WESTFIELD, Ind. — What's the national conversation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts this training camp? Colts.com's Jake Arthur recently caught up with the NFL Network's Brian Baldinger to get his perspective on the team heading into 2019:
Colts fans love watching your Baldy's Breakdowns on Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard. What makes those guys so exceptional that they were able to be All-Pros as rookies?
Baldinger: "Well, they love the game. They really love the game. And they wanna be really good, they wanna be great. You know, it's Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton; they want to be in Canton. They think like that. They're very mature, and they take to coaching, and they understand team. So many different things that sometimes rookies don't understand how important it is, but they are really smart players, and the game's really important to them."
From breaking down their tape, what are some things each of them can improve on to take their game to the next level?
Baldinger: "Quenton in the run game is a beast. I think he's as good as we've seen in this business at run blocking, but pass protection, he could be better. He could take deeper sets, just the consistency of his sets, where his hands are placed sometimes; all those kind of things can improve. He's a beast when he can help people out, but once you get the reputation he has as being an All-Pro and all that, he's gonna get tested by the league's best. Just in practice, Denico Autry has been a good test. He's got good power, and he's slippery. So, I think just getting his hands in the right place, getting his sets down right can always be tinkered with. And then for Darius, I don't know really how he can improve to be honest with you. He sees the game, he uses his hands so well, he gets in the passing lanes so well. I guess the thing that he would probably say that I would guess is just the second time around; things should come faster, he should recognize things quicker. Whether it's situational football or what a team is doing on third down. I just think the second time — especially in his own division — he's gonna see better teams this year. Teams like Tennessee and Jacksonville that wanna really run the ball, they'll run the ball better this year. So, just getting ready for that."
You're an offensive line guy; what can the additions of Howard Mudd and Chris Strausser do for this offensive line?
Baldinger: "Well, I mean Howard has been a part of some of the great lines in the history of pro football. He coached my brother in Kansas City, he coached some great players there. He's coached some great players here with Peyton (Manning). (He's) another set of eyes, he's a technician. Techniques are your tools, and you take them into every game with you. So, you just sharpen those. And then Chris coming in, there's a certain way that they do things already that Chris Ballard has set up that Frank (Reich) operates under. And so just, practice habits, and then taking those practice habits into the game."
If you had to pick one player on this roster that people aren't paying enough attention to, who is it?
Baldinger: "Well, I mean if they're not paying attention to Rock Ya-Sin, they're not watching. I would say that Denico Autry is gonna be a really good player, and a full-time player. And I would say a guy on offense is Mo Alie-Cox. I think he might be their best blocker right now, and his role is only gonna increase."
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