News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 23, 2012

Colts acquire cornerback from Rams to join crowded competition

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Wanted: Athletic, young cornerback able to play opposite veteran Jerraud Powers in a rebuilt Indianapolis Colts defense. Applicants must be able to execute tough man-to-man pass coverage in a 3-4 blitzing defensive system.

With the acquisition of former St. Louis Rams cornerback Josh Gordy, it appears as if the Colts are continuing their search for a competent starter at left cornerback. Gordy was added to the Indianapolis roster thanks to a Tuesday night trade that sent an undisclosed 2014 draft pick to St. Louis.

The former Central Michigan standout — who started nine games with the Rams last season and registered three interceptions — joined a growing list of prospects for the job, including Justin King, Kerry Lindsey (Southern Illinois), Brandon King (Purdue), Antonio Fenelus, and Cameron Chism.

“As fast as he can pick things up, we’re going to throw him in there,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano admitted Wednesday. “He’s been playing [for the Rams], so we don’t have to sit him out. He doesn’t have to sit out an acclimation period, which is good. System-wise, coming from where he came from, he will know some of the terminology and some of the [defensive] calls, especially on third down. Some of the pressures that we run, it’s similar things to him.

“Josh is a bright guy. We’ll get him up to speed as fast as possible. Get him out there, take a good look at him. Be smart about what we ask of him from a call standpoint. Certainly we can make it easy on him when he’s out there so he can go out there and play fast.”

Justin King, who also started for St. Louis in 2011, is currently first on the depth chart at left cornerback. Powers has had a strong training camp and preseason. He’s backed by D.J. Johnson, Cassius Vaughn, Terrence Johnson and Chris Rucker.

• Trades and free agent pickups — How was the current group of Colts cornerbacks put together? Mostly through trades and free agent additions.

Justin King was signed as a unrestricted free agent. Vaughn (Denver), D.J. Johnson (Philadelphia) and Gordy were acquired through trades. Lindsey, meanwhile, was signed off waivers (Arizona) while Chism and Fenelus were added as undrafted college free agents. Brandon King, Terrence Johnson, Rucker and Powers were returnees from Indianapolis’ 2011 squad.

And there may be even more changes coming soon. With National Football League teams having to trim rosters over the next two weeks, the Colts — after finished with a 2-14 record last year — will get first dibs on any players released.

“I think that anytime you have a chance to upgrade your roster [you do it]. We had a spot and an opportunity was there [to add Gordy],” the Colts coach explained. “We’re daily going to look at waiver wires, trades, anything we can do to upgrade the roster.”

Help at cornerback, offensive guard and inside linebacker are expected to be the first areas that general manager Ryan Grigson will look to fortify.

“Every day [the waiver list] comes out, we’re looking. All the decisions we make are based on two primary things. That’s the team and winning,” Pagano said. “And if we can acquire somebody that we think can help us, help our team and help us win football games, then we’re going to make a move on it.”

n Roster move — With Gordy coming to the Colts in a trade, Indianapolis released undrafted rookie inside linebacker Larry Lumpkin.

Lumpkin, who played collegiately at Carson-Newman, had been signed on July 13. He saw limited playing time in the team’s preseason opener with St. Louis.

• Short practice today — After getting two good days of work in Tuesday and Wednesday, the Colts will have a short practice this morning before leaving Friday for Washington. Indianapolis is scheduled to face the Redskins Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) at Fed Ex Field. The game will be televised by NFL Network.

Pagano expects his starting offensive and defensive units to play at least two quarters and will probably start the third quarter.

“You know we’ll monitor and see how the first half goes. What you’d like to do is, like we did in the first game, play the half,” the Colts coach explained.

“In the second [road] game, what you’d like to do is get them through the half, then get in the locker room, make the adjustments, and then have your starters come out and start the third quarter and have a series coming out, so that it isn’t new on September 9 [regular-season opener at Chicago]. So that’s what we’re shooting for.”