Indianapolis Colts: Daniel Adongo

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.
Mike Wells: The Colts will be fine at receiver. Hakeem Nicks had a "down" year last season and he still ended up with almost 900 yards receiving. Those numbers would have been good enough for second on the Colts by almost 300 yards last season. T.Y. Hilton had his first 1,000-yard receiving season and Reggie Wayne might not be the same Reggie Wayne from a few years ago, but he'll still be productive. You also can't forget about Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener at tight end. Wells: General manager Ryan Grigson is always looking to make roster moves, but it's highly unlikely that he'll do anything substantial between now and when the Colts report for training camp on July 23. Wells: I wouldn't call it Plan B, but they have other players on the roster that can play center. The plan is for Khaled Holmes to team with quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come. Grigson is very high on Holmes' potential. As far as a replacement for safety Antoine Bethea on the roster, it appeared Delano Howell would start alongside LaRon Landry early on, but now I'm starting to think it'll be veteran Mike Adams, whom the Colts signed in the middle of June. Wells: Bjoern Werner has the best chance to start at outside linebacker in Robert Mathis' absence, so it's up to Daniel Adongo, who worked his way up from the practice squad to being on special teams last season, to push Werner for snaps. Wells: The addition of Arthur Jones will help the defensive line. The Colts were 26th in the league in stopping the run last season. The offense as a whole will be significantly better. Three running backs will likely end up sharing the load, Allen is back at tight end with Fleener and the receivers have potential with the return of Wayne and addition of Nicks. Wells: He's coming along. Vick Ballard, like Wayne and Donald Thomas, didn't participate in offseason workouts. The real test for Ballard will be once he puts his pads on in training camp, cuts hard in practice or takes a hit on his knee. That's why I put Ballard behind Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw on the depth chart right now. Wells: You can't really judge Thomas yet because he hasn't even played two full games as a Colt. His season ended in Week 2 against Miami with a torn tendon in his quad and bicep. You can say Thomas is behind Jack Mewhort and Lance Louis because he didn't take part in the offseason workouts and he's still working his way back. Mewhort ended offseason workouts working with the first unit at guard. Wells: Richardson will get the first shot at starting, but don't sleep on Bradshaw. It only took one game for Bradshaw to be the Colts' most productive running back last season when he rushed for 95 yards against San Francisco in Week 3. Richardson had production issues last season, but Bradshaw (neck) and Ballard (knee) have health questions.
INDIANAPOLIS -- All eyes shifted to Indianapolis Colts second-year linebacker Bjoern Werner immediately after the NFL announced the four-game suspension of linebacker Robert Mathis for violating the league's drug policy last month.

Werner is the leading candidate to start at outside linebacker while Mathis is serving his suspension. Quite simply, there's no reason why Werner should not be starting when the Colts take on the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

This is no offense to Cam Johnson, Daniel Adongo, Andy Studebaker and Jonathan Newsome.

Position: Outside linebacker

Primary candidate: Werner

Pro: Werner has the most experience of the group competing for the starting spot. He had 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks as a rookie. Werner also spent the majority of the offseason workouts working with the first unit.

