Posted July 24, 2012 on AP on Fox
Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne feel young again. The few, proud remaining Indianapolis holdovers are getting acclimated to dozens of new teammates, a brand new coaching staff, revised playbooks and redefined roles. It's like they're rookies all over again. While the trio recognizes this marks the start of a major transition in Indy to the Andrew Luck Era, none of the three will accept anyone in this locker room using the R-word. ''I don't feel like rebuilding is in our repertoire,'' Mathis said this summer. ''I feel like we're just as dangerous as any team in the league.'' Clearly, this is not the same cast Peyton Manning turned into a playoff regular and an annual Super Bowl contender. The only four-time MVP in league history and the longtime face of the franchise was released in March after missing all of last season after neck surgery. His successor, Luck, gets an immediate chance to start building for the future. Team owner Jim Irsay, general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano made it a complete overhaul. In addition to Manning, Indianapolis cut a handful of key veterans - defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt, running back Joseph Addai and tight end Dallas Clark - because of high salaries and long injury histories. Longtime right tackle Ryan Diem retired. Receivers Pierre Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez, tight end Jacob Tamme and center Jeff Saturday all departed in free agency. Indy didn't bother bringing back any of last year's starting quarterbacks, Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky, putting Luck in charge of one of the league's youngest rosters. More than three dozen Colts, including Luck, have fewer than two years of NFL experience. Even veterans such as receiver Donnie Avery, center Samson Satele, safety Tom Zbikowski, defensive linemen Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding, quarterback Drew Stanton and offensive linemen Winston Justice are newcomers to Indianapolis. So it seems like 2012 will be another lost season in Indy - to everyone but the Colts. ''I don't think anybody is viewing it as a rebuilding season,'' Luck said. ''There are great players on this team, guys that have made playoffs for X amount of years in a row, and then maybe missed out last year, so I know they are hungry. I just hope that I can help them achieve that goal.'' It will take a lot more than Luck to get back to the postseason. Pagano and Grigson have repeatedly said they want to put power back in Indy's running game and have revamped the offensive line with bigger bodies to help give former first-round pick Donald Brown a chance to meet his potential. But changing styles won't fix all of Indy's ills. The Colts need Avery to return to his pre-knee injury form so he can provide a deep threat opposite Wayne. They're counting on Wayne's experience and leadership along with Luck's already strong relationship with second-round pick Coby Fleener, a college teammate, to smooth the transition to the rigors of the NFL for the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up. ''I think anytime you have the timing already there from having practiced together for so long is beneficial'' tight end Fleener said. ''It's still something we need to work on and we'll be doing that.'' The changes will be just as massive on defense. Pagano will switch to a 3-4 scheme, a stark contrast to the Tampa 2 system Tony Dungy brought to Indy in 2002. The change means two of the league's most feared pass rushers, Freeney and Mathis, will be wreaking havoc as outside linebackers. ''It feels great,'' Freeney said. ''It is something new and something that is proven. We have guys (like Redding) to help me out and make sure I am in the right place.'' Are the Colts making the right moves? After going a league-worst 2-14 in 2011 with an aging, high-priced roster, Irsay didn't feel he had much choice but to start over. This year's mass exodus created challenging salary-cap constraints this year, but should free up money for the Colts to become a big player in free agency in 2013. Meanwhile, Luck, widely considered the most NFL-ready quarterback to enter the league since Manning in 1998, will have a year to get acclimated to the NFL, all those new receivers, and the confusing defenses Manning spent years dissecting. Irsay has pleaded for patience and reminded fans that Manning went 3-13 as a rookie and didn't win a playoff game until his sixth season in the league. But the returning Colts veterans insist they can do better in both respects. ''It's not set in stone that we're going to suck. Who knows, we might shock the world. This time next year, you might be writing that these Colts are some bad boys,'' Wayne said after taking less money to stay in his adopted hometown. ''I guess we'll be in tune to find out what happens. Until then, I'm just going to sit here with the guys we have and keep working at it. Hopefully we can get something going real soon.'' --- Follow Michael Marot on Twitter at:

Dwayne Allen Signs, Coby Fleener Soon to Follow

Although he did miss the first day of workouts with the rest of the rookies, Dwayne Allen won't be missing any more time due to a contract dispute, as he signed his rookie contract this afternoon. Allen says he's ready for fall workouts, and he should be. There's no reason why Allen and Fleener should have missed any time today, especially since the players surrounding...

