ANDERSON – Jim Irsay’s Indianapolis squad is one of 18 NFL teams to conduct training camp away from home sites and on Friday, he trekked 50 miles northeast to watch his Colts go through a second day of work.
Irsay has presided over teams that produced the NFL’s winningest decade from 2000-09, and he has seen his club win 23-of-35 overall games the last two years under Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano.
“Everyone’s really excited to be coming in, and there’s great anticipation for this season,” said Irsay. “You look for tempo and the excitement and, of course, try to avoid injury. The tempo’s great.
“Talking with Chuck and Ryan, everyone’s just really excited. We’re really looking for special things. It’s a tough schedule, so we have to be ready. It’s going to be a great year, and we’ll just take them a game at a time.”
Irsay noted how his Colts will reside in prime-time on a frequent basis. It is something he enjoyed in past seasons, and he has seen Grigson and Pagano sculpt the Colts back into the prime-time lineup.
The staff and players all enunciate the notion to win multiple championships, and Irsay lauded Grigson for being firm with that on Wednesday when he had his camp-opening remarks.
“Ryan addressed the team and didn’t shy away from that sort of goal,” said Irsay. “We want to chase it farther into the playoffs and have a chance to win a Super Bowl.”
The Colts were dismissed that year in the Wild Card round, then rebounded with an 11-5 mark in 2013 that planted the divisional flag back in Indianapolis.
A Wild Card win over Kansas City was met with a Divisional Playoffs setback at New England, and the Colts are poised to attempt a continuation of success.
“I really think we have the mindset to win a championship,” said Irsay. “This group isn’t afraid to (of) the lofty goal that is.
“Some of the guys that we’ve brought in – Art Jones, D’Qwell Jackson – bring veteran leadership, a real desire to get it done. Everyone understands the expectations. Everyone’s going to set the bar high for achievement.
“We won the division, won a playoff game, and now it’s just a question of trying to get deeper. The first goal is to try to win the division, and that’s going to be tough. All three teams have improved. But I really think the mindset, atmosphere and desire to win a championship is there.”