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 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.
Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested
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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.
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.
Update: Colts owner Irsay arrested for DWI
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Colts sign former Giants receiver Nicks
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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.
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Colts re-sign punter McAfee for five years
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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.
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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
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Blunt force trauma: Patriots running game too much for Colts
LeGarrette Blount ran the New England Patriots into their third straight AFC championship game.
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‘Still the same Tom’
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Belichick impressed with Luck's skills, poise under pressure
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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.
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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
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In major gain, Colts lead NFL in fewest turnovers
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Has Luck's growth been accelerated by Colts' adversity? Probably
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Colts’ chief strength: No panic
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Loss at Chiefs could cost Colts bye in playoffs
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