The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

April 30, 2013

George Bremer: Colts’ home finale holds keys to future

Of all the memorable drives during the Indianapolis Colts’ remarkable 2012 season, the final march of the last home game likely will be the best indicator of the future.

A smile still brushes head coach Chuck Pagano’s face when he speaks about it during news conferences, even though it ended with Andrew Luck kneeling three consecutive times behind the line of scrimmage instead of making a highlight-reel touchdown pass.

The Colts took possession against the Houston Texans with 9 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and never let the visitors touch the ball again.

Luck completed just one pass — for 6 yards to Reggie Wayne on third-and-2 from Houston’s 20 — and 11 of the previous 12 plays were runs. Indianapolis marched from its own 20-yard line to the Texans’ 14, then Luck knelt to preserve a 28-16 victory that cost Houston homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs.

It’s not the play calling that portends the future. So don’t worry about new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton overwhelming the game plan with a power-running game.

And it’s not even the 66 yards the Colts moved the football with little contribution from Luck and Wayne — who had been the heart and soul of the offense all year.

No, it was the mindset and character of the team.

Indianapolis simply imposed its will on Houston, showing the smashmouth mentality Pagano promised to instill on the mid-January day on which he was announced as the replacement for former head coach Jim Caldwell.

Nearly every move the team has made since its 24-9 loss in Baltimore in the AFC Wild Card round one week later has been designed to reinforce that take-no-prisoners approach.

Four new offensive lineman have been added — tackle Gosder Cherilus and guard Donald Thomas in free agency, guard Hugh Thornton and center Khaled Holmes in the draft. Three defensive linemen have been imported — free agents Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean Francois and fifth-round draft pick Montori Hughes. And the team also has beefed up with run-stuffing safety LaRon Landry and outside linebacker Erik Walden.

Even the first pick of the draft — Florida State’s Bjoern Werner at No. 24 overall — is a pass-rushing menace brought in to help the Colts control the line of scrimmage.

“Our team got way better (through free agency and the draft), and we know what the expectations are coming down the pipe,” Pagano said at Saturday’s postdraft news conference. “It’s exactly where we want to be. The expectations are where we want them.”

Those expectations involve the images of the Lombardi Trophy strategically placed all around the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

Pagano’s vision for the Colts came to fruition for the final 9:46 last year at Lucas Oil Stadium.

But that was just a start.

He and general manager Ryan Grigson won’t rest until Luck is kneeling to run out the clock on the first Sunday in February.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SPT - HB0726 - Thomas - Colts Camp day two 252 Versatility personified: Thomas tries to recapture '13 start

    With the rash of injuries a year ago among the offensive skill players for the Indianapolis Colts, some might have forgotten the excellent start by guard Donald Thomas.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Riverfield splits pair in regional It was a tale of two completely different ball games for the Riverfield softball all-stars Friday at the regional in South Bend. Riverfield lost game one to Illinois 13-2 but bounced back to beat Iowa 14-1 in the afternoon to stay alive in the national tournament.

    July 25, 2014

  • SPT - HB0726 - Mathis - Colts Camp day two 101 Mathis getting lighter workload as Colts get creative

    Robert Mathis is caught in an interesting predicament. The veteran outside linebacker finds himself preparing as hard as he can to play a football season that he will watch for the first month on television. That's the result of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, and it means fans will see less of the league's reigning sack champion on the practice field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0726-Ballard2-ColtsCampdaytwo267.jpg Ballard carted off practice field

    The first scary moment of Indianapolis Colts training camp came Friday afternoon courtesy of running back Vick Ballard. The former Mississippi State star went to the ground early in the public practice after catching an undefended pass in individual drills.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0726 - Thornton - Colts Camp day two 200 Healthy Thornton 'having a blast' at Colts Camp

    Hugh Thornton is making up for lost time. After missing the majority of training camp with an injured ankle as a rookie last summer, the offensive lineman reported a day early to Anderson University this week.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT - HB0725 - Colts Camp - 007 CB Darius Butler holds tight to No. 20 The number 20 has grown to mean something to Darius Butler. The former second-round pick was running out of chances when the Indianapolis Colts signed him during the 2012 season. Eleven starts and eight interceptions later, he’s ingrained as the team’s slot cornerback — working under the final season of a two-year, $4 million deal.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3703.JPG Colts Quick Hits: Friday, July 25

    Notes, news and fun facts from Colts Training Camp at Anderson University.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-080.jpg Comfortable Richardson looking for production

    On Sept. 18, the Indianapolis Colts secured the services of running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns. He spent the remainder of the season trying to catch up.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT-HB0725-ColtsCamp-128.jpg Luck plans to use preseason time wisely

    Managing the situations that crop up during a football game is at the top of Andrew Luck's to-do list. But his more immediate concern is maximizing every snap of training camp at Anderson University.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • irsay.jpg Colts Camp Blog: Irsay's expectations and other musings

    News and notes of interest from Colts Training Camp in Anderson.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin

Latest Racing News