Colts Players Taking Written Tests For Teams’ New Offense

Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni is giving his players written tests on route-running and other aspects of the playbook, Matthew VanTryon of the Indianapolis Star reports.

“What I feel like it does is it forces them to study,” the first-year coordinator told reporters. “It forces them to study maybe a little bit more than they would on their own because they’re prideful guys that want to be right and they want to look good in front of their peers. That’s why they are in the positions that they are in. So I’ve done that for a little bit and I always felt like it has worked pretty well so I continued it here.”

In fact, the competition it fuels is one of the main reasons Sirianni does it — in addition to making sure the players are up to speed.

“It’s a normal grading scale. There is no curve,” he said. “It’s all about not only getting them to learn the offense, but also to compete with each other. The constant competition – they’re fighting for jobs so the constant competition amongst each other is just another way for them to compete also.”

Colts Add Wide Out Kasen Williams to Their WR Core

The Colts have added some competition to their wide receiver corps by signing free agent Kasen Williams according to colts.com.

Undrafted out of the University of Washington, the 25-year-old has appeared in ten regular season games over three seasons in Seattle and Cleveland. He nabbed 9-of-18 targets for 84 yards in seven appearances for the Browns in 2017.

To make room for Williams on the roster, the Colts released wide receiver DeAndre Smelter. Originally a fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, Smelter logged just 54 regular-season snaps over three seasons. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Colts in January.

Report: Colts Still Have No Idea When Andrew Luck Will Be Ready

The Colts are taking a painstakingly deliberate approach to Andrew Luck’s shoulder rehabilitation this offseason, but there’s reason for more optimism this summer than last, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reports.

After speaking with team sources, NFL Network’s Charley Casserly reported on Friday’s edition of Rookie Camp Live that the Colts are “very confident” Luck will be ready for training camp in late July.

“There is no question in their mind that he will open training camp throwing the football,” Casserly added. “Right now, they’re being conservative. He’s throwing a weighted ball. That’s where they are right now, but he’s going to start training camp. They’re totally confident in that.”

Luck is healthy enough to participate in offseason practices, but he’s learned the importance of adhering to a strict schedule after missing the entire 2017 season due to the shoulder injury.

It’s been evident for some time, however, that the Colts are counting on the face of the franchise to be fully healthy and capable of withstanding the pounding once the season starts.

Sitting down with Around The NFL Podcast at the Annual League Meeting in late March, new coach Frank Reich was so confident that Luck would “ready to go” that he expressed hope the teams selecting ahead of Indianapolis would target quarterbacks with the first five picks in last month’s draft.

“You plan that he’s going to be there [for Week 1],” Reich said. “All the rehab is checking off all the boxes: Yep, we hit that stage. Stage one, stage two, stage three. It’s all been good. We’ll just have to keep progressing on down that road.”

Can the Colts Go From Worst to First in 2018? Pro Football Weekly Discusses Their Chances

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Colts since the NFL Draft nearly two weeks ago, as many think that the turnaround for the team will be swift, and not the long drawn out process that it’s taken for the team to start winning.

Today Pro Football Weekly’s Eric Edholm put out an article ranking all eight last place teams from the 2017 season, and if there’s a chance they can make it all the way to first place in 2018.

According to the article, the Colts have the third best shot to unseat the Titans for the Division title in 2018 – a feat that won’t come easy.

3. tie — Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans (4-12)

Yes, we’re entering cheat mode here — two last-placed teams for the price of one. We like the odds. Especially when we’re talking about teams that featured franchise quarterbacks who both missed more than half the season in 2017.

We’re coming up on 500 days since the last time Andrew Luck took the field for a game, and he’s still not throwing actual footballs, so it’s hard to really know where he stands. Plus, the Colts — despite adding some nice talent in the draft the past two years and being mostly competitive sans Luck last season — are very much mid-reboot. Straight up, winning the AFC South would be a stunning result for first-year head coach Frank Reich.

There’s more optimism in the short term, though, for the Texans. They were perceived contenders entering last season but mishandled Deshaun Watson prior to Week 1 before watching him go down for the season after a brilliant seven-game run. Assuming his knee is back to full strength, Watson rightfully deserves to be mentioned as one of the league’s great stars in bloom.

There weren’t too many teams that suffered more injury-wise than the Texans, who also lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus in a short span, and there’s more optimism now on both returning to form. If that happens, the front seven stands as one of the better units in the NFL, and the secondary at least looks improved on paper.

Can the Texans win the South? The emergent-power Jaguars might scoff at that idea after thoroughly dominating them twice last season, but you can’t eliminate the possibility of a heroic Watson pulling out some Year 2 magic and the Houston defense bouncing back enough to give them a shot.

Colts Make Roster Moves to Make Room for Drafted Rookies

The Colts have waived six players as they prepare to welcome their new draft picks and undrafted rookies, the Associated Press reports.

Linebacker Jermaine Grace, running back Matt Jones, receiver Justice Liggins, nose tackle Joey Mbu, defensive end Arthur Miley and linebacker Darnell Sankey were released Tuesday. Indy also put defensive tackle Johnathan Calvin on the waived-injured list.

