They’re back at it. Or, at least…they were.
The Indianapolis Colts got their first break since starting training camp at Anderson University last week. They resume practice on Wednesday. And so far, we’ve learned a few things.
The monster is assembled. General Manager Ryan Grigson spent the offseason adding pieces. Now, it’s time to make it work.
They’re testing it in different conditions: hot (over the weekend) and cool (on Monday). And they already found a part that doesn’t fit. The Colts’ mantra this year is “decide.” Apparently, someone decided wrong.
The team released running back Chris Rainey on Monday for violation of team rules. Head coach Chuck Pagano wouldn’t elaborate, calling it an “in-house deal.” But he did say it was unfortunate. Especially considering the loss of Vick Ballard for the season (again), this time with a torn Achilles.
The Colts running game, which started out as a three-headed monster is now down to two heads (and minus a spare). A bright spot says Pagano, is Ahmad Bradshaw, who he calls the total package.
“He can do everything our offense asks for. He’s a great runner, he has great vision, great sightlines, he can block, he’s tough, he’s great on third downs, he understands protection, he can pick up blitzes, he understands that. He’s a great receiver out of the backfield, so he’s a complete back.”
-Coach Chuck Pagano on Ahmad Bradshaw
And…he’s healthy, after missing the majority of last season with a neck injury. So, maybe we can count Bradshaw as a head and a half.
Andrew Luck (let’s just call him the brain) is back and looking better than ever. He made strides last year, working with his former Stanford offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton (now in the same position with the Colts), reducing turnovers, and increasing his overall football knowledge. Pagano says Luck is progressing right on schedule.
“He’s a got great command in the huddle. He’s managing bad plays, (he) can call certain things at the line of scrimmage. The game is slowing down for Andrew, the identification, getting us in the right place, getting out of a bad place, he’s further ahead than he’s ever been.”
And with the return of tight end Dwayne Allen, Luck has even more options at his fingertips. Allen called this Colts offense “more exotic.” Luck laughed off the terminology, saying it’s really about matchups.
“A Fleener, a Dwayne Allen, the wide receivers we have, the running backs…the ability for those guys to line up…Dwayne can do a lot…a lot of stuff. And maybe, not the norm. It’s not the same formation you’ll see or the same play you’ll see every time.”
-Colts quarterback Andrew Luck
There is still much work to be done, tough decisions to be made, and more potential obstacles to overcome. But it’s starting to come together. The monster is slowly taking shape.
And for all we don’t know yet, there’s one thing we do…
This monster has the heart of a winner.
And it won’t be satisfied with anything short of a championship.