INDIANAPOLIS — According to Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, strong safety Bob Sanders might be cleared to play Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Lucas Oil Stadium.
How much practice time Sanders gets prior to the game, however, has yet to be determined. He has missed the last three games due to swelling in his right knee.
“I actually don’t know how much he’ll be practicing. That’s what we have to do as a staff is try to find that balance of what days to practice him on, how much practice to give him so he can get sharp and not have his knee swell up. Whether it’s going to be what he did last year, which was practice on Thursday, we haven’t really figured that out yet,” Dungy said Monday.
He added that the Colts almost brought Sanders back for the game with Cleveland this past Sunday.
“It was close. We were toying with the idea, and we just decided to give it one more week. So, I would think he has a good shot to play this week,” Dungy said.
The news on middle linebacker Gary Brackett and defensive tackle Keyunta Dawson wasn’t quite as positive. Brackett had X-rays after Sunday’s game at Cleveland, but a full report has not been released. He will most likely sit out this week’s home meeting with Cincinnati and could be out longer.
Dawson is expected to miss a couple of weeks or more. He incurred a pulled hamstring late in the second quarter of the Colts’ game at Cleveland on Sunday. More details on how long he may be out is expected in a few days.
“Gary Brackett has a fibula injury, the extent of which will be determined [late Monday] or [today] when we get the final results of the [medical] tests,” Colts team president Bill Polian said on his Monday night radio show.
“Keyunta Dawson has a hamstring strain and I don’t know the significance of that. Although when looking at it on the tape, it was ugly. I would imagine it’s relatively significant. But we’ll see when the test results come back. Given the kind of day it was and given the slipperiness of the field in certain areas, that’s probably not bad in terms of the kinds of totals that can mount up at this time of the year.”
Weakside linebacker Freddy Keiaho went to the sideline Sunday with an ankle injury. He missed only two plays. Keiaho will end up starting at middle linebacker this week if Brackett is unable to play.
Outside linebacker Tyjuan Hagler, who played both weakside and middle linebacker Sunday in Cleveland, will probably get the start on the weak side this week against Cincinnati. Hagler bumped his knee against Browns but wound up getting work in the middle for a few plays when Keiaho went out with an ankle injury.
Dawson will be replaced by several players, most notably Antonio Johnson and Darrell Reid. Daniel Muir, who has seen little game work since joining the team earlier in the season from the Green Bay Packers, is another possibility.
“It’ll be a combination of everybody. Darrell has played well when he’s gotten in there, and fortunately we do have Dan and he’s been here and been trained and I think is very healthy right now, so we should be in good shape,” Dungy said.
“Even after Key[unta] got hurt, Darrell did go in there and make some plays and make things happen. Antonio, I thought, did play well.”
Center Jeff Saturday (calf) is not expected back in the starting lineup for at least another week or so. Saturday was hurt in the Colts’ win at San Diego two weeks ago. Initial reports had him missing three to four weeks, but the Pro Bowl offensive lineman might be back sooner.
“All I can go by is last time he had [a similar injury] it was two weeks, so that’s what we had planned on. Jeff will be lobbying. I saw him on his TV show [Sunday] night and it kind of sounded like he didn’t answer the question, but I’d say one more week,” Dungy said.
Safety Matt Giordano (ankle) was rolled up on during the second half of the Colts’ game at Cleveland on Sunday. He returned a few plays later and is expected to be available for this week’s home game with Cincinnati.
• Any win is good — Not long after Peyton Manning entered the NFL as the Indianapolis Colts’ top draft pick in 1998, he was taught a lesson by then-Colts coach Jim Mora.
“You never take a win for granted. I learned that in my 11 years [in the league]. Jim Mora, my old coach, used to always preach that. Don’t ever take a win for granted, so we don’t,” the Indianapolis quarterback said after Sunday’s 10-6 victory over the Browns.
The Colts won their fifth straight game and completed an undefeated month of November despite not scoring an offensive touchdown in the Cleveland game. The win marked the fifth straight season that the Colts had not lost in November and the first time since 1975 that the franchise had posted five wins in the month.
With the win over Cleveland, Indianapolis is now 8-4 for the season — 5-2 on the road, 6-2 against other AFC teams — and remains as the conference’s top wild-card prospect. The Colts, though, were held without an offensive touchdown for the first time in a regular-season game since the same two franchises faced off in the 2003 season opener, Indianapolis coming away with a 9-6 decision.
It was the team’s much-maligned defense that rose up and shut down the Cleveland offense, sacking Browns quarterback Derek Anderson three times and forcing one interception. Defensive end Robert Mathis’ fumble recovery and 37-yard return with 9:45 remaining in the fourth quarter accounted for the game’s only touchdown. The play was set up by defensive end Dwight Freeney’s backside hit on Anderson, forcing the fumble.
Mathis had two sacks in the game, giving him a team-leading nine for the year. The touchdown was his first at any level of competition.
“Our defense won the game for us. Obviously, we moved the ball well at times but just got down near the end zone and came away with three points. That’s disappointing … something that we’ve been good at [scoring touchdowns in the red zone],” Manning said.
“In the second half, we really didn’t finish drives. Couldn’t find the continuity there. But the defense really made a play there in the fourth quarter, which was critical. And it was enough to win the game. Everybody wants to get better, but offensively we need to play much better [this] week [against the Bengals].”
For his part, Dungy came away from the Cleveland game proud of his team’s overall effort, especially getting through a rugged schedule that included games with Tennessee, New England, Pittsburgh, Houston, San Diego and the Browns. Indianapolis went 5-1 in those matchups.
And he knows that neither Cincinnati and Detroit, despite their combined 1-22-1 won-loss records, can be considered pushovers the next couple of weeks either.
