Organized Team Activities a Great Time of Year, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell Says
INDIANAPOLIS – To Jim Caldwell, this is a very good time of the year.
Caldwell, entering his second season as the Colts' head coach, said while there are no games for several months, the coming weeks are imant to get ready for the 2010 season.
That, he said, makes this time important.
And a lot of fun, too.
"I think all coaches love practice," Caldwell said Thursday following a session of the Colts' 2010 organized team activities, four weeks of on-field team-oriented activities scheduled to be held through June 11 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"That's how you get ready to play. That's how you determine whether or not you play and play well. We love this time of year because it's a chance for us to get better."
The Colts this week began their OTA sessions, and Caldwell said while the team has been in its voluntary off-season conditioning program, the OTAs are a chance for players to participate in on-field practice sessions. The OTAs, along with a June 4-6 mini-camp, are the only team-oriented practice sessions before training camp begins around the first of August.
That, Caldwell said, makes OTAs not only a different phase of the off-season, but a critical one.
"We've had them (players) in the weight room up until this time," he said. "Guys have been lifting, working on their speed and power, flexibility, all those kinds of those things, rehabbing and getting themselves healthy. So now we get a chance to take them out on the field and see if we can improve in that area. And I think that's always fun.
"That's why we do what we do. It's a great time to get out there and put guys through their paces."
Caldwell said while he has a year of experience in the head coaching position, that doesn't mean he's entering the season with any more of a comfort level than he did last season.
"I'm not certain if I'm comfortable," Caldwell said. "I think anytime a coach gets comfortable, there's usually trouble headed right around the corner. I'm still a bit anxious and apprehensive, but I think that's in a good way. I do certainly feel that I'm more familiar with some aspects of it.
"But it doesn't breed comfort. Comfort to me means complacency sometimes, and we certainly aren't complacent."
Caldwell said as usually is the case in the off-season, attendance for the voluntary sessions was high, with the lone veterans not in attendance being safety Antoine Bethea, defensive end Robert Mathis and wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Mathis graduated from Alabama A&M this past weekend, and Wayne typically works out in Miami.
Rookie offensive guard Gregg Peat and defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews are not attending because of academic obligations.
Safety Bob Sanders and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, a pair of starters who ended this past season on injured reserve, each participated in practice Thursday, with Caldwell saying of Gonzalez, a first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, "He looks good. I've had the chance to watch him here the last few weeks actually. He's moving well, and certainly catching the ball well, but also I just think he looks like he's well equipped to start right where he left off. I think he's done very well at this point."
Gonzalez, who began last season starting opposite Wayne, sustained a knee injury in a regular-season opening victory over Jacksonville. Sanders, the 2007 Associated Press Defensive Player-of-the-Year, played two games and was placed on injured reserve early November.
"He's right on track," Caldwell said of Sanders. "He's doing extremely well, and you can tell by the way he's moving around he feels good about his progress. . . .
"I haven't seen any frustration at this stage. He looks good. He feels good. He's doing well."
Also on Thursday:
• Caldwell said new assistant coaches Ron Turner (wide receivers) and Ron Prince (assistant offensive line) have adjusted "very well. Because of the system that we use, we haven't changed anything in that regard, they've been able to fit in extremely well. I think they certainly have a great grasp of the material they're teaching. I think the players are getting accustomed to them. As time goes on here through the spring, we should get everything kind of ironed out and be able to have a pretty good coaching relationship, because they're great instructors. I think they'll do nothing but improve as time goes on."
• Caldwell addressed longtime assistant Tom Moore's role with the team. "He the senior offensive assistant," Caldwell said. "He's going to do a lot with our group in terms working fundamentals and things he's always done. Clyde (Christensen) is going to have the play-calling duties. Tom's going to help me with some things, he's going to help Clyde looking ahead in terms of game-planning, things of that nature. He's also going to do a little work with some of the young quarterbacks as well. We have a myriad of things he's going to help us with." Moore spent 1998-2009 as the Colts' offensive coordinator before Christensen was promoted to the role during this off-season.
• Caldwell said he doesn't expect complacency to be an issue following eight consecutive post-season appearances and a second Super Bowl appearance in four seasons. "We're always striving to get better," he said. "No matter where we are, no matter what kind of success we've had in previous years, none of that matters. It's the here and now. I think you see that a great majority of our veterans kind of take on that sort of posture, and it's a trickle-down-effect to the young guys."