Things get interesting when the coaching staff is still learning the names of the players at this portion of the season.
But due to a rash of injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, the Indianapolis Colts keep adding players. And some of the newcomers may actually see a considerable amount of playing time Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
“Whoever can get some snaps will get some. Some don’t need them. I wouldn’t think [outside linebacker] Robert [Mathis] would need any snaps to play on Sunday,” interim coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said.
“We’ll wait to see how that goes as the week progresses but they are making really nice progress and the doctors have not ruled them out yet.”
Mathis has been sidelined for the past two weeks with a sprained knee. The Colts are also missing defensive end Cory Redding (knee), defensive tackle Fili Moala (knee), and cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle). Davis, though, might return to the starting lineup this week.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, meanwhile, is still nursing a sprained ankle that he initially hurt in the team’s season-opening loss to Chicago. Freeney returned to the lineup two weeks ago against Green Bay and played last week against the New York Jets. But he’s still not 100 percent.
With such a turnover in talent, putting together a consistent performance on defense hasn’t been easy. Indianapolis struggled to stop the Jets’ running game last week and will be tested against by Cleveland rookie running back Trent Richardson.
“It’s a credit to the [Colts] coaching staff to do what they’re doing. Our backup defensive line right now has a cumulative, after today, 10 practices. So that’s a lot of new [players],” Arians said.
“[Defensive line] coach [Gary] Emanuel is earning his paycheck and he’s doing a heck of a job. We’ll see how it goes. We might get fortunate enough to get a couple guys back and [the backups] won’t have to play. But we’ll get ready for them to play and we’ll see how it goes.”
With Mathis questionable and Freeney not at full speed, getting a consistent pass rush on Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden will be tough to accomplish.
“You either have to create pass rush. [Outside linebacker] Jerry [Hughes], the inside pressure or rush blitz them. First of all, you’ve got to stop the run or you’re never going to get to that situation,” the Colts assistant coach said.
“So we’ve got to stop the run and then apply pressure, whether it be three, four, five [players]. You can apply pressure with good coverage and just great effort.”
And how important will it be for the Indianapolis defense to get after Weeden this week?
“Any time you can do that, you obviously make them uncomfortable, especially a young one. Getting them to move out of the pocket or move around. Most young quarterbacks are going to keep their eyes where the reads are and telegraph some things,” Arians said.
“So if you can make them uncomfortable, it obviously helps disrupt their accuracy. Hit them and it helps a lot more to get their feet moving.”
The goal for this week in practice is to try and get a consistent effort across the board.
“The challenge is the difference in the faces learning, the guys having to move to different jobs. If we put our 11 guys that we started with out there, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge. We’d be a pretty good football team. Right now, all we’re thinking about is getting to 3-3 [on the season],” he said.
“If we can get to 3-3, we’ll be with half the teams in this league going into the stretch. It’s not about being young. Most of these guys have played a college football season, so they’re not young anymore. The guys who just showed up, they’re young. But we’ll play with them and I’m sure they’ll give us great effort and everything that they’ve got in this football game.”
I I I
n Roster moves — The Colts’ personnel department has been busy this week. Indianapolis waived rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish and outside linebacker Jerry Brown from the active roster Tuesday evening. Tight end Dominque Jones was also waived from the practice squad.
Indianapolis also signed tight end Weslye Saunders (Steelers) and defensive end Lawrence Guy (Packers). Both Saunders, who played for Arians in Pittsburgh, and Guy could end up playing considerable minutes in Sunday. Harnish will most likely be signed to the Colts’ practice squad if he clears waivers.
n Injury list — Running back Donald Brown (knee), cornerback Darius Butler (shoulder), nose tackle Martin Tevaseu (ankle), Redding, Moala, Freeney and Mathis did not practice Wednesday.
Inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot), offensive guard Joe Reitz (knee) and offensive tackle Winston Justice (ankle) all saw limited work. Davis fully participated in the workout.
“Still out are Donald Brown and Fili Moala. Everyone else will be questionable, day-to-day, at this point in time,” Arians said. “Guys are making really good progress and we’ll see how practice goes to see what the list looks like for the rest of the week.”
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who left last week’s game with the Jets with an apparent concussion-type injury, has been cleared. Freeman practiced Wednesday and is expected to start against the Browns. Inside linebacker Moise Fokou, meanwhile, also practiced and should also be back for the Cleveland game. He hurt his ankle against the Jets.
Things get interesting when the coaching staff is still learning the names of the players at this portion of the season.
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.
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.
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.
Colts excited to add talent, experience of D'Qwell Jackson
With the National Football League's veteran free agency period set to start on March 11, the Indianapolis Colts front office has started to make the decisions needed to retool for the 2014 season.
Former Cleveland Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had been released by Cleveland on Feb. 26, signed a reported four-year, $22 million deal with Indianapolis on Thursday. Only the first two years of the contract are guaranteed.
Jackson (6-foot, 240) started 96-of-97 games over the past eight seasons with the Browns since being selected by the team in the second round of the 2006 draft. He played collegiately at Maryland.
EIU’s Garoppolo hopes to impress scouts
Let the Eastern Illinois University quarterback tradition continue.
Mike Shanahan, Jeff Christensen, Sean Payton, Tony Romo and, now, Jimmy Garoppolo. All were record-setting quarterbacks on the Division II and FCS levels.
