NFL Nation: David Reed

49ers practice report

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Before being pulled off Levi’s Stadium’s loose grass field less than an hour after practice began by coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers did go through the paces for a bit in front of a couple thousand fans.

A few highlights, then, of the 49ers' final public practice.
  • Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was still not in attendance, as he was in Texas the day before for the birth of his son Michael III.
  • Even before the public practice was cut short, the poor condition of the field was obvious, from divots flying out when players made cuts to the discolored spots in the middle of the field. And if Bruce Ellington tweaking his right ankle in a one-on-one drill with cornerback Chris Culliver was not proof enough, then Stevie Johnson taking a spill untouched on an out pattern at the goal line and jerking his left leg sealed it.
  • Phil Dawson, one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history, continued to work on his craft after missing a pair of field goals in Sunday’s 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos by kicking numerous field goals. If Andy Lee was not holding, then Dawson had a metal holder in his place so he could work solo.
  • Ellington, LaMichael James and veteran Anquan Boldin were the three players fielding punts.
  • Cornerback Tramaine Brock picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson on a pass intended for David Reed on the right sideline and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The first two games without Reggie Wayne lined up opposite of him were pretty easy for Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton.

A 121-yard, three-touchdown game was followed by a 130-yard game for Hilton. Then came double-teams by the opponents to slow the second-year speedster down. The 100-yard receiving games became non-existent for Hilton for six straight weeks for Hilton. He had a game with only 7 yards receiving during that stretch.

[+] EnlargeT.Y. Hilton
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesT.Y. Hilton had a career-high 11 catches for 155 yards in Sunday's win over Jacksonville.
Frustrated? No. It was just difficult for Hilton because he was in the position of having to be the go-to receiver a lot sooner than he or many others expected this early in his career.

A sign of change happened for Hilton against Houston on Dec. 15 when he caught a career-high eight passes.

His career day in receptions and yards happened against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Hilton had a career-high 11 catches for 155 yards -- also a career high -- in the Colts' 30-10 victory over the Jaguars.

“For me, I know the ball is going to come to me,” Hilton said. “It’s just about being patient. They were doubling me. They did that a little, but I’m adjusting to the double-teams and finding a way to get open and finding the spot [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] expects me to be at.”

Hilton was Luck’s primary target early in the game. He caught three passes for 26 yards on the Colts’ opening drive that ended with a Donald Brown touchdown. Hilton had already surpassed his previous career high of eight catches by halftime when he had nine receptions for 95 yards. Luck was 11-of-15 when he targeted Hilton.

Hilton surpassed 1,000-yards receiving for the first time in his career in the first half. Hilton said that was a goal of his coming into the season and even joked that he accomplished the feat quicker than Wayne. It took Wayne four years to record his first 1,000-yard season. When told of Hilton’s comments, Wayne joked back, “Let me know when you get to 11,000 [yards].”

Hilton was easy to defend earlier because he didn’t have much help at receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey wasn’t cutting it. LaVon Brazill still hadn’t found a rhythm. David Reed was so bad that he ended up getting released. But things have opened up some for Hilton recently because Luck has developed continuity with Brazill, Da'Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen, which will help Hilton and the rest of the offense in the playoffs.

“We know how dynamic he is and we talk a lot about how much of a playmaker he is,” Luck said. “So if we can get the ball in his hands, good things happen. ... [The other receivers are] opening him up, and the tight ends and the running backs. We know the more you can spread the ball around, the better for T.Y. because the more he opens up I think.”

Colts go from little wiggle room to none

November, 26, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts were never a team that had much wiggle room.

They didn’t have much when they opened the season with a healthy roster that featured receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dwayne Allen. They have no wiggle room now that those two, and three other offensive players, are out for the season with injuries.

They’re not good enough to fall behind and think they can suddenly turn it on in the second half. Quarterback Andrew Luck is good, but he doesn’t have the offensive personnel around him to come from behind each week. The running game, partially because of falling behind early and lack of production, continues to be inconsistent. The same goes for the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeJerrell Freeman
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsLinebacker Jerrell Freeman and the Colts defense have slipped to No. 27 in the NFL against the run.
The defense, well, it continues to take gigantic steps back every week. The Colts can’t stop the run, and quarterbacks have plenty of time in the pocket to pick them apart. The Colts are ranked 23rd in the league defensively overall -- 19th against the pass and 27th against the run.

