News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Pro Sports

August 6, 2012

Colts rookies filling big shoes at tight end

ANDERSON — It’s probably safe to say that the Indianapolis Colts have been blessed with some pretty good tight ends over the 59-year history of the franchise.

Jim Mutscheller, John Mackey, Ken Dilger, Marcus Pollard and Dallas Clark were among the best at the position when they played. Mackey was a 1992 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, attesting to his immense talent and the overall impact that he had on the National Football League.

Those are the very large shoes that a pair of rookies — second-round draft pick Coby Fleener and third-round selection Dwayne Allen — have to try and fit into heading into the 2012 NFL season.

Fleener and Allen were the top two tight end prospects heading into last April’s draft. It was a position that was in dire need of help due to the dual losses of Clark (released and signed with Tampa Bay) and Jacob Tamme (signed with Denver as an unrestricted free agent).

Both rookies are expected to be thrown into the fire early. The Colts were one of the first teams in the NFL to use a double-tight-end alignment on a regular basis under former offensive coordinator Tom Moore. Moore used Dilger and Pollard, then Pollard and Clark and later to a lesser degree with Clark and Tamme, Ben Utecht, Bryan Fletcher and Tom Santi.

New England coach Bill Belichick saw the success that Indianapolis had with two-tight-end sets and decided to jump on board. The Patriots upped the ante considerably the last couple of seasons with their use of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Now the Colts are back with Fleener and Allen. Both are big (6-foot-6, 252 and 6-3, 255 respectively) and athletic. Both have deceptive speed. Fleener is a taller version of Clark, someone who can be used in tight as a blocker, flanked outside as a standup receiver or be used as an H-Back. Allen, meanwhile, will be used as an end-line blocker and receiver who will also line up as an H-Back or fullback on occasion.

First-year offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is a longtime disciple of Moore, having worked on the Colts’ offensive coaching staff for three seasons (1998-2000). Arians is also a big proponent of using a two-tight-end system, having had a lot of success with it in Pittsburgh when he was the offensive coordinator there (2007-11).

His desire to use both Fleener and Allen on a regular basis this season is a given. Arians might also find ways to throw in one of the team’s other tight ends, such as Kyle Miiler, Andre Smith or Dominque Jones for a few plays. Anything to create a defensive mismatch.

“We’ll play two or three tight ends. A tight end for us could play wide receiver, running back, fullback. His role will change depending on the skill set. And these guys are all very multiple in their skill set so we can use them in a lot of different ways,” the Colts’ offensive coordinator said recently.

“So I like to think back to a Kenny Dilger or a Marcus Pollard, that type of skill set where we can split them out and have them in the backfield and see how the other guys come in and keep growing. So the sky’s the limit for their ability.”

Arians’ history of highlighting the tight end position in his offensive game plans brings smiles to the faces of this year’s draft picks.

“Initially it’s, ‘Where do I fit?’ Then when I found out that Bruce Arians was the offensive coordinator I knew exactly where I fit into this offense and where he sees me in this offense,” Allen said late last week. “So now it’s just going. We’re two different guys. We’re two different types of tight ends. Like how can we co-exist on the field and what do we have to offer?”

Fleener, a college teammate of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford, is confident that a one-two punch with Allen will work out just fine.

“I think coach Arians has done an awesome job of kind of utilizing our strengths in a way that both of us feel very comfortable in moving inside, outside, all around. I think he’s done an awesome job of using us in all of those routes,” he voiced.

The Colts primary play caller likes his new tight ends just fine.

“I think they’re both complete. They both can block, they both can catch, they can split out wide. Dwayne is more suitable to put in the backfield than Coby. Between the two we can cover all our bases and be multiple in all our different sets without substitutions,” Arians said.

“Most of it is how much they can handle. With their ability we can come up with different packages every week with two or three guys, and have them in a lot of places where we think we can create a mismatch. We found a good one with Coby and a linebacker in the red zone [during a recent practice]. Andrew found him for a touchdown. So it’s just trying to create mismatches with those guys, either lined up at tight end or out wide.”

• Watch out for Allen — Fleener may have been the topic of conversation after the draft, but the Colts’ offensive coordinator reminds observers not to forget how good Allen is.

“I’ve been really pleased with him. His strength is evident. You know, it’s very hard for a young tight end to come in and block at this level. And he’s shown an outstanding effort and ability to do it,” Arians said.

“Everybody thinks of Coby as a pass catcher, but [Allen] has got really good hands and he’s probably as sudden a guy with the ball in his hands as I’ve seen in a while at tight end.”

• Luck, quarterback updates — The Colts’ No. 1 draft pick got a bit more work Sunday afternoon as the team’s coaching staff tried to catch up after having to move Saturday’s afternoon workout indoors due to thunderstorms.

Luck completed 28 of 41 passes — that’s the most pass attempts that he’s had in a training camp practice — with five touchdown passes. He did not throw an interception.

Backup quarterback Drew Stanton was intercepted by Robert Mathis during a coverage drill. Rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish served up two interceptions during the practice, both to former Purdue cornerback Brandon King.

