INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#1
I will try and follow the off-season team news and report it here from various sources online or from local information. It would be nice if we can get others to do the same for their teams.


FOR NOW, it's TIME FOR A BREAK.


Colts Players Ready for a Few Weeks Rest

HONOLULU, Hawaii – The week was memorable and good, nearly as much so as anything Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn has experienced. That much was true of the week of Pro Bowl 2007.

This much, Glenn said, was true, too:

As much as he enjoyed it, and as much as his four teammates may have enjoyed a week in Hawaii following their victory in Super Bowl XLI, they’re just as glad it’s over, just as glad they’re heading home.

“Now, it’s time to rest,” Glenn said late Sunday afternoon as he walked from the field at Aloha Stadium seconds after the AFC’s 31-28 last-second victory over the NFC.

“It’s been a great week, but it’s time to rest.”

For the entire Colts team, the final months of the season were as grueling as they were satisfying and exhilarating. Their regular-season bye week came early in the season, and because they did not have a first-round playoff bye, the weekend before the Super Bowl was their only significant time off over the last three months.

For the five Colts in the Pro Bowl – Glenn, center Jeff Saturday, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, wide receiver Reggie Wayne and quarterback Peyton Manning – the past week was also exhilarating, but it was tiring, too. They flew from Miami, Fla. – site of the Super Bowl – to Indianapolis on Monday, participated in the celebration at the RCA Dome, then flew to Honolulu the next day.

They then practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and played in the Pro Bowl Saturday – six days after the Super Bowl.

“I think that will be a good idea, to get back to a little bit of a sense of normalcy,” Manning said. “It has been good time out here, but it will be good to get back and get a little R and R.”

Saturday, while saying he valued the Pro Bowl experience, said, “We definitely need the rest time. I look forward to it and it will be good for all of us to get some rest.”

As Glenn left the field for the final time in a memorable season, he summed up the feeling of many around the Colts in Honolulu this week.

“I’m tired, man,” Glenn said with a smile. “It’s been great, but I am tired.

FRIENDSHIP FORGED: The Pro Bowl sometimes creates relationships that might seem otherwise unlikely.

Such was the case this week with the Colts and the coach of their longtime rival, Bill Belichick.

Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots, and the rest of his staff coached the AFC in the Pro Bowl this season because the Patriots were the AFC’s runner-up, having lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game three weeks ago.

The Colts and the Patriots have played in the playoffs three of the past four seasons, with the Patriots beating Indianapolis following the 2003 and 2004 seasons and the Colts winning last month. Each time, the winner has gone on to win the Super Bowl.

“He was great all week,” Manning said. “All the players over here really enjoyed spending time with him. We had a lot of fun. We got organized, got on the same page. We had a fun week. He made it a special week and I enjoyed spending time with him.”

CHAMPIONS’ PODIUM: They stood shoulder to shoulder, and as they stood, cheers poured from the stands.

Came the announcement:

From the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts . . .

Before each Pro Bowl, players are introduced in groups of players from each team. The players ascend a podium, pose for a picture, and their names are introduced to the crowd.

The final players introduced each season?

The representatives of the Super Bowl champions.

On Sunday, for the first time in 36 seasons, that team was the Colts. For the five players representing the Colts, the week in Hawaii was a constant curtain call of sorts, with every day bringing a pleasant reminder of their 29-17 Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday.

The pre-game announcement was one final such moment, Glenn said.

Glenn, making his third Pro Bowl appearance, said the announcement never gets old.

“Especially when they announce you as the Super Bowl Champions, man,” Glenn said. “It was an honor. It’s nice. That’s what it’s all about man.

“It’s been a great week, playing with all the guys.”

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#2
Manning hopes Colts can retain key players

Manning hopes Colts can retain key players

Peyton Manning knows it's tough to keep together a team as good as his Indianapolis Colts.

He's particularly worried about losing a key running back for the second straight season -- but he has a warning for any teams circling around free-agent-to-be Dominic Rhodes.

"If anybody wants to sign him as a free agent, he's not a good starter, is what I'm telling them," Manning said. "They don't want to pay him a lot of money."

Manning's tongue was firmly in his cheek, of course. Rhodes, Edgerrin James' former backup who started 16 games during the regular season, did excel when the club moved Joseph Addai into the starting lineup during the playoffs, but the Colts needed contributions from both running backs to win four straight postseason games. Rhodes rushed for 113 yards and a score in the Colts' 29-17 Super Bowl win over Chicago.

"We decided to make the switch, and Dominic was even better coming off the bench," Manning said. "It wasn't a demotion, but he took the change in stride. I think that was just what he was most comfortable with. . . . With him coming off the bench, it's a total change of burst and speed."

The Colts have several decisions to make before next season. Defensive end Dwight Freeney could be a free agent, but Indianapolis seems determined to re-sign the sack specialist or exercise its franchise tag on him.

Linebacker Cato June also can test free agency, but Manning and his Pro Bowl teammates are confident president Bill Polian will put together another strong club to defend their title.

"Everybody knows the same 53 guys aren't going to be out there next year, but I think we'll keep as many people as possible," center Jeff Saturday said. "I think the future is bright."

Manning hopes Colts can retain key players | IndyStar.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#3
ROSTER MOVES ANNOUNCED

ROSTER MOVES ANNOUNCED

Toudouze, Betts among Practice Squad Players Re-Signed by Colts


The off-season for the Super Bowl XLI champions is well under way.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Colts announced their first series of roster moves for the 2007 off-season, moves that included the re-signing of offensive tackle Michael Toudouze and quarterback Josh Betts from the practice squad.

Toudouze, a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft from the Texas Christian University, spent this past season on the Colts' practice squad. Betts, who also spent the season on the practice squad, was signed as an undrafted free agent from Miami-Ohio.

Also re-signed from the practice squad:

Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu, center

Albert Bimper, defensive back Tanard Davis and fullback Luke Lawton.

The Colts also signed the following free agents and allocated them to NFL Europe:

Offensive guard Matt Ulrich, quarterback Mike McGann, wide receiver Brian Hare, defensive tackle Tom Johnson and kicker Shane Andrus.

Ulrich played five games for the Colts each of the past two seasons.

The following players have been signed as future free agents:

Wide receiver Kevin McMahan (Maine), running back Kenton Keith (New Mexico State), offensive guard Sam Wilder (Colorado), defensive end Jeff Charleston (Utah State), linebacker Brandon Hoyte (Notre Dame), defensive back Scott Ware (Southern California) and defensive back Trevis Coley (Southern Mississippi).


The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#4
Salary cap info

Salary cap info

Indianapolis Colts
Cap room: $200,000
The Colts won't have room to be a player in free agency, but they should do enough to keep this team together. They can restructure Peyton Manning's contract and save about $8 million in cap room. They can cut wide receiver Brandon Stokley and defensive tackle Corey Simon. Defensive end Dwight Freeney will either be franchised or get a new contract. The big decision involves linebacker Cato June. The Colts lost linebackers Marcus Washington, Mike Peterson and David Thornton over the past few years and the defense suffered with their departures. June may not be as good as those three players, but he is a playmaker the Colts would like to keep. Expect the Colts to look for larger defensive line backups who will allow them to put some bigger packages together against power running teams. The Colts have a chance to repeat. It's not out of the question for them to be able to re-sign halfback Dominic Rhodes. They will lose safety Mike Doss, but that is intentional. Manning vows to get better as a quarterback and that is scary for the rest of the league.
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#6
FREENEY FRANCHISED

FREENEY FRANCHISED

Colts Place Franchise Tag on Three-Time Pro Bowl Defensive End



The Colts made it official on:
As team officials have said for much of the last several months, defensive end Dwight Freeney isn't going anywhere.

Freeney, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All-Pro selection, received the Colts? franchise designation Monday, meaning Freeney will remain with the team, Colts President Bill Polian said.

Freeney, who recently completed his fifth NFL season, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent when the league?s free-agency period begins March 2.

?We made that pretty clear, I think, that he wasn?t going to go anywhere,? Polian said Monday at a press conference at the Colts? complex to discuss the NFL Scouting Combine, which will be held at the RCA Dome beginning Wednesday.

?I?ve had a good talk with his agent today. We?ll continue to talk. We?ll continue to talk with the idea of putting together a long-term deal for him. He?s an integral part of this team and we want to see to it that that gets done if at all possible.?

The deadline to designate a player as a franchise player is Thursday, February 22.

Polian said the Colts made Freeney an ?exclusive rights? franchise player, meaning he cannot negotiate with other teams.

Several other Colts players are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 2, a list that includes running back Dominic Rhodes and linebacker Cato June.

?The key thing is what the market will bear,? Polian said. ?There?s a price for everybody we feel we can afford and that we can actually live with under the cap. . . .

?There?s a number beyond which we can?t go for any player. We?ll see what the market bears. Obviously, in all cases ? and Cato?s one of the prime examples ? we?d like everybody back, but we don?t know what the market?s going to bring.?

Polian said that?s the approach he always takes in free agency, and it?s the one the Colts will take this off-season.

?I?ve always had the same approach that (Colts Head Coach) Tony (Dungy) has, that in a perfect world I?d like everybody back and let them go compete, and we?ll see who the best 53 is at the end of (training) camp,? Polian said. ?That?s not the way the system works.

?There are pros and cons to every system. For traditionalists like Tony and I, you?d like it to be the other way, but I?m smart enough to realize if we didn?t have the salary-cap system we wouldn?t be looking forward to getting our World Championship rings, going to the White House and doing all of the things that happen to Super Bowl winners. Because we wouldn?t have the chance to win the Super Bowl in a market this small with a stadium this small.

?There is good and bad in it, but in the end, you find a way to work with it, and that?s what we?re going to do.?

THE RING?S THE THING: Dungy said the Colts likely will receive their Super Bowl rings sometime in mid-June.

?That?s when most of the teams have done it,? Dungy said Monday. ?It?s a long process.?

Dungy said Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay and his wife, Meg, are handling much of the design process.

?I happened to get to sit in on one of the first presentations from a ring company, and it was phenomenal,? Dungy said. ?They had all the different championship rings they had done, and they had a computer guy. Meg Irsay?s saying, 'Well, I like this, but what about this?? The guy punches it right up, and there?s a 1,000 different things to look at right there.

?It was really of intriguing, so Meg and Jim are handling the design part of it.?

WAIT AND SEE: The future of several Colts players is uncertain entering the off-season, Polian said Monday.

Defensive tackle Corey Simon missed this past season and spent

the last three months on the reserve/non-football injury list, and defensive tackle Montae Reagor did not play after sustaining head injuries in an October 22 automobile accident. He also finished the season on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley missed the last three regular-season games and the playoffs with an Achilles injury.

?A lot of these things are going to be dependent on physical examinations,? Polian said. ?Corey needs to undergo a physical examination and we?re having trouble scheduling that. Montae?s results need to be evaluated. Stoke needs to be evaluated.

?Tony and I need to sit down with the doctors and talk that through and we haven?t gotten there yet. Those are some of the things we have to look forward to.?

Also, Polian said he did not know exactly why Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison did not play in the Pro Bowl on February 10 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Harrison was named to the game for an eighth consecutive season and was on the sideline during the game, but did not play.

?I checked with the doctor and he said there was no indication of anything that was any difficulty,? Polian said.

TIME WILL COME: Jim Caldwell?s loss, Dungy said, is very much the Colts? gain.

And the loss of the rest of the NFL, too.

Caldwell, the Colts? Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks, has interviewed for the vacant Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys Head Coaching positions since the end of the regular season.

That he didn?t get either position doesn?t change Dungy?s opinion that Caldwell will one day be a head coach ? and a successful one.

?Disappointed for him, happy for us,? Dungy said. ?It?s really strange. I know Floyd Keith is the head of the BCA. He gave (recently-hired Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach) Mike Tomlin?s name to a lot of athletic directors and couldn?t get anybody to even interview him or think that Mike Tomlin was a good candidate. Then Pittsburgh hires him.

?We know what Jim Caldwell is all about and how good he is. He has had some interviews. They haven?t worked out. We don?t know why, but we?re happy and we know we have a great coach here who is going to be a tremendous head coach some day.

?My thought is those things work out and he?ll get to the right spot at the right time. I don?t think it has affected Jim at all, but I am a little surprised that someone that good hasn?t gotten a job yet.?

A RARE SITUATION: The Colts enter this week with something unusual ? a spot open on their coaching staff.

Actually, make that two spots.

Shortly after the Super Bowl, Special Assistant to the Head Coach/Defensive Backs Leslie Frazier and Defensive Quality Control Coach Diron Reynolds each left the staff. Frazier left to become the Minnesota Vikings? defensive coordinator and Reynolds became the Miami Dolphins? defensive line coach.

The last time the Colts had a coach leave the staff was after the 2003 season, when then-tight ends coach Chris Foerster left to take a similar position with Miami.

?We?re very, very happy for Leslie and Diron,? Dungy said. ?They both got promotions and they?re both very, very good coaches. Now, our job is to replace them. We?ve only had to do it one other time in five years and that has been a plus.?

Dungy said he would like to fill the coaching staff as quickly as possible.

?I would like to replace them before we get to the (NFL Scouting) Combine (which begins in Indianapolis Wednesday), because if you don?t, you have a lot of people that that?s their whole focus,? Dungy said. ?I want to be able to go to the combine focusing on the players.

?I don?t know that we?ll be able to do that, but that would be ideal. We have started the process of paring it down, the guys we?re interested in talking to.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#7
THE RIGHT MOVE for Dungy

THE RIGHT MOVE for Dungy

Returning for 2007 Season Not Necessarily Easy Decision, Dungy Says


He's coming back. Definitely.
But as has been the case after each of the past several seasons, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said he didn't come to a final decision on returning next season until several days after the end of the season.

The end of this past season came February 4.

That was the day the Colts beat the Chicago Bears, 29-17, in Super Bowl XLI.

Dungy addressed the issue of his future afterward, saying the following day in Miami that although he expected to return, he planned to discuss it with his wife, Lauren, and Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay.

On Monday, in a press conference at the Colts' complex in Indianapolis to discuss this weekend?s NFL Scouting Combine, Dungy said the decision to return for the 2007 season wasn?t necessarily easy.

But he said he believed it was the correct one.

?Every year is different,? Dungy said Monday. ?Certainly, there was a lot of emotion (after the Super Bowl). You never really know until it?s all over. I try to sit back at the end of the year and look at everything, where we?re going to the future.

?Obviously, you want to come back. You want to defend the title. We?ve got such a great group of guys, that that?s eventually what draws you back every year.

?I wouldn?t say it was an easy decision, but it was the right one, and it didn?t take overly long to make.?

Colts President Bill Polian, who also addressed the media Monday regarding the combine, said, ?It wasn?t a long, drawn-out procedure.?

?I wasn?t terribly concerned,? Polian said.

Dungy said a primary challenge facing the Colts entering next season will be the balance between not being complacent and overworking the players and coaching staff. He also said a challenge will be getting over the emotions of winning the Super Bowl and refocusing on the coming season.

?That?s the battle,? Dungy said. ?I still haven?t come down yet. I think I?m a pretty even-keel guy, but just being here in town the last few days, talking to people, it has been special. The reaction of people here, the excitement they still have about it - it keeps us excited. It has been great. It has been fun, but we do have to get to where we zero in on 2007 and start that process. It?s been great being around town.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

husker

EOG Addicted
#8
Re: Salary cap info

Re: Salary cap info

Indianapolis Colts
Cap room: $200,000
The Colts won't have room to be a player in free agency, but they should do enough to keep this team together. They can restructure Peyton Manning's contract and save about $8 million in cap room. They can cut wide receiver Brandon Stokley and defensive tackle Corey Simon. Defensive end Dwight Freeney will either be franchised or get a new contract. The big decision involves linebacker Cato June. The Colts lost linebackers Marcus Washington, Mike Peterson and David Thornton over the past few years and the defense suffered with their departures. June may not be as good as those three players, but he is a playmaker the Colts would like to keep. Expect the Colts to look for larger defensive line backups who will allow them to put some bigger packages together against power running teams. The Colts have a chance to repeat. It's not out of the question for them to be able to re-sign halfback Dominic Rhodes. They will lose safety Mike Doss, but that is intentional. Manning vows to get better as a quarterback and that is scary for the rest of the league.
the colts restructured manning and mathis's contracts. giving them a lot of cap space. simon's contract is up in the air with the players association, the colts, and the nfl. if he can't play that could save them a lot. cutting stokely won't save much because of his signing bonus. you can see all the colts cap info at https://oncourse.iu.edu/access/content/user/bavanlan/Salary Cap/SalaryCap.html
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#9
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

Combine Marks Start of Colts’ Defense of Super Bowl Title, Dungy Says
INDIANAPOLIS – If he didn’t realize before, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said he knew for certain on Friday:

The Super Bowl is in the past.

