Pacers Lose Ugly to the Wolves /Stone Sport Report

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Pacers Lose Ugly to the Wolves
Stone Miller

Pacer Wolve

The Pacers found themselves struggling on the offensive end in the first half. With a halftime score of 52-38, they found themselves embarrassed so far by a very young Timberwolves team.
Not a lot of positives came from this game; but Roy Hibbert did play his best game so far this preseason. He shot 5-10 from the field, scored 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Also was efficient in rim protecting as usual, with 3 blocks. Those might be the averages you’ll see from him this year. You can tell he has lost some weight so that he could be more mobile and move about the court easier. Last season he was pretty slow and put on a lot of muscle weight. Things changed this offseason; he worked with hall-of-fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and looks to improve his confidence and overall big man skills. We should expect a big season from him.
The final score to this game was a little better than expected; 107-89. Still a pretty bad loss. Offensive inefficiency and turnovers cost the Pacers this game. They finished with 20. Indiana will need to cut down on turnovers with they want to put together a quality season.
Donald Sloan was another bright spot, he scored 19 points in 28 minutes. He also shot 3-4 from 3 point range which is the area of his game that has greatly improved. He’ll look to earn a larger spot in the rotation and maybe play shooting guard more.
The Pacers will face off in their next game against the Charlotte Hornets; Lance Stephenson’s new team. Their first regular season game will be on October 19th against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Pacers Vs. Hornets/Stones Sport Report

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Pacers Vs. Hornets
Stone Miller

Pacers vd Hornets

July 16, 2014 Lance Stephenson turned down a 5 year $44 million deal from the Pacers; he later accepted a 3 year $27 million deal form the Charlotte Hornets. Jaws dropped in Indianapolis, from Larry Bird to your average fan, shocked. Many question why he left; was it Chemistry? Shots? Role? Money? What? No one can be sure, here a theory; the new luxury tax goes up in a few years. He signed a lesser deal because he thinks he can get a big max contract when the time comes. We shall see.
Tonight the Pacers will be facing off against Stephenson’s new team; the Charlotte Hornets. It will be each team’s last preseason game and sadly Lance Stephenson will not be playing against his old team due to a groin injury.
This might be the last game you see C.J. Fair, Adonis Thomas, Arinze Onuaku or Chris Singleton in Pacers uniforms. All of them are possible cuts that Frank Vogel will make. My guess is they will keep Fair; he’s young, athletic and has some potential, and could be used on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The Pacers still have some things to clean up before the season begins; number one on the list is lowering turnovers and increasing ball movement. Likely both of those will not improve greatly tonight, but one would be good. If we take care of the basketball more, that will lead to more offense and more time to settle in and share the basketball.
Donald Sloan has been a pleasant surprise this preseason; he leads the team with 13.8 points per game and has been great running the offense and scoring at 2 guard. That could help the Pacers bench a lot, if he can be an efficient scorer that changes things for the Pacers bench.
Overall I think the Pacers have performed well when the starters have played; our record this preseason is only 2-4 but I think the team has gotten comfortable around each other and have formed a chemistry ready for the regular season.
Tonight the Pacers will look to build the chemistry more as they face the Charlotte Hornets tonight at 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time.

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Yost on offensive production 10/22/14 | 00:02:31

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Yost on offensive production 10/22/14 | 00:02:31

Courtesy kansascity.royals.mlb.com
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NBA Fantasy Draft/ Stones Sport Report

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NBA Fantasy Draft

Stone Miller

Golden State Warriors v Utah JazzNBA Fantasy 2

Often in a fantasy drafts people look at the average points, rebounds or assists per game. This isn’t always a bad thing to look at the ESPN projections, but we need to go deeper statistically. We need to look at turnovers, and shooting percentage. Yet projections are often helpful they should only truly be used in the first few rounds, also depending upon the amount of knowledge you have of the NBA.

If we are looking for players who turn the ball over very little, we should start at power forward. In this day and age, power forwards rule the NBA; athletic, good mid-range shot, great power post moves, a lot of shot opportunities and great rebounders. My top recommendations would Anthony Davis, Serge Ibaka, Lamarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Kevin Low. These players make smart offensive decisions, have good mid-range jumpers and take high percentage shots.