Con: Just like the rest of the defense, Werner needs to work on being consistent. “I think he knows what's at stake,” Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. “I think you see it just in the way he's playing right now, just the way he's getting off the ball, the way his body looks, what he did in this offseason. He was a constant that was here every second. He was like a wall flower. He was here every time you turned around.”
Here's Part I of the Colts Mailbag. Part II will run Sunday Mike Wells: Delano Howell appeared to be the frontrunner -- and he still may be -- the entire offseason until the Colts signed Adams to take Corey Lynch's spot on the roster. The Colts could have easily gone out and signed a young player, but they didn't. They signed a proven veteran, one who was on the roster of a team -- Denver -- that played in the Super Bowl last season. Howell lacks starting experience. The Colts aren't handing the starting spot to Mike Adams, but don't be surprised if he ends up starting alongside LaRon Landry at safety. Wells: Second-round pick Jack Mewhort. The offensive lineman is capable of playing all five positions on the line. A positive for Mewhort is that he moved ahead of Lance Louis and was working with the first unit by the end of offseason workouts. The competition for that starting spot will intensify in training camp once Donald Thomas starts practicing. It'll be Louis and Thomas as the two primary players pushing Mewhort for that starting spot. Wells: The Colts have about $13.7 million in salary cap space left. Colts GM Ryan Grigson said a number of times earlier in the offseason that they didn't plan to use all their salary-cap space because they'll have to pay players like Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton at some point down road. Wells: That's strictly up to Daniel Adongo. Practice well and play well in the preseason and he'll have a chance to get on the field in a game. The opportunity will definitely be there early in the season when linebacker Robert Mathis is serving his four-game suspension. Playing time at Mathis' position is far from set. It's up to Adongo to prove he deserves to get snaps. Wells: It's way, way too early to tell if Ahmad Bradshaw can stay healthy. Teams don't wear pads during offseason workouts, and even then, Bradshaw joined the quarterbacks and fellow running back Trent Richardson by wearing a red non-contact jersey. Bradshaw's health was the only thing that stopped him from being the Colts' starting running back last season. Bradshaw and Richardson were the only two running backs of three expected to push for the starting spot to take part in offseason workouts. Vick Ballard, the third, is still working his way back from a torn ACL.
INDIANAPOLIS -- As someone pointed out to me, there were only 98 days until the start of the NFL season as of Sunday.

Werner
Ninety-eight is also the number of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis. Mathis, as you know, is suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for failing the league's drug policy.

There's still plenty of time between now and Sept. 7 to determine who will join D'Qwell Jackson, Erik Walden and Jerrell Freeman in the starting lineup at Mathis' linebacker spot.

Second-year linebacker Bjoern Werner is getting the first crack at starting in those four games.

"All the young pass-rushers have to step up," he said. "We don't know who the guy is, everybody is seeing opportunity and everybody is just trying to replace him for the first four games."

Werner, who missed three games last season with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, had 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks during his rookie season. Like Mathis did in his first year under coach Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defensive scheme, Werner had to make the adjustment from being a defensive end in college to being an outside linebacker. He has spent the offseason getting stronger.

Werner will be pushed by Daniel Adongo, Cam Johnson, Andy Studebaker and Jonathan Newsome for playing time at outside linebacker with Mathis out.

"I prepare the same way before the whole situation with Robert came out, and I'll keep preparing the same way," Werner said. "I feel great, I've had a great offseason and just seize the moment. Hopefully I'm the guy, but that's coach's situation."
Here's a Memorial Day edition of the mailbag:
 
Here’s Tuesday’s Reading the Coverage:
  • Kevin Bowen of Colts.com has a story on Erik Swoope, who is trying to go from a college basketball player to an NFL tight end. The Colts signed him Sunday. "Erik Swoope is another example of our scouting department digging out capable and intriguing athletes with enough overall traits to make this difficult transition," Grigson said. "He was a physical and athletic presence on the hardwood so like (Daniel) Adongo we saw a player playing a completely different sport but saw enough from a movement and competitive standpoint to think he would be a worthwhile project."
  • Conrad Brunner of 1070thefan.com writes about how Khaled Holmes and Delano Howell have the inside track for the starting center and safety position, respectively, after the Colts didn’t draft at those positions last weekend. ""If there’s not the players there that you feel are good enough to pick, you can’t pick them," Colts GM Ryan Grigson said after the Colts bypassed seven centers and 12 safeties in making their five picks. "If you have guys that are on the roster that are maybe even just a little bit better or maybe those guys that you’re looking at possibly drafting are almost the same as the guys you have on your roster, it doesn’t really make you any better."
  • Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star gives his take on the Colts’ draft over the weekend. Holder said, "If you expected this Colts draft to knock your socks off, then you really set yourself up for a grand disappointment." I agree because the Colts were never going to make a splash without a first-round pick and only five picks total.

