Andrew Luck makes strong statement in debut for Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts’ 2012 preseason opener, unlike such games in years past, was significant. It would offer the fan base its first look at the Colts under GM Ryan Grigson, coach Chuck Pagano and, most importantly, new franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.

Safe to say that first look was a good one.

Luck, heir apparent to Peyton Manning, looked a lot like the great former Colts quarterback in several ways Sunday in leading Indy to a 38-3 wallop of the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium, and not just because his first pass as a professional went for a touchdown.

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Indianapolis Colts Avoid Winless Season, Won’t Play Peyton Manning

The Indianapolis Colts won’t go 0-16. We know that much.

The Colts’ 27-13 victory against division rival Tennessee on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium — Indy’s first win of the 2011 season — prevented the franchise from going down in NFL history with the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only two teams to ever finish a season without a win.

But beyond the relief of finally breaking through for a win, the Colts still face some questions as they prepare to close out the final two weeks of 2011. Vice Chairman Bill Polian announced after the game that quarterback Peyton Manning would not appear in either of Indy’s last two games against Houston and Jacksonville. Also — believe it or not — there’s a legitimate race in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes again.

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Curtis Painter Gets His Shot with Indianapolis Colts against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Thursday I called for and expected Curtis Painter to be the Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback for tonight’s prime-time affair with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) at Raymond James Stadium.

He indeed will get such an opportunity.

With previous starter Kerry Collins still experiencing concussion-like symptoms, Colts coach Jim Caldwell said Friday that Painter, a third-year player out of Purdue, would get the nod for the team’s lone appearance on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this season.

What to make of this decision? It could result in a very telling outing by the Colts one way or the other.

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Indianapolis Colts Shine in Defeat, Fall to Pittsburgh Steelers

The Indianapolis Colts indeed fell to 0-3 Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium as many predicted they would.

I’m sure few people, however, predicted that a loss that dropped the Colts to 0-3 would feel so good.

The Colts put forth a stellar effort on the field and pushed the Pittsburgh Steelers to the brink in a 23-20 loss. Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked a 38-yard field goal after a late drive by Ben Roethlisberger to seal the deal with four seconds to play.

But what an encouraging and much-needed display by the Colts, even with the end result.

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Indianapolis Colts Suffer Ugly Loss to Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts fans now have an idea of what life is like without Peyton Manning in a meaningful game.

And it’s not a pretty idea.

The Colts opened the 2011 NFL season in quite an ugly fasihon, falling 34-7 to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. The Texans scored all of their 34 points in the first half.

One thing is for certain: this season will test the patience of the Colts’ fan base.

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Indianapolis Colts Enter Great Unknown Against Houston Texans

Reality has set in for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans.

Peyton Manning will not be behind center after starting a total of 227 consecutive games for the franchise.

Sixteen-year veteran Kerry Collins will take the snaps for the Colts for the foreseeable future, starting with today’s season-opening bout against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium.

The Great Unknown.

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With a Name like Pat Angerer, you must be a Linebacker

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By Paul M. Banks

Urlacher. Butkus. Stonebreaker- all are fantastic names of star collegiate linebackers who are or have been regarded as legend…wait for it…dairy in the Midwest. The tradition continues in Iowa City with senior Pat Angerer, who was named to this year’s Butkus Award and Lott Trophy watch lists.

When asked about his name fitting his job: “I never really thought anything of it until I started playing at Iowa, and people started bringing it up. I don’t mind it. It’s alright,” Angerer replied at Big Ten Media Day. Angerer was named pre-season first team all-Big Ten by Phil Steele’s College Football and Lindy’s College Football, based on the big success he had as a junior last year.
“Last year I was competing with another guy and going through camp he was still ahead of me, but I knew that if I put my nose down and persevered, worked hard, I would experience success and that’s what happened and I’m thankful for it,” Angerer stated sounding a bit like Hulk Hogan.

Last year at this time, he found himself in a completely different football world, as issues and doubt had crept in. There were times in 2007 when Angerer couldn’t even stand to watch the game of football. So his journey to where he is today (very close to the summit and attracting attention of NFL scouts) is all the more special.  angerer

“I think it was the most satisfying,” Pat said when I asked him if last year was the most enjoyable football season of his life. All the stats and facts bear this out. Angerer was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week vs. Wisconsin, and perhaps the team’s most valuable defensive player in their Outback Bowl win over South Carolina, the only postseason victory for a Big Ten team. Last year, he ranked second in the Big Ten and tied for 28th nationally in interceptions at .38 per game.

He also ranked sixth in the Big Ten with 8.2 tackles per game, and led the Hawkeyes in tackles with 107. All this earned him a second team all-Big Ten honor from the league coaches. Pat defines his best asset as such “my athleticism gets me out of trouble a lot of times, sometimes I might take that wrong read step, or get in bad position and my athleticism helps me get out of it.”

Angerer should also get another boost from having especially grueling practices this year, as everyday he scrimmages agasint one of the best position groups in the NCAA: the Iowa Offensive line. “We know going into practice that we’re going to have to bring it, otherwise they’re going to kick our butt, but we know all their checks at the line of scrimmage, so we kind of cheat in that way. We kind of know what they’re going to do,” he said. So as his practice prep makes him an even more special player come gameday this fall, what kind of heights could he reach?
“I looked up to Chad Greenway a lot. I’m not half the player he is, but I hope to eventually be there someday.”