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Pep Hamilton’s bye week plans took a bit of a turn when Reggie Wayne went down

Posted by Kevin Bowen on November 1, 2013 – 3:00 pm

Pep Hamilton wasn’t expecting to spend his bye week in this fashion.

Instead of reviewing film of the first two months of the season and getting a head start on the Houston Texans, Hamilton also dealt with the task of preparing for life without Reggie Wayne.

“It’s one of the harsh realities of the National Football League. It was tough to say the least,” Hamilton said of Wayne’s absence.

“We feel like we got to find ways, even if it’s by committee, to continue to move the ball and continue to move the ball in the passing game and be effective as a passing offense without Reggie. Andrew (Luck) had a tremendous amount of trust in Reggie and knowing that Reggie would get to the spot and ultimately that Reggie would make the play. We feel like we’ve got some other guys that are very capable of stepping in and making plays for us.”

Another area that Hamilton focused on during the bye week was creating more chances for new running back Trent Richardson.

Without Wayne, Hamilton knows that more attention will move towards opponents stopping the Colts run game.

“I have to do a better job of coming up with schemes that not only give our offensive line a chance to be successful, but of course to create holes for Trent. Create schemes that complement his wealth of talent,” Hamilton said on Thursday.

“That’s one of the things that we spent time as an offensive staff just looking at during the bye week. Finding ways to better feature our playmakers. Not just Trent, but Donald (Brown) and T.Y. (Hilton) and DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey) and Coby Fleener and Stanley Havili for that matter. But yes, I have to do a better job of finding ways to get Trent out in space.”

The last time Wayne missed a game with the Colts, Hamilton was a 27-year old offensive coordinator at Howard University, his alma mater.

His game plans for the rest of 2013 won’t include No. 87 but that doesn’t change the goals for this offense.

“We feel like even up until this point we’ve been an offense by committee. We’ve had a lot of different guys step up and make plays for us,” Hamilton said.

“We just know moving forward that it’s the next man up. DHB (Darrius Heyward-Bey), T.Y. (Hilton), some of the younger guys that may get an opportunity to go in there and make plays for us in the passing game. Somebody is going to have to step up and make the plays.”

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LaVon Brazill ready to be “a big part of (Colts) offense”

Posted by Kevin Bowen on October 30, 2013 – 3:08 pm

Standing just a few feet away from Reggie Wayne’s empty locker, LaVon Brazill knows the challenge that lies ahead.

The task might seem daunting but Brazill is ready to embrace it.

“I want to show them what I’m capable of doing and that’s being a big part of this offense,” Brazill said of helping to replace Reggie Wayne.

“Do what got me here, make plays, catch the ball, keep the chains moving, let my work do the talking.”

After returning from a four-game suspension to start the 2013 season, Brazill put in perspective what the time away from playing and practice meant for the second-year wide receiver.

“(Helped me) grow as a man,” Brazill said on Wednesday. “I messed up and paid the consequences. Now I’m ready to move forward and put all that behind me. I’m ready to make a play and I’m ready to do it.”

In his rookie season, Brazill caught 11 passes for 186 yards and was second on the Colts with 16.9 yards per catch.temp2012_1202_DET_bowen_1410--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Those opportunities gave the Colts 2012 sixth round pick the “confidence” to play at the NFL level.

In Wayne’s absence, the Colts young receivers have turned to five-year veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey for leadership.

On Wednesday, Chuck Pagano spoke to DHB’s leadership and the message for the entire receiving corps moving forward.

“I said you guys were around the guy (Wayne) long enough. You understand from a practice standpoint, preparation standpoint, film study, all those type of things, you saw a future Hall of Famer do it for however long you’ve been here, so just emulate that.”

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Year Two for Many Exciting

Posted by craigkelleycolts on August 11, 2013 – 1:10 pm

The sun is shining on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, and there is no place like an NFL stadium on game days.  Within moments of kickoff, it is an exciting time for many.

Chuck Pagano’s return to Lucas Oil Stadium is on the minds of some.  This will be his sixth game patrolling the sideline.  It is a welcome sight.

There have been past seasons when the preseason did not hold as much anticipation as this one does.

The Colts hit preseason with the bar set high and with aspirations of earning another playoff berth.

Still weeks away from league play, seeing a number of young players in action again is fun.  Andrew Luck has worked doggedly in camp (who hasn’t?), yet the second season for a starting QB is one fans are excited about.

