The Colts returned to play in front of their home fans on Sunday afternoon and delivered with a vital 22-14 divisional win over the Tennessee Titans.
With the win, the Colts moved to three games up in the AFC South with just four weeks remaining in the regular season.
Find out what the Colts players said on Twitter after their Week 13 victory:
Linebacker Kelvin Sheppard:
Linebacker Erik Walden:
Tight End Weslye Saunders:
Cornerback Vontae Davis:
Safety Antoine Bethea:
Punter Pat McAfee:
Long Snapper Matt Overton:
Tags: antoine bethea, erik walden, kelvin sheppard, Matt Overton, pat mcafee, Vontae Davis, Weslye Saunders
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Weslye Saunders was keeping something from his teammates on Wednesday morning.
They knew Saunders had played with new running back Chris Rainey in Pittsburgh and against him in college.
Yet, Saunders wanted his teammates to get their own look at the electric Rainey on the football field before he offered his own opinion.
“We are getting a special player,” Saunders said of Rainey. “That guy is a hell of a player. Tough little dude.”
The 5-9, 180-pound Rainey is known for his All-American track speed that he showcased in the University of Florida’s spread offense.
Rainey was chosen in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft and played in all 16 games of his rookie season with the Steelers.
Whether it was running the ball (26 carries for 102 yards), catching it (14 receptions for 60 yards) or impacting the game on special teams (39 kick returns for 1,035 yards), Rainey showcased his versatility last season.
However, the Steelers cut Rainey after an off the field incident in early January.
Rainey is “blessed” to have a second chance and says he has learned from his mistakes.
“Hell yeah,” Rainey said when asked if he’s learned. “Eleven months is a long time, so I’m just glad to be back.”
In practice on Wednesday, Rainey worked as a return man and also a scout team running back.
His dynamic ability was used in multiple ways at Florida and while he’s not exactly sure where he will fit in with the Colts, he’s grateful to be back in the NFL and playing for a contenting team.
“I know I’m a playmaker,” Rainey said. “I came to help the team win. Wherever they put me, I’ll be ready.”
As a former SEC opponent, Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman can attest to Rainey’s playmaking ability.
Safe to say Chapman is glad to have Rainey in his locker room this time around.
“We got a fast, dangerous player,” Chapman said of Rainey.
“You don’t find many small guys that run that tough. He’s pretty fast and I know I don’t like chasing him.”
Tags: Chris Rainey, josh chapman, Weslye Saunders
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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.
Tags: Andrew Luck, anthony castonzo, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, Griff Whalen, Hugh Thornton, josh chapman, khaled holmes, Lawrence Guy, vick ballard, Weslye Saunders
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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.”
Tags: Coby Fleener, Dominique Jones, dwayne allen, justice cunningham, Pep Hamilton, Weslye Saunders
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Kyle Miller doesn’t have to look far to find a teammate that has been through the rigors of playing Division III football before finding a career in the NFL.
In 2006, Miller was about to embark on an All-American career at Mount Union, a perennial Division III contender, while eventual Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman was wrapping up another All-American career of his own at Mary-Hardin Baylor.
Although the two never shared the same playing field during college, they will be on the same sideline this weekend as Miller was called up to the Colts active roster on Monday afternoon.
“Being on the practice squad has been a blessing for sure but it’s hard standing on the sideline watching, while these guys go out there and play,” Miller said. “It’ll be a lot of fun to be out there with them and to experience what it’s really like to play in a regular season game.”
Miller entered the NFL in 2011 but did not make the Jacksonville Jaguars final 53-man roster after spending training camp with them.
The Colts signed Miller on April 3, and he is now apart of one of the youngest position groups in the NFL.
At the age of 24, Miller is the oldest of the group with Weslye Saunders (2 years of NFL experience, age 23), Dwayne Allen (rookie, age 22) and Coby Fleener (rookie, age 24) rounding out the tight end room for coach Alfredo Roberts.
“We are all on the same level so we are all learning together,” Miller said. “All of us had to work pretty hard to get everything down and we’ve all been in the film room together, just talking through things so it’s definitely helped.”
After spending the first 10 weeks of the 2012 regular season on the Colts practice squad, Miller will join his fellow tight ends in taking on the all too familiar New England Patriots this weekend.
“Any football fan is aware of the rivalry and I think it takes on a little more with us being a little bit of a surprise team and both of us having good records too,” Miller said.
Tags: alfredo roberts, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, kyle miller, Weslye Saunders
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Over the past few seasons, the tight end position in the NFL has been ever evolving.
