AFC South: Sergio Brown

Examining the Indianapolis Colts' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
This is the safest position on the roster for the Colts. They plan to always keep a veteran backup if Luck ever goes down with an injury.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Havili, a fullback, gets the edge over Mario Harvey, who switched from linebacker to fullback during offseason workouts.

RECEIVERS (5)

The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.

LINEBACKERS (10)

All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.

SPECIALIST

This only changes if an injury occurs.
INDIANAPOLIS -- New Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams was part of the Denver Broncos team that reached the Super Bowl last season.

But there Adams sat, waiting for a team to sign him during the offseason. He waited. Waited some more. He waited so long that anxiety started to set in. Adams, 33, had never been out of work this long during his 10-year NFL career.

Adams’ phone finally rang last week when the Colts put safety Corey Lynch on injured reserve.

[+] EnlargeMike Adams
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsVeteran safety Mike Adams has started 73 games in his 10-year career.
"The pieces are in place and we have a chance to hoist (the trophy) at the end," Adams said. "That’s my goal. I came here to win. That’s Chuck Pagano’s philosophy and that’s what they want to do here. That’s what it all boils down."

Adams has gone from being unemployed to having a chance to be one of the Colts' starting safeties when they take on his former team, the Broncos, in the season opener on Sept. 7.

"Bottom line is I want to compete for a job," Adams said. "I want to earn these guys' respect. I’m going in (Year 11). Its’ a different locker room, new system I have to learn. I want to earn that. I don’t want it given to me. I told coach and I told the (general manager Ryan Grigson), 'I appreciate you telling me I don’t have the job. I appreciate that.' I was the underdog my whole career. I love competing and proving people wrong."

Safety has been a legit concern for the Colts since long-time fixture Antoine Bethea signed with San Francisco on the first day of the free agent signing period in March.

The Colts didn’t address the position during free agency or the draft. They constantly talked about having confidence in Delano Howell, who has been working with the first team during the offseason workouts.

But Howell lacks experience on a defense that was too inconsistent last season. The same goes for Sergio Brown, David Sims and Colt Anderson.

Enter Adams.

He has started 73 games in his 10-year career. The question about Adams is how much does he have left in his tank at the age of 33. He admits his age might have caused teams to shy away a little bit.

"I feel like I’m 26,” he quickly says. "You're going to see the way I move. Once guys see my film. I was talking to the GM and he said, 'I had to watch your film' and he said, 'You’re 33?' and I was like, 'yeah I am 33,' but when you watch the film it doesn’t look like I’m 33."

Adams is versatile. He can also play cornerback, nickelback or be the dime.

Now he has to see if he’s versatile enough to get the number he wants. Adams, who currently has No. 42, has worn No. 20 throughout his career, but cornerback Darius Butler has that number.

"I’ll have to sweet-talk him," Adams said. "Have to take him out to dinner; wine and dine him."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Delano Howell's starting résumé consists of three games during his two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Now Howell appears to be in line to be the Colts' starting safety next season, replacing long-time starter Antoine Bethea , who signed with San Francisco in March.

Howell
That became even more evident when the Colts decided against selecting a safety in the draft. Howell will have some competition for the spot, but the job is his to lose. Sergio Brown, Corey Lynch and Colt Anderson are in the mix for the job, too.

A key for Howell will be whether he's able to be interchangeable with Landry and also have good cover skills -- the main two things coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson are looking for.

"All I think back to is Delano Howell," Pagano said. "We went out and beat a pretty good football team (San Francisco), I think he started at safety that game and had, I don't know, six, seven, eight tackles or something, was pretty productive in that ball game. He returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown against Seattle. He's not the only one. We've got guys in-house that will be great competition there."

Howell started three games in place of the injured LaRon Landry last season. The Colts won two of those three games. Howell totaled 21 tackles in his three starts.

Howell is the quiet teammate in the locker room, the one you have to seek out because he's not a jokester or one who's always talking. He's the same soft-spoken teammate quarterback Andrew Luck had while at Stanford.

"Very much the sort of strong, silent type, the Clint Eastwood type," Luck said. "Say a little, do a lot. He's been that way for a long time, which makes it really fun to play with him."