Coby Fleener has had a great camp.  Ditto T.Y. Hilton.  Hilton had a wondrous rookie season, and he and Fleener both are poised for exciting years.

Dwayne Allen is out with a foot injury.  He is confident of a quick return.  LaVon Brazill needs good preseason work since he is out of the mix for the first four games.

Josh Chapman is getting his first action after missing last year with a knee injury.  Chapman has drawn praise from Pagano and teammates, with the coach calling him a “900-pound safe” in the middle of the line.

Vick Ballard hopes to build on a solid rookie year.  More mature physically, the second year of a running back’s career is exciting just as it is for a QB, too.

This will be the first game as a Colt for about 40 players on roster.  Seeing a free agent class in action is in order for today.  The Colts hope the influx of veterans will lead to more physical play.

The ball will be in the air in less than 30 minutes.

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New Special Teams Coach Tom McMahon has specific goals for his return units

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 7, 2013 – 10:00 am

Last time the Buffalo Bills made their way into Lucas Oil Stadium, T.Y. Hilton showcased the skills that have new Colts special teams coach Tom McMahon anxious to see his punt return unit in 2013.

Back on Nov. 25, 2012, Hilton fielded a Bills punt at the Colts own 25-yard line. The rookie side stepped two would-be tacklers and allowed his breakaways speed to do the rest in a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown.temp2013_0805_TC_1125--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

“T.Y. has the ability to create his own return and those are the guys that are special,” McMahon said. “Anybody can run one if it’s all blocked perfect. But he has the ability to create his own return and that’s the biggest thing that excites me about him.”

While the punt returner is virtually set in stone, McMahon said the Colts are still searching for a permanent kick returner.

“We are trying to find a guy there right now,” McMahon said. “We drafted (Kerwynn Williams) with that mind that he needs to produce as a kick returner but there’s some other guys that are going to come in here and compete with him. Cassius (Vaughn) we expect to a nice job back there, (Jabin) Sambrano, (LaVon) Brazill when he gets back.”

No matter who is back there to field kickoffs come Sept. 8, McMahon has specific goals he is looking for out of his return units.

Special teams is filled with hidden yardage and McMahon knows the importance of giving the Colts offense an even shorter field to march.

“We need drive starts on kickoff returns, period,” McMahon said. “If we average 15 yards a return but every single one of them is at the 30-yard line, that’s pretty darn good.

“From our punt pressure unit, we need to give the offense their first first down. We need 10 yards minimum per return, getting that first, first down.”

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Day Nine Impressions: Capacity crowd in Anderson, T.Y. Hilton does it again and DHB back in fulll pads

Posted by Kevin Bowen on August 6, 2013 – 9:20 pm

The Colts had a long wait on Tuesday but finally got back on the practice field with the sun setting and the lights turned on inside Macholtz Stadium.

After a quiet few days of practice, the full pads were back on Tuesday night and the offense turned in one of its better performances of camp.

Here are three takeaways from day nine…

‘Friday Night Lights’ feel to practice: In front of a capacity crowd of well over 7,000 people, the Colts offense put on a show for fans at Tuesday’s night practice.

The practice started off with a flea flicker completion from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton and the first team offense ended the two and a half hour session with a touchdown on the final two-minute drill.

Luck finished the night 26-of-35 with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

The defense got its highlight on the final play of practice with Cassius Vaughn, who is having a strong camp, intercepting Matt Hasselbeck in the end zone to end the second unit’s two-minute drill.

T.Y. Hilton continues to shine: Hilton’s name continues to pop up in the post-practice impressions and for good reason.

Colts fans saw what Hilton can do after the catch last season, but watching him create separation and haul in long passes has been a strength for the second-year receiver all camp.

That was once again the case on Tuesday night with Hilton catching the first two passes of the night.

He was also on the receiving end of a post pattern over the middle to finish off the first unit’s final touchdown drive.

Hilton’s dynamic ability with the football is well advertised but he has shown all throughout camp that he can catch the ball consistently, something opposing defenses do not want to hear with the season a month away.

DHB returns for opening drills: Any rumors about Darrius Heyward-Bey’s knee injury being serious were put to rest on Tuesday night when No. 81 took part in “routes versus air” at the beginning of practice.

