Indianapolis Colts: Cincinnati Bengals

Pat Angerer diagnosed with a concussion

September, 6, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts starting linebacker Pat Angerer knew something wasn’t right.

The constant headaches. The blurred vision. The memory loss.

But the only thing on Angerer's mind was Sunday’s season opener against the Oakland Raiders.

That’s why he held out mentioning anything to the coaching and medical staff until it got to the point where he couldn’t handle the constant problems.

It turns out he wasn’t dealing with just a normal headache. He was diagnosed with a concussion after going through the test Thursday, putting his status for Sunday’s game highly in question.

That’s not the worse news for Angerer.

He suffered the concussion on the first play in the Aug. 29 preseason finale at Cincinnati. He played 22 more plays on defense and three plays on special teams in that game to go with three practices this week before he was diagnosed with the concussion.

“I just didn’t know what it was,” Angerer said. “Headaches, memory loss, all that (expletive). I just figured it would pass. I just wanted to play, so I didn’t say anything. It never went away.”

The concussion adds to the frustration Angerer has experienced the past year. He was limited to 11 games last season because of a foot injury after he led the Colts with 146 tackles in 2011.

Angerer can't practice until he passes the NFL’s concussion protocol. The protocol “combines a symptom checklist, a limited neurological examination including a cognitive evaluation, and a balance assessment.”

Kelvin Sheppard will start at linebacker if Angerer doesn’t play.
INDIANAPOLIS -- For a team that dealt with its fair amount of injuries in the preseason, the Indianapolis Colts could have the starting lineup they envisioned heading into training camp when they take on the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 8.

That’s surprising considering where things stood just a couple of weeks ago.

Tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and guard Mike McGlynn practiced Monday and they're expected to play against the Raiders.

It's still uncertain if left tackle Anthony Castonzo will be the starter or if Joe Reitz will be playing there.

“Should have him out there by Thursday and should make the game," coach Chuck Pagano said of Castonzo.

Castonzo suffered a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his knee in the Aug. 24 game against the Cleveland Browns.

“It’s going well, it’s progressing,” Castonzo said. “We’re just taking it day-by-day. It depends on how well (I feel) come game time. I still don’t know, it’s not guaranteed. But it’s still my goal.”

The Colts played their starting defense against the Browns, but they never had their starting offensive unit together. Bradshaw and Allen didn't play in the preseason.

While some may say there’s a level of concern by the offense not playing together, I’m not buying it. The players they have on the offensive side of the ball -- starting with quarterback Andrew Luck and receiver Reggie Wayne -- will make things easier as long as things go well on the offensive line.

“Just looking at today’s practice and coming off a long weekend and all those guys being out there today, it looks like they practiced on their own over the weekend, to be honest with you,” Pagano said. “Even though they missed some time, when you have guys that stay with it from a mental standpoint and they take the mental reps on the side, they still know how to get lined up. Their athleticism is going to take over and so they look pretty crisp and sharp.”

It also helps they’re facing an Oakland defense that gave up nearly 28 points a game last season. I’d say Andrew & Co. got the perfect opponent to work out any offensive kinks they may have from not having the unit together in the preseason.

• Kick returner David Reed still has to go through the concussion protocol before he’ll be cleared to play against the Raiders. Cassius Vaughn and Joe Lefeged are options to return kicks if Reed doesn’t play. Reed suffered the concussion against Cincinnati in the preseason finale last week.

Adongo tries to go from rugby to NFL

August, 28, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- At some point early during Thursday’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, look over at Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and you’ll likely see a player wearing the No. 46 jersey standing near him.

It’ll be like that in the second, third and fourth quarter, too.

Linebacker Daniel Adongo stood close to Pagano in the first three preseason games.

The rookie likes to stand near his coach so he can learn, and also be ready in case he gets called into the game.

The coaching staff hasn’t called his name yet and they likely won’t call on Adongo against the Bengals.

“I don’t think we’re ready to throw him out there yet,” Pagano said. “I’m just going to protect Daniel from himself. I’m not worried about him giving effort. I’m not worried about him knowing what to do. I’m just worried about the speed of the game and our opponent, and something happening to him.”

Adongo will likely be cut once the Colts trim their roster to the league-mandatory 53 players by 6 p.m. on Saturday. He was a long shot to make the team from the start, but he has unique story on how he ended up joining the Colts for training camp.

Adongo had never played football before. His sport was rugby. He even played in the highest level of pro rugby in the world.

The Colts contacted him via email about three weeks before training camp to see if he would be interested in participating in training camp.

So after about an 18-hour flight -- with a layover in Atlanta -- the 6-5, 257-pound Adongo joined his new teammates for the start of training camp at Anderson (Ind.) University last month.

