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YOUNG COLTS RECEIVERS GET CHANCE TO SHINE DURING OTAs

Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 31, 2013 – 7:40 am

A total of 18 years of NFL experience was missing from the Colts wide receiver corps on Wednesday afternoon.

With Darrius Heyward-Bey and Reggie Wayne not participating in the Colts fifth OTA, the opportunity was there for first and second year receivers to make an impression with the first unit.

T.Y. Hilton highlighted the afternoon but it was a couple of other second year receivers who relished the chance to work extensively with Andrew Luck.

“Right now it’s valuable to get into a good relationship with Andrew,” LaVon Brazill said. “With DHB and Reggie not here, that will just build our confidence and build the trust with Andrew.”

Brazill caught 11 passes for 186 yards in his rookie campaign but now is in the process of learning a new offensive scheme in his first full set of OTAs after balancing school last offseason.

The offense is still a learning process for Brazill but he has shown flashes with some impressive catches over the past month.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF WEDNESDAY’S OTA

At the other end of the locker room is fellow second year receiver Nathan Palmer.

Last season, Palmer joined the Colts off the 49ers practice squad in late September and played in five games as an undrafted free agent.

Palmer feels like he’s on even ground in 2013 as he enters his first offseason with an offense virtually all at the same learning curve.

“I get to start fresh with everybody, instead of just right into the fire into the middle of things,” Palmer said. “I get to learn the offense from the ground-up, on the same pace as everyone else.”

Before long DHB and Wayne will return and the young, speedy receivers will be blended in with the veterans to complete Luck’s targets.

But for Wednesday, it was a youth movement on the Colts practice field and that was just fine with Palmer.

“Anytime you get a chance to step up in the absence of guys that are starting, it’s a good time to get out there, get more reps than you normally don’t get and just try to take advantage of the opportunity that you have,” Palmer said.

 


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COLTS HEADLINES: MAY 9TH EDITION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 9, 2013 – 9:15 am

Each morning Colts.com 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, May 9th:

Indianapolis Colts Add to Young, Interesting Receiving Corps

By: Eric Ivie, Yahoo! Sports

Ivie breaks down the 10 receivers that are currently on the Colts roster.

He points out that the Colts have just two receivers with more than two years of experience in the NFL (Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey).

It will be an extremely competitive summer for this Colts position group as one would think that second-year receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill have a firm grip on their roster spots (along with Wayne and Heyward-Bey).

The final few spots at the receiver position will be up for grabs with returnees Griff Whalen and Nathan Palmer competing with four newcomers to complete a position group that has a variety of options.

1,000 Colts season tickets going on sale

By: Mike Chappel, Indianapolis Star

At 10:00 a.m. this morning, the Colts will have 1,000 upper-level season tickets for sale to the public.

The season ticket sales for the Colts have been in high demand this offseason.

Fans can head to www.colts.com to take a virtual tour of Lucas Oil Stadium and see the seats remaining.

To purchase tickets, fans can either go online to www.colts.com or call (317) 299-4946.


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Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES

INSTANT REACTION: DARRIUS HEYWARD-BEY SIGNED BY COLTS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on April 1, 2013 – 10:01 pm

The anticipation of who would be joining the Colts wide receiver corps came to a close late Monday evening.

After tweets and names were thrown around for the last couple of weeks, the mystery has been solved on the new addition to an already dynamic group of wideouts.

Former first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey is the newest Colt and continues an offseason of additions for a Colts team coming off an 11-5 regular season.

How does this acquisition impact the Colts?

During the 2012 training camp, wide receiver Reggie Wayne called his fellow receiving corps the fastest that he has ever seen during his then 12 seasons in a Colts uniform.

That notion won’t be changing any time soon with the signing of Heyward-Bey.

With Heyward-Bey in the fold, his sub 4.3 40-yard dash speed should fill the role of departing receiver Donnie Avery.

Heyward-Bey provides Colts quarterback Andrew Luck another electric target that simply needs the ball in his hands to showcase the speed that earned him the No. 7 selection in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Besides Avery, the Colts return every other offensive contributor that gained at least 100 yards of offense last season.

At the receiver position, Wayne will once again lead the group. The Pro Bowl receiver is coming off an 106-catch, 1,355-yard season.