The Colts think the signing of linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and defensive lineman Arthur Jones will help ease some of the burden on the secondary. Bethea ended his time with the Colts by having four straight seasons with at least 100 tackles.

"I feel good about the guys that are here and I think at the end of the day, we bolstered our front seven," Pagano said. "The better the front seven is, the more pressure you can put on the passer, it certainly helps the back end."
INDIANAPOLIS -- The assumption heading into the draft was that the Indianapolis Colts would use one of their five picks on a safety.

Seventeen safeties were picked during the three-day draft. None of them were selected by the Colts.

"There’s a small handful of guys in this draft that we felt like we could go get, it just didn’t happen," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. "But it was not a deep safety class and if there was a safety we liked, we would have took one."

So as of now, in-house players Delano Howell, Sergio Brown, Corey Lynch and Colt Anderson, who have combined to start 22 games, are the stop candidates to man the starting safety spot opposite of LaRon Landry next season. Longtime Colts safety Antoine Bethea signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March.

"You don’t just because of need go reach and try to grab and fill a need when the value’s not there," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I feel good about the guys that are here and I think at the end of the day, we bolstered our front seven with acquiring D’Qwell Jackson and Art Jones and the two defensive players we picked up. The better that front seven is, the more pressure you can put on the passer, it certainly helps the back end. We’ll be fine."
INDIANAPOLIS -- Safety Kurt Coleman will visit the Indianapolis Colts on Friday.

Coleman
That usually means one thing: The Colts have serious interest in him.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson isn’t one to bring players in for visits without them leaving with a deal. Just ask receiver Hakeem Nicks.

Coleman, a former seventh-round pick, started 29 games from 2010-12 with the Philadelphia Eagles before not starting a game for them last season. Coleman’s best season was in 2012 when he had 93 tackles and two interceptions.

Grigson was with the Eagles in a number of different capacities from 2004-11, and is well aware of Coleman's capabilities.

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star pointed out that Coleman was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Colts receiver Austin Collie out of the Nov. 7, 2010, game in Philadelphia.

Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano recently pointed out that Delano Howell, Sergio Brown and Corey Lynch are options to start alongside LaRon Landry at safety. Longtime Colts safety Antoine Bethea signed with San Francisco last month. Pagano also indicated that they’ll look to select a safety in the May 8-10 draft.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Vontae Davis had to his due diligence and listen to other teams.

But deep down inside Davis knew he wanted to return to the Indianapolis Colts. Davis knew the Colts were more than just a football team that practiced together and took the field together on Sundays. There's a brotherhood inside the organization, the kind Davis didn't have in his three seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

That's why brotherhood -- and a whole lot of money -- brought Davis back to the Colts. He agreed to a four-year, $39 million contract that included $20 million guaranteed.

“I hate for it to be the business side,” Davis said. “If there wasn't a business side of football and it wasn't about business, I would still choose to be back with the Colts. So that just says a lot about how strong the organization is. My teammates are like brothers. It's a brotherhood. When you go to the Colts, it's something that you hold with you for the rest of your life.”

Davis was the primary target for the Colts when it came to re-signing their own players. He has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. It's simply a matter of putting it all together and avoiding lapses in his play.

“He is a rare talent at 25 years of age who is still ascending as a player,” Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. “We are excited to see him reach new heights in his career and help us attain our ultimate goal.”

The Colts showed their faith in Davis by giving him such a lucrative deal. It's said with money comes pressure.

Not so, Davis said.

"You can't let it impact (your play)," he said. "If I was making a dollar, it wouldn't matter. You just have to go out there and play. The organization has trust in me enough to obviously bring me back. I just have to continue to work hard and I think everything will work out for itself.”

The Colts had a solid tandem at cornerback with Davis and Greg Toler -- when he was healthy -- last season. Davis fed off of Toler's aggressive approach. Davis' best game was against the Denver Broncos when he had five tackles and two passes defended. He was so worked up that he referred to Peyton Manning as New England's Tom Brady in a postgame interview on the field.

Davis joined linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and safety/special teams ace Sergio Brown as defensive players the Colts signed on the first day of free agency.