Next year is coming. Fast.

And in fact, in a very real sense, the 2007 is already here.

For Dungy and the rest of the Colts, preparation for the 2007 season actually began soon after their 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI on February 4. That reality was only heightened Friday when Dungy arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Being here symbolizes what it’s all about,” Dungy said Friday at the combine, which is being held this weekend at the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis.

“That’s the challenge of looking forward to ’07 and trying to repeat.”

Dungy and Colts President Bill Polian each met with the national media covering the NFL Combine Friday afternoon, and for each, the “R” word was a major topic.

It’s a concept Dungy said he already has addressed with the team.

Dungy recently sent a letter to players outlining the schedule for the 2007 season. The Colts will delay the beginning of the off-season conditioning program two weeks – the Colts will start the program April 16 – and will shorten the program by the same amount, largely because of the extra five weeks added onto this past season.

“Other than that, things are pretty much going to be the same,” Dungy said. “We’re trying to balance that need to push forward with that need to recover a little bit.”

In the same letter, Dungy said he emphasized the importance – and the difficulty – of trying to repeat.

“I pointed out there have been 40 Super Bowl winners,” Dungy said. “Only eight of those have been able to repeat. The challenge of repeating is certainly much bigger than the challenge of getting there. That’s what faces us. That’s what we have to look forward to now.

“That’s what this is all about, looking at this next group of players who can help us, trying to get focused on that, and trying to get ready for ’07.

“That’s what we’re here for and looking forward to.”

SIMON UPDATE: The status of defensive tackle Corey Simon for next season remains uncertain, Dungy said Friday.

Simon, who started 13 games for the Colts in 2005 after signing just before that season as a free agent, did not play for the Colts this past season because of health issues.

“(Colts President) Bill (Polian) got a letter from his doctor kind of detailing where he was at this point,” Dungy said. “That’s our biggest concern, trying to get him back where he’s healthy and ready to go. Where he’ll be and whether he’ll be ready for training camp or opening day, I can’t say that at this point.”

REAGOR UNCERTAIN: The status of defensive tackle Montae Reagor is much the same as that of Simon, Dungy said.

Reagor, who signed with the Colts as a free agent before the 2003 season, started the first five games of this past season before sustaining head injuries in an October 22 automobile accident. Reagor did not play the rest of the season, but did accompany the Colts to the Super Bowl.

“Our No. 1 concern is to have his health return to normal and get him to where he’s able to run and work out and that kind of thing,” Dungy said. “He’s on a program. Whether he’s going to be there by the off-season program or mini-camp, I’m not sure yet, but he’s around the facility doing well, very upbeat, starting to workout and certainly very excited about that.”

CORNER OR SAFETY: Second-year veteran Marlin Jackson spent this past season playing mostly safety.

Whether that will continue isn’t yet known, Dungy said.

Jackson, the Colts’ first-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft as a cornerback from the University of Michigan, moved to safety during the season in the wake of injuries to safeties Bob Sanders and Mike Doss. His interception of a pass from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady clinched the Colts’ victory in the AFC Championship Game.

The Colts currently have three safeties on the roster under contract for next season – Bob Sanders, Antoine Bethea and Matt Giordano.

“A lot will depend on where we go in the draft,” Dungy said. “If we get more corners, Marlin’s certainly a guy who could slide in and play inside. But that’s not something we’re overly concerned about. Good players come from a lot of places.”

HIRINGS PENDING: The Colts lost two coaches from their 2006 staff, and Dungy said on Friday he is close to filling the positions.

Shortly after the Super Bowl, Special Assistant to the Head Coach/Defensive Backs Leslie Frazier and Defensive Quality Control Coach Diron Reynolds each left the staff. Frazier left to become the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive coordinator and Reynolds became the Miami Dolphins’ defensive line coach.

The last time the Colts had a coach leave the staff was after the 2003 season, when then-tight ends coach Chris Foerster left to take a similar position with Miami.

“We’re getting close, and pretty much tying things up,” Dungy said. “I think I’ve got the guys targeted. That I want, but it’s not quite done yet.”

Said Polian, “In both cases, they certainly deserved promotions and got them. We look at that as a feather in our cap. That’s a good thing.”

TOUGH ROAD: How tough was the Colts’ road to the Super Bowl? According to Polian, as tough as imaginable.

“The four teams that played on division weekend in the AFC (Indianapolis, San Diego, New England and Baltimore) – any one of them was capable of winning the Super Bowl – certainly of getting to the Super Bowl and perhaps winning it,” Polian said. “Those playoffs, from my perspective, were maybe the best we’ve ever seen in terms of the AFC. We don’t consider ourselves anything but real lucky to have gotten there at the end.

“The playoff run – that was a tough road to hoe.”

REID RELEASED: The Colts have released four players, including veteran safety Dexter Reid, the club announced Friday morning.

Reid, who played in 10 games for the Colts this season, played extensively on special teams and started at safety in the team’s 34-16 victory over Cincinnati in December. He was on the active roster for the Colts’ victory over the Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

Also released:

Defensive end Jonathan Welsh, tight end Jerome Collins and linebacker Johnathan Goddard.

Also, the Colts have signed punter Reggie Hodges.


The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#10
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

06/07 SUPER BOWL Road schedule review:

2006 PRESEASON <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=schedsubhd> WK </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>DATE </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>OPPONENT </TD><TD class=schedsubhd> </TD></TR><!-- Set Pregame Link Flag --><!-- Loop through Schedule Results --><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>1 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/10 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ St. Louis Rams </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->17 - 19 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>2 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/20 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->SEATTLE SEAHAWKS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->17 - 30 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>3 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/26 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ New Orleans Saints </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->27 - 14 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>4 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/1 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->CINCINNATI BENGALS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->3 - 20 L </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=black height=1>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>2006 REGULAR SEASON
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=schedsubhd> WK </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>DATE </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>OPPONENT </TD><TD class=schedsubhd colSpan=2> </TD></TR><!-- Loop through Schedule Results --><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>1 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/10 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ New York Giants </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->26 - 21 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>2 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/17 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->HOUSTON TEXANS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->43 - 24 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>3 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/24 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->21 - 14 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>4 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/1 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ New York Jets </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->31 - 28 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>5 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/8 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->TENNESSEE TITANS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->14 - 13 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>6 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/15 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->BYE </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->- </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>7 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/22 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->WASHINGTON REDSKINS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->36 - 22 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>8 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/29 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Denver Broncos </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->34 - 31 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>9 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/5 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ New England Patriots </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->27 - 20 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>10 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/12 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->BUFFALO BILLS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->17 - 16 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>11 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/19 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Dallas Cowboys </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->14 - 21 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>12 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/26 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->PHILADELPHIA EAGLES </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->45 - 21 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>13 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/3 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Tennessee Titans </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->17 - 20 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>14 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/10 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Jacksonville Jaguars </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->17 - 44 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>15 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/18 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->CINCINNATI BENGALS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->34 - 16 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>16 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/24 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Houston Texans </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->24 - 27 L </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>17 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/31 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->MIAMI DOLPHINS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->27 - 22 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>18 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->1/6 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->KANSAS CITY CHIEFS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->23 - 8 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>19 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->1/13 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Baltimore Ravens </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->15 - 6 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>20 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->1/21 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->38 - 34 W </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>21 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->2/4 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Chicago Bears </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->29 - 17 W </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#11
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

<TABLE cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=2 width="100%" bgColor=#cccccc><TBODY><TR><TD class=schedsubhd colSpan=3>INDIANAPOLIS COLTS FUTURE OPPONENTS</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffff> </TD><TD align=middle bgColor=#ffffff>HOME</TD><TD align=middle bgColor=#ffffff>AWAY</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top align=right bgColor=#ffffff>2007</TD><TD align=middle bgColor=#ffffff>Denver
Kansas City
New Orleans
Tampa Bay
AFC East </TD><TD align=middle bgColor=#ffffff>Oakland
San Diego
Atlanta
Carolina
AFC North </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#12
FREE AGENCY APPROACHES - COLTS

FREE AGENCY APPROACHES - COLTS

June, Rhodes, Harper Among Colts’ Unrestricted Free Agents

INDIANAPOLIS – Dwight Freeney will be with the Colts next season.
But while that’s true for the Colts’ three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, the future is less certain for several other starters from this past season’s Super Bowl champions.

Linebacker Cato June.

Running back Dominic Rhodes.

Cornerback Nick Harper.

The trio, each of whom played significant roles in the team’s run to Super Bowl XLI, is among 11 Colts players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents when their contracts expire Wednesday at midnight, the Colts announced Wednesday afternoon.

The other unrestricted free agents:

Linebacker Rocky Boiman, safety Mike Doss, defensive tackle Dan Klecko, wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, linebacker Rob Morris, running back James Mungro, wide receiver Ricky Proehl and wide receiver Terrence Wilkins.

Under NFL rules, an unrestricted free agent has at least four years NFL experience. The player is free to sign with any team when free agency begins on Friday, March 2. The player’s previous team will receive no compensation.

“The key thing is what the market will bear,” Colts President Bill Polian said recently. “There’s a price for everybody we feel we can afford and that we can actually live with under the (salary) cap. . . .

“There’s a number beyond which we can’t go for any player. We’ll see what the market bears. Obviously, in all cases – and Cato’s one of the prime examples – we’d like everybody back, but we don’t know what the market’s going to bring.”

June, a Pro Bowl selection following the 2005 season, started all 20 regular- and postseason games for the Colts last season, while Rhodes started 16 regular season games and rushed for more than 100 yards in the Super Bowl. Harper started 15 of 16 games last season and has started for the Colts since 2003. He has 13 interceptions during that span.

Doss, a 2003 second-round draft selection, started from 2003-2005 and missed the last 10 games of this season with a knee injury. Klecko signed with the Colts just before the season and caught a touchdown pass in the AFC Championship Game against New England.

Morris, a 2000 first-round draft selection, spent last season and the three months of this season as a backup middle linebacker. He took over as the Colts’ starting strongside linebacker with three games remaining in the season and was crucial to the team’s postseason defensive improvement.

Moorehead, a 2003 undrafted free agent,

has 23 receptions for 265 yards and a touchdown in four NFL seasons, and Wilkins – who signed as a free agent last off-season – led the Colts in kickoff and punt returns in 2006.

Freeney, who recently completed his fifth NFL season, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but the Colts designated him their “exclusive” franchise player.

A player with an “exclusive” designation may not get an offer from another team, and the player is assured of a one-year contract equal to an average of the top five players at his position at the end of the upcoming free-agency signing period.

Polian said last week the team will try to negotiate a long-term contract with Freeney before July 15.

Also on Wednesday, the Colts announced their restricted free agents:

Cornerback Jason David, linebacker Gilbert Gardner, offensive guard Ryan Lilja, defensive end Bo Schobel, offensive guard Jake Scott, quarterback Jim Sorgi and defensive end Josh Thomas.

A restricted free agent has three years in the NFL. The deadline for teams to submit a one-year qualifying offer to retain right of first refusal is March 1.

A player issued a qualifying offer can sign an offer sheet with another team through April 20. His previous team may then either match the offer and retain the player or receive compensation from the new team based on the level of the original qualifying offer.

The four restricted qualifying offers:

• $2.35 million (first- and third-round draft selections as compensation).

• $1.8 million (first-round compensation).

• $1.3 million (second-round compensation).

• $850,000 (draft selection in same round as player selected as compensation).

“I’ve always had the same approach that (Colts Head Coach) Tony (Dungy) has, that in a perfect world I’d like everybody back and let them go compete, and we’ll see who the best 53 is at the end of (training) camp,” Polian said. “That’s not the way the system works.

“There are pros and cons to every system. For traditionalists like Tony and I, you’d like it to be the other way, but I’m smart enough to realize if we didn’t have the salary-cap system we wouldn’t be looking forward to getting our World Championship rings, going to the White House and doing all of the things that happen to Super Bowl winners. Because we wouldn’t have the chance to win the Super Bowl in a market this small with a stadium this small.

“There is good and bad in it, but in the end, you find a way to work with it, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#13
Colts risk losing key players in title run to free agent market

Colts risk losing key players in title run to free agent market

The NFL's veteran free agent market opened today with more than 300 players available, if the price is right.

The Colts added 11 players to the group by not re-signing any of their unrestricted free agents, including four who played prominent roles in their Super Bowl XLI victory: linebackers Cato June and Rob Morris, cornerback Nick Harper and running back Dominic Rhodes. The contracts of that quartet, along with seven others, expired at midnight Thursday.

By not signing their veteran free agents before free agency began, the Colts appeared willing to lose them, especially as many other teams are expected to spend heavily on the market. The NFL's salary cap increased to $109 million for 2007, up from $102 million a year ago.

Team president Bill Polian was unavailable for comment Thursday but recently indicated the Colts would "see what the market bears'' before deciding whether they could afford to pursue their own free agents. That included June, the team's leading tackler last season and a Pro Bowler in 2005.

"In all cases, and Cato's one of the prime examples, we'd like everybody back,'' Polian added. "But we don't know what the market is going to bring.''

The Colts' other unrestricted free agents are safety Mike Doss, linebacker Rocky Boiman, wide receivers Aaron Moorehead and Ricky Proehl, running back James Mungro, kick returner Terrence Wilkins and defensive tackle Dan Klecko.

It's possible the Colts will re-sign some of their players if they aren't lured to other teams.

Ian Greengross, Harper's agent, said he had talked with the Colts, "but Nick is at the point in his career when he knows he's got to see what's out there (on the market)."

The team also issued one-year restricted free agent tenders to linebacker Gilbert Gardner and cornerback Jason David. Gardner would require a third-round draft pick in compensation if he is signed by another team; David's compensation level is unknown.

Colts risk losing key players in title run to free agent market | IndyStar.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#14
PERRY JOINS STAFF

PERRY JOINS STAFF

Longtime NFL Assistant Perry Joins Colts Coaching Staff


INDIANAPOLIS - The Colts recently lost some extensive experience from the staff that coached them to Super Bowl XLI championship.

On Friday, they announced a move to replace the experience.

Rod Perry, a former Pro Bowl player and a veteran of 18 NFL coaching seasons, has joined the Colts' coaching staff as a defensive backfield coach, the club announced Friday afternoon.

Perry replaces Leslie Frazier, who left to become the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator.

“He’ll have the same role Leslie had,” Colts President Bill Polian said.

Frazier, who joined the Colts’ staff as a defensive assistant in 2005, spent last season as Special Assistant to the Head Coach/Defensive Backs.

Perry, 53, who spent the past five seasons as the Carolina Panthers’ secondary coach, played 10 NFL seasons, first with the Los Angeles Rams (1975-1982) and later with the Cleveland Browns (1983-1984).

A cornerback, Perry finished his Rams career with 28 interceptions, making the Pro Bowl in 1978 and 1980. He is a member of the Rams’ 40th Anniversary All-Time team.

After college assistant coaching stints at Columbia (1985), Fresno City College (1986) and Fresno State (1987-1988), he joined the Seattle Seahawks as a secondary coach from 1989-1991.

Since then, he has been the secondary coach with the Rams (1992-1994), Houston Oilers (1995-1996), San Diego Chargers (1997-2001) and Carolina (2002-2006).

colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#15
Linebacker ROB MORRIS RE-SIGNS

Linebacker ROB MORRIS RE-SIGNS

Versatile Linebacker to Return Again in 2007

INDIANAPOLIS ? This past season, the Colts asked Rob Morris to play a new position at the most critical time possible.
On Monday, they made sure he will stay around.

Morris, a linebacker who played a crucial role in the Colts? defensive resurgence and run to Super Bowl XLI, re-signed with the team on Monday, the club announced late Monday afternoon. Duration and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Morris became an unrestricted free agent after this past season.

?Those are the kinds of guys you win with,? Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy recently said of Morris.

