Are the Indianapolis Colts treating Sunday’s game at Jacksonville as the final game of the season or just the next game on the schedule?
Despite a 2-13 record, the Colts have plenty on the line – particularly when it comes to draft positioning as well as the future of several key players on the Indianapolis roster. And then there are the questions about what’s going to happen to coach Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff, if anything, once the season is over.
“It is the last game of the year, but also can be used as stepping stones to launch you into the offseason and those kinds of things,” Caldwell explained Monday.
“There are a lot of different things you can sort of talk about in terms of this ball game, but for us it is the next one. What we are trying to do, and [what] we have been trying to do, is get incrementally better, just a little bit better each and every week. I think our guys have been doing that, and this one will also be a challenge to get just a little bit better this week. I think that is indeed the key. And we are going to face an opponent that is doing the exact same thing.”
As for the questions about possible draft positioning, with Minnesota scoring an upset over Washington last Saturday, the Vikings have played themselves out of contention for the No. 1 pick in April’s National Football League draft.
It’s now down to the Colts and St. Louis Rams, who are also 2-13 this season. Due to the league’s tie-breaking procedure, which is strength of schedule, Indianapolis is still the leading contender for the top pick. NFL officials said over the weekend, though, that a Colts win and a St. Louis loss would give the selection to the Rams.
But, again, that could change depending on how teams on both Indianapolis and the Rams’ schedules fare in their games Sunday. According to team vice-chairman Bill Polian, who broached the topic during his weekly Monday night radio show, a final determination won’t be known until after this weekend’s games have been completed.
Caldwell said that the Colts aren’t concerning themselves right now about what might happen in the draft. Their immediate goal is the Jaguars.
Indianapolis has never been swept by an AFC South team since the division was created in 2002 and it doesn’t want to start any precedent now. The Colts are even in the season series with Tennessee and Houston after winning their last two games.
“I do not [worry about the draft]. My job is to win ball games, plain and simple,” the Indianapolis coach said. “[Being swept by a division opponent] hasn’t happened around here in a long time, and I think it is something that they’ve been really focused on and working hard to make certain that it doesn’t happen. That is the real challenge.”
• Injury list — No decision has been made as to whether tight end Dallas Clark (neck burner), weakside linebacker Philip Wheeler (foot), offensive guard Joe Reitz (ankle) or linebacker A.J. Edds (ankle) will be available to play against the Jaguars Sunday.
“I do know [Clark and Wheeler] are making good progress, but I’m not certain of their status at this point. If [Clark] is not healthy and ready to go, then we won’t (play him),” Caldwell said.
While there is a possibility that Clark could be placed on the team’s injured reserve list if he is unable to play at Jacksonville, no decision has been made.
“We have to do what we think is best for us to win this game, so we’ll look at all phases in that regard,” the Colts coach voiced.
The team is treating the season finale at Jacksonville like any other game in terms of injured players being available.
“There are certain individuals that may have borderline issues,” he said. “But the doctors typically, if [they are] borderline, they are going to rule against [them playing].”
Are the Indianapolis Colts treating Sunday’s game at Jacksonville as the final game of the season or just the next game on the schedule?
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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.
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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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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).
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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.
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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.
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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
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Saturday to retire as Colt on Thursday
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Indianapolis franchises punter McAfee
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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.
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Colts keeping eye on large crop of talented linemen in NFL Draft
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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
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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.
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