“Every team, coming into the season is a new year,” Davis said. “We have to come in and work hard to get back to where we were at last year. I think just moving forward, coach (Chuck) Pagano, Grigson, they're doing a great job of building this team up.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kicker Adam Vinatieri has only played on two teams during his 18-year career.

The Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots.

Vick
Vinatieri
Vinatieri spent the first 10 years of his career with the Patriots and the past eight years with the Colts. Saturday's AFC divisional playoff game will be the 25th time that he has played in a game between the two teams.

“It really never gets old,” he said. “Two great organizations, great coaches, great players, obviously. It's one of those ones. It's the Sox-Yankees, if you will. That kind of thing where I think both teams respect each other and know what comes to the table. It's going to be a fun game.”

Vinatieri has scored 122 points in his career against the Colts and 37 points in his career against the Patriots. He's New England's all-time scoring leader with 1,158 points.

“Mentally, he's as tough and as consistent as they come,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “I can't think of anybody, certainly no other kicker, that I've coached that I would put ahead of him in terms of mental toughness, concentration, focus, professionalism, all of those things. ... He's a great player and a Hall of Fame kicker if there ever was one.”

Receiver Deion Branch is the latest former Patriot to join the Colts. Safety Sergio Brown and cornerback Darius Butler are also former Patriots now with Indianapolis. Former Colts receiver Austin Collie is now with the Patriots.

“It's kind of the nature of the league,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, laughing. “There's a lot of guys that switch teams. There's coaches that switch teams. We've had guys from the Colts that have been on the Patriots and vice versa, so I think we're just used to it at this point.”

Pro Bowl selections: Indianapolis Colts

December, 27, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Robert Mathis entered the season wanting to prove that he could be successful without playing alongside Dwight Freeney.

Mathis picked up his 100th career sack and led the league in that category most of the season. He set the Colts’ single-season and franchise record for sacks earlier this month. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

And now he’s a Pro Bowler.

Mathis was selected to his sixth straight Pro Bowl on Friday night. He has 53 tackles and is second in the league in sacks with 17.5. Mathis was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October.

The Pro Bowl draft will be held on Jan. 22.

The Colts are 10-5 and won the AFC South, but Mathis is the lone Colts player to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

An argument could be made that quarterback Andrew Luck and special-teams ace Sergio Brown should have made the team.

Justin Bethel of Arizona and Matthew Slater of New England were the two special-teams players taken over Brown.

Here’s the breakdown of the quarterbacks taken over Luck:


Luck's completion percentage doesn't help his cause. He could be named to the team as an alternate.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.
INDIANAPOLIS – The trend has gotten to the point that it's not if Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano will announce that they will have a different starting offensive line, but what the line will look like when they play.

That’s the case again this weekend, as the Colts will start their sixth different offensive line in as many weeks against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their eighth different one of the season.

Guard Mike McGlynn, who didn’t practice all week, is doubtful for the game.

“In the National Football League, nothing surprises you,” Pagano said. “Every day you show up is an adventure.”

In typical Pagano fashion, the coach didn’t reveal who he plans to start in McGlynn’s spot. The Colts have options on who to start on the offensive line for the first time in weeks.

Joe Reitz has been cleared to play after passing his final concussion test Friday. There’s Jeff Linkenbach, who has missed the past three games with a quadriceps injury, or Pagano can turn to Xavier Nixon, whose lead block opened up the hole on Donald Brown’s 51-yard touchdown run against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend.

The offensive line has played well recently. The Colts have rushed for 287 yards in the past two games and quarterback Andrew Luck has only been sacked twice in the past three games.

Defensive end Cory Redding (shoulder) and safety Sergio Brown (groin) are also doubtful for Sunday.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the injured players from Friday:

Out: Defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot)

Questionable: Safety Antoine Bethea (ankle)

Probable: Cornerback Darius Butler (quad), cornerback Vontae Davis (groin), safety LaRon Landry (rest), linebacker Robert Mathis (rest), guard Hugh Thornton (neck) and cornerback Greg Toler (groin)

Mathis expected lead Colts' Pro Bowlers

December, 27, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts should have some happy players when the Pro Bowl teams are announced Friday.

Linebacker Robert Mathis, who has 17.5 sacks, should be named to the team for the sixth straight year.