That was particularly true this past season.

Morris, the Colts? first-round selection in the 2000 NFL Draft from Brigham Young University, started at middle linebacker for the team from 2001-2004, and was one of the team?s leading tacklers during that span.

Gary Brackett became the starter in the middle before the 2005 season. That season, Morris played extensively on special teams, and he did so again early this past season.

But with three games remaining in the 2006 regular season, Morris took

over at starting strong-side linebacker, a position at which he never had started.

He made 25 tackles, 17 solo, in the last three regular-season games, and was critical to the Colts? defensive improvement in the postseason, Dungy said.

The Colts, after ranking last in the NFL in rushing defense with 173.3 yards per game during the regular season, allowed 331 yards rushing in four postseason games.

Morris had 21 tackles in the postseason, fourth on the team in the category. He also had four special teams tackles and a quarterback pressure.

?For a guy to lose his starting middle linebacker job, really learn all three positions, backup all three positions, play great on special teams, is saying something,? Dungy said. ?Then we say, ?We?re going to stick you in at the position you play the least in the most critical time.?

?Rob accepted it and excelled. It does say a lot.?

Morris finished this past season 10th on the Colts with 48 tackles, 30 solo, and he also led the team with 21 special teams tackles.

Morris also re-signed with the team after becoming an unrestricted free agent each of the past two off-seasons.

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#16
THE QUARTERBACKS

THE QUARTERBACKS

First of a Position-by-Position Series on the Colts? Roster


INDIANAPOLIS ? In one sense, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said not a lot about the Colts? quarterback situation has changed in recent seasons.
Peyton Manning is one of NFL?s top players at his position.

He?s consistent. He?s productive.

And he figures out a way to improve each season.

But in the wake of the Colts? victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, there may be at least one obvious change for Manning this coming season, Dungy said.

All those questions?

The ones about not winning the Super Bowl?

They won?t be there anymore.

And Dungy said that could be a significant change for the seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

?I think it will (be a benefit),? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s quarterbacks, the first of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

Dungy said in that sense, the 29-17 victory in Miami Gardens, Fla., could benefit not just Manning, but the entire organization.

No more will Manning and the Colts hear questions about how not having won the Super Bowl might reflect on the quarterback?s legacy as one of the NFL?s top players of his era, or the team?s legacy as one of the most successful franchises of its era.

Throughout the Colts? run to the Super Bowl last season, Manning said the issues weren?t on his mind.

But the questions were always there, Dungy said, and he said in that respect, their absence can only help provide a sense of normalcy.

?You can really just look forward to playing the season, trying to get there and do what we?ve always said we were going to do ? trying to win our division, trying to get in the playoffs and just win,? Dungy said. ?I think that will help, that we won?t have to deal with that.

?Probably the question will be, ?What about repeating?? It will be in a different form, but it?s less tiring. He won?t have to answer the same questions over and over. It?s less mentally taxing.?

Not that the scrutiny affected Manning?s performance on the field.

Manning, the National Football League?s Most Valuable Player in 2003 and 2004, finished second in the balloting in 2005 and third this past season.

And statistically, Manning has remained the NFL?s best.

Manning, who will turn 31 this month and who will enter his 10th NFL season next fall, completed 362 of 557 passes for 4,397 yards and 31 touchdowns with nine interceptions for an NFL-high 101.0 passer rating.

For Manning, who led the NFL in touchdown passes, it was his third consecutive passing title. Only Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young has won four or more consecutive passing championships.

The nine interceptions also were a career-low for Manning, and Dungy ? who often has talked of Manning?s desire to improve each season ? said the No. 1 overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft did so again this past season.

?I think he did,? Dungy said. ?Again, game management, throwing on he run, using more receivers, different guys . . .?

Whereas Manning had to adapt to teams changing their defensive approach against the Colts in 2005,

Dungy said he had to adapt in 2006, too.

This time, the change came from within the Colts? offense.

With Brandon Stokley, the Colts? third receiver, missing all but four games with injuries, the Colts played in two-receiver, two-tight end sets more than in recent seasons. Dungy called the change significant.

?This year, he had to do it without the third receiver so much, going to the tight ends and the running backs were more involved,? Dungy said. ?It was just really orchestrating the game well and probably throwing on the run better than he had. That was one thing he worked on.?

While Manning and the Colts reached the NFL pinnacle, Dungy said he has little doubt the quarterback will still strive to improve. In early February, shortly after the Super Bowl, Dungy was asked about Manning?s desire to repeat. He told how before each off-season, Manning enters Dungy?s office with a list of areas he wants to improve before the coming season.

?He?ll have some ways to get better,? Dungy said, referring to the coming season.

As was the case in 2004 and 2005, the Colts? backup in 2006 was third-year veteran Jim Sorgi. But whereas Sorgi played extensively late in several games in his first two seasons, he did not throw a pass in 2006.

Sorgi, a sixth-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft from the University of Wisconsin, appeared in one game in 2006, playing sparingly in a 43-24 victory over the Houston Texans at the RCA Dome in Week 2.

Sorgi played in nine games in his first two seasons, completing 59 of 90 passes for 619 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for a career rating of 99.4.

?Every time he has gotten to play, he has played well,? Dungy said. ?His passer rating in the games he has played is excellent. When he has played with our regulars, which hasn?t been all that much, he has moved the ball and scored points. Everything you see in practice is so positive.?

Sorgi became a restricted free agent after this past season. The Colts extended a tender offer that gives them the ?right-of-first refusal? should a team attempt to sign him this off-season, but Dungy said Sorgi?s long-term future with the Colts is less certain.

?The problem is where is Jim going to be?? Dungy said. ?At some point he?s going to be a free agent. Does he want to stay? With Peyton looking every bit like he can play six or seven more years, do you want to stay and be a backup on a very good team? If he would, we would feel great about that. It?s probably not going to be the case forever, but Jim, I think, has the confidence of everybody on our offense.?

While many teams carry three quarterbacks on the active roster, the Colts for the past three seasons typically have carried just Sorgi and Manning.

Dungy said considering Sorgi?s situation that could change this season.

?As Jim gets closer to free agency, we might? carry three quarterbacks, Dungy said. ?You go with two realizing Jim?s going to be the two (second-team quarterback) for the next couple of years. But all of a sudden, as Jim gets into his fourth year, you say, ?Hey, we have to start looking not knowing what his mindset us or what somebody?s going to offer him.? ?
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#17
THE RUNNING BACKS

THE RUNNING BACKS

Second of a Position-by-Position Series on the Colts' Roster

Throughout his rookie season, he had help.
Whether Joseph Addai will get as much in the future is something Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said will be decided as time goes on.

Addai, a first-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, shared carries with veteran running back Dominic Rhodes throughout his rookie season. Together, the tandem helped the Colts' running game maintain its longtime level of steady, successful production.

Rhodes, a six-year veteran, signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Oakland Raiders Friday.

Which may leave the question Dungy has been asked often since the end of this past season:

In the NFL these days, does a team need two front-line running backs?

?I don?t think you have to have two, but it certainly helps,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s running backs, the second of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

?I think you need to have two guys you have confidence in.?

It not only helped the Colts this past season, it propelled them to their first Super Bowl title in 36 seasons.

Addai, the 30th overall selection in the draft from Louisiana State University, rushed for 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns on 226 carries in the regular season.

It was a season that Dungy said will only help Addai in the future.

?He has been through it once and now he has a better idea of how to pace himself over 24 games,? Dungy said.

Addai got much of the experience playing as a backup to Rhodes, who started all 16 games after spending much of his first five seasons as the backup to Edgerrin James.

Rhodes, who rushed for 1,104 yards as a rookie free agent in 2001, rushed for 641 yards and five touchdowns on 187 carries this past season.

The idea behind the approach, Dungy said, was two-fold. First, the Colts wanted to allow Addai time to adapt to the NFL as a rookie. Second, they wanted to limit his carries in his first season to enable him to be fresh at season?s and game?s end.

?For us, where Joseph was, we thought it was important,? Dungy said. ?We knew he was going to be big cog in what we did, but we didn?t want him to be a 275-, 300-carry guy his first year out because Week 17 and Week 18 was going to be so important for us.

?I think it went well. Now, he?ll be able to handle more workload.?

Week 18 for the Colts was the first round of the AFC Playoffs.

Which was exactly when the Colts altered their running-back approach.

Not that they stopped alternating Rhodes and Addai, but instead of Rhodes starting, it was Addai in the game first with Rhodes coming off the bench.

It was a move that provided the Colts a post-season lift.

Addai started all four playoff games, and rushed 76 times for 294 yards and a touchdown while catching a team-high 22 passes for 118 yards. Addai, who caught 40 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown during the regular season, played a particularly key role as a receiver in the Super Bowl. With Colts quarterback Peyton Manning checking down to secondary receivers throughout a rain-soaked evening, Addai caught 10 passes for 66 yards, helping Indianapolis maintain possession and momentum in a tight game.

Rhodes, meanwhile, flourished in his new role, leading the team with 306 yards and a touchdown on 62 carries.

Against the Bears in the Super Bowl, Rhodes rushed 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. It was his first 100-yard rushing game since 2001.

?The second guy has a big advantage,? Dungy said. ?During the regular season, Dom was starting off the game and we were feeling our way, trying to figure out how they?re going to play us, trying to figure out how we?re going to block. He gets the first carries of the game and then in the middle of the second quarter, we have a great idea how we?re going attack and how we?re going to block. The other guy comes in and gets the benefit of those first 10 or 12 experimental carries.

?It went just the opposite in the playoffs. Now, Joseph?s getting those early carries and doing well, doing fine, but we?ve got everything kind of grooved and Dom comes in with some energy and explosion and the holes are a little but crisper. He?s flying through them.?

The tandem approach was a contrast to the Colts? approach in recent seasons. After being drafted No. 4 overall in 1999, James typically played the majority of the snaps each season. The lone exception: 2001, when James missed 10 games with a knee injury.

Dungy, however, said having such a back was an unusual situation, with James able to withstand a season of carries better than most backs.

Most teams in the NFL now utilize two backs, Dungy said, noting that even San Diego - with Most Valuable Player LaDainian Tomlinson at running back ? plays more than one back extensively.

?LaDainian Tomlinson gets most of the carries, but when they go to their other guys, they have confidence they can get it done,? Dungy said.

The benefits of two quality backs were vivid throughout last season, Dungy said. Not only did Rhodes and Addai become close off the field, the tandem adapted quickly to the system. Addai talked extensively throughout the season of how Rhodes? presence helped his adjustment to the NFL, and despite the loss of a four-time Pro Bowl selection in James, the Colts? run production stayed at its previous levels.

Since 1999, the Colts have ranked between 16th and 19th in the NFL five times, and considering the effectiveness of the team?s passing offense, Dungy previously has said that?s likely about where the running game will rank when the Colts are playing well offensively.

This past season, the Colts finished 18th in the NFL in rushing, and in the playoffs, they out-rushed each of their four opponents.

?It?s a good way to do it, really,? Dungy said. ?That second guy gets a lot of benefit. The thing is, nobody wants to be that second guy. Everybody wants to be in there when you announce the starting lineups but both handled it very well.?

With Rhodes and running back James Mungro currently unrestricted free agents, the Colts enter the off-season with Addai and 2006 third-team back DeDe Dorsey as the Colts? top two signed running backs.

Dorsey, who played collegiately at Lindenwood (Mo.) College, did not play last season after signing with the Colts as a free agent in early September. He originally signed as a rookie free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals shortly after the 2006 NFL Draft.

Dorsey showed signs of being an effective player in practice last season, Dungy said.

?We sure think he can,? Dungy said. ?We never got to see him run live in a game, but what he did in practice really gives you every indication he can be.?


Colt Defense
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#18
THE TIGHT ENDS

THE TIGHT ENDS

Sometimes, things just work out.

For Dallas Clark and for the Colts? tight end position, that couldn?t have been more true this past season.

In November, Clark was out with a knee injury, thinking his season was over.

By early February, that seemed like a distant memory.

Because by early February, Clark ? as well as the rest of the Colts tight ends ? had completed a remarkable postseason in which they reconfirmed just how important the position is to the Colts? offense.

Clark. Bryan Fletcher. Ben Utecht.

All three Colts tight ends played critical roles in the team?s run to Super Bowl XLI this past season, but no tight end ? and few players on the entire roster, for that matter ? performed quite so crucial a role as Clark.

?He?s a heck of a player ? he really is,? Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s tight ends, the third of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

The Colts knew that before the 2006 playoffs, but the four postseason games vividly showed why the Colts took Clark with the No. 24 selection in the 2003 NFL Draft.

And they did so not long after Clark thought his season was over.

Clark, a starter in 39 of 52 regular-season games since joining the Colts, started the first 11 games of the 2006 season. Through those games, he had 26 receptions for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Those were numbers consistent with his first three NFL seasons, when he caught 91 passes for 1,251 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But with 42 seconds remaining in the first half of the Colts? 45-21 victory over Philadelphia in the RCA Dome on November 26, Clark caught a four-yard pass from quarterback Peyton Manning. Clark injured his knee on the play. At first, he was certain he had torn his anterior cruciate knee ligament, which would have meant the end of his season.

Instead, days after the injury, doctors informed Clark and the team that the ligament was not torn, and that Clark had a chance to return with rest.

After missing four games, Clark returned for the season finale against the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes for 56 yards in the Colts? 27-22 victory and providing a hint of things to come.

In the playoffs, Clark not only remained healthy, he caught passes at a rate he hadn?t approached in his first four NFL regular seasons. In four games, he caught 21 passes for 317 yards, and in each of the Colts? victories in the AFC playoffs, he had critical catches:

? Against Kansas City in an AFC Wild-Card Playoff game, Clark caught nine passes for a team-leading 103 yards. Six of the nine receptions went for first downs.

? Against Baltimore in an AFC Divisional Playoff game, Clark caught two passes for 41 yards. His 27-yard reception, a play on which he took a hard hit from Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, led to a field goal that gave the Colts a 12-3 third-quarter lead. His 14-yard reception in the fourth quarter was the key play on the Colts? drive to the game-clinching field goals. Both receptions went for first downs.

? Against New England in the AFC Championship Game, Clark caught six passes for a team-leading 137 yards. All six of his receptions went for first downs.

In the Super Bowl, Clark caught four passes for 36 yards, with two of the receptions going for first downs, meaning that of 21 postseason receptions, 16 gave Indianapolis first downs.

And Clark was far from the only Colts tight end with a significant postseason role.

Fletcher, who started three games in the regular season with 18 receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns, caught four passes for 37 yards in the postseason. His 32-yard fourth-quarter reception was the critical play on the game-winning drive in the AFC Championship Game.

Utecht, who started all 15 games in which he was active, caught 37 passes for 377 yards in the regular season, and caught five passes for 41 yards in the postseason.

?We got big plays from a lot of players, but we got them from those guys in big situations,? Dungy said. ?Bryan made some big catches in the championship game to get us down close and he happened to be the guy in there. Ben made a big third-down catch in the Super Bowl to keep a drive going.

?That?s what they did all year. When their number was called, they stepped up.?

The role of the tight end long has been critical to the Colts? offense. Since the arrival of Tom Moore as offensive coordinator and Manning as quarterback, the team has used a two tight-end set extensively, with Ken Dilger and Marcus Pollard forming one of the NFL?s top tight-end tandems from 1998-2001, then Clark and Pollard forming an elite duo in 2003-2004.

The role re-emerged this postseason in part because of the absence of Brandon Stokely, Dungy said.

Stokley, the Colts? third receiver since 2003, missed all but four games this past season because of injuries. He was placed on injured reserve late in the season, and his absence in the postseason enabled Clark to move more often from his normal role near the line to Stokley?s former ?slot? position.

?Because of the third receiver not really being there, he (Clark) got to play the position he is really the best at,? Dungy said. ?That?s that flex tight end. He?s a severe mismatch in there. We got a chance to exploit that. When Brandon played, and Dallas is the point-of-attack tight end, he (Clark) is good there, but that?s not his best position.

?He really got to shine in the playoffs, because we used him at what he does best.?

And as Clark shone, Dungy said he got the chance to show what the Colts long have known ? that he is crucial to the offense no matter how many receptions he may have in a given game. Clark?s athletic ability and speed makes him difficult for linebackers or safeties to cover when he is split wide, Dungy said, and he is a strong enough blocker to present problems if teams play enough defensive backs to account for Clark in passing situations.