• Injury list — Wide receiver Donnie Avery suffered an apparent hip/upper thigh injury after making a diving, twisting catch in the end zone for a touchdown on a throw by Stanton. His left leg was wrapped in an elastic bandage and Avery did not see any more practice time the rest of the day.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said that team doctors were going to take a closer look but that initial reports seemed to indicate that the injury wasn’t serious.

Sitting out were cornerbacks Justin King (hip flexor), Buddy Jackson and Chris Rucker (flu-like symptoms), wide receiver Jarred Fayson and safety Tom Zbikowski (rest).

• Remembering the Reid family — News that Garrett Reid, the 29-year son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, had died early Sunday morning in a residence hall at the Eagles’ training camp facility hit the Colts organization hard.

Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson worked for nine years for Philadelphia in a variety of scouting and front-office assignments. He’s a close friend of the Reid family. Also, three Colts players — offensive tackle Winston Justice, inside linebacker Moise Fokou and outside linebacker Greg Lloyd — had previously played for the Eagles.

“I am deeply saddened by this tragic news. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Reid family. They are a special family led by two extremely strong and loving parents in Andy and his wife Tammy,” Grigson said in a written statement Sunday morning. “I ask that the entire Colts nation and football fans everywhere lift Coach Reid and his family up in prayer during this difficult time.”

Pagano had quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen lead the team in a post-practice prayer for the Reid family Sunday.

“We lost a family member. We lost a brother. You know, we’re all together in this thing in the NFL. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Reid family. We’re thinking about them. I talked about this all the time, about family,” the Colts head coach said. “We’ve got to compete against each other week in and week out every Sunday. But at the end of the day, when the gun goes off and the game’s over and we shake hands, it’s about sportsmanship. Our thoughts and prayers go out to coach Reid and Tammy and the rest of the Reid family.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro Sports
  • Pacers rest starters, edge Bucks 104-102

    Chris Copeland’s driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining gave the Indiana Pacers a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
    Copeland finished with a season-high 18 points. Luis Scola also recorded a season high with 24 points and Evan Turner added 23 for Indiana, which benched all of its usual starters for the entire game.

    April 10, 2014

  • Heat Pacers Basketbal_Tayl.jpg Turner seeking to find comfort in Pacers' rotation

    Following the trade-deadline move to Indiana, Turner has struggled of late in adjusting to a new role with the Pacers.
    Turner played over 40 minutes nine different times with Philadelphia, but he’s played less than 20 minutes in every game since scoring eight in 21 minutes of the victory over Miami.

    April 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pacers Raptors Basket_Tayl.jpg Short-handed Raptors stop Pacers

     Late in the third quarter Friday night, some jostling between John Salmons and Paul George turned into a shoving match. The dust-up brought the cheering crowd at the Air Canada Centre to its feet and earned both players matching technical fouls. But even more, said Salmons, it showed that the Toronto Raptors won’t be pushed around.
    Terrence Ross led the way with 24 points as the short-handed Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers 102-94.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pistons Pacers Basket_Tayl.jpg Pacers' victory could be sign of return to Pacers of old

    One step in the right direction.
    The Pacers — losers of five their past six games — didn’t declare themselves back after Wednesday night’s 101-94 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pistons Pacers Basket_Tayl.jpg Pacers end three-game slide

    All five Indiana Pacers’ starters reached double figures Wednesday night to ignite an offense that was mired in a franchise-worst slump.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cubs Pirates Basebal.jpg Instant reversal: After pickoff call is reversed in 10th inning, Walker’s homer lifts Pirates over Cubs

    Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker understands not everybody is going to be a fan of Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system, which threatens to slow down a sport that already struggles to be played with any sort of urgency. Funny, there weren’t many critics to be found on Monday at PNC Park.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cardinals Reds Baseba_Tayl.jpg Molina’s homer enough for Cardinals

    Yadier Molina got the loudest boos during pregame introductions. The five-time All-Star catcher got booed again as he rounded the bases for his game-turning homer. On opening day, he was driving them batty in Cincinnati again.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Spurs Pacers Basketba_Tayl.jpg Spurs beat Pacers for 18th straight win

    Tony Parker scored 22 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ franchise-record 18th straight victory, a 103-77 rout of the slumping Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Twins White Sox Baseb_Tayl.jpg De Aza, Abreu propel White Sox to opening win

    As openers go, this one was promising for the Chicago White Sox. Now, all they have to do is build on it. Alejandro De Aza hit two homers, and Jose Abreu had two hits in his major league debut to back Chris Sale and lead the White Sox to a 5-3 season-opening victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers use rally late to beat Heat 84-83

    Paul George scored 23 points and Roy Hibbert had 21, leading the Indiana Pacers back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit for an 84-83 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

    March 26, 2014

  • After three months apart, Heat, Pacers to meet again

    Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has a confession: NBA games at this time of year simply mean more to him than games in December.
    Not exactly shocking, of course.
    But when so much hubbub surrounded the last game between Miami and Indiana way back on Dec. 18, Bosh wasn’t necessarily buying into the supposed significance. After all, he figured, the season was basically only one-third over at that point.