“The margin for error is small right now,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “And I think it’s regardless. Everybody we play is good, you know that. Every team that you play is good, they all got great players and so forth, so the margin for error is minute. But that doesn’t mean that we’re going to go out there and play cautious and those type of things. I think we just got to get back to playing football and playing better fundamentals and techniques and doing the things that we did early in the season, doing the things that we did to beat the football teams that we beat early in the season, the teams like Denver and Seattle and San Fran and those type of things.”

Beating Denver, Seattle and San Francisco is the best thing going for the Colts right now. They’d be 4-7 instead of 7-4 if they lost those three games.

You wouldn’t believe the Colts beat those teams if you’ve only watched their past four games. They’ve been a completely different team since beating Denver on Oct. 20. That’s the game in which Wayne went down with his torn ACL.

The Colts should still win the AFC South barring a complete collapse in the final five weeks of the season. But they’ll have a difficult time winning a game in the playoffs if their younger offensive players don’t grow up and the defense doesn’t get the necessary stops to get off the field.

“No panic button. Not at all,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “All you got to do is look to the locker next to you and know who you’re playing for out here, and just know that we’re going to pull it together. We’ll be alright. ... We probably got a lot of people coming off the bandwagon now. But we know if you really represent this horseshoe, we know what we have in this building, what we have as a team, and we should be alright.”

Pagano quickly defended the effort of his players Monday, saying, “they’re doing everything.” Effort can’t replace experience, though, and that’s what the Colts are missing at receiver.

There’s no replacing Wayne. The coaching staff knows it. The players know it, too. But the clock is ticking for them to try to fill Wayne's void by committee.

T.Y. Hilton had 121 and 130 yards in the first two games without Wayne, but Tennessee (44 yards) and Arizona (38 yards) made him a nonfactor by providing help over the top.

That’s left Darrius Heyward-Bey, LaVon Brazill, David Reed and tight end Coby Fleener to step up. That hasn’t happened outside of Fleener’s 107 yards against the Titans on Nov. 14.

Heyward-Bey, Brazill and Reed have combined for 14 catches and 130 yards since the Colts lost Wayne.

Luck spent a lot of time scrambling, trying to make something happen against the Cardinals. Rather than break their routes to help Luck, the receivers were more worried about running the correct route. That’s where the Colts miss Wayne’s experience.

“They have to [step up]. They don’t have a choice,” Pagano said. “And that’s why we’re going to continue to practice and work extremely hard at developing some chemistry there between Andrew and those new receivers. Like I said, in order for us to play well on Sunday, we’ve got to make strides and we’ve got to practice well Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and continue to build that chemistry and continuity between Andrew and the guys that he’s going to throw to on game day.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are four storylines (outside of the Chuck Pagano-Bruce Arians reunion) to pay attention to in Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts-Arizona Cardinals.

Start fast: This has been an area of concern for the Colts most of the season. It’s really been a problem the past three games. They’ve been outscored 66-9 in the first half of their past three games. Yes, the Colts won two of those games, but relying on a strong second half isn’t the right way to go about things, especially since that approach won’t work in the playoffs. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton scripts the first 15-20 plays. The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 49-37 in the first half of their current three-game winning streak. The Colts don’t have the offensive weapons outside of quarterback Andrew Luck and receiver T.Y. Hilton to come back against a team like the Cardinals, who have two dangerous receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

Pressure Palmer: Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 419 yards against Jacksonville on Nov. 17. He threw for that many yards because the Jaguars allowed him to sit back in the pocket and pick them apart. Put pressure on Palmer and it’s a different game. Memo to Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, the league leader in sacks: The Cardinals have an atrocious offensive line. Palmer has been sacked 27 times and he’s thrown 15 interceptions. The Colts will be without starting linebacker Erik Walden (suspended) and cornerback Greg Toler (groin) on defense.

Play with urgency: Win Sunday and the Colts will be able to wrap up their first AFC South title since 2010 with a victory over the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Dec. 1. The Colts will likely still win the division if they stumble against the Cardinals, but the sooner they win it, the better their odds will be to get one of the top two seeds -- likely the second seed -- and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Chris Rainey: The David Reed experiment at returning kicks has to stop at some point, right? Reed has been more of a disaster than an impact player in that area this season. Reed is 12th in the league in kickoff returns at 23.8 yards, but what’s not accounted for is how many times he’s attempted to return kicks 7 or 8 yards deep in the end zone. So why not give Rainey, who the Colts signed last week, a shot? He possibly can’t do any worse. Pagano said late last week that no decision had been on if Rainey will be active for the game. But Rainey did have a good first week of practice. “He’s very explosive for a guy being out for the amount of time that he’s been out,” Pagano said. He’s really been amazing, to be honest with you. He’s a great athlete. He’s got tremendous quickness, speed, acceleration, burst, football instincts. Catches everything -- punts and kickoffs, catching balls out of the backfield, running the card team, the look team for us. Didn’t miss a beat. It looked like he’d been playing for somebody for the last whatever, so he looked good.”