?What we can do, and the fact that he can play in tight if they go to the nickel package, makes it difficult for defenses,? Dungy said. ?That always has been the case. If they have linebackers on him, he?s a mismatch and we can kind of dictate how the game?s going to go. He is such a force blocking in the slot and catching the ball in the middle of the field. With what people have to do to contain the two wide guys, he gets a lot of open space and he?s great in there. He makes it very tough for teams to defend us.

?He?s such an energetic player. He?s really a fantastic player.?

-- Colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#19
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

NICK HARPER has signed with Tennessee I hear today.


A year ago, the Tennessee Titans made a move to improve by signing a player from their AFC South rival, the Colts.
New year, same story.

Nick Harper, a veteran cornerback who started 15 games for the Colts this past season, has signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent to join the Titans, the Titans announced Wednesday. Duration and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Titans last season signed former Colts outside linebacker David Thornton as an unrestricted free agent.

Harper's signing marked the second time in less than a week a starter from last season's Super Bowl champions has signed elsewhere.

On Friday, unrestricted free agent running back Dominic Rhodes - after starting 16 games last season – signed with the Oakland Raiders.

But as was the case at running back, where rookie Joseph Addai rushed for 1,000 yards in a backup role last season, the Colts have talented youth at the cornerback position ready to play next season.

Jason David, who will enter his fourth NFL season next season, started 16 games opposite Harper, and Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden also have played extensively at corner the past two seasons.

Jackson, a first-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, played extensively as a third corner in passing situations as a rookie. This past season, Jackson played extensively at safety when starters Bob Sanders, Mike Doss and Antoine Bethea were injured.

Jackson’s interception in the final minute clinched the Colts’ AFC Championship Game victory over New England this past January.

Hayden, a second-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft,

played extensively at nickel back this past season. Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said recently Hayden played as well as any Colts corner during training camp last season.

In the Colts’ Super Bowl victory over the Bears, Hayden replaced an injured Harper, and it was Hayden’s 56-yard interception return in the fourth quarter that clinched a 29-17 victory.

It was Hayden’s first career NFL interception.

Like Rhodes, Harper played a key role in the Colts’ success in recent seasons.

Harper, who played collegiately at Fort Valley (Ga.) State, signed with the Colts as a free agent after playing the 2000 season with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.

He started two of 13 games in 2001, then played 16 games as a reserve in 2002 before moving into the starting lineup in 2003.

Since 2003, he started 57 games and had 13 regular-season interceptions during a span in which the Colts won four consecutive AFC South titles. In the playoffs this past season, Harper had a critical fourth-quarter interception in Indianapolis’ 15-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Divisional Playoff game.

Earlier last week, the Colts re-signed linebacker Rob Morris, who also was an unrestricted free agent after this past season. The Colts’ other Colts unrestricted free agents:

Linebacker Rocky Boiman, safety Mike Doss, linebacker Cato June, defensive tackle Dan Klecko, wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, running back James Mungro, wide receiver Ricky Proehl and wide receiver Terrence Wilkins.

The Colts also recently released veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley and veteran defensive tackle Montae Reagor, making them eligible to sign with another team.
 
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The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#20
THE OFFENSIVE LINE

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

The end was only fitting.

Because as Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy saw it, the way it ended in Super Bowl XLI was one of the main reasons the team was there in the first place.

On a rainy, South-Florida night, the offensive line played a big role.

The unit dominated the Chicago Bears.

And it did so with a major lineup change during the game.

With offensive right tackle Ryan Diem out with an injury, rookie Charlie Johnson played much of the first half and the entire second half. The Colts outrushed the Bears, 191-111, en route to their first Super Bowl championship in 36 years, finishing what Dungy later called a “gratifying” season for the offensive line.

“They made a huge difference in the playoffs,” Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team’s offensive line, the fourth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

Just as they have done for much of the last decade.

But this season, Dungy said, was a bit different for the line, and the playoffs provided a memorable conclusion for a unit that has long been one of the NFL’s best.

For the line, the previous season ended in difficult circumstances.

The Colts, after a 13-0 start in 2005, entered the playoffs with a 14-2 record and the top seed in the AFC. The team had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and many prognosticators believed the Colts would win the Super Bowl.

But in the Colts’ 21-18 loss to Pittsburgh in an AFC Divisional Playoff, the Steelers sacked quarterback Peyton Manning five times.

The Colts’ offensive line had had a remarkable season in 2005. Saturday and Glenn each made the Pro Bowl. The unit allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL. Running back Edgerrin James rushed for more than 1,500 yards for a second consecutive season.

But in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh loss, some observers blamed the line, and called into question the team’s history against 3-4 defenses.

It was unfair criticism, Dungy said, but it was there.

And in the end, Dungy said, it made the 2006 postseason all the more satisfying.

In the postseason, the Colts not only won four consecutive games, including a 29-17 victory over Chicago in the Super Bowl, they outrushed all four opponents:

• In a 23-8 victory over Kansas City in an AFC Wild-Card Playoff game, the Colts rushed for 188 yards on 40 carries compared to 44 yards on 17 carries for the Chiefs. Running back Joseph Addai rushed for 122 yards on 25 carries.

• In a 15-6 victory over Baltimore in an AFC Divisional Playoff game, the Colts rushed for 100 yards on 35 carries compared to 83 yards on 20 carries for the Ravens. The Ravens were the NFL’s No. 2-ranked run defense in the regular season.

• In a 38-34 victory over New England in the AFC Championship Game, the Colts rushed for 125 yards on 30 carries compared to 93 yards on 24 carries for the Patriots. The Patriots were the NFL’s No. 5-ranked run defense in the regular season.

• In the Super Bowl, the Colts rushed for 191 yards on 42 carries compared to 111 yards on 19 carries for the Bears. Running back Dominic Rhodes rushed for 113 yards on 22 carries against a team that finished the regular season as the NFL’s sixth-ranked rushing defense.

That the Patriots and Ravens used 3-4 schemes extensively wasn’t lost on Dungy or many NFL observers.

That the Super Bowl was on a rain-soaked field against a physical team wasn’t lost on many, either.

“It was gratifying after everything that was said last year,” Dungy said. “We knew it in this building, but people were saying, ‘Well, 3-4 . . .’ so to have to play Baltimore and New England to get to the Super Bowl, and to run on them and do the things we didn’t do against Pittsburgh – then to play in a game where it was rainy and muddy where you were going to have to run to win the game – all of that was nice.”

The playoffs weren’t the only time the line performed well in 2006, Dungy said. As consistently has been the case since Howard Mudd took over as offensive line coach in 1998, the unit was among the NFL’s best. Indianapolis led the NFL in fewest sacks allowed for a third consecutive season, and for a fifth time since 1999.

The offense ranked third in the NFL, and rookie running back Joseph Addai rushed for 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns on 226 carries. It was the eighth time in the last nine seasons the Colts have had a 1,000-yard rusher.

The team-oriented manner with which the line played this past season was satisfying, too, Dungy said.

While Saturday and Glenn each have earned Pro Bowl honors the last two seasons, the Colts’ offensive line operates very much as a unit, and Dungy said this season epitomized the approach.

Glenn, who will enter his 11th season next season, started 16 games for the ninth time in 10 NFL seasons, and Saturday – a Pro Bowl starter each of the last two seasons – also started all 16 games. Third-year veteran Jake Scott started all 16 games at right guard.

But at left guard, Ryan Lilja started 5 of 11 games in the regular season, missing much of the season with a knee injury, and at right tackle, Diem missed a game in the regular season, then the second half of the Super Bowl.

Johnson replaced Diem in the regular season, as he did in the Super Bowl, and second-year veteran Dylan Gandy filled in for Lilja at guard.

“The Super Bowl was like it was all year,” Dungy said. “Ryan Diem gets hurt and Charlie Johnson goes in, and we kept doing what we’d done all year. We didn’t have to change anything. That was those guys’ pride of authorship coming through.

“Ryan Lilja was out two weeks here, two weeks there, and Dylan Gandy plays. Ryan Diem goes out and Charlie Johnson plays. That’s what they’re all about. No excuses. No explanation. You just have to get the job done. It doesn’t matter who we play against or what the conditions are.

“Whether it’s there against Baltimore, or against New England here . . . to those guys, it doesn’t matter. You have to get the job done. That’s the way we play.”

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#21
LINEBACKER, QUARTERBACK SIGN

LINEBACKER, QUARTERBACK SIGN

The Colts on Wednesday morning announced the addition of two veteran players via free agency.
Both have experience in the NFL.

And both played collegiately in Michigan.

John Navarre, a quarterback who played at the University of Michigan, has signed with the Colts, as has linebacker Mike Labinjo, who played at Michigan State University. The club announced the moves on Wednesday morning.

Navarre, 26, who will enter his fourth NFL season next season, was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and played the past three seasons with Arizona.

Navarre (6-feet-6, 241) played in five games the past three seasons, completing 32 of 64 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions. His career passer rating is 43.9. He did not attempt a pass last season.

Navarre holds several

Michigan school records, including career passing yards (9,254), passing touchdowns (72), attempts (1,366) and completions (765). He also set single-season records in 2003 for passing yards (3,331), attempts (456) and completions (270).

Labinjo, 26, who will enter his third NFL season next season, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent shortly after the 2004 NFL Draft. He played in three games for the Eagles that season, then played with Philadelphia and Miami in 2005.

He spent this past season out of football.

Labinjo (6-1, 255) spent the first 14 weeks of the 2004 season on the Eagles? practice squad, then was promoted to the active roster. He was credited with 12 tackles in three games, then also played in two playoff games for the Eagles that season.

He played five games with the Eagles in 2005, then finished the season by playing two games with the Dolphins.

--colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#22
THE WIDE RECEIVERS

THE WIDE RECEIVERS

In 2006, those who vote for the NFL's annual All-Star game acknowledged what the Colts long have known.
The Colts don't have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and they haven?t had that for the past several seasons.

What they have is two of the best.

Marvin Harrison, a likely future Hall of Fame receiver, made the Pro Bowl for an eighth consecutive season in 2006, hardly a newsy development for anyone who has followed the league throughout the past decade.

The development came for the Colts? other wide receiver.

And the development may mean he won?t be thought of as the Colts? ?other wide receiver? anymore.

Reggie Wayne, who has improved steadily and dramatically in his first six NFL seasons, had another career-best season in 2006. This time, he was rewarded afterward with his first selection to the Pro Bowl, an honor that further solidified the Colts? receiver tandem as perhaps the NFL?s best.

?He (Wayne) played like this probably the last two and a half years,? Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s wide receivers, the fifth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

But it wasn?t until this year that enough people noticed to select Wayne to the Pro Bowl.

Wayne, a 2001 first-round selection from the University of Miami, has improved statistically in each of his first six NFL seasons.

In 2001, as a rookie, he caught 27 passes for 345 yards and no touchdowns, and the following season, he caught 49 passes for 716 yards and four touchdowns.

In 2003, he caught 68 passes for 838 yards and seven touchdowns, and the following season - when Colts quarterback Peyton Manning set an NFL record with 49 touchdown passes - Wayne had what many considered a breakout season, catching 77 passes for 1,210 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Wayne has said before each of the past several seasons his goal is to improve statistically from the previous season, and in each of the past two seasons, he has continued to do so.

In 2005, as the Colts won a third consecutive AFC South title, he caught 83 passes for 1,055 yards and five touchdowns, and in 2006, he set career-highs with 86 receptions for 1,310 yards and nine touchdowns.

In 2005, he led the Colts in receptions for the first time and this past season, he surpassed 1,000 yards for a third consecutive season.

But until this past season ? in part, Dungy said, because of the presence of Harrison ? he had not been selected to the Pro Bowl. That was true although many around the Colts, particularly Manning, believed he was worthy of being so honored.

Given a Pro Bowl opportunity, Wayne took full advantage, and when he did, it capped a remarkable month for Wayne.

During the Colts? run to Super Bowl XLI, he caught 17 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. His 53-yard touchdown reception in the Super Bowl made him the Colts? all-time postseason touchdown receptions leader.

In the Pro Bowl, Wayne caught six passes for 137 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers in receptions and yards.

?He has been pretty much at this level, but Reggie catches the ball so well, runs after the catch, blocks ? he does pretty much everything,? Dungy said. ?Every part of his game has gotten a little bit better over the last three years.?

Harrison, Dungy said, was during 2006 what he has been for much of the last decade:

A consistent, productive, critical element to the Colts? offense.

Harrison, who led the Colts with 95 receptions, surpassed the 80-reception, 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown plateaus for an eighth consecutive season, in the process being named to his eighth consecutive Pro Bowl.

He also continued to be a dangerous deep threat, something that makes him critical to the Colts? offense even on plays when he is not the primary receiver.

Harrison caught 955 passes for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2006, and when teams blitzed the Colts ? something that has become more and more rare in recent seasons ? Harrison was as effective as a big-play receiver as he had been in past seasons.

?He really was,? Dungy said. ?In the opening game against the (New York) Giants, they (the Giants) wanted to blitz us and come after us. He got some single coverage and made some big gains.?

The Colts beat the Giants, 26-21, on the first Sunday of the regular season. A few months later, in a critical December game against Cincinnati, the Bengals took a similar approach, blitzing the Colts more than many teams.

Harrison caught a season-high three touchdowns in a 34-16 victory on the weekend Indianapolis clinched a fourth consecutive AFC South title.

?Against Cincinnati, they were coming after us and he has a three-touchdown day,? Dungy said. ?He didn?t see that that much, but when we did, it was the same thing.?

Harrison?s reception total was his highest since he set an NFL record with 143 receptions in 2002. That was his fourth consecutive 100-receptions season, but Dungy said the reason he hasn?t surpassed 100 receptions in a season since has little to do with Harrison.

?The fact that he?s now a 90-catch guy as opposed to a 120-catch guy is really just a function of us being probably better on offense, and more solid,? Dungy said. ?We?re able to go away from him in certain situations that maybe we wouldn?t have four years ago.

Stokley, the Colts? third receiver each of the past four seasons, was recently released in a salary-cap related move, and Aaron Moorehead ? the fourth receiver last season ? also is an unrestricted free agent. Ricky Proehl, a 17-year veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent in November, also became an unrestricted free agent after the season. John Standeford, a collegiate free agent signee in 2005, spent part of last season on the active roster after spending 2005 on the practice squad.

With Stokley hurt, tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai played major roles in the passing offense, as did tight ends Ben Utecht and Bryan Fletcher.

-- The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#23
THE DEFENSIVE ENDS

THE DEFENSIVE ENDS

Often throughout this past season, the task facing the Colts? defensive ends was simple.
Frustratingly so at times, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said.

Because they had been so effective so often in recent seasons, Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis this past season often faced prohibitively difficult circumstances for two players assigned to rush the passer:

Double teams.

Run-oriented game plans.

Short, three-step drops.

Mathis and Freeney, who combined for 49 sacks in 2004-2005, combined for 15 in 2006. And while they didn?t spend much time during the season making excuses, Dungy said they might have been excused for doing so.

?People made a conscious effort against those guys,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s defensive ends, the sixth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

?They watched us play and that was one of the things that put offenses in trouble. People came in and said, ?We?re not going to let these guys even get into a position to put up those kinds of numbers.?

?We faced a lot different styles of offenses, and it was something we had to adjust to. I think we did.?

The result?

Well, Dungy said, the result was a season that didn?t match the previous two statistically, but one in which the defensive ends performed successfully, and one that ended with the defense making drastic improvements en route to a victory in Super Bowl XLI.

?They played really well,? Dungy said of the ends.

Freeney, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL?s sacks leader in 2004, finished the regular season with 5.5 sacks, then added two sacks in the postseason. He was the AFC?s first Pro Bowl alternate.

Mathis, the team?s sacks leader in 2005, led the team again this past season, finishing with 9.5 sacks in the regular season and adding 1.5 in the playoffs.

And has been the case for the past three seasons, each player was among the Colts? leaders in big plays.

Freeney, a first-round selection in the 2002 NFL Draft from the University of Syracuse, led the Colts with 33 quarterback pressures in the regular season. He also forced four fumbles in the regular season, and in the Colts? 29-17 Super Bowl victory over the Bears, he recovered a first-half fumble as Indianapolis took control of the game?s momentum.

