News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 7, 2012

Defensive about-face: Switch to 3-4 embraced

ANDERSON — When Indianapolis Colts first-year coach Chuck Pagano confirmed during his introductory press conference that the team would be installing a new defensive system, many of the team’s returning players silently celebrated.

The decision by Pagano to switch from a more traditional 4-3 alignment to a more aggressive 3-4 hybrid scheme was met with near widespread approval and more than a little bit of curiosity.

Indianapolis has not played any form of a 3-4 defense since the early 1990s. In recent seasons, Tony Dungy’s Tampa Two formed the framework of the defensive game plan.

But as the defense evolved over the last couple of years, depending on injuries and roster moves, the Colts became less aggressive with its linebackers and defensive backs. Indianapolis depended on a pair of smallish pass-rushing defensive ends — Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis — to create most, if not all, of the havoc up front.

The team’s cornerbacks were often stationed six or seven yards off opposing wide receivers, giving up too much of a cushion and allowing easy toss-and-catch completions to keep offensive drives alive. While fans often became frustrated with particular players — such as Tim Jennings and Jacob Lacey — the real blame should have been centered on how the defense was being used.

With the introduction of the new 3-4 hybrid system, though, things are about to change. The Colts are expected to challenge offenses more up front and in the secondary. There are drawbacks to ramping up the aggressiveness, however. Cornerbacks often will be given more man-to-man pass coverage responsibilities, which could result in big pass plays downfield.

One thing is certain. Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky aren’t going to hold anything back. They’re not prepared to play cautiously on defense. Indianapolis will want to challenge teams. They’ll be a work in progress, though, until they get all the bugs worked out.

The possibility of making mistakes early on is not deterring the Colts coaching staff. They are committed to the 3-4 hybrid defensive package.

“I think that is the best thing about a 3-4, you just don’t know where [the pressure] is going to be coming from. From our standpoint, if they want to double [outside linebacker] Dwight [Freeney], then that is great,” Manusky explained.

“Maybe we will drop him a little bit and send [outside linebacker] Robert [Mathis] and put him on the match-ups that we are looking to get. We are looking to get Robert or Dwight on a tight end or a running back. I will take that every day.”

Aggressiveness is the key.

“We want to strike people and we want to separate from people. We don’t want any [trading plays] one-for-ones. We want to make sure we can kick a player’s butt and then go make the play. That’s what we talk about,” the Colts’ defensive coordinator said.

“The first thing is we’ve got to make sure we stop the run by setting the edge with the two guys we got on the edge [Freeney and Mathis] and the second thing is never trade one-for-one. I think across the board guys can beat guys across the board. And then the third thing is we just have to have a tempo each and every snap and each and every play.”

n Still learning — Free safety Antoine Bethea knows that Indianapolis’ defensive unit still has a lot of work to do before the regular season gets under way. They’ll get the first real test Sunday when the St. Louis Rams visit Lucas Oil Stadium for the Colts’ preseason opener.

“We’re still working. We’re most definitely getting more comfortable with it. The coaches, they’re doing a great job just going back and installing the packages, really every day. The more we see different routes, the more combinations we see, the more comfortable that we will be,” Bethea said Monday.

“We’ve been out here practicing amongst the offense. We just want to get that continuity on all phases, offense, special teams and defense and really identify with ourselves what type of team we are going to be this year.”

Strong safety Tom Zbikowski, who played in Baltimore’s 3-4 hybrid defense, has been impressed by how well his new Indianapolis teammates have been picking things up.

“It’s pretty impressive to take an entirely new scheme and by a week into training camp, really be in the fine nuances of the defense, not trying to still get down some blitzes and some things like that,” he said, adding that the Colts want to make their own name for themselves on defense and not rely on how the Ravens did things in Baltimore.

“We’re not trying to be Baltimore, we’re trying to be the Indianapolis Colts. We don’t want to take on the personality of another team. That’s taking away from who you are and then you’re only going to be second- or third-best to someone else who is that. So we’re trying to have our own personality and our own mentality.”