Luck threw a lot but still struggled

November, 11, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts got away with not having receiver Reggie Wayne on the field in their victory over the Houston Texans on Nov. 3.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsAndrew Luck and the Colts failed to generate any sort of consistency on offense against the Rams in a Week 10 loss.
They missed him in Sunday’s 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for a season-high 353 yards against the Rams. Luck threw for a lot of yards, but he really didn’t have a good game. He threw for 260 yards in the second half when the Colts trailed by as many as 38 points.

Luck had his fourth career three-interception game. He had thrown a total of three interceptions all season heading into Sunday.

“I think I forced a couple balls,” Luck said. “They do a good job of playing zone, getting their hands on those balls, tipping them and making plays. It’s frustrating.”

Luck and the Colts didn’t handle St. Louis’ pressure well. He was 3-of-11 for 16 yards, an interception and two of his three sacks happened when the Rams rushed at least five players. Luck went into Sunday having completed 58.3 percent of his pass attempts when facing at least five rushers.

Part of the problem was due to the poor job the offensive line did with its protection and also due to the fact Luck didn’t have Wayne, his go-to receiver, to turn to. The Colts were 2-of-12 on third down and 1-of-5 in the red zone.

T.Y. Hilton led the Colts in receiving again, catching seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 130 yards. Tight end Coby Fleener was targeted a team-high 10 times, catching four for 33 yards. Luck overthrew Fleener several times.

The transition of not having Wayne on the field will remain a work in progress for Luck and the Colts. Griff Whalen, David Reed, Darrius Heyward-Bey and LaVon Brazill combined for eight receptions.

“Losing a guy like Reggie, you can’t replace a guy like that, not only his leadership qualities but his production obviously on the field,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Guys have been pressed into action and they got to respond. We’re seeing glimpses of what those guys can do, but they got to step up even further. They’ve got to raise their level of play. Their preparation has to be outstanding and they got to spend more time than they’ve ever spent.”

Luck doesn’t have much time to work with his receivers this week because they play at Tennessee on Thursday.

“There is a bit of an adjustment but there’s no excuse for not doing things or not getting better and continuing to improve,” Luck said. “Reggie was such a huge part of the offense, still is a huge part of the offense.”

Luck works his magic again at the end

November, 4, 2013
Andrew LuckGeorge Bridges/Getty ImagesFor the 10th time in his young career, Andrew Luck led the Colts to victory in the final frame.
HOUSTON – You might like for there to be a story from halftime where Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck turned over tables, shouted expletives and demanded that he be in charge of the offense. He had every reason to be upset after the pounding he took, inspiring the notion that he could be in for long rest of the season without Reggie Wayne to turn to.

Too bad that's not Luck's demeanor. This wasn’t a time for Luck to show a different side of himself. Not when he needed to keep the offensive line together and make sure his young receivers knew he had confidence in them.

Luck shook off one of the worst halves of his career to find a rhythm with his new go-to receiver and pick up yet another come-from-behind victory as the Colts won 27-24 over the Houston Texans.

“I would like to say there was a movie speech or something by him at halftime, but there really wasn’t,” Colts tight end Coby Fleener said. “He doesn’t surprise me. That’s the complex answer that I can give. Pretty much there’s nothing he does that surprises me.”

Really, Luck and the Colts aren’t purposely doing this to keep you on the edge of your seat. That's just how things have gone for them the past two seasons. Luck’s 10 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime are the most of any quarterback in their first two seasons since 1970.

You could take your pick as to which of those 10 come-from-behind victories is the best. Last season's wins over Detroit and Green Bay are probably up there. But a solid argument could be made that, considering the circumstances, Sunday’s game is at the top of the list.

The Colts were without Wayne for the first time in 189 games, and they were replacing Luck’s go-to receiver with T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Griff Whalen, LaVon Brazill and David Reed. The latter three had combined for only 18 career catches heading into Sunday.

“That’s a work of art, what he does,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said of Luck. “He does it some kind of way. We don’t have a normal quarterback. We have a winner.”