T.Y. Hilton finished second among all rookie receivers with 861 receiving yards despite not being selected until the 92nd pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Fellow rookie LaVon Brazill, who Wayne called perhaps the fastest of the bunch in 2012, showed flashes of big play potential in his first season.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has also mentioned 2012 undrafted free agent Griff Whalen as a player who could see his chances grow in 2013. Whalen spent his rookie season on injured reserve but the Stanford product is now reunited with college offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

All these weapons will be at Luck’s disposal in 2013, along with top two rookie tight ends in the NFL (Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener), giving the Colts one of the more versatile air attacks in the league.


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Colts News and More From Around the Web

Posted by coltsindianapolis on March 28, 2013 – 9:49 am

COLTS NEWS (LOCAL AND NATIONAL)
Next free-agent wide receiver up for Colts?
Can Indy’s big-league efforts outrun small-town image?

COLTS.COM
2013 Positional Series: wide receivers
Heisman trophy finalist Klein might be switching positions
Colts Mailbag

NFL NEWS
Texans visit with free-agent fullback Jones
Right tackle, safety market dry
Tennessee Titans filled big gaps but have work to do
Osi Umenyiora headed to Falcons
Chargers release tackle Gaither
Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert on anonymous criticism: ‘Say it to me’

AFC TEAM NEWS
Patriots may see light
Jets looking at Landry’s brother to fill safety hole

NFC TEAM NEWS
Former NY Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn finds new home with Carolina Panthers
Louis leaves Bears for Dolphins


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GRIGSON TALKS CHAPMAN, BRAZILL, WHALEN AND THE SAFETY POSITION

Posted by Kevin Bowen on March 27, 2013 – 8:00 am

During Monday evening’s conference call with season ticket holders, Colts GM Ryan Grigson answered numerous questions from fans.

Here is an article highlighting some of Grigson’s answers.

Below are a few of the extra tidbits that were not included in the article above. The highlights below are Grigson’s thoughts about some of the lesser-known members of the Colts 2012 rookie class and how he sees LaRon Landry fitting in at the safety position alongside Antoine Bethea:

On the progress of 2012 fifth round draft pick Josh Chapman, who missed the entire season recovering from an ACL injury that he had surgery on in January of 2012:

“Josh Chapman was someone that we feel very highly towards. He was a guy that should have been drafted a lot of higher but he played (his senior season) with a torn ACL and that kind of shows you what kind of guy he is. Most guys don’t play on it. He played through the whole season, won a National Championship and he was the one hoisting the trophy at the end. He’s a huge man, 350-360 pounds, quick-footed guy that I think is going to make a big difference for us in the run game. He’s somebody that you can look forward to seeing out there this year.”

On the development of sixth round draft pick LaVon Brazill, who caught 11 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in 2012.

-LaVon Brazill had some great flashes of brilliance against Detroit and some other games as a vertical threat. He’s big. He’s strong and he can get off press (coverage). He’s been a really good special teamer and made some plays as a gunner on our punt team. He’s a guy, as a sixth round pick, I think will continue to grow.”

On the prospect of undrafted free agent wide receiver Griff Whalen and if he could follow in the mold of other successful undrafted slot receivers in the NFL:

-We feel that we have a pretty good young, slot receiver in Griff Whalen. He would have played and probably caught a lot of balls for us this past year had he not broken his foot.

On the safety position with Pro Bowlers LaRon Landry lining up next to Antoine Bethea moving forward:

-They will play side-by-side. In Chuck’s defense, I think we will have the best safety tandem in the NFL. I really do. They are two of the best at their position. They’ll be just fine back their together. I think Antoine was one of the first players to even react to the signing because the culture we have is ‘we just want to win.’ We are not worried about the other things, ‘we just want to win.’ Players and true champions, they want the best around them. They want to play with the best players.”


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Posted in Colts Blog

LUCK REFLECTS ON SEASON WHILE IN NEW ORLEANS

Posted by Kevin Bowen on January 31, 2013 – 11:48 am

Andrew Luck is nearly a month into his first NFL offseason, yet he can’t seem to get away from football.

Earlier this week, Luck threw a game-high 205 yards and two touchdowns at the Pro Bowl.

Now, the Colts signal caller is making the rounds at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans and sat down with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon on ‘The SiriusXM Biltz’ to recap his rookie season.