• No plans for Luck against Rams — Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians confirmed Monday that he’s not sure just how long rookie quarterback Andrew Luck will play against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

“Still up in the air. We want to see how long we’re going to play that first [offensive] line and the entire group. We really haven’t sat down and talked about it yet. We’d like to get them about 20 plays, maybe 25,” Arians said.

“It’s just the number of plays and how we get a feel for how the game is going. Hopefully we don’t go three and out, three and out and have to play him into the second quarter. We’d like to get a good drive going. We’ve got so many guys we want to look at. And it’s a long, long season.”

The key is for Luck to get as much quality real-game work in before he goes to the sidelines.

“He needs to play against somebody else than ourselves and see different coverage and different fronts. [I’m] looking forward it,” Arians said, adding that Indianapolis will not game plan for St. Louis.

“We practice against the Colts full speed and we play the Rams when they show up. We don’t have time to prepare for another team in the preseason. We just give them a little film work, walk through some stuff and show them the basic defense and let them play football. We’re still getting better fundamentally and everything else that we don’t have time to game plan and prepare for another team.”

• Luck update — During Monday’s afternoon practice, the Colts’ rookie starter connected on 15 of 29 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. His scoring passes included two to veteran receiver Reggie Wayne and one to rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill.

Luck completed two long TDs, one each to Wayne and Brazill. The throw to Brazill covered 70 yards into the back corner of the end zone. One of the scoring passes to Wayne was drilled over the middle and split the seam between three defenders.

Updating Luck’s training camp passing statistics, he has completed 165-of-232 passes for 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

Brazill also completed a pass, taking the handoff from backup quarterback Drew Stanton on an end-around and then threw downfield to a wide open Austin Collie.

• Injury report — Wide receiver Donnie Avery did not practice Monday after suffering an apparent hip contusion midway through Sunday afternoon’s practice. No word on when Avery will be able to resume practice, although Arians said that the former St. Louis and Tennessee receiver is not expected to play against the Rams on Sunday.

Also sitting out Monday were outside linebacker Mario Addison, wide receiver Jarred Fayson and cornerback Chris Rucker. Rookie cornerback Buddy Jackson and cornerback Justin King were able to return to practice.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Colts Camp Football_Tayl.jpg Colts waive running back Rainey

     What a difference a couple of days make.  After Saturday's morning training camp practice, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was effusive in his praise of running back Chris Rainey. But on Monday, the Colts surprisingly announced that Rainey had been waived after violating an unspecified team policy.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Camp Football_Tayl(1.jpg Colts camp: Defense shines in workout

    There was a change in the Indianapolis Colts training camp schedule Monday as the team had just one practice instead of the usual two.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts seek more adaptable offensive line

    That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are looking for on their retooled offensive line.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hot, humid, rainy: Colts work through first day in full pads

    Rain, rain go away. That’s pretty much what happened Sunday afternoon on the fourth day of Indianapolis Colts training camp.

    July 28, 2014

  • Colts Camp Football_Gold(2).jpg Pagano, Colts 'feel awful' for Ballard

     The news coming from Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano after Saturday morning’s practice may have been expected, but the fact that running back Vick Ballard suffered yet another season-ending injury was still disappointing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Camp Football_Gold.jpg COLTS NOTEBOOK: Luck draws comparisons to Rodgers, Roethlisberger

    Quarterback Andrew Luck continues to be the main attraction as the Indianapolis Colts training camp wrapped up its third day of workouts at Anderson University.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Colts' Hamilton excited to get to work with talent on team's offense

     As he heads into his second season as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton has a pretty good feel for what he wants to get accomplished this year.

    July 25, 2014

  • APTOPIX Colts Report _Tayl.jpg Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp

    Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 010414 LUCK LOOK.jpg Colts begin training camp with loftier goals in 2014

    With training camp starting today at Anderson University, third-year head coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson both believe that the Indianapolis Colts are ready to take another big step in 2014.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • clark.jpg Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans

    Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts know what they want to accomplish at mini-camp

    With three weeks of organized team activity practices now behind them, the Indianapolis Colts headed into their three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday with a specific goal in mind when training camp starts July 23 at Anderson University.
    The mini-camp will continue today and wrap up early Thursday afternoon.