Some lower round picks I would target at power forward would be David Lee, Derrick Favors, Kenneth Faried, Thaddeus Young and Terrence Jones. Obviously these aren’t guaranteed all-star-caliber picks but have potential for big seasons.

In the past I’ve gone for a best player available at the position I need or want, and it’s often failed me. Then I started stressing on picking a good point guard and power forward. And it bodes well for me, due to the shot selection and small amount of mistakes they make.

Next we have point guard. Today almost every team in the league has a solid point guard, If not a star. They are plentiful in the draft, but I prefer to pick them in the first or second rounds. Chris Paul and Stephen Curry are the two you should look for. They have the ability to go for huge offensive games, and will more than likely average double digit assists. The advantage to Chris Paul being the defense. He normally average about 2 steals a game or more, which is usually a league leading.

Some possible lower round pick point guards who really could help your fantasy team if you didn’t pick an elite point guard. Michael Carter-Williams, Reggie Jackson, Jrue Holiday are my lower round recommendations and should be improved from last season.

I’m not going to tell you to overlook small forwards, shooting guards or centers, but try out this strategy. It should bode very well for you and create a good opportunity for you to win you league or at least compete.

 

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Pacers Vs. Wolves Pre-View/ Stones Sport Report

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Pacers Vs. Wolves Pre-View

Stone Miller

PAcers vs Wolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers will be facing off for the second this preseason. In their first face off George Hill lead them to a 103-90 victory; scoring 17 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and had 7 assists. Andrew Wiggins also premiered in that game; with a nice 18 point debut.

Wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Vogel plays the bench players and holds the starters out for rest reasons, and lets the bench players have a shot to either get more comfortable with the team or prove they deserve a roster spot. David West will not play tonight or the rest of the preseason due to an ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter against the Mavericks.

We haven’t seen a lot of play recently form C.J. Fair, Adonis Thomas Minnesota Timberwolves and Arinze Onuaku. Mostly because they are on training camp contracts. I expect them to play alittle more these last few games to prove themselves. The Pacers need a backup shooting guard, so C.J. Fair and Adonis Thomas are possible regular season signs.

Minnesota should be an interesting team to watch thus year, with a lot of young talent they could make many improvements for the future. All eyes on Andrew Wiggins. With the first pick in the draft the Cavaliers selected him; and a few months later traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. This is the most exciting young talent they’ve had since drafting Kevin Love and see great potential in him. Keep an eye on him tonight and see his talent and potential.

I predict another Pacers win. The bench will play a big role and Luis Scola will be starting

 

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“Say It Ain’t So” REGGIE…”Say It Ain’t So”!

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Status Of Reggie Wayne

Stone Miller

Reggie Wayne, Jayson DiManche

Reggie Wayne suffered a minor elbow Injury Sunday after a hard hit in the first quarter. After that he seemed banged up; could catch open balls, dropped a screen pass, and seemed bothered by it. From seeing him play it didn’t look super serious but could be game altering. He stated “If you don’t see me Sunday it’s something I can’t play through”. Sounds like a typical veteran and future Hall-of-Famer wanting to play no matter the circumstance.

I would be surprised if he didn’t make a hard push to play next week, but if it alters his play like it did Sunday they might hold him out for precautionary reasons. Sunday he dropped 3 passes and took 2 hard hits. On one play you really questioned why he was still in because he clearly seemed hurt, but he wanted to keep playing; he finished with 4 receptions for 15 yards.

The Colts are waiting for an MRI to come back, and they’ll go from there. Personally I expect Reggie Wayne to play; but its Chuck Pagano’s call.

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Colts Defense Shuts Down the Bengals/Stones Sports Report

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Colts Defense Shuts Down the Bengals

Stone Miller

Colts D shuts down Bengals

An absolute showcase was put on Sunday against the Bengals. Was it the number 1 offense in the league? Nope. The Colts defense. They put the clamps down on a banged up Bengals offense. The first 7 Cincinnati possessions all ended in 3-and-out and their first down was due to a penalty.