If Calvin clears waivers, he will go on the Colts’ injured reserve list.

The list of undrafted free agents who reportedly have signed with Indianapolis includes kicker Michael Badgley, linebacker Skai Moore, defensive tackle Tomasi Laulile, linebacker Will Ossai and defensive backs Henre’ Toliver, Robert Jackson and Chris Cooper.

Colts Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Colts, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

The Colts had a nice combination of additions in this draft: they got stronger up front on offense, added some upside and immediate depth on defense, and they got some potential playmakers in the run game. In two of those three, I would say the biggest beneficiary could be Andrew Luck, who is coming back from a shoulder injury and recovery that will have us all watching him closely in 2018.

One way to protect Luck is to let him hand the ball off more often with better results. If this offense can operate more out of second-and-5 and third-and-2 scenarios, you’re allowing Luck to get the ball out faster. Quenton Nelson (pick 6) can help get you to second-and-5. He’s a devastating blocker, and a plug-and-play guard. Maybe a Pro Bowl version. Braden Smith (pick 37) is also a tough guy up front and could factor in soon. Nyheim Hines (pick 104) and Jordan Wilkins (pick 169) are a good mix of explosiveness and production. That backfield got better. Turay has pass-rushing upside and a quick first step, and Tyquan Lewis (pick 65) is a dependable edge player, though he’s not going to blow anyone away with quickness.

Deon Cain (pick 185) could provide some dividends at wide receiver. He comes from a system that has churned them out. Overall, it’s a solid draft for GM Chris Ballard and Indy, which added picks via trade and provided some cover for Luck.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/6 Quenton Nelson G NOTRE DAME
2/36 Darius Leonard OLB SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
2/37 Braden Smith G AUBURN
2/52 Kemoko Turay DE RUTGERS
2/64 Tyquan Lewis DE OHIO STATE
4/104 Nyheim Hines RB NC STATE
5/159 Daurice Fountain WR NORTHERN IOWA
5/169 Jordan Wilkins RB OLE MISS
6/185 Deon Cain WR CLEMSON
7/221 Matthew Adams ILB HOUSTON
7/235 Zaire Franklin ILB SYRACUSE

Colts Select Guard Quenton Nelson with the 6th Pick in the NFL Draft

The Colts landed a player they hope will be able to protect whoever plays QB for the team for a long time to come, as they snagged guard Quenton Nelson with the 6th pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft.

A great move for the Colts – here’s a quick Bio on Nelson:

Defensive linemen facing Nelson and Mike McGlinchey on the left side of the Irish’s line usually had a long day ahead of them. Nelson is a tough New Jersey kid who earned second-team USA Today All-American honors as a high school senior and was ranked in the top 50 overall recruits nationally as a guard. Notre Dame didn’t need him to suit up as a freshman, however, so he redshirted. Nelson got his chance in 2015, starting 11 of 12 games played at left guard (missing parts of two games with an ankle injury) next to 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. He and McGlinchey then manned the left side in all 12 games of the Irish’s disappointing 2016 season, though scouts weren’t disappointed with Nelson’s ability to move the line of scrimmage low and strong, as well as force defenders to the ground with regularity.

Video: What’s the Latest on Injury Timetable for QB Andrew Luck?

On CBS Sports HQ, senior NFL writer Will Brinson discusses Andrew Luck’s still mysterious injury recovery.

Colts QB Andrew Luck Has Still Yet to Throw a Football This Offseason

After missing the entire 2017 season with a mysterious, lingering injury to his throwing arm, Andrew Luck is appealing to Indianapolis faithful for patience as the Colts assemble for Phase One of the offseason program, Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reports.

Toiling through an extraordinarily deliberate rehabilitation program, Luck began throwing again in February. To this point in the process, however, he has yet to reach the next level of throwing the football.

“When the time is right,” Luck explained, “I’ll pick it up.”

Although the face of the Colts franchise is tempted to accelerate his rehab efforts, he emphasized the importance of diligently following his prescribed timetable.

“I’m not a perfect-feeling athlete right now,” Luck conceded. “… One thing I picked up upon myself is that I’m quite impatient as a person. It has gotten into places — looking back at the rehab — that maybe I shouldn’t have been in, in the first place.

“I don’t want to repeat those missteps. I cannot miss steps. I very, very strongly believe in that. Some things just take time and I’ve learned that. When I do get the urge to do something a little silly, I talk to myself and say it’s not worth it right now.”

Luck and the organization are taking a cautious stance this offseason after getting burned by their open optimism last year. This time around, those positive expectations are more guarded.

Sitting down with Around The NFL Podcast at the Annual League Meeting late last month, new coach Frank Reich expressed hope that teams selecting ahead of the Colts draft quarterbacks because of the strong belief that Luck will be “ready to go” in Week 1.

“You’re hopeful that he’s going to be there,” Reich added. “You plan that he’s going to be there. All the rehab is checking off all the boxes: Yep, we hit that stage. Stage one, stage two, stage three. It’s all been good. We’ll just have to keep progressing on down that road.”