Adongo has been a sponge, soaking in all the knowledge his teammates have given him about the game.

“It’s meant a lot to me from an emotional standpoint,” Adongo said. “Coming to America for my first time and playing football for my first time. It’s been encouraging. I’ve got a lot of friends.”

Adongo has the luxury of wearing pads and a helmet when he plays -- something he doesn’t get with rugby -- but Pagano is worried about his safety on the field.

“Guys have been playing five, six, seven years in the league running down on a kickoff and [don't] see a trap block coming,” the coach said. “I just don’t want to throw him into a situation like that right now where he doesn’t have a full grasp of everything going on. I don’t want to do that to that kid.”
INDIANAPOLIS – If coach Chuck Pagano’s comments are any indication, you shouldn’t expect to see quarterback Andrew Luck or any other of the Indianapolis Colts’ key players on the field when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their preseason finale on Thursday.

“We’d like to get everybody significant amount of reps,” Pagano said. “Some guys will get less than other guys and there might be a few cases where a guy won’t play at all."

Pagano later added that playing time will be based on age and health.

What about Luck, coach?

“If he gets a series, that would be great. If he gets nothing, that would be great,” Pagano said.

That sure sounds like Luck will be on the sideline wearing a baseball cap and sipping out of a Gatorade cup during the game Thursday.

Luck played one series and threw one pass in the preseason finale last year as a rookie. The Colts won’t get anything out of him doing the same thing this year.

It’ll be a good thing if players like Luck, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Cory Redding don’t play against the Bengals.

There’s no need for them to. They’ve already proven they’re ready for the regular season. Luck went 29-of-44 for 322 yds, four touchdowns and an interception during the preseason.

Thursday is about the borderline players making one final run at the 53-man roster. Players like Caesar Rayford, Griff Whalen and Kerwynn Williams should get a significant amount of playing time.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Reitz, who didn’t play football in college, entered the NFL as a tackle back in 2008. That move barely lasted two years before the Indianapolis Colts moved him back to guard in 2010.

The Colts weren’t done moving Reitz.

They shifted him back to tackle before training camp last month because they were looking for a “swing tackle.”

With left tackle Anthony Castonzo’s recent knee injury, Reitz will be responsible for protecting quarterback Andrew Luck’s blind side.

For how long?

That’s anybody’s guess.

It could be for one or two series in Thursday’s preseason finale at Cincinnati if Luck even plays, or it could be in Week 1 against Oakland if Castonzo’s mildly sprained MCL isn’t completely healed.

Castonzo and the Colts are optimistic he’ll be ready for the Sept. 8 opener.

“We preach ‘next man up’ around here,” Reitz said. “You always hate to see anybody get injured, especially AC, he’s such a great guy. Happy to hear it’s not too serious. I was just excited to go in there and prepare like a starter, because you’re always one play away.”

The Colts like Reitz’s size -- 6-7, 323 pounds -- at tackle. They believe his skill set helps him at that position. Reitz was a college basketball player at Western Michigan. The Colts wanted to move him back to tackle sooner, but they didn’t have depth on the offensive line in the past.

Now Reitz is auditioning to be the team’s swing tackle.

“Just still evaluating that position and still looking for a swing tackle,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Joe is a big, athletic guy, and we wanted to throw him in the mix with Bradley (Sowell) and (Jeff Linkenbach) and the other guys to find out who that swing guy is. Obviously we feel great about (Gosder Cherilus) at right tackle and AC on the left, but you’ve got to have a swing tackle.”

Don’t ask Reitz, who has started in 17 of the 20 games he's apperaaed in with the Colts, if he prefers one over the other, because he doesn’t have a concrete answer.

It’s a matter of doing whatever is necessary to prove he’s worthy of being on the roster.

“There are harder things at both,” Reitz said. “Obviously at tackle on the edge, a lot of times you’re one-on-one with the defensive end. But when you go in there at guard and you’re blocking the Vince Wilfork’s of the world. That’s not necessarily an easy job either.”

RTC: Rayford making his case

August, 26, 2013
Here’s today’s edition of Reading the Coverage:

The Indianapolis Star has an item on linebacker Caesar Rayford making another case to make the final 53-man roster after he picked up a team-high fifth sack in Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

Rayford will have another shot to lock up a spot on the roster when he’ll likely get extensive playing time in the preseason finale at Cincinnati on Thursday.

The Associated Press has a story on former Colts QB Peyton Manning making another commercial. This one is quiet compared to the catchy cell phone commercial the future Hall of Famer made with his brother Eli. Peyton teams with John Elway, John Lynch and Chauncey Billups to promote the 2014 BMW Championship golf tournament in Denver.

The Terre Haute Tribune has a story on the harsh reality of roster cuts. The Colts have to cut three more players by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and get down to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET Saturday.