Head coach Chuck Pagano said that was the goal for DHB on Tuesday as he took part in positional drills with his fellow receivers.

The Colts new receiver will get treatment on the team’s off-day Wednesday and hopefully ramp up the activity during Thursday’s practice.

Without DHB during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, Griff Whalen once again had a strong evening with the first and second units.

All in all it was a very productive night for the Colts young receivers including Nathan Palmer, Jabin Sambrano and LaVon Brazill.

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Griff Whalen creating some noise at the receiver position

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 31, 2013 – 8:45 am

Who led the Colts in receiving during the 2012 preseason?

The answer to that question might not be the guy you are thinking.

With 12 catches and 125 yards receiving, Griff Whalen made the most of his opportunities as an undrafted free agent during last year’s preseason.

Unfortunately a foot injury sidelined the Stanford product for his entire rookie season.

Now fully healthy, Whalen is once again turning some heads, and one very important man is taking notice.

“He’s a very, very consistent guy, cerebral guys, doesn’t make (mental mistakes), knows every intricacy of the offense so he’s able to play fast and he’s got a great set of hands,” Chuck Pagano said of Whalen on Tuesday

“He doesn’t drop any footballs and he makes plays so I’m happy where he’s at.”

Whalen has been a popular target of Colts quarterbacks early on in training camp and seems to be picking up where he left off in 2012.temp2013_0730_TC_0806--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

No. 17 has also been approached on several occasions by offensive players asking questions on the Colts new offense.

“It’s very similar so it’s been a nice transition for me,” Whalen said. “I feel pretty comfortable just jumping back into it.”

“Pep (Hamilton) did a really nice job sort of simplifying some of it because there’s so many formations and plays, renaming some of the formations or plays so that they make more sense together. He did a good job of that so it flows pretty well now.”

With LaVon Brazill missing the first four games of the season, there are reps to be had at the fourth and fifth receiver spot in September.

If Whalen can keep producing on the field, than this Colts offense will have even more Stanford flavor come the start of the regular season.

“We have a ton of competition in our room right now which is great. I’m just trying to take advantage of everything I can.”

“It feels great to be healthy and run around again. I’m just excited to get back out there.”

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Colts Daily Headlines: July 30th Edition

Posted by Kevin Bowen on July 30, 2013 – 9:09 am

Another day down at Colts training camp. The news of Monday came with LaVon Brazill addressing his four-game suspension, Andrew Luck’s day on the practice field, Donald Thomas’ journey to playing football and what Robert Mathis main goal is in 2013.

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 Tuesday, July 30th.  

LaVon Brazill admits ‘mistakes’

By: Associated Press,

Second-year wide receiver LaVon Brazill addressed the media on Monday morning for the first time since it was announced he would miss the first four games of the regular season.

The second-year Colts receiver insisted it’s an easy choice: He’ll take money over marijuana any day.

On Monday, Brazill promised to avoid any more off-the-field missteps as he made his first public comments since the NFL imposed a four-game suspension for a failed drug test. Brazill admitted he alone was to blame and said he has promised the Colts it won’t happen again.

“I know any one of you would choose money any day, so that’s gone and I’m choosing money any day,” Brazill said Monday after Indianapolis’ morning walkthrough at Anderson University

At Indianapolis Colts training camp, QB Andrew Luck ends practice on sour note

By: Mike Chappell, Indy Star

Chappell’s daily look at Colts training camp includes the numbers for Andrew Luck after Day Two, along with a new piece of clothing that has been spotted around Colts camp.

Charting Luck

QB Andrew Luck seemed to use every option at his disposal during 7-on-7 and team drills, connecting with eight receivers, but he ended the day on a sour note. His final pass in a two-minute drill was intercepted by CB Darius Butler. On the day, Luck completed 27-of-43 passes. WR T.Y. Hilton provided the catch of the day, a diving grab in front of the bleachers.

Luck’s two-day totals: 49-of-77, two TDs, two interceptions.

Motivational T-shirt

Another season, another motivational T-shirt. Players are wearing a T-shirt that has a hand grasping the Lombardi Trophy and the words ‘Hoist It!’ on the back. The ultimate goal is doing precisely that Feb. 2 at Super Bowl XLVIII. Last summer, players wore a T-shirt that featured a poll listing the Colts No. 32 in a power ranking.

