AFC South: Larry Asante

Colts need to take a pass on Ed Reed

November, 12, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts are lacking depth at safety.

Injured safety Larry Asante was waived on Monday and Delano Howell has missed the past two games with a neck injury. Howell hasn’t practiced this week and his status for Thursday’s game at Tennessee is up in the air.

That leaves Sergio Brown as the only backup safety behind LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea.

That leads us to Ed Reed.

Reed was released by the Houston Texans on Tuesday. He and Colts coach Chuck Pagano have a history together at the University of Miami and with the Baltimore Ravens. Pagano was the Hurricanes' secondary coach from 1995-2000, the Ravens' secondary coach from 2008-10, then their defensive coordinator the following season.

“It’s really the first time that I’ve heard that. I just came off the practice field,” Pagano said. “I didn’t even realize that Eddie had been waived.”

Reed obviously isn’t the same player who caused havoc for so many years with the Ravens. The Colts are set with Landry and Bethea, who hasn’t missed a game since 2007.

Would Reed be able to handle being a backup?

Not according to ESPN.com Texans reporter Tania Ganguli. She wrote Tuesday that Reed “never bought into the idea that his limited role was best for the team.” Reed said the Texans were “outplayed and outcoached” during their loss to Arizona last weekend.

The Colts don’t need those types of distractions. They’re too close of a team and they’re trying to figure out ways to be productive without receiver Reggie Wayne and without a running game.

The Colts may lack depth at safety, but they’re better off taking a pass on Reed, who is 35 and only totaled 16 tackles in seven games this season.

Locker Room Buzz: Indianapolis Colts

November, 10, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Observed in the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts’ 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams:

McAfee
An emotional surprise: The Inocencio family thought they were getting a new Toyota at halftime that was donated by Colts punter Pat McAfee. It turns out the family got something better than the car. Army Sgt. Jeremy Inocencio surprised his family by being inside the car after returning home from an overseas deployment. Inocencio’s emotional surprise caused a lot of hugs and tears of joy. “Those things are so awesome," McAfee said. "Anytime you see a kid going up to his dad, who he hasn’t seen in months. His dad is a hero fighting for our country. It’s an unbelievable moment, and I hope they will remember it forever because their dad is such a hero.”

Wanted to continue playing: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said his preference was to finish the game despite being down by 30 points midway through the fourth quarter. Coach Chuck Pagano pulled Luck because the outcome had already been decided and they play again on Thursday at Tennessee. Sunday was only the second time in Luck’s career that he did not take every offensive snap. “I think any competitor is going to want to stay in the game,” Luck said. “You understand at the end of the day, Coach Pagano is making the decisions, and he’s thinking on a much more macro scope of things. Understand his decisions are final.”

Injury update: Guard Mike McGlynn left the game in the second half with a thumb injury. He’s scheduled to get an MRI. Safety Larry Asante went out with a hamstring injury. Pagano said he didn’t know the extent of his injury.

Colts Week 5 Twitter mailbag

October, 5, 2013
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Indianapolis Colts cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: Defensive lineman Fili Moala didn’t play in the preseason because was he was still rehabbing a knee injury from late 2012, but that didn’t stop him from making the roster. Keeping Moala put an end to fellow defensive lineman Drake Nevis’ time with the Colts. Fullback Dominique Jones was cut, leaving the Colts with only one fullback on the roster, Stanley Havili.

A feel-good story: Linebacker Caesar Rayford kept hearing from NFL teams over the years that they liked what they saw out of him on video while he played in the Arena Football League. Rayford, however, never got an invite to a training camp from any of those teams. That changed this year when the Colts, led by general manager Ryan Grigson’s willingness to search anywhere for talent, invited Rayford to camp. Rayford didn’t disappoint, either. He had a team-high five sacks during the preseason. Rayford now has a spot on the 53-man roster. The 27-year-old rookie’s best bet to get on the field will likely be on special teams. He’ll take it after getting looked over for so many years while he played in the Canadian and Arena Football League.

What’s next: Grigson and his staff aren’t going to sit tight. They’ll continue to monitor which players -- especially offensive linemen and possibly fullback -- around the league were released, and don’t be surprised if the roster the Colts take into their season opener against Oakland on Sept. 8 is completely different than the current one. The Colts will likely add quarterback Chandler Harnish and linebacker Daniel Adongo to the practice squad if both players clear waivers. Adongo didn’t play in the preseason, but the Colts are intrigued by the former rugby player. Harnish was on the practice squad last season.