The first half score was a lowly 10-0 Colts, that being due to 2 fumbles from Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson after a bad handoff. None the less the Colts defense was fantastic every possession. Vontae Davis and Greg Toler did a great job shutting down the pass game and Cory Redding added a sack.

Erik Walden was thrown out of Sunday’s game for making contact with a referee and was very confused by the call as was everyone else. Walden wasn’t leaving the field while Pagano was asking questions and was escorted. No fine or further punishment was assessed and he will be back next.

The only thing that changed in the second half was scoring for the Colts. The 1-2 punch of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw where dominant, they finished with 129 yards on 24 carries and Trent finished with 118 total yards and would have had more. He left early due to a minor hamstring injury and would have returned but they decided to keep him out because of precautionary reasons. Andrew Luck had himself a nice game with 344 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.

The total offense was great with a total of 506 yards and had a nice spread between run and pass. Tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwyane Allen combined for 116 yards and a touchdown. Jack Doyle also proved very effective yet again in the blocking game.

Reggie Wayne got banged up after a hard hit on the field that caused an elbow injury and after that seemed a little shaken up after dropping multiple passes. Colts said the injury isn’t to serious, but it is very possible he could miss a game or 2. That would of course open things up more for Hakeem Nicks. Also they held Arthur Jones another game for precautionary reason and will be back next week against the Steelers.

The Bengals finished with a total of 135 yards of offense, they also did not score a single point. The showcase the Colts displayed Sunday was spectacular and somewhat surprising since they haven’t had a total defensive shutout since 2008. Vontae Davis delivered a highlight reel type hit on Cincinnati running back Giovanni Bernard in the 3rd quarter which really got the crowd going. Vontae Davis only allowed only 13 receiving yards covering Greg Little.

The pass rush also has kept up very well and Bjoern Werner has really continued to show his potential. He has a sack and 3 hits on the quarterback. Hopefully he can continue to develop and become a future leader for the Colts defense.

The final score being 27-0 the Colts were very satisfied but still have work to do and will have a tough game next week in Pittsburgh. Arthur Jones will be back and the defense will be and try to duplicate last week’s performance.

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Copland Leads Pacers to Victory/Stones Sport Report

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Copland Leads Pacers to Victory/Stones Sport Report
Stone Miller

Pacers

On Saturday night the Indiana Pacers found themselves facing against the Mavericks bench players. Dallas had decided to rest all 5 starters and start the unguaranteed contract players. This was most likely to see who was worthy of making the team and who would be cut. As for the Pacers they started an interesting rotation; Rodney Stuckey was out with a left foot injury and Frank Vogel decided Chris Copeland and move C.J. Miles to shooting guard.
The Pacers got off to rough start, turning the ball over 7 times in the first quarter and it seemed like David West took most of the shots in the first. Thing didn’t change for the Pacers come the 2nd quarter and Dallas got out to a 10 point lead. The score at halftime being 52-42. Dallas was led by rookie point guard Gal Mekel (finished with 19 points).
David West went down in the first quarter with a minor ankle injury and will miss the last 2 preseason games of the season. He expects to be back for opening night on October 29th.
In the second half things changed a lot, Chris Copeland and Richard Jefferson had a battle. It seemed like every other play Copeland or Jefferson was scoring. The Pacers very clearly made it mission to shoot a lot of 3 pointers. As a team they shot 27 threes; 14 being from Copeland.
George Hill really ran the offense well, making sure things flowed with ball movement and always found the open shooter. He finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Frank Vogel made sure that Chris Copeland got his shots up and I think you’ll see plenty more of that throughout the season. Don’t expect them to take 27 threes a game but expect the numbers to rise from last season. In 2013 the Pacers shot 18.8 3s per game, and shot 35%. Expect both of those numbers to go up considerably.
In the 4th quarter the Pacers shot 75% from the field in the 4th quarter, and went on a long 18-3 run to take the lead. That due to Donald Sloan scoring 12 of his 15 points in the 4th and Copeland hit 2 straight 3 pointers to give the Pacers a one point lead. Chris Copeland finished with 22 points, 5 rebound and 2 steals to lead them to their 2nd preseason victory.
The Pacers will make a trip Tuesday to Minnesota for their 2nd to last preseason game of the season. You’ll most likely see Vogel rest the starters more and they’ll play the bench and extras a lot more. Remember they’ll be making cuts soon, so look out to see the final roster released.