It was obvious the Colts were adjusting without Wayne in the first half. Hilton dropped what should have been first-down completion on a third-and-4 in the first quarter. Luck was only 3-of-12 for 56 yards -- 44 of those yards coming on one completion -- and had been sacked three times. Most important, Houston was ahead 21-3.

The Colts looked done. There was no way they were going to come back against the Texans.

That may be the mind frame of some teams in such a predicament, but it’s not like that in Indianapolis. Coach Chuck Pagano has his team believing it’s never out of a game. It’s easy to believe Pagano when Luck is your quarterback.

“They were beating our butts,” Luck said. “We were getting our tail beat every which way possible. I think there was some frustration. There definitely was some frustration. I don’t think anybody was not frustrated. But I think cooler heads prevailed. We managed to stick through it.”

[+] EnlargeT.Y. Hilton
AP Photo/Patric SchneiderT.Y. Hilton played the Reggie Wayne role all right, catching three touchdown passes.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has been steadfast all season that the Colts would be a run-first football team. He finally changed his approach in the second half Sunday. Hamilton put the running game in a nearby wastebasket, and let Luck air it out.

Luck's favorite target was the player who stood in the back of the locker room at the Colts' training facility last week and said he wanted to make Wayne, whom he considers a big brother, proud by stepping up and playing his role.

Hilton shook off his early drop to catch six passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns, including one on which he lost his shoe, in the second half. He finished with seven catches for 121 yards.

“I said I wanted to step up because of what we’re trying to do without Reggie,” Hilton said. “I guess that drop woke me [up] and got me going.”

Hilton was his primary target, but Luck didn’t just key in on him. Luck completed passes to seven different receivers in the second half. That’s the approach Luck will have to take for the Colts to continue to move toward their first AFC South division title since 2010.

“You do have to make some adjustments when you don’t have a player of Reggie’s caliber out there,” Luck said. “Of course we miss him. It’s Reg, but we know our story is not going to involve him playing this year. Our guys did a great job of stepping up.”

Luck went into Sunday having completed only 23.8 percent of his pass attempts without Wayne on the field. He was 15-of-28 for 215 yards and three touchdowns, with only one sack, in the second half. In the fourth quarter, where he has starred so many times already, Luck was 6-of-8 for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

The Colts ran only four times in the second half, with three of those rushes coming on their final offensive series when they forced the Texans to use their final timeouts.

“I don’t know if there’s a tougher QB in the league and one that can make the plays under the duress that he was under and extend plays,” Pagano said. “The guy just continues to keep showing up late in games. What I told him is, there’s no reason we have to put ourselves in these holes.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has proven he’s not shy about pulling the trigger on a trade.

Acquiring cornerback Vontae Davis and running back Trent Richardson, both starters, are just two of the numerous moves Grigson has made.

But the NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday without the Colts pulling off a trade despite the uncertainty surrounding the No. 3 receiver spot now that Reggie Wayne (knee) is out for the season.

That’s not surprising since coach Chuck Pagano said Monday that they planned to “stand pat” and the Colts don’t exactly have much to offer at the moment. They’re up against the salary cap and they have a shortage of draft picks.

As I wrote in an earlier post Tuesday, the Colts will go with David Reed, Griff Whalen and LaVon Brazill at receiver behind Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton. You may not know who the third receiver will be until the Colts take the field against the Houston Texans on Sunday night because nobody has stepped up and taken ownership at that spot.

“(We) feel like they’ll all step up,” Pagano said Monday. “They have to. They don’t have a choice.”

Colts will replace WR Wayne by committee

October, 21, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts entered the season with talent at wide receiver . It was also their thinnest position behind Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton because LaVon Brazill was suspended the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and nobody stepped up to be the team's fourth receiver.

Wayne’s season is over with a torn ACL, leaving the Colts trying to find a way to fill the void.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson is likely burning up his cell phone minutes looking for a way to acquire another receiver on the roster.

But for the time being, it truly is "next man up" -- the Colts' staple statement when a player goes down.

“We'll see who steps up, and we're more than confident with the guys we have here,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “They’ve done a heck of a job, and they’ll continue to do so.”

There’s obviously no replacing Wayne, a future Hall of Famer, so the Colts will have to do it by committee for the time being.

Heyward-Bey will likely be the No. 1 receiver on the Colts’ depth chart. But that won’t mean anything if he can’t catch the ball. He made up for a rough game against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 by having four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Heyward-Bey added a 30-yard run off a reverse. Heyward-Bey, however, has only 190 yards receiving this season. Those numbers won't cut it.