Colts cuts: LB: Daniel Adongo, Josh McNary, Monte Simmons, Shawn Loiseau. DB: Larry Asante, Marshay Green, Sheldon Price, Daxton Swanson. OL: Thomas Austin, Ben Ijalana, Bradley Sowell, Lee Ziemba, Emmett Cleary. DL: Lawrence Guy, Drake Nevis, Martin Tevaseu. QB: Chandler Harnish. FB: Robert Hughes. TE: Dominique Jones. WR: Jeremy Kelley, Jabin Sambrano, Lanear Sampson

Predicting the Colts' 53-man roster

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
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Here’s my projection at what the Colts' 53-man roster will look like:

Quarterback

Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck

Comment: The Colts are in good hands with Luck and Hasselbeck.

Running back

Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Kerwynn Williams

Comment: Williams locked in his spot as the fourth running back by rushing for 92 yards against Cincinnati. He’ll also likely return kicks.

Fullback

Stanley Havili, Dominique Jones

Comment: Havili proved that he can be another option for Luck to throw to out of the backfield against Cleveland last weekend.

Wide receiver

Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, TY Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Griff Whalen, David Reed

Comment: Colts are set with Wayne, Heyward-Bey and Hilton, but depth is still a concern at receiver.

Tight end

Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Justice Cunningham

Comment: You have to cross your fingers that Fleener’s preseason problems were just that and they won’t linger into the regular season.

Offensive line

Anthony Castonzo, Donald Thomas, Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn, Gosder Cherilus, Hugh Thornton, Joe Reitz, Khaled Holmes, Jeff Linkenbach

Comment: The Colts’ scoring success depends heavily on how well this unit protects Luck

Defense

Defensive line

Cory Redding, Josh Chapman, Ricky Jean Francois, Aubrayo Franklin, Montori Hughes, Lawrence Guy, Drake Nevis

Comment: The defensive line has to prove it can stop the run.

Linebackers

Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Caesar Rayford, Pat Angerer, Jerrell Freeman, Kavell Conner, Mario Harvey, Kelvin Sheppard

Comment: Rayford is the surprise name on this list, but the 27-year-old former Canadian and Arena League player earned a roster spot by having a very strong training camp.

Cornerbacks

Greg Toler, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn, Josh Gordy

Comment: The Colts are in good hands if Davis and Butler play like they did during the preseason.

Safeties

LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged, Larry Asante

Comment: Asante made a strong case to make the roster with an interception against Cleveland and 13 tackles against Cincinnati. Don’t count out Sergio Brown, though.

Special teams

Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton

Comment: No comment necessary

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star made his 53-man roster projection earlier this week.

Conrad Brunner of 1070 The Fan did the same.

Observation deck: Colts-Bengals

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
11:39
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CINCINNATI -- No Andrew Luck. No Reggie Wayne. No Cory Redding. No Antoine Bethea or Robert Mathis, either.

In what’s the biggest yawner of the preseason because starting players rarely play, the preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals was all about borderline players trying to make one final impression on front office officials and the coaching staff before the 53-man roster has to be set by Saturday evening.

Here are other observations from the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-10 loss to the Bengals:
  • Third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish played for all but the first two series of the game. He didn’t do anything to help his case to play behind Luck and Matt Hasselbeck. But that’s not surprising, because Harnish struggled the entire preseason. Harnish started 2-of-6 but managed complete six of his next seven passes to finish 8-of-13 for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked twice. Harnish’s best bet is that he’ll be brought back to be the team’s practice-squad quarterback.
  • Rookie running back Kerwynn Williams took advantage of Ahmad Bradshaw not playing and Vick Ballard getting only a handful of snaps to be the lone bright spot on offense. The seventh-round pick rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries. Williams will likely be the fourth running back on the depth chart. He’ll also be the team’s primary kick returner. "He's got the heart of a lion," coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's produced really every week and made big plays. He's put enough out there so you have to give it some heavy consideration."
  • Safety Larry Asante followed up his 48-yard interception return for a touchdown against Cleveland last weekend by getting a sack and also recovering a fumble in the first half. Asante had a game-high 13 tackles. He had only four tackles total in the first three preseason games. Asante's play the past two games keeps him in the mix to make the roster as one of the safeties.
  • Receiver/kick returner David Reed, acquired from Baltimore on Aug. 21, left the game with a concussion.
  • Linebacker Caesar Rayford stood at his locker still in his pads mad at himself long after the game. The rookie seemed to be in a good position to make the team with a team-high five sacks heading into Thursday. But he wasn't pleased that he didn't close out the preseason the way he wanted to. He had only two tackles against the Bengals, with one of the tackles being in the open field. Rayford did enough early in the preseason to earn a roster spot.
  • Linebacker Daniel Adongo, the rugby player attempting to play football for the first time, didn’t play during the preseason because Pagano wasn’t comfortable putting him the game. That didn’t stop a press box announcer from saying Adongo had a special-teams tackle in the first half. A No. 46 got the tackle for the Colts, but it wasn’t Adongo. It was tight end Dominique Jones. Jones later caught a touchdown pass from Harnish.
What’s next: The Colts open the regular season against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sept. 8.

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