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Breaking Down the Indiana Pacers Bench/ Stones Sports Report

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Pacers

Breaking Down the Indiana Pacers Bench
Stone Miller

Last Season:
Last year the Pacers had an inefficient bench that struggled offensively. The Pacer made a risky trade to acquire Philadelphia 76er Evan Turner around the middle of the year, and sent career long Pacer Danny Granger away. This didn’t turn out well for Indiana, Evan Turner constantly struggled sharing the basketball, was a turnover machine and never found his place in the offense. Overall the Pacers bench was second to worst last year and averaged a lowly 24.1 points per game, putting a heavy load on the starters.
Off-Season Moves:
Larry Bird being very dissatisfied and disappointed in The Pacers game 6 loss to the Miami Heat in the eastern conference finals; he got to work In the offseason on a mission to improve the Indiana Pacer bench. He first looked to the shooting guard position, last season that position for the Pacers was often vacant because of player struggles. After Lance Stephenson shockingly left for the New Orleans Hornets, The Pacers looked to the free agents list and signed 6’5” guard Rodney Stuckey form the Detroit Pistons. Prior to this he signed Cavalier sharp shooter C.J. Miles and later on Croatian Power Forward Damjan Rudez. In the article ill be breaking down what the bench might look like and whos going to receive the most playing time off the bench.
Point Guard:
Nothing has changed at this position; the Pacers will have all the point guards from last season returning. C.J. Watson will be in his usual backup role, running the offense. Watson brings a lot to the table for the Pacers second unit, that including a deadly 3 ball; which he shot 36% last season. He also brings good defense and speed on the attack that is above average for backup point guards. Last year he averaged 6.6 points per game; that will change this year, he’ll be getting more playing time and will have a larger offensive role with the second unit.
3rd string point guard Donald Sloan will also be returning this year as well. He didn’t play a lot last season and was usually played in injury situations but he did play well with his time. He might be playing more at shooting guard this year, and does have some heighth at 6’3”. If he does play, hes got good ball handling skills and has a similar build to that of Rodney Stuckey.
Shooting Guard:
This position is the big question off the bench for this year. Possible fill-ins would be Solomon Hill, Donald Sloan or possibly one of the shooting guards the Pacers have on the training camp squad; C.J. Fair or Adonis Thomas.
Donald Sloan will probably share minutes at this position off the bench, along with Solomon Hill; unless he is named the starter. If he is named starter than it could be C.J. Miles, but he’s a likely starter. Solomon Hill has improved a lot over the offseason; changing his jump shot form; working on his ball handling and overall defensive focus. He is the Pacers most bright potential from recent draft classes, and will look to show that this season
Small Forward:
Chris Copeland will be getting majority of the minutes at this position, after being benched most of last season; things will change. Frank Vogel stated “I look for Chris Copeland to get a lot more minutes, at the wing spot”. This offseason Copeland participated in a NBA Rookie Transition program, because he never felt like he made the transition. Now he’s got a new body, and a new opportunity to play more. He brings an interesting set of skills to the Pacers roster; with a great 3 point shot and unique post game, he’ll be a lot to handle for your average NBA backup small forward. From 3 point range he shot 47%, which is the same as Kyle Korver shot; obvious Korver took more shots than Copeland, but regardless it’s still impressive. The one concern is that he won’t be fast enough to guard small forwards; this year he might face some new challenges but will adjust. Look for Copeland to possibly emerge as the Pacers best bench player, and maybe lead them in scoring.
Solomon Hill should also get minutes at this position as well, considering it’s his natural position.
Power Forward:
Argentinian power forward Luis Scola will return to his previously held role with the Indiana Pacers this season. Last summer he was brought over in a trade from the Phoenix Suns for Miles Plumlee and a 1st round pick. Scola lead the bench in scoring with 7.6 points per game, and stretched the floor with his mid-range jumper. The thing that stands out is his post game, it’s unique in that it involves fancy footwork and up and under scoops. You never know what you’re going to see from Scola. His ability to pass the ball is vital to second unit success, in spreading the floor and finding open shooters. Scola is not the most athletic of players, but makes up for that with his strength and high basketball IQ.