“It was a lot of fun especially just to be in the thick of things come December,” Luck said on radio row. “It was fun for our draft class, T.Y. Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Vick Ballard, the tight ends to be able to contribute.

“It was really a big testament to Reggie Wayne and Rob Mathis sort of leading us and showing us how to be professionals and how to get the job done.”

The blend of youth and experience was managed just right to place the Colts back into a familiar state of taking part in meaningful games during the month of January.

“From the veteran side, I think they were so accepting of us and accommodating and would take time out of their day to maybe show us ‘don’t do this, or you don’t need to be going over here,” Luck said.

“And I think the rookies sort of realizing that we are rookies, keep your mouths shut and put your egos aside. It was a great locker room atmosphere. It really was and I do think that helped a lot in trying to win some football games.”

Luck admitted that he is having trouble trying to ‘digest’ everything he experienced during his rookie campaign.

An 11-win season came after dealing with numerous unforeseen circumstances that only added to the impressive debut by Luck.

“When coach (Chuck) Pagano went down, it was weird, it was tough,” Luck said. “What a great job coach (Bruce) Arians did of stepping in and keeping coach Pagano’s message going and keeping us on the right track.”

“There’s so many good people in the organization, so many good people in the locker room that everything just seemed to work out. Whether it was meant to or not, it just seemed to work out.”


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2012 COLTS DRAFT CLASS EXTENDS PAST THE BIG NAMES FOR GRIGSON

Posted by Kevin Bowen on January 18, 2013 – 11:34 am

If Ryan Grigson’s future draft classes can come close to mirroring the same amount of success his first one in Indianapolis accomplished than the Colts will be a force for the years to come.

The rookie class amassed an NFL record 3,108 yards this season thanks to a handful of skill position players.

Defensively, fifth round pick Josh Chapman is still waiting in the wings after the defensive tackle missed the entire season rehabbing a knee injury.

Grigson beams when talking about his rookie class but he also adds a few names to that group.

What about Bradley Sowell?

The Colts plucked the undrafted free agent off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad on Sept. 11 and Sowell played in 10 games this season.

“Bradley Sowell is a guy, I think he has true left tackle ability,” Grigson said. “It will make himself more valuable if he settles in at right so he can play both.”

Sowell saw his most playing time in the AFC Wild Card loss to the Ravens when he was thrust into action after right tackle Winston Justice went down with an injury in the first quarter.

“Brad is going to be a much better player because of that experience. He fought his tail off.” The Colts GM said

What about Lawrence Guy?

With the defensive line ravaged with injuries, Guy was signed off the Green Bay Packers practice squad on Oct. 17 and played nine games, including starting the final three contests of the year.

Grigson also points to Nathan Palmer, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers after going undrafted, as a receiver that the General Manger calls ‘about as explosive a receiver we have.’

The headliners from this rookie class will still be Luck, Hilton Ballard, Allen etc. but it’s the guys on the backend of the roster that Grigson points to in completing a group that will play a leading role in the future of the Colts.

“Getting those guys is exciting because those are guys that we looked at in the draft and we were able to get without burning a pick,” Grigson said.

“It may be a warped view but I feel like those guys we poached from other teams practice squads early this season, those guys to me feel like draft picks. The nice thing about that is it’s only going to serve us well in the future because what we’ve been through this year as a team and as human beings.”


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WHAT SCARES NFL TEAMS?–SPEED

Posted by Kevin Bowen on January 17, 2013 – 2:10 pm

The influx of speed came via the draft and free agency.

As the players, and particularly the wide receivers, trickled into the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center this past offseason there was no denying what they would be bringing to the Colts.

Speed. Speed. And more speed.

“To me, the old adage speed kills is a true statement,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. “No matter how you slice it, speed is something that shows up on film, it shows up throughout the scouting process. It’s one thing that scares the heck out of people.”

There was the signing of free agent Donnie Avery who ran a sub 4.3 40-yard dash in becoming the first wide receiver selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Avery had a career year in Indianapolis with 60 catches for 781 yards.

The speed movement did not stop in free agency with the Colts drafting a pair of receivers known for stretching the field.

T.Y. Hilton ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at his pro day and his big play ability led to 861 receiving yards and his seven receiving touchdowns topped all rookies.

