Luck was 4-of-6 for 41 yards. Expect the Colts second-year quarterback to get a few more series of action on Sunday night.

Putting together sustained drives, ending in points, is a point of emphasis this week.

Getting DHB his first catch with the Colts: Darrius Heyward-Bey is still working his way back from a knee sprain.

He ran with the first unit against the Bills but did not record a catch.

Expect DHB to get some more 11-on-11 work in practice this week as the Colts try to solidify a potent top three receiver group in Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and DHB.


Starting offensive line needs to stay in tact: This goes without saying but given the depth behind the starting five, keeping the current unit healthy is vital.

Each member of the starting five has been out there for every practice during training camp which is a welcoming sign with two new starters being brought in.

Backup Joe Reitz got multiple quarters at left tackle against the Bills after primarily working at guard in the early part of training camp.

If the Colts can get rookies Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes back out on the practice field than the offensive line would have some depth as the midway point of the preseason approaches.

LB-Justin Hickman could be done for the year: Chuck Pagano said Hickman’s foot injury suffered against the Bills is potentially season ending.

Hickman was starting at ILB on Sunday with Pat Angerer, Jerrell Freeman, Mario Harvey and Josh McNary all sidelined with injuries.

The competition for a starting spot next to Freeman seems to be between Kavell Conner and Kelvin Sheppard, at least until the names mentioned above return from various injuries.

Waiting for the debuts of LaRon Landry and Bjoern Werner: Two of the Colts more intriguing defenders sat out against Buffalo with minor injuries.

Having Werner back out on the field this week, as Pagano said he expects, will help a Colts pass rush that recorded just one sack and one quarterback hurry in the preseason opener.

At the backend of the defense, the Colts missed five safeties with Landry the headliner of the group.

If Landry makes his debut next weekend, he will do it in the stadium that he called home in 2012 with the New York Jets.

Also, the Giants are an opponent Landry knows well after five seasons with the Washington Redskins.

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Week Two Preview: Four thoughts on the Colts offense

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 3, 2013 – 10:34 pm

With Week One in the books in Anderson, here are four offensive items to look towards in Week Two.

The Colts will practice the next three days before an off day on Wednesday. Things will pick back up Thursday and Friday, with the preseason opener coming on Aug. 11 against the Buffalo Bills.

Pads rev up the hitting-Chuck Pagano was very pleased with what he saw out of his team once the pads were put on last Tuesday.

The only full-live tackling the Colts do during training camp comes in goal line drills.

Staying healthy has to be atop the most important goals list moving forward, especially when you look around the NFL and see some significant injuries.

Andrew Luck’s growth-As the first week moved along, Luck turned in some impressive stretches with his best day coming on Friday morning.

Pep Hamilton alluded to the offense not being fully installed yet so we should continue to see that over the next few weeks.

While Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey remain the most frequent targets of Luck, the second-year quarterback has done a wonderful job spreading the pigskin around to the other receivers, tight ends, running backs and even a fullback.

Depth on Offensive Line-The Colts starting five that came out of minicamp remains intact after Week One.

However, after those five you have Hugh Thornton who has been nursing an ankle injury and missed the entire first week. Fellow rookie Khaled Holmes also hurt his ankle last week and has been in a boot ever since.

Guard Joe Reitz got a “stinger” on Friday and Pagano said he expects him to miss a few days.

None of the injuries appear to be serious and getting a look at Thornton will be a focus the rest of camp.

DHB’s consistency-Similar to Luck, DHB had his best days of camp late last week.

Wayne marvels at the skill set that DHB brings to the receiver position and has high hopes for the new Colts receiver in 2013.

Stacking together consistent practices is key this week for DHB as we are just over a month away from the regular season opener against his former team.

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Day 3 Impressions: The physicality of pads, Josh McNary’s arrival and the depth in the trenches

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 30, 2013 – 7:04 pm

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.

Click here to watch Coach Pagano talk with the media on Tuesday

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.

Click here to watch Tuesday’s daily recap with ‘Voice of the Colts’ Bob Lamey

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Colts Daily Headlines: July 10th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 10, 2013 – 8:38 am

The news around the Colts on Tuesday surrounded some former offensive linemen. What will Jeff Saturday being doing next season? Who joins Mike Chappell’s all-Indy team at the offensive guard position? Lastly, who is next in line at Saturday’s old position at the center spot?

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 10th.  

Former Colts center Jeff Saturday joining ESPN for pro football analysis

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Retirement didn’t last long for former Colts center Jeff Saturday.

The 14-year NFL veteran is getting into the television industry with his first appearance on ESPN coming on July 17th.

“Offensive linemen make some of the best analysts because they understand the nuances of the game and they typically have fun personalities — Jeff definitely fits this mold,” senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, who oversees ESPN’s NFL studio shows, said in a statement. “It’s also no accident he played center for two NFL MVPs in Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.”