This offseason the Pacers looked overseas to find a shooting power forward; they found exactly that in Damjan Rudez. At 6’10” and an athletic build he can bring some versatility to the power forward position. He will likely be used in pick and roll or pick and pop shooting situations. He could be useful to spread the floor and open things up for Roy Hibbert.
Lavoy Allen is the other young forward/center, he came over with Evan Turner in the Danny Granger trade. He’s proved to be the best thing to come from that transaction. He didn’t play a lot of minutes last season, but when he did he performed well. He potentially could see some minutes at backup center if Ian Mahinmi’s return is delayed.
Center:
The most important thing about the Pacers defense is at the center position. After Roy Hibbert comes out of the game, then comes in Ian Mahinmi. Who is also very good at protecting the rim, and at 6’11” brings a defense presence not a lot of teams have off the bench. He’s not the most polished offensive player and his jump shot isn’t the prettiest but can provide points. His jumper is actually quite effective on the pick and pop; and is often overlooked. This year his role will be the same as last and has made some offseason improvements on his post moves.
Undrafted free agent signee Shayne Whittington has proved this preseason that he had potential and talents to bring to the Pacers roster. In his first game he went 5-5 with 11 points, in limited minutes. He reminds one of Mile Plumlee a little and also has a long range game. He’s the Pacers youngest player and could present the Pacers with a potential future talent.

Possible Training Camp Signs:
C.J. Fair and Adonis Thomas are the 2 players that have the best chance to make the roster. Fair was a senior standout at Syracuse last season and has through-the-roof athletic ability. He has a nose for the basket but also struggles with the 3 point jumper.
Adonis Thomas could provide a big body at shooting guard off the bench and would likely be beneficial to the offensive end and brings some defense. He has a good looking jump shot, and has played in the NBA D-League for a while. What the Pacers need is a backup shooting guard. Look for one of these 2 talented young athletes to be signed before the season starts.
Overall the Pacers have an improved bench, they have more shooters and more depth. The offensive load wont be so heavy this season for the starting 5, the 3point shot will help change that. The 3 point shot will be prevalent and key to a successful bench this season.
– Stone Miller (Stone_116)

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Colts Defense; Best it’s Ever Been?/Stones Sports Report

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Colts D

Colts Defense; Best it’s Ever Been?
Stone Miller

This season the Indianapolis Colts defense has lost key playes to injury and suspension; those being Laron Landry (suspended PED use), Robert Mathis (torn Achilles) and also Arthur Jones (ankle sprain, no timetable). That has not stopped the Indianapolis defense from succeeding. Today ill be breaking down the Colts defense and how its improved so drastically in the Andrew Luck and Ryan Grigson era.
The Colts may not be first in the league in yards allowed; but they do lead in one of the most important statistics; 3rd down stops. They come in at number one, allowing a dismal 19 3rd down conversions; that’s first in the league by 3. The Colts defense has performed time and again when needed most. Yes they have allowed the 2034 yards on the year which is 19th in the league; but that doesn’t matter when you make so many stops on 3rd down. The pass rush has also stepped up with 17 sacks on the season (that’s 6th in the NFL). Every player on the defense has played a part in this success. In this article ill be breaking down the performance of each part of the defense, and also how they can improve.

Defensive Line:
One of the Colts most veteran parts of the team is the defensive line; Cory Redding, Arthur Jones, Josh Chapman and Ricky Jean-Francois. Cory Redding is the leader of the group, having the most experience and always giving a consistent and quality performance. Redding this season hasn’t had the greatest stats with 11 tackles and 2 sacks, but defensive ends job isn’t to have great tackle stats, it’s to put pressure on the QB and he’s done that. He’s helped force a lot of 4th downs with his speed and tenacious pursuit of the QB.
As for Josh Chapman, his play is always underrated and never talked about. He provides a presence in the middle not a lot of teams have at Nose Tackle. At 6’ 340 pounds and a impressive 40 yard dash for a nose tackle, 5.02 he presents a difficult road block for running backs. Most people notice performances by statistics, but Chapman’s performance cannot be judged by this alone. His large body prevents running backs from finding space to move in between offensive lineman and that’s key.
As for Ricky Jean-Francois he has been a good part-time replacement for the injured Arthur Jones. With 12 tackles and 1 sack in his short time as a starter I’d say he’s filling in well. The Colts would like to have Arthur Jones back though, he is a more specialized pass rusher and is of bigger size.

