The Indianapolis Colts get to face an old friend Sunday when Jacksonville visits Lucas Oil Stadium.
No, it’s not an ex-player.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, however, is a familiar adversary after becoming a major thorn in the side of the Indianapolis defense since entering the league in 2006.
Jones-Drew has rushed for 1,212 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and has scored nine touchdowns in 12 career games against Indianapolis. He has 13 overall TDs against the Colts (including three receiving touchdowns and one kickoff return).
The former UCLA standout has registered seven 100-yard rushing games (including four of the last five games) and posted three games in which he had 200 or more all-purpose yards. He set the Jacksonville single-game record with 303 all-purpose yards against the Colts on Dec. 10, 2006.
Jones-Drew also had 244 all-purpose yards against Indianapolis on Sept. 24, 2006. He is second all-time in rushing yards per game against the Colts. He is averaging 101 yards in 12 games, second only to former New York Jets running back Curtis Martin (109.7 yards in 15 games).
But there’s more. Colts outside linebacker Justin Hickman was a groomsman at the running back’s wedding in April. Jones-Drew and Hickman were UCLA teammates and were once roommates in college. Hickman had to leave the wedding reception early in order to return to Indianapolis in time for the start of spring workouts.
And then there’s the fact that Indianapolis free safety Antoine Bethea and Maurice Jones-Drew are close friends. They share the same agent, Adisa Bakari, and the two rivals often spent time together in the offseason.
Bethea often called and texted the Jaguars’ running back during his extended contract holdout, reminding him of the time he stood Jones-Drew up at the goal line during last year’s game in Jacksonville.
“[Bethea’s] a good dude. The whole time I was out, he was texting me, making sure I was ready. We have a great competitive spirit amongst us. That’s my man. It’s always good to go against him,” Jones-Drew said during a teleconference with Colts media Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a dogfight. It’s funny. Every Fourth of July we get together and go out and all I heard was how he stood me up on the goal line last year. That was good fuel to the fire. We know it’s going to be a dogfight. Their defense is playing fast right now. They’re running to the ball. Obviously with that new scheme, they’re getting that new pass rush again with [outside linebacker Dwight] Freeney and [outside linebacker Robert] Mathis on the edge. They’re doing a great job. These first couple of games have been very tough [for 0-2 Jacksonville]. We have another tough one against us this week.”
For his part, Bethea is ready for the challenge. The Colts’ Pro Bowl defensive back, though, wouldn’t have minded if Jones-Drew had extended his holdout for a few weeks longer.
“He had to do what’s best for him. I’m not happy to see him back but I’m happy to see him playing the game that he loves. The best to him,” he said. “We spent some time in the offseason together. We have the same agent. We’ll poke fun here and there. I don’t really want to poke too much fun this upcoming week so he can kind of take it easy a little bit. It’s all in fun and games.”
Bethea says there’s no real secret to tackling the hard-running Jones-Drew. Getting the job done is something else entirely.
“Short-guy, low gravity to the ground, compact. He runs hard. He just runs with a type of nasty. That’s how good backs run. It’s going to take 11 hats to the ball like every time we play. They’re going to give him the ball and he’s going to try and make it happen,” he said, agreeing with a recent Freeney description of trying to tackle Jones-Drew.
The Colts’ all-time sack leader had said that it was like trying to stop a bowling ball.
“He’s a couple bowling balls going down actually. It’s tough. Trying to tackle him one-on-one, that’s a task. One thing that we harp on this week is 11 guys got to get to the ball,” Bethea said.
• Pagano’s thoughts on Jones-Drew — While Indianapolis’ run defense has done a pretty good job of slowing down the likes of Chicago’s one-two punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush, as well as Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, Colts coach Chuck Pagano knows that work gets a lot tougher Sunday when Jones-Drew — all 5 feet, 7 inches, 210 pounds — comes to town.
“Can’t see him. Can’t find him. He’s like a rolling ball of butcher knives running up through there. He’s got legs like tree trunks. It’s like two Sequoias, you know. I told our guys that if you try to hit this guy high and you don’t wrap up, you’ll bounce off him like BBs off a tin can,” Pagano said Wednesday.
“We have to gang-tackle this guy. But he’s strong as heck and he breaks a ton of tackles. He’s quick and he’s got good vision. I said the that basically the one thing that’s the same size on all these backs is their ankles. So if you wrap him up and you slide down and you get his ankles and you bring them together, you’ve got a good chance of bringing this guy down. But he’s just a physical, physical back. He’s got great talent. We’ve got another one this week that we have to tend to and do a great job gang-tackling him.”
• Roster moves — The Colts made some roster moves Tuesday. Indianapolis signed nose tackle Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and offensive tackle Tony Hills to the practice squad.