Grigson says Colts likely not to make big splash in free agency
Don’t expect the Indianapolis Colts to go wild in the upcoming free-agent market.
While the Colts will have anywhere from $33 to $37 million to spend this offseason, Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson says the franchise will be a bit more selective when it comes to signing any prospective veteran free agents.
SEASON IN REVIEW: Colts make progress in 2013 season
The Indianapolis Colts made plenty of progress over the course of the 2013 season.
And the Colts fought through some adversity as injuries hit the team hard at several positions, most notably at wide receiver (Reggie Wayne), tight end (Dwayne Allen), running back (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw), offensive line (Donald Thomas) and cornerback (Greg Toler).
Moving on: Coach likes what he sees, gets ready for phase three of Colts’ development
Time to move on. In the wake of the Indianapolis Colts’ 43-22 AFC divisional playoff loss at New England last Saturday night, head coach Chuck Pagano is ready to take time off and then start getting after it again late this spring.
Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
The 250-pound back had four touchdown runs and New England kept Andrew Luck from a second straight comeback win to beat the Indianapolis Colts 43-22 Sunday night.
‘Still the same Tom’
How do you attempt to stop, or even slow down, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?
Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
Bill Belichick doesn’t have to be reminded about the talents of Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Although Belichick’s New England Patriots handed the Colts a 59-24 loss in Foxboro last year, he came away from the game with plenty of respect for the young signal caller.
Colts, Patriots, both with many new faces, to meet in playoffs for fourth time
Here we go again. Yet another Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots playoff game.
Up next for Colts: Brady, Patriots
Hello Tom Brady.
Thanks to the San Diego Chargers’ 27-10 AFC wild-card playoff win over Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the Indianapolis Colts will be traveling to Foxboro, Massachusetts to face Brady’s New England Patriots Saturday (8:15 p.m.).
Luck leads huge rally as Colts grab first playoff win for Pagano
What a game.
Just when it looked like the Indianapolis Colts were going to be blown out at home in an AFC wild-card playoff game by the Kansas City Chiefs, the impossible happened.
Colts sell out today's Kansas City game
There will be no local television blackouts in the NFL this weekend.
The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers said Friday that their weekend wild-card playoff games are sellouts. Normally, teams must sell out 72 hours before kickoff to have a game broadcast in their local market. The NFL gave the Colts, Bengals and Packers an extra day to do it.
The Colts host Kansas City today. On Sunday, the Packers host San Francisco and the Bengals host San Diego.
NFL honors Colts' Mathis with Deacon Jones Award
Robert Mathis never got to see Deacon Jones take down opposing quarterbacks in person.
He learned to appreciate Jones’ creativity over time.
The Colts Pro Bowl linebacker and newly crowned sacks champion was honored Thursday as the inaugural winner of the NFL’s Deacon Jones Award, which goes to the league’s sacks leader. Mathis will be recognized at the NFL award banquet Feb. 1.
Victory over Chiefs means nil, Mathis says
Robert Mathis doesn’t care that the Indianapolis Colts registered a 23-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Record-setting Indy win
Finish the National Football League regular season strong. That’s what the Indianapolis Colts wanted to accomplish Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
Play clean. That’s been a credo that the Indianapolis Colts have tried to live by this season.
Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is quickly becoming known as a guy who can quickly adjust to any situation.
Toeing the line: Colts’ offensive line getting healthy, finding niche as playoffs near
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line has certainly taken its share of hits this season, both on and off the field.
Colts’ chief strength: No panic
The Indianapolis Colts had watched the Kansas City Chiefs march downfield for an easy score on the first series of the game, yet nobody on their sideline seemed to be worried.
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Luck has knack for knowing when to run
To run or not to run. When it comes to Indianapolis Colts second-year quarterback Andrew Luck, his competitive nature usually comes into play.
Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
Chuck Pagano doesn’t have to make his Indianapolis Colts players aware of the playoff implications surrounding the team’s road game at Kansas City on Sunday.
Back in the mix: Colts are hoping to improve their playoff seeding in final two weeks of NFL’s regular season
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stresses that he is not a scoreboard watcher when it comes to other National Football League games.
Back in stride: Colts finally put points on board early, roll to ninth victory of season
It had been a long time in coming, a National Football League game in which the Indianapolis Colts had a comfortable lead well into the second half.
Whalen, Richardson make waves on offense
It’s not too hard to figure out who the offensive and defensive players of the game were in the Indianapolis Colts’ 25-3 win over Houston Sunday.
Mathis, Colts hoping to gain defensive momentum against Texans
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis, one of the Indianapolis Colts two most vested veterans, has taken it upon himself to make sure his team is ready for Sunday’s AFC South matchup with Houston (1 p.m., CBS Sports).
Mathis and injured wide receiver Reggie Wayne have been with the Colts the longest. They, along with defensive end Cory Redding and safety Antoine Bethea, have become important voices in the Indianapolis locker room.
Colts not apologizing for way they won division title
Backing into the AFC South title? The Indianapolis Colts are not apologizing to anyone for claiming the franchise’s eighth division crown since the start of the 2002 season.
Bungles — including refs’ — benefit Bengals
Give the Cincinnati Bengals plenty of credit. In a game that pitted two of the AFC’s better teams and two of the National Football League’s best young quarterbacks, the home-standing Bengals took care of business.
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