Linebackers:
D’Qwell Jackson. The best sign from this offseason from the Cleveland Browns. Jackson has proved to be the Colts best linebacker and pass rusher this season. His stats have been tremendous; 45 tackles and 3 sacks, both lead the team. He has become a defensive leader for the pass rush and the run stuff. Jackson has been most impressive with his speed in the pass rush; this being because his 40 yard dash is 4.7. That’s not overly fast but for a linebacker it’s pretty decent. The Colts will need him to continue the all-pro caliber season he’s having to compete in the playoffs.
After Robert Mathis’ injury many questioned if the Colts defense could even stay adequate. Well it’s been more than that this season, thanks to the play of second year player Bjoern Werner. Werner has been a pleasant surprise for the Colts pass rush after a rough start. He’s become a presence on the defense that offensive lines have to worry about. Many doubted the potential of Werner; a kid from Germany that played at Florida State? Who is this kid? After a career game against the Baltimore Ravens when he had 2 sacks and 6 tackles; they now know what Bjoern Werner is about and his large potential.
When the Colts needed pass rush early in the year after struggling; 7 year vet Erik Walden came to the rescue recording the first 2 sacks of the season. Since then the whole team has stepped up and he’s taken a step back, but is still productive as a linebacker and as a leader.
Colts star linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been out a few games this year due to a hamstring injury; and Josh McNary has played in his place at middle linebacker. McNary has been very adequate while playing this year. Playing a lot of his minutes as a starter this year he’s recorded a quality 16 tackles and has been a good fill in. As for Jerrell Freeman he been off-and-on with the hamstring injury, but has been productive in each start with 7 tackles. If he gets healthy and stays healthy the rest of the season, that could bode well for the Colts.

Secondary:
The Indianapolis Colts cornerbacks have possibly been the most impressive part of the entire defense this year. Considering Indy leads the league on 3rd down stops, which points to the cornerbacks since teams typically throw on 3rd down most of the time.
Vontae Davis has quite possibly been the most impressive corner in the league so far this season; shutting down wide receivers such as Demaryuis Thomas and Steve Smith. With 2 interceptions, that stat doesn’t stand out, but most teams aren’t throwing the ball his direction. According to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano “They went Richard Sherman on him”. That’s an astute description of what has been happening.
On the other end of the field, Greg Toler has had himself a fantastic season so far. He’s being thrown toward more than anyone on the team this season, and has taken it well. He’s had 2 spectacular interceptions and great coverage on team number 2 receivers. Toler has been a big difference maker this year and people don’t often give him credit.
At strong safety we’ve had a change this year after Antoine Bethea darted off to San Francisco; Mike Adams from the Denver Broncos has been very impressive this year after a slow start. He’s second on the team with 23 tackles and 2 interceptions. He’s done nothing but play well for the Colts this year and hopefully can carry this on for the rest of the season.
Laron Landry started the year at free safety for the Colts for 4 games; then he was suspended for games after violating the NFLs PED policy. Sergio Brown has taken his place in the meantime and has been great. His deep coverage has been nothing short of fantastic and his been a great fill-in, showing his potential. The big issue with safeties so far is the coverage of tight ends. They’ll need to improve upon that the rest of the season.
Last but certainly not least is Darius Butler, who has played nickel for the Colts this year. He’s been doing a great job so far but is out with, although he should return Sunday. With 18 tackles this year that’s very good for a nickelback.

I just have broken down the Colts defensive starters. Each part of this Colts defense is young, talented and hardworking. Making it statistically the best defense the Colts have had. They all have played a vital part in this year’s great defense. The credit goes to GM Ryan Grigson, Chuck Pagano and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for creating a disruptive defense with even better coverage. Look for the Colts this year to tighten the defensive clamps even more and improve before the playoffs.

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