Yesterday, Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano had a conference call with the media and discussed a couple of the standout performances from Sunday's preseason win over the Giants as well as a few updates on injured players.
We'll go over some of the highlights, but first, a roster move:
Indianapolis Signs AFL WR Maurice Williams
The Colts announced Monday evening that they had signed former Arena League receiver Maurice Williams. Some believe the team is dissatisfied with their depth behind third receiver T.Y. Hilton with LaVon Brazill set to serve a four game suspension, but true or not, an injury to Griff Whalen has opened the door for another player to come in and make his case for a roster spot.
Williams, 6-1, 195 pounds, joins the Colts after playing the previous two seasons in the AFL with the Cleveland Gladiators (2012-13) and Orlando Predators (2013) as a wide receiver and defensive back. For his career, Williams recorded 39 receptions for 537 yards and 12 touchdowns, while adding 35 kickoff returns for 628 yards and two touchdowns. He also posted 33 tackles (22 solo) and four interceptions, including three returns for touchdowns on defense.
Also, click here
for a link to Williams's NFL Draft Scout Profile.
Pagano on reserve OLB and former Utah blaze star, Caesar Rayford, who has shown a relentless ability to get into the backfield, including two sacks against the Giants: "You could see watching his tape coming up from the AFL and things like that, he’s sitting there, there’s no tackles there. It’s a center and a guard. He’s rushing on a guard, so he’s one man closer to the quarterback and just wreaking havoc at that level. You saw the raw talent there and now it’s just a matter of Coach Emanuel and our guys honing and refining his skillset. I think he’s progressing every day.
"And again, like I said, you can’t coach the things that he has: height, weight and length and those things. But he’s a hard worker and once he gets the run game down and he learns to play behind his pads and play with a little bit lower pad level, I think playing against the run, certainly we know he can be an effective pass rusher, but he’ll get better as far as setting the edge in the run game also."
It should be noted that rushing the passer is quite difficult in the high scoring AFL, though the methods and nuances are surely very different from the NFL. If Rayford continues to look the part of a dynamic pass rusher, especially against progressively higher level competition, no amount of deficiency against the run should keep him off the roster (right?). He can learn as he goes.
Pagano on backup DT Drake Nevis, a former third round pick who is finally looking healthy again: “He’s a high-motor guy. He’s got some pass-rush ability and like I said, he’s relentless in his pass rush. He’s a powerful guy. He’s an explosive guy. Going in there and getting a couple sacks late in that game, that’s just Drake. That’s how he plays. He’s snap-to-whistle, all out. He can become, depending on who he’s going against, he gets singled up, he’s got the ability to beat guys."
If I'm on the opposing offense, and it's third and long against the Colts nickel package, I wouldn't like the thought of going against a healthy Nevis. The guy is just non-stop pass rush.
Injury Updates from the Coach
Pagano on TE Coby Fleener (knee) and OLB Lawrence Sidbury (shoulder): “Yeah, he’s been evaluated, MRIs came back and they were negative and it looks like he might miss some time early this week and then be back in the swing of things, probably work him back into practice on Thursday and Friday. (Lawrence) Sidbury was the other one. His came back negative also. He’s going to be day-to-day, really, Sid. He might miss a few days this week and we’ll look to see how he’s feeling towards the end of the week and if he’s going to be available for Saturday.”
Fleener had a rough outing and didn't seem 100%. Expect for him to look better next time he's on the field.
Pagano on Dwayne Allen: “Yeah, he’s doing great. As a matter of fact, we’re going to monitor his reps but it looks like he’s going to be able to get some work in tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, go through the week. But again, we’ll monitor his reps and see how he does but he’s come back relatively quick.”
Allen has been consistent. He has great hands and runs smart routes. Oh, and the man can throw a block. We might not see him play much, if at all, in the preseason, but he will be missed greatly if he isn't able to play when the games matter.
Pagano also said they hope to have safety LaRon Landry back next weekend, as well as to get more snaps with the defense for ILB Pat Angerer.
As for their former free agent running back, Pagano said, "Ahmad (Bradshaw) is a guy that we said all along we’re going to err on the side of caution as we always say, but maybe he gets a chance to start working in there."
Bradshaw is a fine running back, but he needs to get healthy. He will be an upgrade once he's ready to be on the field, and his availability could keep all three backs healthier by splitting carries.
As always, all quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR Department.
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