Jean-Baptiste (6-1, 337) was originally signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad as an undrafted free agent May 11 out of Baylor. He was waived Aug. 31.
Hills (6-5, 304) was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round (130th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. He saw action in five regular season games and one postseason game with the Steelers before being waived on September 3, 2011. He later signed with the Denver Broncos on Sept. 8, 2011. Hills saw action in one of the Broncos postseason games last season before he was waived on Aug. 31.
The Colts released defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby and offensive tackle Darrion Weems from the practice squad. Indianapolis also released wide receiver Jabin Sambrano from the team’s injured reserve list.
• Injury list — Mike McGlynn is expected to work with the first offensive unit at center heading into Sunday’s game with Jacksonville. McGlynn had been the Colts starting right offensive guard but shifted over to center late in the second quarter of last week’s win over Minnesota due to a knee injury to starter Samson Satele. He has previous experience playing center in Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
Offensive guard Trai Essex will see work with the first offensive unit at right guard this week. Essex was signed early last week after beginning his career with the Steelers. He played most of the second half of last Sunday’s game with Minnesota before starter Mike McGlynn moved over to center.
Essex has been able to make a smooth quick transition to the Colts since he was familiar with the team’s offensive system and blocking schemes from his time in Pittsburgh, where he played for current Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and offensive line coach Harold Goodwin.
Satele (knee) received a positive MRI report on his left knee. Satele, who was hurt in the second quarter of last week’s game with Minnesota and did not return, was diagnosed as suffering from a bone bruise. Pagano is anticipating the veteran center being available to play against Jacksonville on Sunday although it’s not known whether he would start. He did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (ankle) did not take part in Wednesday’s workout. He remains listed as day-to-day. Freeney was hurt in the Colts’ opening game loss to Chicago and has not practiced since. While there have been reports that the injury might be a high ankle sprain, team officials have not yet made an announcement.
Wide receiver Austin Collie (concussion) fully practiced Wednesday. Collie was hurt in the second preseason game after taking a blow to the head against Pittsburgh. He initially was cleared to practice before the regular-season opener at Chicago but was a game-day inactive.
Collie practiced one day last week but was sidelined for the remainder of the week and did not play against Minnesota in the home opener. There has been no determination as to whether he will be available to play against Jacksonville on Sunday.
Offensive tackle Winston Justice (concussion) practiced Wednesday. Justice was hurt in the second half of the season opening loss at Chicago. He practiced most of last week but was a game-day inactive for last week’s home opener with Minnesota. A final decision on his availability for the Jacksonville game will be made later this week.
Defensive end Cory Redding (tricep) saw limited work in Wednesday’s practice. Redding is expected to start Sunday against Jacksonville.
The Indianapolis Colts get to face an old friend Sunday when Jacksonville visits Lucas Oil Stadium.
Stability sold Colts for Jackson
Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson hopes to become a difference maker for the Indianapolis Colts defense this season.
Colts notebook: Strict rehab provides no guarantees
Indianapolis Colts veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne understands everybody’s concern about players getting hurt in training camp.
Colts suffer another season-ending injury in guard Thomas
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano must be getting tired of being the bearer of bad news.
First it was running back Vick Ballard, who suffered a torn left Achilles during practice last Friday. And on Wednesday, offensive guard Donald Thomas went down with a torn right quadriceps muscle.
Colts notebook: Rookie Mewhort ready to compete
So just who is Jack Mewhort?
Well, the Indianapolis Colts rookie is slated to take over as the team’s new starting left guard due to the season-ending quad injury suffered Wednesday by veteran Donald Thomas.
A former standout at Ohio State, the 6-foot-6, 308-pound Mewhort was selected by the Colts in the second round of this spring’s NFL draft. And since Indianapolis didn’t have a first-round pick, the Toledo, Ohio, native is getting a lot more scrutiny that most second-rounders taken in the draft.
Colts need Woerner to step up in Mathis' absence
Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner — the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts— is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.
Colts' Thomas leaves practice with lower-leg injury
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has been trying to take a lighter approach to training camp practices this year in an effort to slow down the list of injuries that dogged his team a year ago.
Pagano’s plans, though, haven’t been bearing fruit.
Colts, Fleener focused on situational football
One year ago, the focus in Indianapolis Colts training camp was on turnovers. The team had committed far too many in 2012 and was determined not to repeat its mistakes.
The theme at Anderson University carried over to the field and the Colts’ 14 turnovers were the fewest in the NFL last year.
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.
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.
Colts seek more adaptable offensive line
That’s what the Indianapolis Colts are looking for on their retooled offensive line.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- More Colts Headlines
- Stability sold Colts for Jackson