RTC: Adongo out for more success

April, 10, 2014
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Here's Thursday's Reading the Coverage:

-- Colts.com has a story on linebacker Daniel Adongo. Adongo is a former rugby player the Colts signed last season. He spent most of the season on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster.

Adongo, 24, ended up playing 31 snaps on special teams last season.

"I planned my offseason as soon as we lost the [Patriots] game," Adongo told Colts.com. "I know as every great warrior, you need to put in work for the next battle, so the next battle is what's coming, the next season. I do have a plan in mind and I do plan to follow it to a 'T' and execute that."

-- Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star talked with Minnesota Vikings running Adrian Peterson during a conference call for Hyperice, a device he used in his recovery after tearing two ligaments in his left knee during the 2011 season.

Chappell asked Peterson about returning from a torn ACL because Indianapolis Colts veteran receiver Reggie Wayne is trying to work his way back from one of those injuries.

"My expectations of Reggie Wayne [are] for him to come back and be just as good or even better,'' Peterson said. "Why I say that is he's now in a position where age is a factor, or so they say. He has something to prove."

Colts Mailbag: Christmas edition

December, 25, 2013
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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.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton believes it'll take a lot for him not to be on the field Sunday when they play the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hilton
The second-year receiver is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury. He orginally hurt it Nov. 24 against the Arizona Cardinals.

"I was completely healthy at this point last season, so that's the part that's not good," Hilton said. "It's one of those things that I have to play through. We still have something to play for."

The Colts, who are keeping their hopes alive to get to the No. 2 seed, could have a thin roster against the Chiefs.

Defensive tackle, Ricky Jean Francois (foot), offensive line Jeff Linkenbach (quad), safety Sergio Brown (groin), offensive lineman Joe Reitz (concussion) and defensive tackle Montori Hughes (knee) are all doubtful.

Linebacker Daniel Adongo (hamstring), guard Hugh Thornton (neck) and cornerback Greg Toler (groin) are questionable. Toler practiced Wednesday but was held out of practice Thursday as a precaution.

Here's what the Colts' offensive line could look like Sunday because of all their injuries at that position: Samson Satele at center, Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus at tackle and Xavier Nixon and Mike McGlynn at guard. Rookie Khaled Holmes will be the only backup if Thornton doesn't play.

"We're in great shape, awesome," Colts coach Chuck Pagano sarcastically said. "It's like everybody else. We're not the only one that's pregnant right now. We got what we got and we have a job to do and we're going to get it done."

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

Toler, Brown participate in practice

December, 18, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Maybe this is the week that Indianapolis Colts cornerback Greg Toler finally returns from his groin injury.

Toler
Toler went through a full practice for the first time Wednesday since before injuring his groin in the second half of the Oct. 20 game against the Denver Broncos.

I wouldn't grab a permanent marker and write Toler's name into the starting cornerback spot opposite of Vontae Davis for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

How Toler responds after going through his first full practice in about two months is key. He said last week that he didn't plan to return to the lineup until he was 100 percent healthy. Toler was limited in practice on Dec. 11 then didn't practice the following two days.

Running back Donald Brown and receiver LaVon Brazill were also full participants in practice Wednesday. Brown missed the second half of Sunday's game with the Houston Texans with a stinger. Brazill missed the game with a bruised foot.

Here's a rundown of the rest of Colts' practice report:

Did not practice:
LB Daniel Adongo: Hamstring
S Sergio Brown: Groin
FB Stanley Havili: Knee
DT Montori Hughes: Knee
DT Ricky Jean Francois: Foot
OL Jeff Linkenbach: Quad
LB Robert Mathis: Rest
OL Joe Reitz: Concussion
OL Hugh Thornton: Neck

Limited practice:
OL Samson Satele: Elbow

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.

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