NFL Nation: Daniel Adongo

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.

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
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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 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

Observation deck: Colts-Bengals

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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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.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson fielded a great question today in Anderson, Ind. as the Indianapolis Colts held their first training camp practice.

How did the team come to find outside linebacker Daniel Adongo, the Kenyan national who was a professional rugby player.

Grigson’s answer, via a team transcript:
“We, kind of under wraps, last fall started talking about it. A pro scout of ours, Jon Shaw, was kind of delegated the duty of like, ‘Hey, this is your baby. Let’s see what you can do with it, see if you can give me a cluster of guys that are worthwhile, the right age group, have the right traits, the right makeup to actually even be able to even make the transition since it is a major one.’

[+] EnlargeDaniel Adongo
AP Photo/Michael ConroyThe Colts have their scouts looking far and wide for diamonds in the rough like Daniel Adongo, of Kenya.
"But you know, when you look at the rosters going from 80 to 90, we’d much rather, as a staff, I don’t know about everybody else, but as a staff, we’d rather give the coaches something to work with than just a true camp body that we know is going to be cut in a week or two and is not going to help us get where we want to go because injuries, like we learned last year more than anybody, with injuries, you have to have someone at least viable. If you have someone that can’t play or the arrow’s not going up at all, even slightly, you’re not going to win when you’re playing a 16-game season. Then you factor in the playoffs.

"You need depth. So hopefully by the 16th week, some of these guys that when you see in camp and you’re like, ‘Wow, he’s got a long way to go,’ well we had guys like that last year that by midseason, you’re ready to put him in or someone from another team is trying to sign him. That’s kind of the mindset.”

I love the thinking. I’ve wondered in the past if a team wouldn’t be wise not to even use all 90 roster spots. In having that many guys, you waste coaching efforts on guys with no chance. Instead a team could streamline the operation and give players with real potential even more hands-on attention and potential for development.

The reason no one can do that, obviously, is they’ve got to have guys on the very bottom of a roster to sacrifice to the second half of preseason games.

Yes, undrafted gems are found there. But in less than a week of practice, every team in the league can point to at least a dozen guys with no realistic chance of ever being in their plans.

Finding a blank canvass like Adongo might prove fruitless, but it does give a staff a chance to try to develop some special athletic talent -- the kind that isn't left after seven rounds of the draft.

“Right now he’s the 90th man on the roster,” Grigson said.” He’s a guy we brought in that has a very raw skill-set, obviously. We watched him throw a football for the first time and in about a nanosecond we said ‘You know he’s not a quarterback.’ He had never thrown a football before. But once you start seeing him move around with those long limbs and you see the type of competitor and really the traits he has as a human being and as an athlete, you have something to work with. You basically have a lump of clay for these coaches to work with.”

Grigson doesn’t believe there are any places his scouts shouldn’t be looking.

“Don’t come to me and tell me after you looked at every guy in the CFL, Arena League and the IFL or UFL, don’t tell me out of 1,000 bodies, we can’t find three guys that have a chance,” he said. “It’s a numbers game.”

Now the search area isn’t limited to places where football is being played.

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