Indianapolis Colts guard Donald Thomas: ‘I never had aspirations of playing in the NFL’

By: Michael Pointer, Indy Star

Pointer has an in-depth feature into Donald Thomas journey from a college walk-on who was found during a pickup basketball game.

A few Connecticut football players urged Thomas to try out for the team and with that came a Division I career followed by a starting job in the NFL.

“I never had aspirations of playing in the NFL,” Thomas said during a recent interview in the Colts locker room. “Even when I came back for my senior year, before the season started, I didn’t know I had a shot.

“I was just cool with coming back, finishing my (political science) degree and maybe going to law school.”

Thomas’ college coach Randy Edsall said it was a no-brainer to give the 6-4, 250-pound freshman a tryout.

“With that kind of a body, I didn’t have to think very long about giving him a chance,” Edsall said. “We knew he was a hard worker once we saw him in the weight room. If a player is going to do that, to try to develop himself before we’ve got a chance to work with him, you knew he had a tremendous work ethic.”

Mathis aims to silence doubters again

By: George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin

Robert Mathis is a man of few words but like Chuck Pagano says, when he speaks people listen.

That was the case on Monday as Mathis was the focal point following the morning walk-through.

Bremer wrote…

He’s arguably gotten better with age, being selected to the Pro Bowl in four of the past five seasons, and he needs just 8.5 sacks to join Freeney as the only players in franchise history with 100 career quarterback takedowns.

But, true to form, that’s not at the forefront of Mathis’ mind.

“That’s a secondary goal,” he said. “The goal is to get to New York in February (for the Super Bowl). If getting five sacks or 15 sacks is what’s going to get us there, then so be it.”


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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 25, 2013 – 8:31 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, June 25th

Colts WR LaVon Brazill suspended four games for violating NFL’s substance abuse policy

By: Phillip B. Wilson, Indianapolis Star

Wilson writes on Brazill’s suspension that will cost him the first four games of the 2013 regular season.

Brazill can still take part in preseason practices and games with his scheduled return coming on Oct. 6 against Seattle.

Wilson writes…

Brazill was expected to be one of several receivers vying for the Colts’ top reserve spot behind Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Other receivers in the mix include Nathan Palmer, Griff Whalen and Jabin Sambrano. The Colts have three other undrafted rookie receivers.

Bradley Cicala, Brazill’s agent, declined comment except to say he would work with his client to try to help him return to the Colts. The team did not issue a statement.

All-time Indy Colts: a look at the quarterbacks

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

In a series that commemorates the Colts 30th year in the Circle City and the team’s 500th game on Dec. 1, Chappell is starting a piece that looks at the all-time team from an Indianapolis version.

Chappell’s three quarterbacks are Jim Harbaugh, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning.

He goes into detail about how the contest will operate over the next month.

As the latest version prepares to report to Anderson University July 27 for the start of training camp, we take a position-by-position look at the best players from the previous 29 seasons. We’ll call it the all-time Indianapolis Colts team. Players are judged only on their careers with the Colts, and starting with the ’84 season.

Today, we ask for reader input. Vote below and enter our Ultimate Colts Team Contest at Every correct answer in the contest gives you an opportunity to win four Colts tickets to a 2013 regular season game. Follow the contest on Twitter at #UltimateColts.

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 13, 2013 – 7:30 am

There is a quartet of second-year receivers who Reggie Wayne labeled as “smurfs” last season.

Yes, the group might be small in stature but when it comes to production, Wayne knows their importance in 2013 and beyond.

Wayne has spoken to the young speedsters and the message was brief, but powerful.

“Just to get better,” Wayne said.

“We don’t have room right now to stay the same. You want to see everybody continue to grow, get better and build off of the year that they had last year.

Wayne includes himself in that group, yet it’s obvious that the other receivers have a ways to go before they achieve the numbers that No. 87 has piled up in 13 seasons.

During OTAs, LaVon Brazill, T.Y. Hilton, Nathan Palmer and Griff Whalen have all seen ample playing time with the first unit.

  • For Brazill, it’s his first full offseason after academic obligations forced him to miss OTAs last season.
  • Hilton has been a frequent target of Andrew Luck’s the past month and the electric receiver/returner has put on some weight this offseason in an effort to sustain an entire NFL season.
  • Similar to Brazill, Palmer is getting his first taste of an offseason with the Colts after he was signed off the 49ers practice squad last September.
  • Then there’s Whalen, who feels right at home in an offense he played in at Stanford while also feeling healthy after a foot injury sidelined him in 2012.