Mathis, a fifth-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft from Alabama A&M, was second on the Colts with 22 quarterback pressures. Playing as a starter for the first time, he finished the season as the team?s fourth-leading tackler with 90, including 64 solos.

Mathis also forced four fumbles, recovered two and had a pass defensed.

And Mathis? contributions weren?t limited to defense.

While Mathis long has been one of the NFL?s top special teams players, Colts coaches moved him from that role in the

regular season because he was starting for the first time. Previously, Mathis had played defensive end in mostly passing situations while also covering kickoffs.

With the Colts struggling on kickoff coverage, the Colts moved Mathis back to that role in the playoffs. In four postseason games, Mathis finished third on the Colts with six special teams tackles.

He also forced three fumbles in the playoffs, including one on a kickoff during the Super Bowl.

What the ends experienced in 2006 may not be limited to one season, Dungy said. He said it was apparent from reviewing tape of last season that teams made a conscious effort to not allow Mathis and Freeney to make big plays. Dungy said the plan was effective, particularly during several stretches when the team struggled against the run, and he said teams may continue with the approach.

But Dungy also said while the approach prevented Freeney and Mathis from matching their usual statistics, it helped the Colts? defensively. The concern with the ends forced teams to alter their game plan, and when that happens, Dungy said the defense gains an advantage.

?If people play us the same way again next year, they may not have those types of sack numbers, either,? Dungy said. ?Even in the playoffs, when we?re playing well, we didn?t put up those kinds of numbers. People said, ?We?re going to run the ball and we?re going to throw quickly. If we have to punt, we?ll punt.? They just were not going to let those guys determine the course of the game, but that in itself helps you, too.

?It became good for us in the playoffs. We got the ball back and we dominated time of possession. Third-down conversions were good, so to judge it by numbers, I don?t think we?re going to be able to do that.?

What Dungy said he could judge in reviewing the season was that not only were Mathis and Freeney effective, but the rest of the ends were, too.

Josh Thomas, a third-year veteran originally signed as a rookie free agent in 2004 from Syracuse, played 14 of 16 games in the regular season, registering a career-high 35 tackles, with 29 solos. He also had a sack in the regular season and another in the playoffs.

?We?re looking at ways to play him more, and he?s a guy who when he plays, he has been very productive,? Dungy said. ?He?s a good tandem with Robert depending on how people are playing and what they?re trying to do.

?He played a lot more in the playoffs because we got a lot more two tight-end offenses with people trying to come after us.?

Ryan LaCasse, who joined the Colts in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens shortly before the season, was active for 12 games and had a tackle in the regular season. He was active for one postseason game.

Bo Schobel, acquired off waivers from Tennessee shortly before the season, was active in 14 regular season games with 21 tackles and 0.5 sacks. He was active for two of the four postseason games. Schobel is currently a restricted free agent.

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#24
THE DEFENSIVE TACKLES

THE DEFENSIVE TACKLES

The idea was to acquire a presence in the middle, a veteran leader to help a young unit in a time of need.
The Colts didn?t exactly expect the unit to be so young.

And they didn?t expect to need so much help.

Still . . .

Talk about your good ideas.

When the Colts acquired Anthony ?Booger? McFarland from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a midseason trade for a second-round draft selection, they hoped he would help anchor a young defensive line.

By the end of the season, he had become a team leader, and in so doing, he had helped the Colts? defensive tackles ? an area ravaged by off-season personnel losses and in-season injuries ? become a critical reason for the team?s run to Super Bowl XLI.

?Booger became such a big factor,? Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s defensive tackles, the seventh of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

McFarland, an eight-year NFL veteran, was only one part of the story of the Colts? defensive tackles this past season. Another part was the transition of five-year veteran Raheem Brock from end ? where he started the first four seasons of his career ? to tackle.

It was a transition with which Brock said he struggled early in the season, but one that Dungy said he had made successfully by the end of the postseason.

The stories of McFarland and Brock highlighted a sometimes-tumultuous year for the Colts at the position.

A season before, the Colts had a consistent tackle rotation, a group of three veterans ? Corey Simon, Montae Reagor and Larry Tripplett ? who helped the Colts rank 16th in the NFL against the run, and second in scoring defense.

In the off-season, Tripplett ? a 2002 second-round draft selection ? signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Buffalo Bills, and after the Colts moved Brock from end, they entered the season with Brock, Reagor and Simon as their top tackles.

Simon ? acquired as an unrestricted free agent shortly before the 2005 season ? never played last season, missing the preseason, then being placed on the reserve/ non-football injury list in early October.

The Colts traded for McFarland on October 17, and five days later, Reagor ? a starter at tackle since 2003 ? sustained a head injury in an automobile accident.

Reagor did not play again that season.

That, Dungy said, made the acquisition of McFarland, ?really huge.?

?We moved Raheem in there full-time, and you think you?re going to be OK,? Dungy said. ?You know you?re going to lose Larry, but then you don?t know you?re going to lose Corey and Montae, so you really lose your top three guys from the year before.?

McFarland, a first-round selection in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, played on the Bucs? Super Bowl Championship team following the 2002 season, and he had been a solid presence on one of the NFL?s best defenses for much of the decade before he joined Indianapolis.

But in Tampa Bay, McFarland was surrounded by star veteran players. Some of those players such as defensive tackle Warren

Sapp and safety John Lynch had signed elsewhere since the Super Bowl season, but others ? such as linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive end Simeon Rice and cornerback Ronde Barber ? remained and were team leaders.

With Reagor injured, McFarland became the most experienced Colts linemen, and no other active defensive player had played as many NFL seasons as McFarland.

?I think when he was playing in Tampa, he kind of deferred to (middle linebacker) Hardy Nickerson, Brooks, Ronde Barber, Sapp and Simeon Rice,? Dungy said. ?Here, he stepped up and he became a leader for us as well as a good player.

?I think once he got the sense of how young we were, and the players playing around him, the leadership really came out.?

McFarland started the Colts? final 11 regular-season games, making 45 tackles with 40 solos. He also had 2.5 sacks and two quarterback pressures.

In the postseason, he added 12 tackles, nine solos, and also had two sacks and three quarterback pressures.

The Colts, after ranking 32nd in the NFL in the regular season in rushing defense, held three playoff opponents ? Kansas City, Baltimore and New England ? under 100 yards rushing.

?As he got comfortable, he really was a big factor for us,? Dungy said of McFarland.

Brock, Dungy said, learned the position as the season went on, and improved steadily throughout. He started 16 games for a fourth consecutive season and finished the regular season with 74 tackles, 15 solos, and three sacks. He also forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and he finished fourth on the team with 11 quarterback pressures.

In the postseason, he had a sack, three quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery.

?It?s a big transition,? Dungy said. ?You?re playing in there for the first time fulltime. It was just different for him. He played better every week, much better as the year went on. He was a force in the playoffs.?

The future of the position, Dungy said, is relatively uncertain.

Dan Klecko, who played 10 regular-season games and four postseason games as a reserve, is an unrestricted free agent. He played a key role as a fullback late in the season, catching a touchdown pass in the regular-season finale and another in the AFC Championship Game against New England.

The Colts released Reagor in a salary-cap move in late February and Colts President Bill Polian said recently the status of Simon for next season is not yet known.

Aside from Brock and McFarland, the lone defensive tackle under contract who played for the Colts last season is second-year veteran Darrell Reid, who made 20 tackles as a reserve.

Dungy said that means Brock likely will remain at tackle along with McFarland depending on what happens in the next several months.

?It will depend on the (2007 NFL) Draft,? Dungy said. ?You?re always trying to tinker with the defensive line and get the best guy, but with (defensive end) Josh Thomas coming along and (end) Robert (Mathis) showing he can be a full-time player, right now we are, our best way to go is Raheem inside fulltime.

?If we?re able to draft a tackle, maybe we think a little differently. Right now, that (McFarland and Brock) is certainly our best group.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#25
THE LINEBACKERS

THE LINEBACKERS

Through it all, even in the difficult times, the Colts? linebackers never quit.
And make no mistake:

Before the postseason, before the January run to Super Bowl XLI, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said there were plenty of tough times for the team?s linebackers.

They were criticized. They were questioned. They were sometimes cited by outsiders and as a reason for the team?s defensive struggles.

Each week, Dungy said the approach was the same.

They worked. They studied.

Mostly, they believed.

And by the end of the postseason, when the Colts were celebrating their first Super Bowl title in 36 seasons on a soggy field in Miami Gardens, Fla., the linebackers ? a group that featured Cato June, Gary Brackett and Rob Morris ? were a critical reason why.

?It?s one of those positions where a lot is asked,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s linebackers, the eighth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

?They are critical cogs. When they?re playing well, it goes well. They get the opportunity to make a lot of plays, and they have to make them for the defense to be successful. As much as you questioned them during the year, you?d have to say in the playoffs they were the key to us really playing well. They did their jobs. They attacked.

?We played as good a defense as anybody in those four weeks.?

The Colts, after ranking 32nd in the NFL against the run in the regular season with 173.0 yards allowed rushing per game, allowed just 82.75 yards a game rushing in the postseason. After allowing 22.5 points per game in the regular season, the Colts allowed just 16.25 a game in the postseason.

During those four weeks, the same three players started each game for the Colts at linebacker, with June starting at weak side, Brackett starting in the middle and Morris starting at strong side.

?They always felt we had the guys to do it,? Dungy said. ?They had done it before. It was just a matter of doing it.

?That?s the way they approached it every week in that (meeting) room.?

The key moment, Dungy said, may have been the late-season insertion of Morris into the starting lineup, a move Dungy said revitalized the defense.

Morris, the Colts? first-round selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, started at middle linebacker from 2001-2004, then spent 2005 and the first 13 games of 2006 as a backup and special teams player. With three games remaining this past season, Morris replaced Gilbert Gardner in the lineup at strong side.

?I think when Rob went in the lineup, it was just more of that grit, saying, 'Hey, we?re going to do what we?re supposed to do,??? Dungy said. ?They never did worry about all the things being said or whatever. It was just playing every week. They played really well in the playoffs.?

Morris averaged 8.3 tackles in the last three

regular-season games, and had 21 tackles in the four postseason games. An unrestricted free agent after the season, Morris resigned with Indianapolis shortly after the free-agency period began.

?Moving Rob in really just helped us,? Dungy said. ?I don?t know if it was mental or stability or what, but that really got us going.

?For a guy to lose his starting middle linebacker job, really learn all three positions, backup all three positions, play great on special teams, is saying something. Then we say, ?We?re going to stick you in at the position you play the least in the most critical time.?

?Rob accepted it and excelled. It does say a lot.?

Brackett, the Colts? defensive captain, replaced Morris in the middle before the 2005 season. He started 14 of 16 games, finishing second on the team with 123 tackles, 72 solos, and also had two quarterback pressures, a pass defensed and two forced fumbles.

He was second on the team during the postseason with 23 tackles, 17 solos, and also had a quarterback pressure, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery.

June, a Pro Bowl selection after the 2005 season, led the team in tackles during the 2006 regular season with 162, including 85 solo. He also had a sack, two passes defensed and three interceptions in addition to two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

In the postseason, June also led the team in tackles with 26, including 12 solos.

June became an unrestricted free agent after the season, and this past weekend, he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

?They played well, especially in the playoffs,? Dungy said shortly before June joined the Buccaneers. "The big thing now is what happens? What happens with Cato?

?Is he back? If he?s not back, how do we counteract that??

One possibility, Dungy said, is Freddy Keiaho.

Keiaho, a third-round selection by the Colts in the 2006 NFL Draft, played 14 games as a reserve as a rookie, making nine regular-season tackles and forcing two fumbles. He played in all four postseason games, making one tackle.

He also was in on one of the Colts? critical plays in the postseason, assisting on a tackle that stopped Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson inside the Colts 5 in the first half in an AFC Wild-Card Playoff game. The play was part of a goal-line stand that held the Chiefs without points on the possession. The Colts won, 23-8.

In years past, linebacker such as Mike Peterson, Marcus Washington and David Thornton have left the Colts as free agents, and the following seasons, younger players such as Brackett, June and Thornton have played effectively.

Keiaho, Dungy said, could be ready for a similar transition.

?Freddy Keiaho, I think he?s going to be ready to play somewhere,? Dungy said. ?I think he?s going to be just like Gary and Cato and David (Thornton) and a lot of these guys have done.

?I think he?s going to be the best guy in line. Where he is I think will be interesting to see.?
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#26
THE CORNERBACKS

THE CORNERBACKS

If there was an area of the Colts? defense this past season that received little attention, it may have been cornerbacks.
Not a lot of notoriety when things went well.

Not a lot of criticism when they didn?t.

If that was a main storyline for the team?s corners in 2006, a season that ended with the Colts winning Super Bowl XLI, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said there were two reasons.

One, corner isn?t a position easy to analyze in the Colts? defense.

But a bigger one is this:

At corner, a player typically gets noticed more when mistakes occur than for good plays, and for the past two seasons, mistakes at cornerback for the Colts have been relatively few.

?We?re not a team that?s playing a lot man-to-man where you can zero in on the matchups and those kinds of things,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s cornerbacks, the ninth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

?There is a lot that those guys get asked to do and they did it very well.?

One reason for the consistency at corner in recent seasons, Dungy said, was a player no longer with the Colts: veteran Nick Harper, who recently signed as unrestricted free agent with the Tennessee Titans.

Harper, a six-year NFL veteran, signed with the Colts as a free agent in 2001 after playing the 2000 season with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.

He started two games in 2001, then played 16 games as a reserve in 2002 before moving into the starting lineup in 2003.

Since 2003, he started 57 games and had 13 regular-season interceptions during a span in which the Colts won four consecutive AFC South titles. In the playoffs this past season, Harper had a critical fourth-quarter interception in Indianapolis? 15-6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Divisional Playoff game.

Harper, Dungy said, was a consistent player, a veteran who provided leadership in a young secondary. And he was a huge reason for the Colts? success against the pass in the past two seasons, Dungy said.

The Colts this past season ranked 21st in the NFL in total defense, and 32nd against the run, but they also ranked second in pass defense. They ranked 15th in the NFL in passing defense in the 2005 season.

The Colts? 16 touchdown passes allowed in 2006 tied them for the fifth lowest total in the NFL.

?Nick was the ringleader,? Dungy said. ?He played as solid and probably practiced as much in the last

year and a half as he had since I?ve been here, which helped. He played excellent football.?

But as was the case in recent seasons when the Colts lost linebackers via free agency, Dungy said there is talented youth at the cornerback position ready to play next season.

Jason David started 16 games opposite Harper, and Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden also have played extensively at corner the past two seasons.

David, a fourth-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, has started 43 games in three NFL seasons, including 16 each of the last two regular seasons. He had 53 tackles this past season, including 38 solos, and also had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

He and Harper shared the team lead with 11 passes defensed. David also defended two passes in the 2006 postseason.

?Jason David was our most durable guy,? Dungy said. ?He missed the least amount of time of any of those guys. He played very consistently this year.

?He didn?t have the ups and downs. He did his job week in and week out.?

Jackson, a first-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, played extensively as a third corner in passing situations as a rookie. This past season, he played extensively at safety when starters Bob Sanders, Mike Doss and Antoine Bethea were injured.

Jackson finished fifth on the Colts with 76 tackles, 49 solos, in the regular season and he also had 11 special teams tackles. He had two quarterback pressures, an interception and one pass defensed.

His interception in the final minute clinched the Colts? AFC Championship Game victory over New England this past January.

?Marlin had a lot of different roles to play and played excellent football as the nickel corner inside,? Dungy said. ?When he was pressed into starting on the outside, he did. He was able to go to safety for about a five-week period and come back. That was exceptional.?

Hayden, a second-round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, played extensively at nickel back this past season. In that role, he made 31 tackles, 22 solos, and defensed two passes with a fumble recovery.

In the Super Bowl victory over the Bears, Hayden replaced an injured Harper, and it was Hayden?s 56-yard interception return in the fourth quarter that clinched a 29-17 victory.

It was Hayden?s first career NFL interception.

?Kelvin was probably our most-improved defensive player,? Dungy said. ?He played in training camp and the preseason exceptionally well. He didn?t get to play a lot for a long stretch, then at the end of the year when he was in the nickel, he did a tremendous job.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#27
THE SAFETIES

THE SAFETIES

The only difference was all the difference imaginable.
Bob Sanders, a Pro Bowl selection after the 2005 season and one of the NFL?s top young safeties, missed 12 games for the Colts last season.