“When you look at playing New England at home and then Houston in a division game at home and then having to go to Pittsburgh, San Diego and Cleveland, people would have said, ‘Hey, that’s going to be tough duty.’ And especially at the time, we were 3-4. We weren’t exactly rolling and hitting on all cylinders. But our team, they have faith and they just played one week at a time,” Dungy said.
“And that’s what we said. Don’t worry about the whole schedule, don’t worry about the end of the year, don’t worry about the playoffs. Just play every week and prepare every week. And that’s what we’ve done. And that’s what we’ve got to continue to do now in December.
“One thing people will say is, ‘Oh, you’re coming home for two weeks and you’ve got Cincinnati and Detroit.’ You can’t look at it that way. We’ve got to do the exact same thing that we’ve done in November and keep this momentum going.”
INDIANAPOLIS — According to Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, strong safety Bob Sanders might be cleared to play Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Lucas Oil Stadium.
Luck having fun with his first OTAs
A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
Colts' coordinators enjoying getting rookies acclimated
While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts this weekend at the team’s Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.
Werner, 36 others open Colts’ mini camp
The Indianapolis Colts welcomed 37 players to the start of the team’s rookie mini camp Friday at the West 56th Street headquarters.
Colts hoping for more high marks on draft picks
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts received high marks for the impact players the team added through the NFL draft.
Of the 10 players selected, five ended up either starting or seeing extensive playing time (quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Vick Ballard) during the Colts’ 11-5 season.
While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
Werner at top of game
Bjoern Werner was a late comer to football. But after being selected in the first round of the 2013 National Football League draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Werner realizes that he has reached the pinnacle of the sport in a relatively short amount of time.
Colts select pass rusher Werner in first round
The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive lineman can also play left outside linebacker.
Colts in wait-and-see mode for tonight’s NFL draft
As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
Direction clear for Colts in 2013 draft
The Indianapolis Colts head into the 2013 NFL Draft with some definite plans.
Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
Veteran defensive end Cory Redding is a big fan — literally and figuratively — of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Redding, who has become one of the Colts’ lockerroom leaders after just one season with the team, thinks he has some reasonable expectations of Indianapolis’ former No. 1 draft pick.
Heyward-Bey feeling fortunate to hook up with Luck
Add one more player to the list of veteran free agents signed by the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey agreed to a a deal with the Colts late Monday evening. Bey, who played collegiately at Maryland, was the seventh player selected in the first round of the 2009 National Football League draft.
Colts sign nose tackle
Another day, more player signings for the Indianapolis Colts.
Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck to back up Luck
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster moves just keep coming.
While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
Colts likely done signing free agents, for now
With the possible exception of adding a few lesser-priced players, the Indianapolis Colts’ big-time foray into the veteran free-agent marketplace is pretty much done.
Landry, Jean Francois join Colts defensive unit
After adding five veteran free agent players to the Indianapolis Colts roster on Tuesday, general manager Ryan Grigson plucked two more plums late Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
Colts introduce free-agent signees
What the Indianapolis Colts accomplished last season — posting an 11-5 record and earning an AFC wild-card berth with a young team plus having that kind of success without its head coach on the sidelines for 12 games — didn’t go unnoticed by players around the NFL.
That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
Colts sign five free agents, filling needs at offensive line, cornerback
The Indianapolis Colts were a busy team on the opening day of the National Football League’s veteran free agent market, which got underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt
An Indianapolis Colt for life. Pencil in Jeff Saturday for that honor.
The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday thrilled to retire as a Colt
The 14-year veteran center in the National Football League put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in-between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — that Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
Former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday will make his retirement from the National Football League official on Thursday.
Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
A week ago, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano said it was a priority that the team retain the services of punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
Colts GM enjoying time at combine
Indianapolis Colts second-year general manager Ryan Grigson makes no bones about it. He enjoys watching prospective football players strut their stuff.
Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
According to most National Football League draft observers, this year’s crop of prospects is deep with quality offensive and defensive linemen.
Among the offensive line candidates who have been showcasing their talents at the National Football Scouting Combine, which began in earnest Thursday and wraps up on Tuesday, the spotlight has been on the offensive tackles. Offensive left tackles in particular.
Colts' Pagano back to full work schedule at combine
Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
After undergoing cancer treatments that featured heavy doses of chemotherapy, the second-year head coach was able to return to the sidelines for Indianapolis’ final regular-season home game against Houston and for the team’s AFC wild-card matchup with eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
Colts looking forward to different approach to draft in 2013
A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts had the first overall pick in the 2012 National Football League draft.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Colts would select former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the selection. While Indianapolis front office and player personnel officials certainly had to do their due diligence in preparing for the draft, the Colts find themselves this year in a bit different situation.
The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
Former Pro Bowl selection Freeney won't return to Colts
The news coming out of the Indianapolis Colts headquarters Friday afternoon was not totally unexpected. Team officials have confirmed that two veteran players – former Pro Bowl defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie — will not be returning for the 2013 season.
Colts’ new offensive coordinator will offer variety
Quarterback Andrew Luck running the Pistol offense? Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton lining up in the Wildcat?
Colts moving on to the off season
Moving on. That’s the immediate plans for the Indianapolis Colts as they head into the off season.
Baltimore ends Indy’s playoff run early
The Baltimore Ravens want one long final ride for Ray Lewis. Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Colts, they now face a more imposing challenge.
Next up, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Switching sides: Colts-Ravens matchup includes old friends on new teams
Just as Baltimore Ravens players and coaches will be seeing some old friends returning to M&T Bank Stadium today, several Indianapolis Colts veterans will also have an opportunity to renew acquaintances with a familiar face.
Pagano prepares Colts for tough crowd in Baltimore
As a former resident of Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows all about the hard feelings that still run strong about the move of the Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
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