“Pro Bowl? He’s Hall of Fame from my standpoint,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “He’s just the type of player that if he was playing the rush end for all the years that he’s been playing defensive end, he would probably have a lot more sacks.”

Mathis, in typical fashion, brushed off the Pro Bowl talk because he’s more worried about bigger things.

“I’m trying to get to New York [for the Super Bowl],” he said. “That’s the team goal, and that’s a cherry on top of the cake if you’re able to get voted in.”

Mathis could be joined in Hawaii by quarterback Andrew Luck, linebacker Jerrell Freeman and special-teams ace Sergio Brown. On Thursday, Mathis made a plea for Freeman, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week this week, and who has 118 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season.

“I don’t think, I know he’s a Pro Bowler,” Mathis said. “If he’s not in the Pro Bowl, it’s a crime. Recount or whatever you need to do, he definitely needs to be there.”

A draft of the players chosen will take place Jan. 21 to determine the two teams.
INDIANAPOLIS – The offensive line is playing well. The same goes for the defense. And now the Indianapolis Colts may finally be getting healthy. It’s coming at a good time, too, with the playoffs less than two weeks away.

Coach Chuck Pagano had a lot of positive information when he talked about the long list of players dealing with injuries during his news conference on Monday.

The MRI on defensive lineman Cory Redding’s shoulder came back negative. He missed part of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs after injuring it while trying to make a diving tackle on running back Jamaal Charles. Redding may not practice on Tuesday, but the Colts are hopeful that he’ll be able to go on Thursday.

Safety Sergio Brown (groin), linebacker Daniel Adongo (hamstring), defensive tackle Montori Hughes (knee), guard Hugh Thornton (neck) and guard Jeff Linkenbach (quad) could all return to practice this season. Offensive lineman Joe Reitz has been cleared to practice after passing an impact concussion test. He has to pass one more concussion protocol before being cleared to play in a game.

It’ll be interesting to see what Pagano does with the offensive line if everybody is healthy. The Colts have started five different lineups on the offensive line in the past five games and seven overall this season.

The Colts wrap up the regular season against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.

T.Y. Hilton, Greg Toler miss practice

December, 19, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts cornerback Greg Toler had appeared to turn the corner when he took part in a full practice for the first time in two months Wednesday.

But it was also noted that people shouldn’t get excited, because how Toler responded from the practice would be key.

A sign of things to come occurred when Toler wasn’t on the field during the media portion of practice on Thursday. It became official a couple of hours later when the Colts released their practice report and the letters “DNP” were by Toler’s name, meaning he did not practice.

A better indication for Toler’s status for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs will occur Friday when coach Chuck Pagano addresses the media. But not having Toler practice on back-to-back days can’t be a good thing, especially since he hasn’t played since Oct. 20.

So the wait could possibly continue for another week with Toler.

Another eye-catching “DNP” was receiver T.Y. Hilton because of a shoulder problem. He originally injured his shoulder against Arizona on Nov. 24. Hilton had a career-high eight receptions against Houston last weekend.

Here’s the rest of Thursday’s practice report

Did Not Practice

LB Daniel Adongo: Hamstring

S Sergio Brown: Groin

DT Montori Hughes: Knee

DT Ricky Jean Francois: Foot

OL Jeff Linkenbach: Quad

OL Joe Reitz: Concussion

OL Hugh Thornton: Neck

Full Practice

OL Samson Satele: Elbow

FB Stanley Havili: Knee

Greg Toler to practice this week

December, 16, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano gave an update on the team's injured players on Monday.

Toler
Receiver Griff Whalen, who was brought up from the practice squad Saturday, has a strain behind his right knee, but Pagano believes he’ll be fine. Whalen, who had four catches and a touchdown, was one of the last players to leave the locker room after Sunday’s game against Houston because he was receiving treatment.

Cornerback Greg Toler (groin), fullback Stanley Havili (knee), and receiver LaVon Brazill, who all missed the game, are expected to practice Wednesday.

It’ll be interesting to see if cornerback Greg Toler plays against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, because he’s been out eight weeks and the game will be played outdoors in the cold, which is something that could impact his decision to sit out another week since they wrap up the regular season at home against Jacksonville on Dec. 29. Toler went from being limited in practice to not practicing at all by the end of last week.