    June 18, 2014

  • Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt

    Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.

    June 16, 2014

  • Colts agree to terms with veteran safety

    Mike Adams will get a chance to erase bad memories from Super Bowl XLVIII as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
    The franchise announced Saturday morning it had agreed to terms with the veteran safety.
    Adams started the NFL's most recent championship game at free safety for the Denver Broncos and recorded six tackles in a 43-8 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.

    June 14, 2014

  • SPT041113lutz point.jpg Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts

    The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Newcomers to Colts trying to find their way

    That’s what many of the Indianapolis Colts have been trying to do during the first week of organized team activity practices. OTA sessions began Tuesday and will wrap up in two weeks.

    May 29, 2014

  • Pagano, Colts look at Mathis' suspension as opportunity for young players

    The Indianapolis Colts lost first-year head coach Chuck Pagano for most of 2012 season as he battled leukemia. Gloom and doom was predicted. The result? An 11-5 record and a trip to the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs.

    May 17, 2014

  • NFL suspends Colts’ Robert Mathis

    While the Indianapolis Colts three-day rookie mini-camp got under way Friday morning, the biggest news didn’t come until later in the day.

    May 16, 2014

  • Grigson excited about potential of Colts' 2014 draft picks

    With the 2014 NFL draft wrapping up Saturday evening, the Indianapolis Colts came away with a diverse group of players to add to the roster.

    May 10, 2014

  • Draft Colts Football_Tayl.jpg Colts take versatile offensive lineman with first pick

    It may have taken awhile, but the Indianapolis Colts came away from their first pick in the 2014 National Football League Draft with a versatile offensive lineman who can play guard, tackle and center.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • trent.jpg Colts keep options open as NFL Draft begins today

    While the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway today (8 p.m.) at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the Indianapolis Colts will be sitting the first round out.
     Thanks to last September’s trade with the Cleveland Browns that brought running back Trent Richardson – a 2012 first-round selection by the Browns – to Indianapolis, the Colts will be on the outside looking in this evening.

    May 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts’ Luck getting timing down with newcomer Nicks

    The Indianapolis Colts have officially put the 2013 season in the rear-view mirror with the start of the team’s off-season conditioning workouts, which got under way at the team’s West 56th Street Indiana Farm Bureau Center on Monday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Colts open against Manning, Broncos

    Indianapolis will open this season at AFC champion Denver in a Sunday night showdown pitting quarterback Peyton Manning against his former team.

    April 23, 2014

  • Colts take another look at Shakir Bell

    Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
    On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.

    April 18, 2014

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Family source: Irsay has gone to treatment facility

    The family of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that he has placed himself in a treatment facility after police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
    The 54-year-old Irsay, who acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago, faces preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested near his home in suburban Carmel late Sunday and released the next day.

    March 18, 2014

  • Colts owner has double image in media

    Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.

    March 17, 2014

  • irsay.jpg Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Colts owner Jim Irsay was jailed today on suspicion of intoxicated driving after police said he failed sobriety tests during a traffic stop and they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks

    Ryan Grigson loves to make a deal. The Indianapolis Colts third-year general manager has earned a reputation around the National Football League as a guy who will act decisively and quickly if there’s somebody that he really wants. That trait proved true again Friday as the Colts added former New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks to the team’s roster.

    March 14, 2014

  • SPT 120113 VINA SCORE.jpg Colts keep Vinatieri, Davis, Bradshaw in fold

    With the NFL’s free-agency signing period getting underway at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it was fairly certain that the Indianapolis Colts would be active participants.
    The Colts went into free agency with around $40 million of salary cap space in their back pocket. Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson, however, had indicated at the National Football Scouting Combine that he wanted to be judicious in how the team spent its money.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • mcafee1.jpg Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years

    Shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, Pat McAfee — the Indianapolis Colts’ punter and kickoff specialist — tweeted that he had a special announcement to make at the top of the hour.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010