All-time Indy Colts guards: Ryan Lilja and Jake Scott

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Both of the guards on Chappell’s all-Indy team had productive years with the Colts before moving on to further their NFL careers.

Former Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd was very fond of both Lilja and Scott, after the two turned into mainstays up front even though they were not high draft picks.

“One of my favorite players all-time for me to watch was Ryan Lilja,’’ Mudd said. “He’s one of those guys who just got a lot out of his abilities.’’

“I just liked the way he got things done,’’ he said. “He was athletic and all that, but he got his job done very efficiently. He did things so well technique-wise.

“I really, really enjoyed coaching him.’’

On Colts’ center spot: Satele vs. Holmes

By: Paul Kuharsky, AFC South Blog

The Colts center position is definitely one to watch with the team departing for training camp in a little more than two weeks.

Kuharsky caught up with rookie Khaled Holmes to discuss the battle with the incumbent starter Samson Satele.

“Samson’s a great player and I think we have a bunch of great players up front,” Holmes said. “My only goal is to keep my head down and keep working. I’m always going to compete in everything I do, so there is that factor. But I’m not looking forward to anything besides camp.

“From Day 1 he’s been a great leader and a great help to me in particular. He’s been playing the position for so long at such a high level, he’s really got a firm grasp on technique and the scheme. He’s been nothing but a great help for me.”


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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 21, 2013 – 8:57 am

The men in the trenches poured into St. Elmo Steak House on Thursday night.

There was 266-pound Bjoern Werner, joined by a trio of 300+ pound linemen in Hugh Thornton (320), Khaled Holmes (302) and Montori Hughes (329).

Those draft picks, along with the entire Colts rookie class, enjoyed an evening at one of the most iconic restaurants in the state of Indiana with plenty of quality food to be had for the Colts first year players.

“We are very excited to have this squad join us for their first fine dining dinner in Indianapolis,” David Poore, operations manager, said. “We have a rich tradition of taking care of the Indianapolis Colts going way back to the mid-1980s.”

For nearly all of the Colts rookies, the dinner at St. Elmo was their first experience in a restaurant that is routinely nominated for some of the highest awards in the food business.

The restaurant has been a mainstay in downtown Indianapolis for over a century and the rookies experienced a variety of St. Elmo’s distinct qualities.

Before the Colts rookies could indulge in the steak-filled dinner, an etiquette class briefed the players on fine dining.

Next up was St. Elmo’s world famous shrimp cocktail and it’s safe to say that it lived up to hype in the eyes of the Colts rookies.

“That shrimp cocktail caught me off guard,” running back Kerwynn Williams said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so flavorful but it was still very good. It was fantastic.”

The trip to St. Elmo was the second-to-last trip the Colts rookies will make in the community this offseason.

A stop at the Indianapolis Zoo will follow Friday morning before the rookies disperse across the country and then reconvene for training camp in late July.

“It’s definitely been a great experience,” Williams said of the rookies touring Indianapolis.

“The Colts do a great job getting us acclimated to the city, taking us around, giving us new experiences whether it be experiences like this where we go to a great restaurant, or whether it be going out into the community like we did at the Play 60 event the other day. They do a great job of letting us know how to be professional on and off the field.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 10, 2013 – 9:14 am

The 2013 Colts rookie class were back out on the town this weekend, heading down to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to watch the WNBA World Champion Indiana Fever.

After having lunch at Colts Grille, the rookie class took in the nationally televised game against the Phoenix Mercury.

“It’s awesome, especially being so close,” fourth round pick Khaled Holmes said from his second row seat. “This is probably the closest I’ve sat to any professional basketball game. I’ve never been to a WNBA game but we are having a blast.”

Holmes had a connection with the Mercury as Phoenix guard Briana Gilbreath was a former classmate of his at USC and she played 34 minutes in Saturday afternoon’s contest.

It was a boisterous crowd of 8,672 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the Colts rookies got a taste of what they might encounter later this year from their home fans.

“That just shows you how much sports mean to this city and how much the players mean to the fans,” third round pick Hugh Thornton said. “It goes both ways so I’m excited to be out here supporting the Fever and being out here with all these great fans.”

This was the second trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the rookie class as they took in the Pacers clinching game six victory over the New York Knicks during the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Throw in a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during May and the rookies have gotten a taste of what their new home has to offer.

“We are out here just learning the layout of the land,” Thornton said. “We got the opportunity to come see the basketball game and so far everything we’ve done in Indianapolis, I’ve loved it. I love this city and look forward to doing some more.”

With a three-day minicamp beginning on Tuesday, the rookie class will continue a tour of Indianapolis over the next two weeks with the team bonding continuing to grow out in the community.

Screen shot 2013-06-10 at 9.10.10 AM“Obviously we are here to play football and that’s 100 percent the main focus, but at the same time, (Director of Player Engagement David Thornton) and the whole Colts organization has done a great time getting us acclimated to the city and allowing us to have a great time while we are playing here,” Holmes said.

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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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