Fellow rookies LaVon Brazill and Nathan Palmer have also been timed in the 4.4/4.3 range in the 40-yard dash.

When training camp got under away, wide receiver Reggie Wayne was in awe of the speed that he saw in his position group.

Wayne wanted to get a race set up between the speedsters with the 12-year veteran serving as merely an observer.

“Just make sure I’m at the finish line, not in there (the race),” Wayne said with a smile back during training camp.

“We have some burners. That’s something we really haven’t had in the past. We’ve had one here, two there, but we have quite a few of them right now. It makes it all fun, guys are out there just acting like they’re in the Olympics.”

During Grigson’s time in Philadelphia, the Eagles were known for their electric playmakers at the skill positions and that attribute has been brought to the Colts.

“When (Chicago wide receiver/kick returner) Devin Hester walks out on the field people get scared,” Grigson said. “People get scared of it’s not because of his size or that he looks mean, it’s because he can flat out fly.”

“And it doesn’t matter how you try to defend it, if you mess up one time it could be six points. If you don’t play to your technique perfectly it’s going to cost you.”

Grigson is hoping that speed costs Colts opponents for years to come.


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ROOKIE RECAP: WEEK 17

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 31, 2012 – 9:02 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week Colts.com will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had two catches for 21 yards on Sunday and finished the season with 45 catches for 521 yards. His 45 catches set a tight end rookie record for the Colts and Allen led all first-year tight ends in receiving.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard had a season-high 27 carries for 78 yards and helped grind out the final 9:46 off the clock against the Texans. For the season, Ballard had 211 carries for 814 yards as the feature back during the Colts run of winning nine of their last 11 games. Ballard finished fifth among all rookies with his 814 rushing yards this season.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday. He finished the season with 11 catches for 186 yards including a 42-yard touchdown in the comeback victory over the Lions.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for one-yard and a touchdown on Sunday afternoon. The Stanford product overcame a shoulder injury to haul in 26 catches for 281 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton notched his fifth 100-yard receiving day on the season with four catches for 111 yards. His 70-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage this season for the Colts. On the season, Hilton had 50 catches for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. Hilton finished second among all rookies in receiving yards, just four yards behind the Jaguars Justin Blackmon

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his fifth game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams with one tackle.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 14-of-28 for 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Texans. He has now gone 14 quarters without an interception. Luck’s 11 wins is four more than any other rookie quarterback who was drafted No. 1 overall has recorded in their first NFL season. Luck finished the regular season 339-of-627 for 4,374 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell was active and returned a short kickoff 11 yards on Sunday.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Chiefs.


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ROOKIE RECAP: WEEK 16

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 24, 2012 – 8:29 am

With a plethora of rookie players on the Colts roster, each week Colts.com will take a look at how the first-year players performed.

Dwayne Allen, TE: Allen had three catches for 18 yards on Sunday and brings his season total to 43 receptions and 500 yards. He ranks third on the team with three touchdowns.

Vick Ballard, RB: Ballard’s ran 20 times for 69 yards against the Chiefs. The 20 carries ties a season-high for Ballard and the rookie now has 736 rushing yards on the season.

LaVon Brazill, RB: Brazill played on offense and special teams on Sunday and finished the game with one tackle. The tackle came at the 10-yard line on the kickoff following the Colts touchdown to take a 20-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.

Coby Fleener, TE: Fleener had one catch for two yards against the Chiefs. He also recovered a fumble in the first half. On the season, Fleener has 25 catches for 280 yards.

T.Y. Hilton, WR: Hilton’s had two catches for 34 yards on Sunday. Hilton ranks third on the team with 46 catches for 750 receiving yards and continues to the lead the team with six touchdowns.

Delano Howell, S: Howell played his fourth game with the Colts, seeing action on special teams against the Chiefs.

Andrew Luck, QB: Luck was 17-of-35 for 205 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on Sunday. His 4,183 passing yards is an NFL rookie record and he also tied a league record with his seventh fourth quarter comeback on the season. Luck also set a rookie record with 599 pass attempts in a season.

Bradley Sowell: OT: Sowell was active but did not play on Sunday.

Rookie wide receiver Nate Palmer was inactive against the Chiefs.


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