Luck was not bashful when describing how important his fellow second-year targets will be come September.

“Incredibly,” Luck said. “They are going to be a big, big part of this offense. They were a big part of it last year. They caught a lot of balls, a lot of big balls. For us to be productive we are going to have to have every man on the offensive side of the ball contribute.”

Just two lockers down from Luck, Wayne nods is head in agreement when he hears the need for young receivers to continue to grow.

Expectations in the Colts locker room include plans to play into late January and beyond.

For that to happen, it’s going to take a collective effort from players young and “old.”

“As a team, we set that bar so high, it is going to be tough. But if there is anybody that can do it, it is this coaching staff, it’s these guys in this locker room, it’s this whole organization,” Wayne said of the team’s lofty aspirations.

“We feel like we can go out there and can get better and have a better outcome this year.”

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on June 6, 2013 – 8:51 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 6th.

Colts looking for improvement at receiver

By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star

Chappell takes a look at a pair of second-year receivers in T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill and what they bring to the receiver position in 2013.

Hilton was at the top, or near it, in virtually every rookie receiving category but there’s one area he is looking to improve this fall.

“Right now I’m focusing on my drops from last year,” he said Wednesday. “I had way too many. That’s not like me.”

“That’s what bothered me,” he said. “I rarely drop passes. When they happen, I really get down on myself.”

Chappell’s notebook also takes a look at Brazill moving down in the locker room next to 13-year veteran Reggie Wayne.

Old Wayne learning new tricks with Colts

By: George Bremer, Anderson Herald Bulletin

Reggie Wayne was back in Indianapolis on Wednesday to take part in this week’s portion of OTAs for the Colts.

Over his 13 years in the NFL, Wayne has bounced back and forth between Miami and Indianapolis during this time of year but this week he felt the need to be up north.

It’s the second season that Wayne has worked with quarterback Andrew Luck and the Pro Bowl receiver continues to be amazed about how developed the signal caller is at the age of 23.

“He’s my quarterback so I’m going to be biased,” Wayne said. “It’s like he’s a seven-, eight-, nine-year vet. He’s handled everything extraordinarily well. He’s doing a great job. He’s talking in meetings, and he has a little hand up on everybody with this offense, and that’s even better. But he’s doing what a quarterback should. He’s being a leader and showing everybody what to do.”

Last year, Wayne talked about how the season made him feel young again with all the new faces and a new offensive scheme.

The calendar might have turned to 2013 but that feeling still runs deep with Wayne and he’s eager for a strong 2013.

“Last year opened my eyes a little bit,” Wayne said. “A lot of people think since you’ve got a young team, you are not going to do so well. But we were able to show a couple people what a young team can do. And I feel like we can do the same thing this year. If I’m not mistaken, we got like 32, 36 new faces again. So we just got to follow that same diagram as last year. And we got to top that one.”

Colts Notebook: Young WRs making strides

By: George Bremer, Anderson Herald Bulletin

In Bremer’s notebook, he also takes a look at the young receivers and how vital they will be in the Colts offense.

“They are going to be a big, big part of this offense,” Luck said of the young receivers. “They were a big part last year. They caught a lot of balls, a lot of big balls. For us to be productive, we are going to have to have every man on the offensive side of the ball contribute.”

Bremer goes on to share Colts first round pick Bjoern Werner’s excitement to head to Lucas Oil Stadium next Wednesday for the open minicamp practice.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s the first time in the stadium so I can’t wait just to be in there. It’s the first time fans can see me practice, pretty pumped up.”

Colts in harmony with new coordinator Hamilton

By: Tom James, Terre Haute Tribune

The theme of Wednesday’s ninth OTA was Luck and Wayne, and James followed suit with a look at the progress of the offense in general.

“I think we’re rolling. I definitely think that we’ll take advantage of the rest of the OTAs [organized team activities] and what we have left. But heading into [mandatory] mini-camp [next week] will be big for us,” the Colts’ signal-caller said after Wednesday’s team workout.

“It will be nice to be out there. It’s been a positive segment so far. Let’s finish this segment [OTA workouts] out well and go to the next one [mandatory mini-camp].”

James also throws in notes about Bjoern Werner hanging out with the German National Soccer team and Andrew Luck’s trip to London.

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