December 8, 2017
Luck took part in individual drills during practice and was officially listed as a limited participant. Luck will be on a “pitch count” in practice this week Pagano said, and the team will monitor the types of throws he makes.
The Colts will remain cautious bringing along the franchise quarterback. Luck will sit out Thursday before hopefully participating again Friday, per Pagano.
Spence spent the 2016 season in Tennessee under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, where the linebacker recorded 54 tackles, three sacks, three pass defenses and one forced fumble in 15 games (six starts). Drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2012 draft, injuries kept Spence on the sideline for the first two seasons of his career before he saw action in 2014 and 2015. Over his three seasons worth of playing, the 26-year-old journeyman has recorded 144 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble.
Spence spelled veteran inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard in LeBeau’s 3-4 scheme, and will have an opportunity to compete for a starting position on a defense that finished 30th in the league in 2016 in total yards allowed per game. Spence’s addition makes it six new arrivals on defense for Indianapolis, joining defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Margus Hunt, linebackers Barkevious Mingo and John Simon, and nose tackle Al Woods.
Buoyed by a much-hyped “awakening,” Michael was downright explosive in August and September of last year, showing dynamic rushing ability. Over the course of the next two months, though, poor run blocking, a hobbled Russell Wilson and Michael’s own disturbing penchant for misreading holes and making mental errors in the passing game contributed to his ticket out of Seattle.
After watching the Seahawks, Packers, Cowboys and Redskins fail to unleash Michael’s athletic explosiveness over the past few seasons, the Colts will give him a chance to challenge fourth-round rookie Marlon Mack as a play-making complement to Gore.
The hiring ends years of speculation in Indianapolis. While Grigson and Pagano were supposed to be working together, there seemed to be a glaring disconnect between the type of players Pagano and his rotating cast of offensive coordinators required to succeed. On defense — Pagano’s specialty — the team finished 22nd in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed. Last year, they were 25th in points and 26th in yards.
In comes Ballard, who helped piece together a dominant defense for coordinator Bob Sutton in Kansas City. He also oversaw the department that stocked the Chiefs’ cupboard at running back, offensive line and receiver for this year’s 12-4 run. Since Ballard arrived in 2013, the Chiefs have not finished lower than second in the AFC West.
If multiple teams clear Orr medically, his market will heat up fast. For teams needing to upgrade their defense like the Colts and Lions to push toward the playoffs, Orr could be a difference maker.
A young playmaking middle linebacker hitting free agency in June is rare. The Ravens were in negotiations with the undrafted free agent before learning of his condition. If several teams don’t have the same concerns Baltimore’s doctors did about Orr continuing to play, a bidding war could ensue.
Perhaps this is just an owner whooping it up for his constituents, but if not, Irsay might be in for a rude awakening. The AFC South just got twice as good as it was during the beginning of the Luck era. Luck has not thrown a football since January (shoulder surgery), the skill-position players around him still need a significant upgrade and just this offseason, the defense started to edge in the right direction for the first time in years.
Around the Colts, the Texans boast a potential No. 1 defense that will be intact for at least a few more years. Marcus Mariota and the thumping Titans running game seem to just be getting started, with most of the team’s core players under the age of 28. The Jaguars again layered all-star free agent atop all-star free agent this offseason.
March 15, 2018
February 2, 2018