Edgerrin James to join Ring of Honor

Few former players are as beloved in Indianapolis in the way that Edgerrin James is loved. His efforts, attitude and lasting impact on the city have made him a fan favorite and a man that fellow players admired. In September he will join other Colts greats in the Ring of Honor: Owner Jim Irsay said on that James “embodies the talent and competitive nature we seek in...

Colts sign 2nd-round pick Coby Fleener

The Indianapolis Colts have signed former Stanford tight end Coby Fleener, the last of the team's 10 draft picks to agree to a contract. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed Wednesday. Fleener was selected in the second round, 34th overall. Teaming with fellow Colts rookie Andrew Luck at Stanford, Fleener had 34 catches for 667 yards - a 19.6-yard average - and 10 touchdowns...

Colts sign 3rd-round draft pick Dwayne Allen

The Indianapolis Colts have signed tight end Dwayne Allen, their third-round draft pick in April. Team officials did not provide details about the contract. The deal means Allen will report on time to camp Saturday. The team's first full practice at Anderson University, about 30 miles northeast of Indy, is scheduled for Sunday. Allen is expected to help rookie quarterback Andrew...

Does Reggie Wayne Have “Luck” On His Side?

Now that the Indianapolis Colts have made the decision to look towards the future and have drafted Andrew Luck, how will this affect the future of Reggie Wayne?With the abilities and talent that Luck seems to possess, will that translate into success for Wayne? Luck seems to be as solid a rookie starting quarterback that has come along in quite a while. So with that said, how will...

Reggie Wayne Is A Public Servant

Bruce Wayne ain't the only one fighting crime T... Before Peyton signed with the Broncos, the rumors were flying around that Wayne would land where ever Peyton decided to go. Didn’t happen. Wayne stays home and tries to help the Colts franchise regain it’s swagger. Luck will need Reggie’s help with his precision route running and great hands.  Wayne’s still only...

Edgerrin James to join Indy's Ring of Honor

Colts' career rushing leader Edgerrin James will join the team's Ring of Honor on Sept. 23. James was one of the catalysts in Indianapolis' remarkable turnaround in the late 1990s and helped make Indy a perennial Super Bowl contender. In 2001, James injured his knee in October and missed the rest of the season. It was the only time from 1999 through 2010 the Colts missed...

State of the Franchise: Indianapolis Colts Summer 2012 TEs

With the kind of widespread team change that has occurred in Indianapolis following the 2011 NFL season, fans are presented with the dawning of a new era and reason to track the team's progress as it moves into the future with a clean slate. A new general manager, coaching staff, scouting staff, franchise quarterback, and major player turnover all make what Colts fans knew from...

Colts positional breakdown: linebackers

**Leading up to the start of training camp, Everything-Colts will be giving you breakdowns and ratings on each position group, making you more knowledgeable about the entire Colts team.** Today's entry is about the linebackers. The transition to the 3-4 is not an easy one, but this group is filled with young stars and solid vets. The position that has changed the most...

Indianapolis Colts 2012 Fantasy Preview

Rebuilding seems to be the theme for the 2012 Indianapolis Colts and for good reason. This is a team that went an NFL-worst 2-14 and ranked near the bottom of the league in yards (30th) and points per game (tied 28th). For the disaster that was the 2011 season, it wasn’t all bad, considering the Colts were able to pick up Andrew Luck who officially brings an end of the Peyton...

Colts Authority Radio Open Thread 7/25/2012

On Tonight's show, Greg, Laura, Rohan, and Kyle get you set for training camp, as we discuss the signing of Andrew Luck, the contract status of TEs Allen and Fleener, Edge to the Ring of Honor, and the Colts reporting to camp on Sunday. Listen to internet radio with Colts Authority Radio on Blog Talk Radio Or follow along on your mobile device with Stitcher...

Donald Brown Has The Nike Experience At Finish Line

Screw My Adidas T... Donald Brown has the inside track to start at RB for the Colts, as the coaches sang his praises in OTAs. The Colts offense could surprise with Luck at QB, so Brown could have pretty decent value if he wins the job this preseason. Don’t Sleep On Willis McGahee Don’t Get Busted With Reggie Bush

Indianapolis Colts 2012 NFL Team Preview

Athlon Sports is counting down its 2012 NFL preseason Power Rankings with in-depth team previews, schedule analysis and more as the start of the...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.