Redskins

Colts new coach eager to reunite with Luck

Colts new coach eager to reunite with Luck

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Pep Hamilton already knows what he wants to do with the Indianapolis Colts offense.

He'll build around Andrew Luck, take advantage of all that young talent in Indy and do everything he can to keep Luck out of harm's way. He can't wait to get going.

Just minutes after the Colts made Hamilton's hiring official Saturday afternoon, the former Stanford offensive coordinator got on a conference call with local reporters and started outlining the plans he has for a team that went from 2-14 to 11-5 in less than 12 months.

``It will be a variation of it,'' Hamilton said when asked about bringing the West Coast offense to Indy. ``Short passing game, high completion rate. But I enjoy watching our guys coming off the ball and trying to knock the opponent back. I'm a big believer in the power-running game, I believe that opens it up for your passing game. I want to be flexible schematically in that we find ways to get the ball into playmakers' hands.''

This is no rebuilding project now.

In 2012, Luck set NFL rookie records for attempts and yards passing, fell just short of breaking the NFL's rookie marks for completions and TD passes, tied the league's single-season record for most winning drives in the fourth quarter (seven) and produced a league-high nine wins in one-possession games. Plus, the Colts had more combined yards rushing and receiving by rookies than any team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

They also have a Pro Bowl receiver in Reggie Wayne.

Hamilton doesn't want to break all of that up.

But those who know him best do expect changes. Under Bruce Arians, the Colts took more chances down the field than just about any team in football. Hamilton may not be as likely to do that, though he did acknowledge he wants to take ``shots'' down the field.

Other tinkering with the Indy's new offense may be more subtle.

``I would say, first and foremost, every time you bring in a new offense, you have a new language,'' tight end Coby Fleener said. ``Fortunately, Andrew, I and Griff Whalen have been in that offense so we can kind of tutor guys on that. I'm not sure yet how much we'll be running from last year.''

Fleener, Luck and Whalen were all Colts rookies last season after playing at Stanford, where Hamilton ran the offense each of the past two seasons. Whalen spent the season on injured reserve.

Though Luck repeatedly said he was hoping Arians would stay, having Hamilton running the offense may turn out to be the next best thing.

``First of all, I'm very happy for Coach Arians and I wish him nothing but the best in Arizona. I really enjoyed working with him this season, and I'm very thankful for all of his guidance,'' Luck said in a statement released by the team. ``I'm thrilled to be able to reunite with Coach Pep here in Indianapolis. He was a tremendous mentor of mine at Stanford and he is going to have our offense playing at a high, energetic level.''

Hamilton joined Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford in 2010 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011 when Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers and David Shaw took over as Stanford's head coach.

Stanford is one of only three schools - Oregon and Wisconsin being the others - that earned BCS bowl berths the past three seasons. The Cardinal routed Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl two years ago and lost in overtime to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl in Luck's finale. The Cardinal have won at least 11 games each of the past three years after doing that previously only three times in school history (1992, 1940 and 1926).

Hamilton said he spent four hours interviewing for Oregon's head coaching job this week, too.

So Colts coach Chuck Pagano wasted little time determining who would replace Arians, who took the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job Thursday.

``He's had success everywhere he's been and his familiarity with guys like Andrew and Coby will make him a great fit for our team,'' Pagano said. ``I can't wait to start working with him as we get ready for next year.''

But NFL rules will prohibit how much work Hamilton can do with Luck, Fleener and the rest of the offense until offseason workouts begin in the spring.

For Hamilton, the work can't begin soon enough.

``I spoke with him (Luck) this morning. He's excited,'' Hamilton said. ``I'm very excited to have an opportunity to work with Andrew again, and I can't wait to get started.''

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PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

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USA TODAY Sports

PIC: Adrian Peterson has arrived at Redskins Park

With Derrius Guice out for the season and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall both sustaining injuries during the Redskins' Week 2 preseason game vs. the Jets, the Burgundy and Gold may be in need of some help at running back. Enter seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson.

One of the best running backs to ever play the game, Peterson has rushed for 12,276 yards and 99 touchdowns over a 11-year career.

Peterson's visit is part of the team's contingency plan if they do indeed become very thing at the running back position. Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa have also been at Redskins Park for visits. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden.  

Nonetheless, the thought of having Adrian Peterson in a Redskins uniform is exciting. 

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Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

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Associated Press

Alex Smith believes that his Redskins teammates are 'all in'

During the offseason program and training camp we have seen ample evidence that Alex Smith’s teammates have great respect for their new quarterback. Speaking to the media on Sunday, Smith said that the respect is mutual. 

While saying that, nobody really knows how the team will respond when the games count and the pressure is on, but Smith likes what he has seen so far. 

“I think we’ve got guys that are all in,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are committed, and I don’t think that’s the case everywhere. I think a lot of times it’s easy not to invest because it’s scary to put yourself out there knowing you might not succeed. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys who are all in, really invested in what we’re doing here, and I think that’s all you can ask for. We’ve got a tough team that’s not afraid of competition, not afraid to toe the line. I think that’s been apparent through camp. Like I said, the proof’s in the pudding. You’ve got to go do it when it really matters.”

Of course, it’s smart to be complimentary of your new teammates when you are under contract with the organization for the next five years, and Smith is nothing if not smart. Still, Smith didn’t seem to be blowing smoke when he talked about how he formed his opinion about the team. 

“I think it’s an accumulation going back to April up to this date,” said Smith. “It’s how he conducts himself, how he carries himself in the locker room, in the film room, in the training room, in the weight room, on the practice field, when you’re in camp riding the shuttle bus together. I mean, you can tell, I think, how invested guys are. You can tell who’s real, who’s authentic. That quickly becomes apparent when you put all those things together. You can see what guys are really made of and who’s faking it. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are all in.”

For the last several years, the Redskins have talked a lot about drafting and signing players with character, guys who as Smith put it are “all in”. They haven’t always hit the mark, but they have collected players like Brandon Scherff, Jonathan Allen, Josh Norman, and others who love the game more than they love what they can get from the game (i.e. a big paycheck). 

To be sure, dysfunction involving players is not entirely a thing of the past. There has been occasional drama such as the sudden Su’a Cravens departure last year, but most NFL team have occasional situations and the Redskins are not one of the teams frequently making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Smith is another one of those high character guys and he is recognizing that in the approach of many of his teammates. 

This all sounds great in August and, as Smith noted, we won’t really know how the high character will translate when they’re in a tight game during the season. But for right now, it’s good that the quarterback has confidence in his teammates and that could count for something when the chips are down in December. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler