If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
Give up a lot of points in road losses to Chicago, the New York Jets and New England? No problem. Lose a close game at home? Again, no problem.
Every time that the Colts have lost a game this year, they’ve battled back the next week to secure a much needed win. Indianapolis is 4-0 in such week-after games. Not bad for a mostly young squad that is still learning about what life is like in the National Football League.
“Yeah, it just shows a lot about this team and this coaching staff. One thing is protecting home field. After a tough loss, sometimes a tough loss can carry over into the next week, but guys came in the next week just being focused,” free safety Antoine Bethea said Sunday after the Colts’ 20-13 win over Buffalo.
Bethea is one of the few veterans remaining on the Indianapolis roster, along with wide receiver Reggie Wayne, outside linebackers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, defensive end Cory Redding and strong safety Tom Zbikowski. Redding and Zbikowski are both new to the team, but not new to the NFL after playing the last several seasons in Baltimore.
“A very resilient team. A young team that’s guided by veteran leadership. Everybody’s all-in, all-aboard and that’s what happens,” Mathis added, not resisting a chance to tweak any and all prognosticators who had the Colts winning only a couple games this season.
“I guess that’s why you call them experts. We were picked to finish 1-15 and now [we’re] sitting at 7-4.”
Redding says the secret, if there is one, to an ability to move past tough losses is to have a short memory.
“Being able to put any bad situation behind you very quick. You can’t let one loss turn into two. Definitely have to see and man up to your mistakes and go to work honestly trying to correct those mistakes and keep your team in mind so that they don’t happen again,” he said Sunday.
“Guys responded well and leaders stepped up this week. Everybody else followed our lead and we just put together another good, solid win together to get No. 7 and keep us in the hunt.”
• Hilton’s big day — Rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton got off to a slow start during training camp due to some injury issues. But as the preseason and the regular season has progressed, the former Florida International standout has continued to impress his coaches, teammates and fans.
Hilton caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown while also returning four punts for 111 yards and a TD. Not a bad day’s work. In doing so, he became the first player in franchise history to score a touchdown receiving and returning a punt for a TD in the same game. Hilton is also the first Colts player to return a punt for a touchdown since T.J. Rushing did it against Oakland in 2007.
Interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians knew early on, despite the training camp injuries, that he had something special in Hilton.
“He reminds me a lot of [Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver] Antonio Brown,” Arians said. “They’re from the same neighborhood. They’re friends, they have the same desire to be good and they take it very serious to be good. When you have those and God-given talent, you should be successful.”
• Tackling machine — Former Canadian Football League all-star Jerrell Freeman is quickly making believers out of everybody who watches him play.
Freeman, who attended Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Texas, didn’t get too many looks from NFL teams. He did get a tryout with the Tennessee Titans and impressed the coaching staff there, but became a casualty of roster cuts at the end of training camp. Freeman went on to play with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he caught the attention of the Colts’ scouting department.
He’s a big favorite of first-year general manager Ryan Grigson and was the first outside player to be signed by Grigson upon being named to his current post. Ever since Freeman moved into the starting lineup in the season opener with Chicago, filling in for an injured Pat Angerer, all he’s done is perform.
Freeman has led the team in tackles in nine of the Colts’ 11 games. He had a game-high 16 tackles against the Bills on Sunday, including nine solos, a sack, three tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.
“You can’t say enough about [Freeman]. He is a quality, quality football player and I’m sure glad he’s on our team. He’s fast and he can run with these guys,” Arians said.
• Luck keeps moving up the charts — Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck completed 20 of 37 passes for 240 yards for a TD and had one pass intercepted in the Buffalo game.
He has now thrown for 3,205 yards while throwing 13 touchdown passes and had 13 passes intercepted this season. With the win over the Bills, he tied St. Louis’ Sam Bradford for the most wins (7) by a quarterback drafted No. 1 overall since 1970.
Luck became the second rookie quarterback in Colts history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in their first season. With 449 passing attempts this season, he passed Jack Trudeau (417) for the second-most in a season by a rookie in team history.
• Wayne does too — Wayne finished with eight catches for 102 yards against the Bills. The performance was the third 100-yard contest for Wayne this season and the 41st of his career.
With his eight receptions, he upped his career total to 946 and surpassed Derrick Mason for 11th place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list. Wayne also improved his career yardage total to 12,813 and moved past Irving Fryar for 14th place on the league’s all-time receiving yardage list.
He set the NFL record for consecutive games with three-plus catches (59), topping Chris Carter’s old mark of 58.
• Injury list — Defensive tackle Fili Moala left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right anterior cruciate knee ligament. He did not return.
Zbikowski incurred a right shin contusion in the fourth quarter but returned to the game later. Hilton suffered a head injury while returning his second punt and left the game. After a trip to the locker room for tests, he also returned after being cleared.
Cornerback Vontae Davis (knee) and tight end Coby Fleener (shoulder) were pregame inactives, along with inside linebacker Mario Harvey, nose tackle Josh Chapman, defensive end Clifton Geathers, offensive tackle Tony Hills and tight end Dominque Jones.
If there is a word that best describes the 2012 Indianapolis Colts, it just might be “resilient.”
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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.
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Colts veteran among those excited to see Luck's growth in 2013-14
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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.
Pagano marvels at Colt’s progress
In the minutes after last Sunday’s win over AFC South champion Houston, Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano marveled at how the 2012 season has progressed for his team.
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