Offensive lineman Joe Reitz suffered a concussion in the first half against the Texans and is going through the league’s concussion protocol.

Running back Donald Brown (stinger), safety Sergio Brown (groin) and linebacker Daniel Adongo (hamstring) are all day-to-day.

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

December, 15, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 25-3 victory over the Houston Texans:

What it means: The Colts didn't wait until the second half to get going offensively. They started on their first offensive series of the game. The Colts mixed up the run with the pass to go 80 yards on 11 plays on their opening drive. The drive ended with quarterback Andrew Luck finding receiver Griff Whalen for a 14-yard touchdown. That was the first time the Colts scored a touchdown in the first quarter since doing it against Denver on Oct. 20. Slow starts have been a problem the past seven weeks for the Colts, but they went into the half with a 20-3 lead. They were 5-of-8 on third down in the first half after going 0-for-6 in the first half against Cincinnati on Dec. 8. The one downside about the Colts on offense is that they started the game 5-for-5 on third down but failed to convert on their final 10 attempts.

Whalen steps up: Whalen has been an afterthought this season after having a strong training camp. He was elevated from the practice squad Saturday because of the injury to fellow receiver LaVon Brazill (foot). He took advantage of the opportunity. Whalen, a college teammate of Luck's at Stanford, caught four passes for 45 yards, returned three punts for 67 yards and a kickoff for 22 yards.

Being honored: Former Colts running backs Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk were inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime. Dickerson rushed for 5,194 yards and 32 touchdowns during his five seasons with the Colts. He won the league's rushing title in 1988, when he gained 1,659 yards to go with 14 touchdowns. The Colts traded Dickerson to the Los Angeles Raiders following the 1991 season. Faulk rushed for 5,320 yards and 42 touchdowns to go with 297 receptions and 2,804 yards in his five seasons with the Colts. He was traded to the St. Louis Rams after the 1998 season because he thought he deserved a raise. Dickerson and Faulk join Robert Irsay, Bill Brooks, Chris Hinton, Ted Marchibroda, Jim Harbaugh, the 12th Man, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James in the team's Ring of Honor.

Injuries: Colts guard Joe Reitz left the game in first half after being tested for a concussion. Starting running back Donald Brown sat out the second half with a stinger. He ran for 38 yards on five carries. Linebacker Daniel Adongo (hamstring) and safety Sergio Brown (groin) also left the game.

What's next: The Colts go on the road to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Colts and Chiefs have a chance to face each other in the playoffs in Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS -- An already-weak offensive line could possibly be even weaker for the Indianapolis Colts when they play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Rookie left guard Hugh Thornton did not practice Wednesday because of a neck injury. Joe Reitz was working at left guard during the portion of practice that was open to the media.

Fellow guard Jeff Linkenbach, who started against Tennessee last weekend, is already out with a quad injury. The Colts are calling Linkenbach week-to-week with his injury.

Coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday that he's not sure who will start in Linkenbach's place against the Bengals. Linkenbach replaced Mike McGlynn at guard against the Titans. The Colts added Xavier Nixon to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Tuesday.

"What we'll do with the offensive line, we'll just go through the week and between Mike and Joe and Hugh, we'll just work those guys through this week," Pagano said. Have not made any final decisions on anything as far as the offensive line goes. Just go to work on correcting things we need to correct. Nixon is a swing guy. He's played both. Major outside being a swing tackle type guy. That's where we're at with the offensive line."

The offensive line has had its problems all season, but this is a bad time for the Colts to be dealing with injuries there. They need to beat the Bengals to go up one game in the race for the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Bengals are ninth in the league in sacks with 36.

"They're ranked sixth in the National Football League for good reason," Pagano said. "They got good players. Got a good front seven, good linebacking core, good in the back end."

Here's the rest of the Colts' injury report from Wednesday:
  • Cornerback Greg Toler and receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) were limited in practice. Having Toler practice -- even if it was limited -- is a positive because he's missed the past five games with a groin injury.
  • Safety Sergio Brown (hand), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot), linebacker Robert Mathis (rest) did not practice.

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