How big of a factor was his absence?

To hear Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy tell it, as big as big could be.

?Say you take (running back) LaDainian Tomlinson away from San Diego?s offense,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s safeties, the tenth of a position-by-position series that will run throughout this month.

?Or you take (quarterback) Carson Palmer out of Cincinnati?s offense. You?d say, ?Yeah, they can still win and they?re still dangerous and they?ve still got all these other guys, but it?s a little different.? ?

Such is the difference for the Colts with or without Sanders, Dungy said.

And such was one reason the Colts? defense struggled at times during the regular season, he said.

?People don?t usually look at one defensive player being the same way, but in this system it is, because so much is designed around that guy,? Dungy said.

The Colts, after ranking 16th in the NFL against the run in 2005 ? a season during which Sanders played 14 regular-season games and was named a starter for the AFC in the Pro Bowl ? ranked 32nd in the NFL in run defense this past regular season.

Sanders, after playing the first two games, sustained a knee injury in practice following a Week 2 victory over Houston.

He played in just two of the last 14 regular-season games.

The Colts, who allowed 110.1 yards a game rushing in 2005, allowed 173.0 yards a game in 2006. They allowed 148 or more rushing in 10 of 16 games in the regular season, and in a 44-17 loss at Jacksonville in early December, they allowed 375 yards rushing, the most yards allowed by the Colts in franchise history.

Three weeks later, Sanders returned for the playoffs.

He started all four postseason games, the first time since Weeks 1 and 2 he started consecutive games.

In those four games, Indianapolis allowed just 82.75 yards a game rushing. After allowing 22.5 points per game in the regular season, the Colts allowed just 16.25 a game in the postseason.

Sanders said throughout the playoffs he was far from the only reason for the improvement, and Dungy, too, said Sanders wasn?t alone in the reason for the turnaround.

But Dungy recently said Sanders return did help immeasurably.

Sanders, after finishing second on the team in tackles in 2005 with 118, registered just 30 in 2006. But he was a key element in one of the team?s crucial victories of the regular season. In a 27-20 victory at New England in early November, Sanders returned after a five-game absence, making a team-high 10 tackles and also intercepting a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

That victory proved the difference between the Colts being the No. 3 seed and No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Because they were the third seed, they played the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots at home rather than in Foxboro, Mass.

?He?s a force,? Dungy said. ?He?s a guy who changes how we play not only by his ability, but by his energy and the confidence he gives everybody.?

Sanders? absence this past season hurt the defense beyond confidence, Dungy said. Late in the 2005 season, teams began playing the Colts? defense differently because of his effectiveness. In the 2006 off-season, Indianapolis? coaching staff made alterations in the defense to counter those changes.

Without Sanders, Dungy said the changes weren?t nearly as effective.

?We did a lot of things in the off-season, before the ?06 season, to tweak our defense,? Dungy said. ?Bob had such an impact. People were doing things to ?formation? us out of having him line up where he could dictate things. We made some subtle changes to really accentuate what he can do.

?Now, all of a sudden, he?s not in there for stretches. The temptation was, ?Well, maybe we should go back to the old way. That will help everybody play little better.? But we kept saying, ?Eventually, this will be better when he gets back into the lineup. We?re going to wish we?d stayed true to it.? We never got to that point where he was playing two games in a row even in the regular season, but we always kept saying, ?If we can get this going, we?ll be fine.?

?That?s what happened. Once we got to the playoffs and he got back in there, it really kind of went the way we hoped it would.?

Sanders? injury wasn?t the only obstacle for the safety position this past season. Mike Doss, who became an unrestricted free agent after this past season and has yet to sign with any NFL team, started four of the first six games before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in mid-October.

That left rookie Antoine Beathea and Marlin Jackson ? the Colts? first-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft at cornerback ? as the starting safeties. In all, the Colts started five different safety combinations in 2006: Bethea-Sanders (three games), Doss-Bethea (four), Bethea-Jackson (seven), Jackson-Sanders (one) and Dexter Reid-Matt Giordano (one).

With Sanders, Bethea, Doss and Jackson all out in Week 15, Giordano and Reid started a Monday night victory over playoff-contending Cincinnati.

It was Giordano?s first career start and Reid?s third, with the first two coming for New England in 2004.

Bethea, the Colts? sixth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, started 15 games, finishing third on the team with 105 tackles, 72 solos. He also had a pass interception and two passes defensed. In the postseason, he had 18 tackles and two interceptions with four passes defensed.

Jackson finished fifth on the Colts with 76 tackles, 49 solos, in the regular season and he also had 11 special teams tackles. He had two quarterback pressures, an interception and one pass defensed.

His interception in the final minute clinched the Colts? AFC Championship Game victory over New England.

?Both of those guys really came on,? Dungy said. ?Antoine had to become a leader. People forget that Mike Doss was playing excellent football. We said, ?With Bob being out, Mike?s the leader back there. He?s playing well.? Now, all of a sudden he does out. Antoine was forced into more of a leadership role. Antoine went back there without a lot of practice time. He did an excellent job.

?It was a taxing year with those two injuries, and we had a rookie and a second-year guy who really hadn?t practiced there. They did a great job.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#28
THE SPECIAL TEAMS

THE SPECIAL TEAMS

For the special teams, as far as Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy saw it, highs far outnumbered lows this past season.
Yes, there was a critical punt return for a touchdown.

And yes, too, throughout the 2006 season there were several high-profile issues on kickoff coverage.

But there were positives, too:

The resurgence of returner Terrence Wilkins.

The continued consistency of punter Hunter Smith.

And, of course, the Colts? special teams also featured one of the NFL?s most successful big-name free-agent acquisitions of the 2006 off-season, Adam Vinatieri.

?We did make strides in a lot of areas,? Dungy said recently in an interview with Colts.com for this story on the team?s special teams, the 11th and last of a position-by-position series that ran throughout this month.

One area, Dungy said, was that of returner.

Wilkins, who originally signed with the team as a rookie free agent in 1999, rejoined the franchise an unrestricted free agent in the 2006 off-season, and was the key factor in what Dungy called the team?s best returning season since his 2002 arrival.

Wilkins, who left the team in a 2002 trade with the St. Louis Rams, spent 2004 and 2005 out of the NFL, playing the 2005 season with the Calgary Stampeders of the NFL.

In 2006, Wilkins finished in the Top 10 in the AFC in kickoff returns and punt returns, returning 21 punts for a 9.2-yard average and 52 kickoffs for a 24.5-yard average.

?Terrence really gave us field position that gave us a lift in a lot of games,? Dungy said.

One game in particular that was influenced by Wilkins was a Week 3 game against AFC South rival Jacksonville on September 24.

Struggling offensively in the first half, the Colts trailed 7-0 early in the second quarter. Wilkins took a punt at the Colts 18, and returned it 82 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Indianapolis then scored the first 14 points of the second half to pull away for a 21-14 victory that gave the Colts a lead in the division they never relinquished.

?Our return game was the best it has been since I?ve been here,? Dungy said.

Another off-season acquisition was at least as critical to the Colts? success.

Vinatieri, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who spent his first 10 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots, signed with the Colts as one of the NFL?s most high-profile transactions of the off-season. He converted 25 of 28 field goals and made 38 of 38 extra points, scoring a team-high 113 points. It was the

10th consecutive season he has scored at least 100 points.

In the postseason, Vinatieri converted three of three field goals in a 23-8 victory over Kansas City in an AFC Wild-Card Playoff victory, then made five of five field goals the following week, providing all Colts points in a 15-6 victory Divisional Playoff victory over Baltimore.

?Obviously, we kicked field goals well,? Dungy said.

Smith, an eight-year veteran from Notre Dame, finished third in the AFC with a 44.5-yard average on 47 punts. He had 14 punts inside the 20.

?It was better in a lot of ways,? Dungy said of the special teams.

One area that struggled was kickoff coverage. The Colts allowed opponents a 26.0-yard average on kickoff returns, and twice during the regular season allowed critical returns for touchdowns ? once in the fourth quarter of a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets in early October and again on the opening play of the second half of a 44-17 loss at Jacksonville in early December.

The area continued as an issue in the postseason. In the second half of a 38-34 victory over New England in the AFC Championship Game, an 80-yard return by Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs set up a New England touchdown. Chicago Bears returner Devin Hester scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl.

?Our kickoff coverage was inconsistent,? Dungy said, ?but we had some great coverage games and games where they (opposing returners) really didn?t determine what field position was. Our punt coverage was the same way. Ninety percent of it was good.?

The Colts allowed one punt return for a touchdown ? an 87-yarder by Antwaan Randle-El of the Washington Redskins in a 36-22 Colts victory at the RCA Dome in October ? and for the season, the Colts allowed opposing punt returners a 13.0-yard average.

The reasons for the inconsistencies, Dungy said, were several. The Colts moved defensive end Robert Mathis ? one of the NFL?s top special teams players in 2004 and 2005 ? to full-time defense in 2006, taking him off special teams until the postseason. They also had injuries in defense, particularly at safety, that changed the personnel on special teams significantly at various points of the season.

?With (safeties) Mike Doss and Bob Sanders being hurt, it dominoes a lot of things,? Dungy said. ?Marlin Jackson and Antoine (Bethea) are playing (on defense, so) we can?t use them as much (on special teams). We also made the decision to take Robert off there.

?One or two injuries, and it dominoes all the way down, but all in all, we made a ton of progress.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#29
THREE MORE PICKS

THREE MORE PICKS

Colts Receive Three Compensatory Selections in 2007 NFL Draft


PHOENIX, Ariz. - One year's free-agency losses . . .
The next year?s draft-day gains.

That?s how it works under the NFL?s Collective Bargaining Agreement, and on Monday, it worked to award the Colts three additional selections in the April 28-29 2007 NFL Draft.

The Colts, who last off-season lost four unrestricted free agents and signed one, were awarded third-, fourth- and fifth-round selections, the NFL announced Monday at the 2007 League Meetings.

?It?s the best we could have expected, so that?s a positive,? Colts President Bill Polian said shortly after learning of the additional selections.

?We?re happy with it. That?s a plus.?

The Colts last season lost through free agency running back Edgerrin James (Arizona), linebacker David Thornton (Tennessee), defensive tackle Larry Tripplett (Buffalo) and kicker Mike Vanderjagt (Dallas). They signed kicked Adam Vinatieri from New England as a free agent.

The Colts, who traded their second-round selection in the 2007 draft to Tampa Bay for defensive tackle Anthony ?Booger? McFarland, now have eight selections in the following rounds: first (32nd overall), third (95, 98), fourth (127, 136), fifth (159, 173) and seventh (223).

The NFL awarded 32 additional selections Monday to 16 teams.

Under the terms of the CBA, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft selections.

The number of selections a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents, up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced Monday will supplement the 233 selections in the seven rounds of the draft.

The compensatory selections, which are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors, will be positioned within the third-through-seventh rounds.

Compensatory selections may not be traded.

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#30
Always-Tough AFC South Even Tougher Now, Dungy Says

Always-Tough AFC South Even Tougher Now, Dungy Says

Jack Del Rio said the goal each season is clear.
The idea entering the season is to make the playoffs, and to do that in the current setup of the NFL, the best way is to win the division.

Del Rio is the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Each of the last four seasons, the Colts have stood in the way of Del Rio?s goal, and that of the Jaguars.

Thus, a major question for the Jaguars entering 2007:

Is this the year they finish ahead of the Colts?

?We?d like to think we?re tightening things up,? Del Rio said this week at the 2007 League Meetings, which ended Wednesday after a three-day session at the Arizona Biltmore.

Evidence last season suggested the Jaguars and the rest of the division did just that.

Yes, the Colts won a fourth consecutive AFC South title.

And yes, the Colts? four-game season-ending margin was the largest during the team?s current four-year run.

And yes, too, the last thing many NFL fans remember about the past season was of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning grinning ear-to-ear in the warm, early February rain in South Florida, Vince Lombardi Trophy hoisted high.

But Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy was quick to note this week that didn?t tell the story of the Colts? entire season.

And it certainly didn?t tell the story of the AFC South.

?The division is tightening up,? Dungy said this week.

How tight? For the first time since the South?s 2002 inception, the Colts did not have a winning record in the division last season, and despite winning the division, they did not finish the season with the best record in the division.

The Colts, after a 9-0 start to the regular season, lost four of their final seven regular season games, and a difficult stretch in the South was a huge reason.

The Colts? first loss of the 2006 season came at Dallas, but having won their first three games against AFC South opponents in the RCA Dome in September and early October, Indianapolis lost three road division games in December ? 20-17 at Tennessee, 44-17 at Jacksonville and 27-24 at Houston.

The run was in sharp contrast to the previous four seasons, when the Colts won 20 of 24 division games, including 16 of 18 from 2003-2005, the Colts? first three AFC South title seasons. From October of 2004 through December of 2006, the Colts won 12 consecutive division games.

After 2002, when the Colts were swept by Tennessee, they lost only to Jacksonville ? once in 2003 and once in 2004 ? before the three-game losing streak in December.

?We got to the point where we were winning road games pretty close,? Dungy said. ?It was never that we were dominating, but we won those games, and went 5-1 or 6-0.

?That really helped us, but no question it?s getting harder and harder to do that.?

The reason, Dungy said, is that despite only two playoff appearance among the three other teams in the last four seasons, the rest of the division is improving. The Jaguars, after a 5-11 season in 2003, haven?t had a losing season since, finishing 9-7 in 2004, 12-4 in 2005 and 8-8 this season.

The Titans, after losing the division in a tiebreaker with a 12-4 record in 2002, slipped to Top 10-draft status in 2004 and 2005 season. They

began this past season 0-5, but the victory over Indianapolis in December was part of a run that enabled them to finish as one of the NFL?s hottest teams last season.

They finished 8-8, and were the only team in the South with a winning division record. They were the first team in the division to have a better division record than the Colts since 2002, when the Titans won the first AFC South title.

The Texans, under first-year Head Coach Gary Kubiak, lost six of their first eight games last season, but finished the second half of the season 4-4. They beat Jacksonville twice and Indianapolis once last season.

Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher said the striking thing about the South isn?t necessarily the teams? task in beating the Colts, but the diversity among the four teams.

?We had the best record in the division and we didn?t win it,? Fisher said. ?To me, our division is a unique division, because you basically have four different types of teams.

?You play Indy and Jacksonville back to back and you face two completely different types of game plans from one week to the next from a defensive standpoint, which is a challenge. You have to be fast and adjust and be really on your toes against the Colts. And you better bring your big-boy pads when you play the Jaguars.

?The Colts are Super Bowl champs this year, and I?m sure for a number of years, they?ll be the team to beat.?

Of the three other teams in the South, the Jaguars have fared the best against Indianapolis in recent seasons. Not only have the Jaguars finished as the division runners-up three consecutive seasons, they have beaten the Colts three of the last four seasons ? in Jacksonville in 2003 and 2006 and in Indianapolis in 2004.

?We?ve matched up well against them,? Del Rio, who took over as head coach in 2003, told Colts.com Wednesday. ?In the four years I?ve been there, we?re 3-5 against them. Three of the four years, that meant we split with them. Last year, we had a very strong performance against them late in the year.

?There?s no question that every year you go in and you want to make the playoffs. The surest way to do that is to win the division. They?ve been able to do that the last four years. We?d like to see that change.?

The Colts? wanting that not to change is more than just trying to keep the rest of the division beneath them in the standings. Since Dungy?s arrival in 2002, the same year the league reduced wild-card playoff teams from three per season to two, Dungy has emphasized the importance of winning the division.

It?s not the Colts? ultimate goal, but no matter how tight the division gets, Dungy said winning it is still the first objective at the beginning of each season.

?It?s tougher,? Dungy said. ?That?s always our plan going in. It?s always what we talk about as a team: ?We?ve got to win the division championship first. We have to win our division games.?

?You put that premium on that. We lost three times on the road last year and that?s a concern. You have good coaches, tremendous talent coming into the division. The one thing I said last year going in was that if we came out of it as division champs, we were going to be battle-tested and we were going to be more ready to go in the playoffs. I think that?s what happened.?

--Colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#31
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

Russell, Quinn Expected to be Top 10 Selections in April NFL Draft.


Brady Quinn wants to be the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft. That has been his goal for a year, and he's not shy about discussing it.
“I talk about it all the time,” Quinn said recently.

JaMarcus Russell’s goal? The same, although he’s not quite as open.

“I’ll be more than happy, whatever position I go on,” Russell said.

Who will be No. 1?

Russell? Or Quinn?

Or either?, for that matter.

The 2007 NFL Draft, coverage of which begins on Colts.com with this story on the draft’s two most-publicized, most-overscrutinized players – Russell and Quinn – will be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York, N.Y., on April 28-29.

The draft, personnel officials in the NFL will tell you, has become more important to a team’s success in the 15 years of the free agency/salary cap era. Teams need young, affordable talent, and keeping a core of such players has been key to many teams' success in recent seasons, including that of the defending Super Bowl champion Colts.

But historically, from a fan’s perspective, drafts are often remembered not as much for their importance to individual teams, but in terms of their first-round quarterbacks.

The 1998 draft will forever be the Peyton Manning/Ryan Leaf draft.

The 2004 draft? Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger.

The 2005 draft? Vince Young, Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart.

And so it is this season, when despite the presence of a player many consider the NFL’s best receiving prospect in a decade and a half – Charles Johnson of Georgia Tech – the vast majority of the pre-draft hype is focusing again on the quarterback position.

And to the draftniks and talking heads, the quarterback position this year is about two quarterbacks of differing styles and strengths, Russell and Quinn.

Russell (6-feet-6, 260 pounds), a two-year starter for Louisiana State University who opted to forego his senior season, completed 232 of 342 passes for 3,129 yards and 28 touchdowns with eight interceptions as a junior, and he finished his LSU career with 6,625 yards 52 touchdowns. He is, according to many scouts and personnel officials, a player of rare athletic ability. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February, Russell told reporters he has thrown a football 83-to-84 yards.

At his March 14 Pro Day, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.83 seconds and performed position drills His arms were measured at 34? inches and his hands at 9? inches.

“JaMarcus' talent is substantial,” Cleveland Browns General Manager Phil Savage said. “He's a rare combination of size and arm strength. It's a little bit out of the norm to take somebody 6-5 plus, 250 pounds plus and can throw the ball around like he can. He is coming out as a junior, which leads you to think there's upside to him.”

Quinn (6-4, 230), a four-year starter at Notre Dame, finished fourth in the 2005 Heisman Trophy balloting and third this past season. He set 36 school records, and passed for 3,427 yards 37 touchdowns with seven interceptions as a senior.

On the first of his two Pro Days on March 4 in South Bend, Ind., Quinn did only passing drills and reportedly showed good velocity on his passes. On March 22, he weighed in at 233 pounds, and running indoors on FieldTurf, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.82 and 4.73 seconds. He also ran the short shuttle in 4.22 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.79 seconds. In addition, he had a 36-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-7 broad jump.

“I just think the guy’s got a huge upside,” St. Louis Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan said of Quinn.

That’s how it went at the combine in February, and that’s how it has gone in the weeks since, through a month of Pro Days, the on-campus workouts around the nation that will continue for the next several weeks. Quinn and Russell have been the primary topics not only of general managers and coaches, but of draftniks and pre-draft rumors.

Some analysts have the Oakland Raiders taking Russell with the No. 1 overall selection. Others believe it will be Quinn.

“To tell you the truth, my main thing is just getting an opportunity to go out and showcase my skills of football at the next level,” Russell said. “There really won't be any disappointment because everybody doesn't get a chance to go as high as No. 1 or No. 2.”

Some reports have the Cleveland Browns trading up to select Russell. Others have them staying at the No. 3 position to take Quinn.

There are seemingly as many rumors as websites, and the fluid nature of draft information is often baffling to those involved.

Quinn, considered by many the likely No. 1 selection much of last season, suddenly was reported to be slipping on many draft boards between the end of the season and the late-February combine.

“I didn’t play a game for the past couple of months,” Quinn said of his perceived slip. “It’s funny to kind of sit back and hear some of that and you’re thinking, 'Man, did I not, like, lift today? Did somebody see me in the weight room miss a rep? I’m kind of confused.’

“It’s just funny, but again it’s one of those things you can use as motivation. Every day all the different people out there saying different things. It just builds up more and more.”

Quinn, who played his final two seasons under Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis – formerly the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator – helped the Irish to two Bowl Championship Series bowl appearances in his final two seasons.

His production in a pressurized college situation is a strength, personnel officials and coaches said, and so is his experience under Weis.

“He's a good football player who has played well for a long period of time under the bright lights of Notre Dame,” St. Louis Rams Head Coach Brad Childress said..

“What I like the most about him is he got his butt kicked as a freshman,” Linehan said. “He played through it. He got hit. He just kept

getting up and improved. He's one of those guys that seems like he was born with a football in his hands and was born to play the position.

“You’ve got a lot of pressure every week when you play at Notre Dame. I thought he played pretty well for the most part most of the times I saw him. . . .

“I think he's definitely the top-notch prospect at that position.”

That’s something Quinn believes, too, he said at the combine. He said be believes having played under Weis helped him, and he said he believes the experience will help his adjustment to the NFL. He, like Russell, also said he wants to do as Peyton Manning did with the Colts in 1998, which was to play and start immediately.

Said Russell, “My main thing is to go in and learn and let everything else fall into place. I'm not really too worried about anything after that.”

But Quinn, like Russell, also knows “the draft is a funny thing,” and that there’s no guarantee where he will be chosen no matter how much he wants it.

Still, make no mistake:

Come draft day, there’s really only one place Quinn wants to be.

“That was my goal coming into this last collegiate season,” Quinn said. “When I decided to come back, I had three goals I set out for myself: win a national championship, win the Heisman (Trophy) and be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Obviously the first two didn’t work out and the third one is yet to be determined. The toughest thing about it is you don’t really control what the first team drafting does or who winds up picking you or trades up. It’s out of your hands. . . .

“There’s not one other player that’s had the kind of coaching that I’ve had the past couple of years. There’s not one other player that’s done what I’ve done the past couple of years. You’ve seen the progress, the numbers and everything we’ve done at Notre Dame, and I feel that I am the best leader for a team that needs someone to step in and fulfill that job.”




Breaking Down the Top Quarterbacks

The quarterback conversation in the first round of the draft essentially is a two-pronged discussion – Russell and Quinn. While many assumed throughout the fall that Quinn would be the No. 1 overall selection, that switched in the opinion of many draft observers before the NFL Scouting Combine in February, when it was widely reported that Russell would go first overall and that Quinn was sliding down many draft boards Since then, rumors about the status of both players have circulated, but both are generally believed likely to be selected in the top five or six players on draft day.




Quarterbacks on the Colts’ roster

Peyton Manning, 10th NFL season; Jim Sorgi, fourth NFL season; Josh Betts, first NFL season; John Navarre, fourth NFL season.




Chris Polian on Scouting QBs**

"We’re a down-the-field offense, so he has to have arm strength. We can’t compromise in that in our scheme. We throw the deep out, we throw the deep comeback and we throw the deep in. Those are all difficult throws. Sometimes, one of the throws (Colts quarterback) Peyton (Manning) has the most success with is the deep comeback to the opposite side of the field, the wide side of the field. It takes a lot of arm strength, so the guy has to have arm strength from a physical standpoint. . . . He has to be tough . . . Obviously, the quarterback position is one of the most difficult to get the intangibles correct and to have a feel that the guy is going to do everything from an intelligence standpoint and a preparation standpoint to instill confidence in teammates that if he’s under center we’ll have a chance to win. I think everybody feels that way about (backup) Jim Sorgi now, but the player has to have a history of winning and has to have a history of production. With the real good ones, they elevate the play of the others around them, even at the college level. . . . The quarterback position is one where the gut feel of the coach and the evaluate does come. There may be more intangibles involved at that spot than any other. . . . It’s an important from an evaluation standpoint that the scout gets a chance to see that player live. You get to see how he handles himself on the sidelines with his teammates and his coaches and what he does between drives while the defense is on the field. . . . It’s a position where it’s going to take a little more gut feel and conviction on the part of the scout to fight for a guy. . . . The other thing at that position that’s unique here is that guy’s coming in as an understudy to Peyton. Anybody’s work ethic is going to suffer in comparison. He’s going to have to work and he’s going to have to be very intelligent and he’s going to have to put in a lot of extra work, because those meetings are done at Peyton’s speed.

*-Colts Vice President of Football Operations Chris Polian will break down how the Colts scout each position throughout Colts.com’s 2007 pre-draft coverage.





THE QUARTERBACKS

A look at the quarterback position in the 2007 NFL Draft. Rankings and projected rounds are based on several national draft publications and in no way reflect the opinions of Colts personnel.

Rank, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Projected Round

1, *JaMarcus Russell, LSU, 6-6, 265, 1

2, Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 1

3, Drew Stanton, Michigan State, 6-3, 225, 3

4, Troy Smith, Ohio State, 6-1, 225, 3

5, Trent Edwards, Stanford, 6-4, 230, 3

6, Kevin Kolb, Houston, 6-3, 220, 4

7, John Beck, BYU, 6-2, 215, 4

8, Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh, 6-2, 215, 5

9, Jordan Palmer, Texas-El Paso, 6-6, 230, 6

10, Isaiah Stanback, Washington, 6-3, 215, 6

11, Chris Leak, Florida, 6-1, 210, 6

12, Jared Zabransky, Boise State, 6-2, 220, 7

13, Jeff Rowe, Nevada, 6-5, 225, 7

14, Zac Taylor, Nebraska, 6-3, 215, 7

15, Matt Gutierrez, Idaho State, 6-4, 230, 7


The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#32
DRAFT 2007: PICKING LAST

DRAFT 2007: PICKING LAST

Colts Accustomed to Picking Late in the First Round

INDIANAPOLIS - In one sense, the Colts' position at the end of this month isn't exactly ideal.

But considering why they are where they are, being in the Colts? position for this month?s NFL Draft certainly beats any of the alternatives.

The Colts have selected in several spots late in the first round in recent seasons.

This month, they hold the position every team wants to hold.

Because this month, they will pick last.

?One of the things we?ve always joked about is how these guys (the Colts? personnel staff) will do picking out of the 32nd slot,? Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said shortly after Super Bowl XLI, a victory that ensured the Colts will hold the 32nd and final position of the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-29 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

?We?ve always wanted to give them that opportunity. Now, we?ve got it, so we?re pretty fired up about it.?

Besides, it?s not as if the Colts aren?t accustomed to these parts.

In the NFL, teams draft in reverse order of how they finished the previous season. As the four-time defending AFC South Champion and a perennial AFC contender, the Colts have held the Nos. 29, 29 and 30 selections the past three off-seasons.

The last time the Colts drafted in the Top 25?

That was 2003, when the Colts selected tight end Dallas Clark at No. 24, a year after they selected defensive end Dwight Freeney - a three-time Pro Bowl selection ? with the eleventh overall selection.

The choices in recent seasons haven?t been as early. But they?ve still been productive.

In 2004, the Colts entered the draft holding the No. 29 overall selection. They traded down, parlaying the selection into extra selections and eventually selecting safety Bob Sanders in the second round.

Sanders made the Pro Bowl in 2005.

The following season, the Colts used the 29th selection to select cornerback Marlin Jackson. He made the interception this past season that clinched the Colts? 38-34 AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots.

Last off-season, the Colts allowed running back Edgerrin James to leave as a free agent, a move that many expected to hinder the team?s running game.

Two months later, with the 30th overall selection, the Colts selected running back Joseph Addai.

Addai played his rookie season as a reserve, but led all rookies in rushing with 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns on 226 carries.

That?s production from the draft, the sort of production Colts President Bill Polian said is necessary for a contending team in the salary cap/free agency era.

Shortly after the Super Bowl, Polian said preparation for the draft won?t change this year because of the Colts? draft-day position, just as it didn?t change in previous seasons when they selected near the end of the first round.

?We go across the board,? Polian said. ?Our preparation takes us from the first pick in the draft through the 234th pick or however many there are, depending on how many compensatory (selections) there are.?

This season, there are 255 selections, including compensatory selections announced by the NFL at the 2007 League Meetings last week. The Colts received three compensatory selections, meaning they currently have eight selections ? one in the first round, two in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, and one in the seventh.

To Polian, long considered one of the NFL?s top personnel minds, a key to draft-day success is approaching each selection with equal importance ? from the first round to the seventh, and beyond.

The art to picking late?

According to Polian, same as picking anywhere:

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

?We prepare as though we have the first (overall) pick,? Polian said. ?We prepare and evaluate every player regardless of position, and only when we get down to the last two weeks will we focus on particular positions and particular groupings of players.?

Chris Polian, the Colts Vice President of Football Operations, said recently there are some advantages to picking late ? aside from having had a successful season the year before. They include not having to pay a highly-drafted rookie a salary cap-hindering signing bonus.

?The money is much less,? Polian said. ?When you look at what some of the teams have to pay those guys in the top 10 . . . it?s great to be in the top 10 to have the ability to get some of those types of players, but financially, you can?t afford to be up there for multiple years in a row. It makes it difficult.

?When you?re low, in some respects, it?s a little easier. There?s a lot less public speculation and those types of things that affect that kind of swirl from the combine all the way to draft day. We?re kind of able to quietly focus on what we want to get done and work on the different players down there.

?You know the top pool of players in case anything were to happen, but you get focused in and dialed in on some different guys.?

The key to the Colts? success in recent seasons, the Polians and Dungy each said, is that the end of the first round ? no matter where the Colts select ? is far from the end of the important part of draft day.

While the team?s first-rounders ? such as Clark, Jackson and Addai ? from recent years have been crucial contributors, so, too, were later-round selections such as safety Antoine Bethea, and even rookie undrafted free agents such as middle linebacker Gary Brackett.

Both Bethea, a sixth-round selection in last year?s draft, and Brackett started the Super Bowl last season, evidence that for the Colts, while picking last may not seem ideal in one sense, it hardly means an unproductive draft day.

?In our case, any draft choice ? one through seven ? has a chance to contribute,? Chris Polian said. ?History tells you we will suffer some free-agent losses on an annual basis. It gets back to the fact that there will always be some holes to be filled. They will be filled through the draft. If it?s not rookies, it will be a guy who was drafted last year who has been practicing with us, played a little bit and then went through the off-season program.

?We?re looking for that guy to take a big step.?

Said Dungy, ?We?ve picked in the 20s for the last few years. We still feel like we can get a lot of good players. We get a lot of good players on the second day. We get a lot of good players in free agency, so just because you picked in 32nd instead of 10th, I don?t think it really changes what you do.

?You can eliminate a lot of guys. There are going to be 10 or 15 guys we don?t have to consider. But other than that, you still feel like you?re going to get great players who are going to help your team.?

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#33
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

KLECKO RE-SIGNS


Defensive Tackle Returns to Super Bowl Champions

INDIANAPOLIS - He became a fan favorite on the Super Bowl champions last season, a player with a knack for big plays.
Now, Dan Klecko has rejoined the Colts.

Klecko, a defensive tackle/fullback who signed with the Colts after his release from the New England Patriots just before this past season, has re-signed with the team, the club announced Friday.

Duration and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Klecko (5-feet-11, 275), a fourth-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, became a regular contributor on the Colts' defensive line late in their Super Bowl season, but it was as a fullback that he made his most obvious impact.

Klecko caught two touchdown passes for the Colts, one in a victory over the Miami Dolphins in the season finale and another in the team’s 38-34 victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Klecko’s touchdown against the Patriots brought the Colts to within 21-19 in the third quarter, and was a key play as the Colts rallied from a 21-3 deficit.

Recently, the Colts had lost five players who started at times last season during the NFL’s free-agency period: Defensive tackle Montae Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Denver Broncos), running back Dominic Rhodes (Oakland Raiders), cornerback Nick Harper (Tennessee Titans) and linebacker Cato June (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Also during the free-agency period, the Colts re-signed linebacker Rob Morris, who also became an unrestricted free agent after this past season.

The Colts’ other unrestricted free agents:

Linebacker Rocky Boiman, safety Mike Doss, wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, running back James Mungro, wide receiver Ricky Proehl and wide receiver Terrence Wilkins.

--colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#34
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

DeMulling Rejoins Former Team


Rick DeMulling’s story has come full circle.

And that means the Colts have added not only an experienced offensive lineman, but one very experienced in their system.

DeMulling, who emerged as one of the Colts’ top offensive linemen in the early part of the decade before signing with the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent, has re-signed with Indianapolis, the Colts announced Friday.

Duration and terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DeMulling (6-feet-4, 305 pounds), who became an unrestricted free agent after this past season, was selected by the Colts in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL Draft, and developed into a starter the following season.

From 2002-2004, DeMulling started at guard and was a key member of a line that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2004.

The following off-season, DeMulling signed with the Lions, but started just 12 of 32 games in two seasons.

Since DeMulling’s departure, the Colts have allowed the fewest sacks in each of the past two seasons.

Jake Scott has started 32 games over the past two seasons at right guard while Ryan Lilja – a 16-game starter in 2005 – started five games this past season while missing several games with a knee injury.

Second-year veteran Dylan Gandy started 11 games in Lilja’s place this past season.

Recently, the Colts had lost five players who started at times last season during the NFL’s free-agency period: Defensive tackle Montae Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Denver Broncos), running back Dominic Rhodes (Oakland Raiders), cornerback Nick Harper (Tennessee Titans) and linebacker Cato June (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Also during the free-agency period, the Colts re-signed linebacker Rob Morris, who also became an unrestricted free agent after this past season.

The team also recently re-signed defensive tackle Dan Klecko.

The Colts’ other unrestricted free agents:

Linebacker Rocky Boiman, safety Mike Doss, wide receiver Aaron Moorehead, running back James Mungro, wide receiver Ricky Proehl and wide receiver Terrence Wilkins.

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#35
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

With Every Free-Agency Departure, There is a Replacement Plan


A former Colts player signed with an NFL team Wednesday.
By now, that's not a surprise in this unrestricted free-agency period, but by now, this shouldn’t be a surprise, either:

A plan is in place to replace him. And there has been for some time.

Mike Doss, a starting safety for the Colts from 2003-2005, signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, becoming the latest player who started at least one game for the defending Super Bowl champions to sign elsewhere during this year’s NFL free-agency period.

Colts President Bill Polian said early this off-season he expected free-agency losses, said he has begrudgingly become accustomed to them in 10 off-seasons with the Colts.

Polian also said the free-agency period is by far the most difficult time for someone in charge of personnel with an NFL team.

“It’s not part you like,” Polian said recently, a few weeks after the start of free agency. “It’s never easy. I understand the fans are frustrated. They want action. They want positive action. They want it yesterday. That is impossible. It’s all fanned by the Hot Stove League.

“I understand that, but understanding it and acting upon it are two different things. We have an obligation to the fans to put the best possible product we can on the field, and that’s entirely consistent with making sure we’re in a) the salary-cap boundaries, and b) that we’re spending our money on the right players.”

Polian joked at the time he understood if fans didn’t like him much these days, because during free agency, he didn’t like himself much.

It was difficult, Polian said, in past seasons to lose players such as running back Edgerrin James, linebacker Marcus Washington, linebacker Mike Peterson to free agency.

In the same way, he said it was difficult this off-season to lose players such as cornerback Nick Harper (Tennessee), running back Dominic Rhodes (Oakland) and linebacker Cato June (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). All three – like Doss – signed with other teams as unrestricted free agents, while defensive tackle Montae Reagor (Philadelphia) and wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Denver) signed elsewhere after their release from the Colts in salary-cap moves.

But as Polian – sure to emphasize that he wasn’t denigrating the players’ contributions to the team – said several weeks ago, as unpleasant as free-agency departures may be, there is a plan in place with which to deal with them.

As Polian noted upon the departure of Stokley, Reagor, Harper, the first two did not play in the Super Bowl and Harper played three quarters.

And in the case of Harper and Rhodes, a first-round draft selection is in place in each player’s position – and not only a first-round draft selection, a player who played extensively last season. Joseph Addai, the Colts’ 2006 first-round draft selection, led all NFL rookies in rushing last season and Marlin Jackson – the Colts’ first-round selection in 2005 – played extensively at cornerback and safety last season.

The future is in place at safety, too.

Doss, a second-round selection in the 2003 NFL Draft, started 42 of 46 games in which he played the past four seasons, but started just four games this past season before sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Even before Doss’ injury, the change at safety was beginning. With Doss out much of last year’s preseason with an injury, then-rookie Antoine Bethea started the season at safety alongside third-year veteran Bob Sanders, a 2005 Pro Bowl selection. That tandem started the first two games, with Doss making his four starts last season with Sanders out of the lineup with a knee injury.

Doss played well in his four starts – “People forget that Mike Doss was playing some excellent football,” Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said recently when discussing the team’s safety position – but in the postseason, Sanders returned from an injury that cost him 12 regular-season games. He and Bethea formed a solid young safety combination that matured throughout the postseason and helped the Colts’ defense limit three of four postseason opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.

Sanders and Bethea are under contract. Jackson is, too, meaning the safeties who played significant time during the most significant parts of the Colts’ Super Bowl season will return next season.

A plan has been in place. There has been for some time.

And with the Colts during this free-agency period, that hardly should be a surprise.

The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#36
Colts Veteran Backup, Sorgi Signs Tender Offer

Colts Veteran Backup, Sorgi Signs Tender Offer

It?s official. Jim Sorgi will return to the Colts next season.
Sorgi, the Colts? backup quarterback since 2004, signed a tender offer to remain with the team, the Colts announced Friday afternoon. Sorgi became a restricted free agent following this past season.

Sorgi, who has played in 10 games for the Colts as a backup to two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning, has completed 59 of 90 passes for 619 yards and five touchdowns with one interception in three NFL seasons.

After playing extensively in at least one game in each of his first two seasons, Sorgi saw limited action last season, playing in just one game ? the Colts? 43-24 victory over Houston in September in the RCA Dome.

He did not throw a pass in that game.

Sorgi, a 2004 sixth-round draft selection from the University of Wisconsin, has a career passer rating of 99.3.

Under NFL rules, restricted free agents are players who have completed three accrued seasons of service and whose contracts have expired. They have received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are free to negotiate with any club until April 20, at which time their rights revert to their original club.

If a player accepts an offer from a new club, the old club will have the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elects not to match the offer, it may receive draft-choice compensation depending on the level of the qualifying offer made to the player.

--Colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#37
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

Colts Veterans Return for Off-Season Conditioning Program


They gathered again Monday at the Colts? complex, smiling, shaking hands and exchanging hugs.

But mostly, they worked.

Because when the Colts gathered on Monday morning, they did so for the first day of the 2007 off-season conditioning program, which made it unofficially the first day of the upcoming season.

And while handshakes and hugs were nice, and while their gathering was their first as defending Super Bowl champions, the past was not paramount on Monday.

Instead, the focus was on the future.

?That was last year,? veteran right tackle Ryan Diem said as many Colts players reported for the first of 14 weeks of voluntary workouts.

?I think you?ll hear that from a lot of guys. It?s a new season, new team. You?ve got some new faces that are going to be around here in a few weeks.

?It?s just time to get back to work and prepare ourselves for the ?07 season.?

Monday?s starting date, April 16, was later than the Colts normally begin their off-season program, with Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy delaying the start because of last season?s postseason run.

?It?s fun coming back,? veteran defensive tackle Dan Klecko said. ?It?s fun to see everyone and see guys you haven?t seen for a couple of months. You walk in and everybody?s hugging each other, so it?s nice.?

Typically, the Colts have started the off-season program in March, but in recent seasons ? with the Colts making the playoffs each of the past five seasons ? the conditioning period generally has begun a few weeks later.

The Colts played four extra games last season and practiced five more weeks than teams that didn?t make the playoffs. A postseason team each of the past five seasons, the Colts have practiced 13 extra weeks during that span.

That?s a big reason for the added off-season time off, Dungy said, but players on Monday mostly said they were ready to return.

?I?m ready to start,? Colts third-year cornerback Kelvin Hayden said. ?Everybody?s going to be hunting for us. That?s the great thing. Week in and week out, you have to bring your ?A Game,? because everybody?s going to be bring their ?A Game? for us.

?You?ve got to wait a couple of months, but I?m ready to see what happens.?

Not that the break seemed particularly long to all Colts players.

As of Monday, 10 weeks had passed since the Victory Celebration the day after the Colts? 29-17 victory in Super Bowl XLI.

?The off-season was so quick ? it went by that fast,? Colts second-year running back Joseph Addai said, snapping his fingers. ?I understand it?s a job, so I?m not really mad about it. I don?t look at it like I didn?t have any time. I still have a lot of time.?

Dungy long has believed that NFL players make their biggest jump in performance level from Year One to Year Two, and that the reason is a chance to be involved year-round in conditioning and preparation.

He said last week that made the coming weeks important for players such as cornerback Tim Jennings, cornerback T.J. Rushing, and even Addai, who led all NFL rookies in rushing last season with 1,081 yards and seven touchdowns.

?I want to start getting ready and start looking forward to the new season,? Addai said. ?To me, it?s going to be everybody looking at me now, because I had a decent season last year. I?ve got to come in and just get on the same page with everybody.

?I?m still a young player, but I can still get help from the older guys. Like (Colts quarterback) Peyton (Manning), he?s still working out. It?s just trying to understand what he?s thinking in a game, or in practice ? how his mind?s thinking or how his mind-frame is.?

The conditioning program is a key part of an extensive off-season.

Under NFL rules, teams may hold a voluntary off-season conditioning program, and also hold 14 on-field training activity days ? or OTAs. The Colts? OTAs are scheduled to begin in late May after the team?s lone mandatory mini-camp, which is scheduled for May 18-20.

The NFL Draft will be held April 28-29, and a rookie mini-camp is scheduled for the following weekend, May 4-6.

While on-field coaching sessions ? sessions in which position groups may go on the field as groups, but not in multiple groups ? are typically a part of the conditioning program, Dungy said fewer such sessions likely will be held this season.

But the focus on off-season conditioning will remain, and players said it will remain critical to on-field success.

?It?s paramount,? Diem said. ?This is where you get strong. This is where you get in shape. This is what gets you through the long season like we had last year. That was key ? that we were in pretty good shape.

?We maintained ourselves throughout the year and we were ready to go the distance. There are a lot of people who just break down. There are 24 weeks including preseason. It?s a long year.?

Said Hayden, ?Everybody?s upbeat. Everybody?s happy to see each other. That?s always crazy. You haven?t seen these guys in a while. Most of these guys haven?t seen each other since the parade. It?s great to see guys, ask how their off-season went and stuff like that. At the same time, everybody knows everybody?s back now, so it means it?s time to go back to work.

?It?s great that everybody?s back and everybody knows we?re on a mission to repeat. We?re ready to go.?

BACK WHERE HE WANTS TO BE: Klecko said he?s not only happy to be back with the Colts, he?s happy to be back in a familiar number.

After wearing No. 61 last season, Klecko this season will wear No. 90.

That number was worn the last four seasons by defensive tackle Montae Reagor, a starter from 2002-2006 who recently signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Klecko, who re-signed with the Colts after becoming an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, wore No. 90 during his first three NFL seasons with the New England Patriots.

?It?s nice to be back in the 90s, and to have my number back, that is nice,? Klecko said.

Klecko, who played as a reserve defensive tackle and part-time fullback last season, said being in the off-season program may be a benefit.

He joined the Colts last season just before the first game of the regular season, shortly after his release from New England.

?It?s something I missed last year,? Klecko said. ?I think that hurt me a little bit, coming in and kind of getting my feet wet the first week of the season. That?s tough. It really is. I had seen other guys go through it and I finally went through it to see how tough it really is.

?This will be nice to kind of ease into it and get to see everybody the whole year. It will be a lot better.?

FAMILIAR FACE: When guard Rick DeMulling re-signed with the Colts several weeks ago, few Colts players were happier than Diem.

The Colts drafted both players in 2001, and they were starters on the line from 2002-2004. They are also best friends.

DeMulling signed with the Detroit Lions as an unrestricted free agent in 2004, but re-signed with the Colts early this month.

?It?s been great,? Diem said. ?He?s a great friend of mine. It was a little lonely around here while he was gone, but it has been fun to have him back already. He fell right back into place, like he was never gone. It?s cool.

?He?ll be a good asset to our offensive line. He?s given us some depth.?

Diem said he and the rest of the line began working out at the Colts? complex a few weeks ago.

?We?ve had a lot of the linemen early ? (guard Ryan) Lilja, (center) Jeff (Saturday), (left tackle) Tarik (Glenn), myself ? we?ve been around a few weeks,? Diem said.

Added Diem, laughing, ?It?s good to see other faces (from other positions) around. You get sick of those guys.?


The Official Website of the Indianapolis Colts
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#38
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

FULL 2007 SCHEDULE for the COLTS.

2007 PRESEASON <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=schedsubhd> WK </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>DATE </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>OPPONENT </TD><TD class=schedsubhd> </TD></TR><!-- Set Pregame Link Flag --><!-- Loop through Schedule Results --><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>1 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/9 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Dallas Cowboys </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>2 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/20 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->CHICAGO BEARS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>3 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/25 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->DETROIT LIONS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->7:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>4 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->8/31 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Cincinnati Bengals </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->7:30 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD bgColor=black height=1>
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>2007 REGULAR SEASON
<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#cccccc><TD class=schedsubhd> WK </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>DATE </TD><TD class=schedsubhd>OPPONENT </TD><TD class=schedsubhd colSpan=2> </TD></TR><!-- Loop through Schedule Results --><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>1 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/6 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->NEW ORLEANS SAINTS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:30 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>2 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/16 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Tennessee Titans </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>3 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/23 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Houston Texans </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>4 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->9/30 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->DENVER BRONCOS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->4:15 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>5 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/7 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->4:05 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>6 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/14 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->BYE </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->- </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>7 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/22 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Jacksonville Jaguars </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:30 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>8 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->10/28 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Carolina Panthers </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>9 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/4 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->4:15 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>10 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/11 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ San Diego Chargers </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:15 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>11 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/18 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->KANSAS CITY CHIEFS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>12 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->11/22 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Atlanta Falcons </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:15 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>13 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/2 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>14 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/9 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Baltimore Ravens </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->8:15 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>15 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/16 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->@ Oakland Raiders </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->4:05 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR class=grayback vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>16 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/23 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->HOUSTON TEXANS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR><!-- Set todays date for Pregame determination --><TR vAlign=top><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr>17 </TD><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Game Date -->12/30 </TD><TD class=standard><!-- Opponent - Active Link if next game to be played -->TENNESSEE TITANS </TD><!-- TD CLASS = "schedulectr" --><TD class=schedulectr><!-- Determine Colts Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "ColtsScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP--><!-- Determine Opponents Score from Game --><!-- CFLOOP QUERY = "OpponentScore" --><!-- /CFLOOP --><!-- Output Final Score and W or L Flag - Link Score to Postgame page -->1:00 PM </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#39
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

Jake Scott, Veteran Offensive Guard Re-Signs With Colts.





Jake Scott has been one of the Colts? most consistent and productive offensive players the past three seasons.
This week, the Colts and Scott took a step to ensure that will continue.

Scott, a fourth-year veteran offensive guard who became a restricted free agent following this past season, has re-signed with the Colts, the club announced Friday.

Duration and terms were not disclosed.

Scott, a fifth-round selection in the 2004 NFL Draft from the University of Idaho, started nine of 12 games as a rookie, and has played in the Colts? last 44 regular-season games, including the last 39 as a starter.

Scott was one of three Colts offensive linemen to start all 16 games last season, with the others being Pro Bowl left tackle Tarik Glenn and Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday. Scott also started 16 games in 2005 and the last seven in 2004, helping the Colts produce at least 5,000 yards total offense in each of those three seasons.

The Colts also have allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL each of the last seasons.

Scott also started all four postseason games last season, a span during which the Colts out-rushed each of their opponents en route to a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

--Colts.com
 

The General

Another Day, Another Dollar
#40
Re: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS News and Notes for 2007/2008

The Colts do have a great team with the O line, lots of friendship I believe and the passion to get it done. We don't need any injuries. We're probably going to see the Colts do ok with 16 wins or 11 wins and then lose in playoffs as the repeat is so hard. We're going to find out soon enough. And, the team is doing voluntary workouts right now getting mean I reckon.
 
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