With offenses in the NFL continuing to move the ball more frequently through the air, the chance to find mismatches in the passing game is something every offensive coordinator is searching for each week.
Tight ends around the league have seen a direct correlation to that and the New England Patriots have been very active in targeting their own in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The tight end duo set NFL records last year combining for 169 catches and 2,237 receiving yards between them.
Colts tight end Weslye Saunders is the same age (23) as Gronkowski and Hernandez and has been a close observer of their talents.
“Obviously I’ve been following those guys since high school, since we came out the same years. They are two great players and our defense is going to have to worry about them,” Saunders said.
Gronkowski has been a constant threat in the red zone for the Patriots, with 36 touchdown catches since the beginning of the 2010 season.
“Tom (Brady) just puts it up to (Gronkowski) and allows him to use his frame and ability to go get the ball,” outside linebacker Justin Hickman said. “He causes mismatch problems with his size, speed. He does a good job using his body to get open in his breaks.”
Colts interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians wouldn’t divulge any game planning Indianapolis is planning for Gronkowski this weekend and knows the difficultly of limiting the touches for someone with that frame and quickness.
“I think he’s the biggest and fastest (tight end) that’s come along in a while,” Arians said of Gronkowski. “I don’t think it’s a surprise because coming out of college, if his back held up you knew he was going to be an outstanding player. He was an outstanding blocker and he could run and catch.”
Hernandez has battled an ankle injury over the last couple of weeks and hasn’t played since the Patriots 29-26 win over the Jets on Oct. 21.
While his status for this weekend remains in questions, Arians has seen the Patriots remain among the league’s most potent offenses thanks to a pair of tight ends leading the production.
“I think they’ve streamlined and changed what they’ve done over the last two or three years because of Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski,” Arians said of the Patriots.
“I remember playing them when they were nothing but three wideouts out on the field and a tight end, and he was just out there. They’ve evolved because they do a fanatics job of adapting to their personnel. They obviously have wanted to have that style so they’ve stockpiled tight ends and that’s what they do.”
Tags: bruce arians, Justin Hickman, Weslye Saunders
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The tight end position has been one of the most unique groups on the Colts roster this season.
Tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts started the season with three rookies on the active roster but has seen some change over the course of the season.
Second-year pro Weslye Saunders was signed on Oct. 16 and has seen action in the past two games for the Colts.
Saunders role is expected to expand this week as interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced on Wednesday that Coby Fleener will miss Sunday’s game with the Dolphins due to a shoulder injury.
“I think obviously I’m going to have to step in a few spots and everybody just gets bumped up,” Saunders said. “Dwayne (Allen) handles some of the responsibilities that Coby handled and I handle some of the responsibilities that Dwayne handled.”
Last weekend against the Titans, the 270-pound Saunders showed that he can do much more than be a blocker for the Colts offense.
With the Colts marching for a game-tying score, Saunders hauled in an 11-yard catch down to the Titans 17-yard line to continue a drive that resulted in running back Delone Carter’s one-yard touchdown.
“Nobody expects anybody to go down with an injury but being that I was familiar with the offense already and I felt very comfortable with the offense, I was able to make a play, help the team move the chains and we came out with the victory which is the biggest thing,” Saunders said.
Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen will most likely start his eighth straight game for the Colts and has been a steady rock for quarterback Andrew Luck.
Allen and wide receiver Reggie Wayne are the only Colts with more than one touchdown catch after seven games.
“Dwayne’s been great all year and I’m sure he’ll rise up with Fleener out now for the week,” Luck said. “He’ll do a great job. He’s done a great job all year and I know we can count on him.”
For much of the season, Allen has lined up in a variety of positions on the Colts offense and knows the challenge will be difficult this weekend in facing one of the top defensive lines in the NFL.
“Their front four, they’re defense is one of the best defenses we’ve played yet,” Allen said. “We have a huge task on our hands to get ready for, in the run game, in the passing game. They create a lot of problems for us and we’ve got three or four days to get ready for them.”
Following Allen’s senior season at Clemson, he had a decision to make on whether not to return for a fifth season of eligibility (he redshirted in 2008).
As the winner of the John Mackey Award (given to the nation’s top tight end), Allen felt it was time to continue his dream of playing at the highest level.
“Whenever I decided to leave (Clemson) it wasn’t to become a backup tight end in the National Football League,” Allen said. “I felt that I had the talents to be a starter in this league and with Fleener going down and more targets going my way, I’m definitely more than prepared for it.”
Tags: alfredo roberts, Coby Fleener, dwayne allen, Weslye Saunders
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