A day after Monday’s shuffling at wide receiver and defensive end, the Indianapolis Colts placed RB Ahmad Bradshaw on injured reserve, ending his season. Bradshaw will have surgery on the neck injury that sidelined him after his impressive (running angry) 95-yard performance against the 49ers.
They also waived rookie RB/KR Kerwynn Williams, a 2013 7th round draft pick, from the practice squad and with Stanley Havili on the mend, released FB Robert Hughes from the active roster.
Antoine Bethea: Leader, Teammate, Giver of Forceful Pep Talks
Yesterday, we went over two of the big turning points in Sunday’s super fun win over the Seahawks. Today, we’ll go over something else that may have helped spark the Colts’ sudden first half resurgence.
After Seattle blocked Pat McAfee’s punt for a touchdown – no – touchback – no – safety (what?), the Seahawks led 12-0 with another possession coming and a chance to go for the kill shot, so to speak.
Seeing things beginning to fall apart in such an important game, Colts safety Antoine Bethea took a risk. He called his teammates together on the sideline, something that can seem cliché or empty if overused, and gave them a little, um, talk. Bethea, while an unquestioned leader, usually leads quietly by example but felt the time was right. As for the tone of the impromptu speech, Bethea said, “I wasn’t nice. It was a little animated.”
So, what did the veteran safety say that helped get his teammates so fired up and (re)focused when down 12-0? (Remember, the next two drives were a three and out by the defense and a 73-yard touchdown by the offense)
“Like you said, it was 12-0. Just felt like we weren’t really playing our style of ball the way we really wanted to play,” Bethea said. “Just something needed to be said. Somebody needed to say something. At that time, they were reviewing one of the plays. Just brought the team up and just talked about, we weren’t playing well.
“We were just a little bit slower than the Seahawks. Just told them, ‘Look, we came out here to do something. Last time we were home, it didn’t end so well.’ Just said put a little pep in our step and obviously came out yesterday with a win.”
Well, it worked. Bethea said he does a similar thing with the defense on occasion, but only one other time to the whole team…week one, 2012 against Chicago, but, as Bethea said, “that’s in the past so it’s cool.”
Everybody Loves Jerrell
So, this Jerrell Freeman guy is pretty good, right? The soft-spoken former CFL star has been excellent on the football field from the moment he seized his opportunity to play. After leading the team with 145 tackles last season (along with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and a pick six), Freeman is emphatically proving on the field that last season was no fluke.
Currently, he is 10th in the NFL with 43 tackles to go along with 3 sacks (no one else with 3+ sacks has more tackles, if that means anything), and 2 forced fumbles.
According to Chuck Pagano, Freeman is developing into a true playmaker. “Yeah, I think he’s just starting to pick up where he left off last season, coming on the scene and playing as well as he played last year and all the production that he had. He made, I think, 13 tackles yesterday.
“Huge hit on that last play of the game on the quarterback, I think, and it took a little bit of steam off that ball and Darius (Butler) intercepted it. But two huge plays on a second and third down on the second-to-last drive I think it was for them. Huge play on the quarterback on the read option. The guy, he’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great speed and he’s got a nose for the football and he’s got playmaking ability.”
“He was all over the field,” Bethea added. “I think it said he had 13 tackles. Jerrell, he’s a good player, great player. He’s very athletic. He can do everything. He’s good in the run game. He’s good in the pass game as well. There’s no liability when you speak of Jerrell.
“Last year, just coming from the CFL, he hopped onto the scene and had a great year. Like you said, this year he’s just rebounding on that. He’s one of the leaders on the defense. I think he’ll be here for a long time.”
Freeman, signed to a reserve-futures contract, was the first player signed in the Ryan Grigson era. Not a bad start.
(If you want more Jerrell Freeman, click here check out his appearance on the IndyStar Pat McAfee Show. Freeman comes in around the 35 minute mark)
Pagano shows off some Breakaway Speed
After Sunday’s much talked about the blocked field goal by Lawrence Guy and subsequent touchdown return by Delano Howell, Chuck Pagano was seen sprinting down the sidelines in excitement. A reporter brought it up to him in kind of a fun moment during yesterday’s conference calls.
“I forgot, that’s the only other injury that occurred,” Pagano said of his celebratory run. “I pulled a ham (laughs). Pulled a hammy on that one. I wasn’t going to say anything because I don’t want them to know. I don’t know. I don’t even recall it to be honest with you. Just a pretty exciting moment I guess. My wife happened to catch it too. She didn’t think I could move that fast either. It was good. It was a great moment in that game. Try to remain calm next time I guess.”
Then someone joked that Pagano was moving faster than the kicker who almost ran down Howell on the play, to which Pagano said, “I’m not faster than anybody. I’m the slowest guy out there, believe me.” Considering the grave subject matter of so many Pagano conversations in 2012, it’s nice to be talking about him in this manner now.
Indy’s 2018 Super Bowl Hosting Bid Moves forward
Bear with me for a moment, out of town Colts fans (though some of you may be just as excited). We need to take a moment to cheer on the 317, home of the Colts. Indianapolis is officially one of the three finalists to host Super Bowl LII in 2018, beating out Miami, Dallas, and Tampa Bay, according to The Indianapolis Star’s Jon Murray. Indy will be taking on Minneapolis, where they will have a new stadium to show off, and New Orleans, which will be celebrating its 300th anniversary.
The Circle City faces some tough competition, but the host committee and Mr. Irsay are confident. From the Indianapolis star:
“We understand the competition is stiff, when you talk about the other three cities that didn’t make the cut,” said Irsay, who was in Washington for the meeting. He sits on the advisory committee but sat out of the discussions because of Indianapolis’ application.
That Indianapolis survived the initial round shows that it’s competitive, Irsay said.
“You know the type of experience we were able to create (last year),” Irsay said. “It was critically important to have an incredible Super Bowl at that time. … We’ve created some dynamics that are being mimicked going forward in the future. And the central location is really key.”