    March 26, 2014

  • Pacers lose to Bulls, still need one win to clinch Central Division title

    Taj Gibson led five players in double figures with 23 points and the Chicago Bulls brushed off a poor offensive first half to rally for an 89-77 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

    March 24, 2014

  • Knicks open Jackson era with seventh straight win

    Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the New York Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-86 Wednesday night for their season-high seventh straight victory.
    With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got untracked in the second half.

    March 19, 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

  • Pacers hand 76ers 21st straight loss, 99-90

     After Philadelphia’s latest loss gave the 76ers their longest skid in franchise history, coach Brett Brown insisted he doesn’t dwell on the streak. Lance Stephenson scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from an early deficit to beat Philadelphia 99-90 on Monday night, handing the 76ers their 21st straight loss.

    March 17, 2014

  • Pacers rally from huge deficit to beat Pistons in overtime

    Paul George scored 30 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from a 25-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 112-104 in overtime on Saturday night.
    Evan Turner added 20 points for the Pacers, and David West scored six of his 15 points in overtime. Indiana leads Miami by 3 1/2 games in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

    March 15, 2014

  • 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

  • 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

  • Pacers Bobcats Basket_Tayl.jpg Jefferson, Bobcats top Pacers

    Al Jefferson had a pretty good inkling it was Charlotte’s night when he banked in a 31-footer from well beyond the top of the key to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter.

    March 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thompson's last-second jumper lifts Warriors over Pacers in Indy

    Klay Thompson made a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors held off Indiana 98-96 Tuesday night to hand the Pacers only their fourth home loss this season.
    Thompson scored 16 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry finished with 19 points for the Warriors, who have won five of six.

    March 4, 2014

  • Lakers Pacers Basketb_Tayl.jpg Turner scores 13 in Pacers' debut as Indiana tops Los Angeles

    Paul George scored 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter, Evan Turner had 13 points in his Pacers debut, and Indiana beat the Los Angeles Lakers 118-98 on Tuesday night.
    Indiana improved its league-leading record to 43-13.

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers Bucks Basketba_Tayl.jpg West posts season-high 30 in Pacers' win at Milwaukee

    Paul George scored 32 points and David West tied a season high with 30, helping the Indiana Pacers hang on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100 on Saturday night.

    Lance Stephenson added 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Pacers, who had lost three of their previous five games. Stephenson scored seven straight points to open the fourth quarter.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Love has 42 points, 16 boards, Wolves beat Pacers

    Kevin Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added a career-high 17 assists and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Paul George and the Indiana Pacers 104-91 on Wednesday night.
    J.J. Barea scored 12 points off the bench as the Wolves took control early against the Eastern Conference leaders.

    February 19, 2014

  • George scores 26 to lead Pacers over Hawks

    Paul George scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 108-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
    David West had 17 points and Lance Stephenson added 13 to help the Pacers beat the Hawks for the second time in three meetings this season.

    February 18, 2014

  • White Sox open camp looking to shake off misery

    The stark reminder of how far the Chicago White Sox fell last season was on a wall behind Chris Sale as he fielded questions in a hallway at the team’s spring training complex.
    There was a large photo from the team’s championship rally in 2005. Last season, they looked as though they were light years from a title.

    February 15, 2014

  • Mavericks Pacers Bask_Pear.jpg Ellis, Nowitzki hand Pacers third home loss of season

    Monta Ellis had 23 points and nine rebounds, and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points as the Dallas Mavericks handed the Indiana Pacers their third home loss of the season, 81-73 on Wednesday night.

    February 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers roll past short-handed Nuggets 119-80

    David West scored 25 points in less than 27 minutes and Roy Hibbert added 14 as the NBA’s top team dominated the middle and blew past short-handed Denver 119-80 for its most lopsided win this season.

    February 10, 2014

  • Hill scores 37, leads Pacers to win over Blazers

    George Hill had a career-high 37 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, leading the Indiana Pacers to a 118-113 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
    David West scored a season-high 30 points and had 10 rebounds and Paul Geoege added 17 points for the Pacers (39-10), who have won 5 of 6 games.

    February 7, 2014

  • Pacers Hawks Basketba_Pear.jpg Pacers snap streak of 12 straight regular-season losses in Atlanta

    It's over. This time, the Indiana Pacers had a successful regular-season trip to Atlanta.

    David West scored 22 points, Paul George added 18 and the NBA-leading Pacers beat the Hawks 89-85 on Tuesday night.

    February 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • Magic Pacers Basketba_Tayl.jpg Second-half surge lifts Pacers over Magic

    Pacers coach Frank Vogel kept the game plan simple. Make the extra pass, take care of the ball, play defense and get more out of his bench. The four-pronged approach worked. Danny Granger scored a season-high 16 points, Paul George and Lance Stephenson each had 15 and the Pacers plowed through some rough stretches to pull away from the Orlando Magic, 98-79 on Monday night.

    February 3, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery

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