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Griff Whalen a Spark in Momentum

Posted Dec 24, 2013

Seeking momentum over the last three games before reaching the playoffs, Indianapolis needed a spark from more than one player. Griff Whalen has been one of those players as the Colts have moved from 8-5 to 10-5 and take aim for a playoff run.



INDIANAPOLIS – One gets the notion that Griff Whalen always has been part of solutions to problems.

 

Seeking playmakers to gain momentum for the playoffs, the Colts have found that the case with the second-year Stanford product.

 

Moved from the practice squad to the active roster for a second time in 2013, Whalen has 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown while starting the last two weeks.

 

“The guy’s accountable,” said Chuck Pagano.  “He’s trustworthy and he’s made plays two weeks back-to-back.  His hard work and preparation, obviously, is paying off.”

 

Whalen led off the club’s scoring in a 25-3 win over Houston two weeks ago with a 14-yard touchdown reception, and he later had a 51-yard punt return to set up another score.

 

Last Sunday at Kansas City, Whalen’s seven receptions produced 80 yards.  His first reception converted a third down in the opening quarter and his second one involved breaking tackles and gaining 16 yards on a second-and-18 play from the Indianapolis 12.

 

The Colts converted the ensuing third down and drove for a field goal, and Whalen also added 32 yards on four punt returns.

 

“He’s been living in the weight room.  We always kid him about spending a lot of time in there,” said Pagano.  “It paid off.  (He) broke a bunch of tackles.  The guy’s accountable.  He’ll get you six, seven, eight, 10, 11 yards (on punt returns), then catch a slant in traffic with a guy draped all over him for a first down.”

 

Praise started in training camp when Pagano noted how Whalen was making himself valuable.  Whalen led the club in 2012 preseason receptions and ranked second this year. 

 

He opened the season on the active roster and has spent two three-game stretches there prior to appearing in the last two games.

 

“He’s a true professional, what you look for in a teammate,” said Reggie Wayne on his radio show.   “He never pouts, just waits for his number to get called.  He understands the offense.  He can play any position.”

 

Whalen is doing what he can to solidify his role and is happy to help make the offense click.

 

“It’s hard to put a finger on it specifically what’s changed,” said Whalen of the offensive smoothness of the last two games.  “Cohesively, we’re getting better just at executing our plays, kind of simplifying our game plan, running plays that we know.  

 

“That allows everybody to individually know what they need to do and execute it on the field and feel more comfortable with it.”

 

Whalen has been the second-most targeted (13) receiver for Andrew Luck in the last two games, ranking behind T.Y. Hilton, who has 13 receptions for 130 yards in 19 passes thrown in his direction.

 

Playing with Luck at Stanford, Whalen has a long working relationship with his quarterback, and the club’s up-tempo offense has worked recently.

 

“It definitely has its benefits.  Just being able to keep that quick pace going, it kind of limits what the defense can do substitution-wise and call-wise,” said Whalen.  “It gets us in a groove offensively.  When we do it at the right time, it definitely has its benefits.”

 

Whalen sees confidence in the offense.  There never was not a sense of worry, and he feels the offense is headed in the right direction.  For him having an impact on the success, it is what he wanted from the start.

 

“Whatever I can do, obviously that’s my goal.  That’s what I want to do,” said Whalen.  “The more I’m out there, the better.  That’s where everybody wants to be is on the field.  It’s great that I’m able to be in there and contribute.”


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