Hilton has been the Colts’ most explosive receiver of the season. He’s averaging a team-high 15.3 yards per catch, including a career-long 73 yards against Seattle in Week 5. He’s been the second-best receiver behind Wayne.

Brazill is the wild card of the group. He’s been back two weeks since returning from his suspension, and he’s had more of an impact on special teams than with catching passes. Brazill has yet to catch a pass.

The same can be said about David Reed, who was inactive against the Broncos. He’s returned 11 kickoffs for 276 yards but he's been non-existent playing behind Wayne, Heyward-Bey, Hilton and Brazill at receiver.

Griff Whalen and Da’Rick Rogers are both on the practice squad.

“Again, it will be next man up, and they’re going to have to raise their level of play,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Again, you can’t replace [Wayne], but somebody will rise up. Just like when we lose anybody else.”

Upon Further Review: Colts Week 4

September, 30, 2013
An examination of five topics from the Indianapolis Colts’ 37-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

[+] EnlargeDarius Butler
Phil Sears/USA TODAY SportsFor the second straight season, DB Darius Butler was dandy for the Colts in Jacksonville.
Feeling at home: Colts nickelback Darius Butler is making Jacksonville a second home. Butler intercepted a Blaine Gabbert pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown on Sunday. The touchdown was the second in as many games in Jacksonville for Butler. He had two interceptions, a touchdown, a fumble recovery and two passes defended in the Colts' win at Jacksonville on Nov. 8, 2012. Butler was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in that game. “I’m originally from Ft. Lauderdale, so I guess it’s the Florida ties I have here,” Butler said, laughing.

A lot of carries, not a lot of yards: Running back Trent Richardson got his first start in place of the injured Ahmad Bradshaw. Richardson got a lot of carries (20), but he had a difficult time finding running room. He finished with only 60 yards rushing, with 12 yards being his longest run. Donald Brown rushed for more yards (65) than Richardson on 17 fewer carries. Richardson is averaging only 2.9 yards a carry. Bradshaw’s status for next week’s showdown against Seattle is uncertain. It’ll be interesting to see who coach Chuck Pagano starts if Bradshaw is ready to play. “I feel real good,” Richardson said. “I know the big run is going to come. I know I have to contribute more to the offense, but when it comes to the time where it’s play-action and they’re not touching [quarterback Andrew] Luck and our receivers are catching the ball, that’s also a good day for me.”

Continuing the winning ways: The Colts ended September with a 3-1 record and tied with Tennessee for first place in the AFC South. The Colts have a league-best 26-10 record in September games since 2003 -- one more victory in that span than New England and Seattle.

Pounding it on the ground: Richardson has gotten off to a slow start in his two games with Indianapolis, but that hasn’t stopped the Colts from continuing to be a balanced team. The Colts have rushed for at least 100 yards in all four games this season. The team record for consecutive 100-yard games to open the season is five. They can tie the record when they face a Seattle defense that is giving up 109 yards a game on the ground this season. The Colts are fourth in the league in rushing at 149.5 yards a game. The Colts have run the ball 121 times compared to 131 pass attempts. That's pretty balanced.

Reed finally makes his debut: Do you remember receiver/kick returner David Reed? It’s OK if his name doesn’t ring a bell. Reed was acquired for running back Delone Carter from Baltimore in training camp, but he spent the first three weeks of the season dealing with a concussion and quad injury. Reed finally made his debut Sunday. He returned two kickoffs for 45 yards. The goal is for Reed to be the team’s kick returner if he can remain healthy.

Colts could be without TE Allen on Sunday

September, 13, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – Lost in Friday's news of running back Vick Ballard's season-ending injury is word that the Indianapolis Colts could also be without starting tight end Dwayne Allen for Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Allen didn’t practice this week because of a hip injury, which happened in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders.

“The injury that he suffered to the hip is coming around, but it hasn’t come around as quickly as we thought it would,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “It didn’t make any sense to push the envelope and put him out there to practice.”

Allen is expected to test his hip Saturday to see if he’ll be able to play against a Dolphins team that had six sacks against Cleveland last weekend.

Allen’s second season hasn’t started the way he envisioned. He missed the entire preseason with a foot sprain, and now he’s dealing with the hip problem.

Dominique Jones will be the second tight end behind Coby Fleener if Allen doesn't play.

Besides Allen, starting linebackers Jerrell Freeman (quadriceps) and Erik Walden (hamstring) and backup linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle) are listed as questionable on the team's injury report.

Kick returner/receiver David Reed is out Sunday due to a quadriceps injury.

Quick Indianapolis Colts injury update

September, 11, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- Maybe Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen's hip injury isn’t so minor after all.

Allen did not practice Wednesday and the team is calling him day-to-day. The Colts host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle) and receiver/kick returner David Reed (concussion) also didn’t practice Wednesday.

Linebacker Pat Angerer returned to practice after missing Sunday’s game with a concussion.

Allen said earlier this week that his hip injury, which he suffered in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders, wasn’t serious. An MRI on it came back negative Monday. You can start to worry about Allen’s status for Sunday if he’s held out of practice again Thursday.

Colts are confident heading into opener

September, 6, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The moment crossed Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s mind almost three weeks ago. It was verified a week after that.

Pagano’s Colts were thoroughly outplayed in their preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 11. Pagano admitted it immediately after the game. Owner Jim Irsay apologized to the fans and called out his team on Twitter the next day.

But the Colts bounced back and had a strong performance against the New York Giants on Aug. 18. They played even better the following week in a dominating defensive performance against the Cleveland Browns.

It was then that Pagano got a feel for what type of team he'll have this season. He referred to those games as a tell-tale sign.

“Putting two back-to-back solid performances together in all three phases,” Pagano said. “There was probably a hiccup here and there, but that told us a lot.”

The games are about to start for real for the Colts and the rest of the league -- outside of Baltimore and Denver -- this weekend when they open the season against the Oakland Raiders at home on Sunday.

Pagano acknowledged he’s worried about the opener, but that’s probably the case for most coaches around the league because we all know regular-season games are way different than preseason games.

Most teams keep things pretty vanilla scheme-wise during the preseason. That's not the case during the regular season.

The Colts are 0-3 in their past three regular-season openers. All three of those games were on the road, though.

“Everybody’s excited preseason is over, regular season is here,” defensive end Cory Redding said. “We’re just looking forward to seeing the people that we added here in the offseason and to really showcase our skills for four quarters. Not 10 plays, not the half, but for all four quarters.”

There’s a chance the Colts could be without starting linebacker Pat Angerer and kick returner/receiver David Reed against the Raiders. Both players are dealing with a concussion. Pagano has already ruled out linebacker Kavell Conner (ankle) for Sunday.

The Colts should be able to jump out to a 2-0 start before facing the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 22. Their first two games are at home against the Raiders and Miami Dolphins.

“I’m not worried about our effort,” Pagano said. “They’re going to go play and they’re going to play hard for 60 minutes. They’ll play smart. They’ll be efficient. Is there going to be some mistakes? Yeah, there always is. … Are they going to make a play here and there? Sure. They’re professional athletes, we know that.”

Colts injury update: Castonzo practices

September, 6, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo didn’t have any setbacks from his first practice in almost two weeks, clearing the way for him to be in the starting lineup to protect quarterback Andrew Luck’s blind spot in the season opener on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

The Colts didn’t have all their starters participate in practice Friday, though. Linebacker Pat Angerer is dealing with a concussion and receiver Reggie Wayne was excused from practice for personal reasons.

There’s concern that kick returner/receiver David Reed won't be available for Sunday’s game. Reed suffered a concussion in the Aug. 29 game against Cleveland and he’s also dealing with a quad injury.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Reed is “trending in the right direction.” Cassius Vaughn and Joe Lefeged have been handling return duty all week in practice in Reed’s absence.

Pieces are coming into place for Colts

September, 5, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts are a step closer to having their starting offensive line together for Sunday’s season opener against the Oakland Raiders.

Left tackle Anthony Castonzo, out since injuring his knee in the Aug. 24 game against Cleveland, returned to the practice field Thursday. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week that the plan all along was for Castonzo, who is responsible for protecting quarterback Andrew Luck’s blind side, to practice Thursday and then play against the Raiders as long as there weren’t any setbacks.

Guard Mike McGlynn is also practicing after missing time with a knee injury.

Barring any injuries between now and Sunday, the Colts will have the starting lineup they envisioned on offense and defense heading into training camp in late July together against the Raiders now that Castonzo is practicing.

Other injury updates from practice Thursday:

Observation deck: Colts-Bengals

August, 29, 2013
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.




Thursday, 9/18
Sunday, 9/21
Monday, 9/22