Players Still Have Two Games Left to Make Impression
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell likes to deal with the here and now.
He has no interest in projecting the future.
So, as the Colts' second-year head coach was asked this week during a press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in preparation for Thursday's game at Green Bay if it were premature to fill out a 53-man roster for the Colts' September 12 regular-season opener at AFC South rival Houston, he said yes, it was too early. Way too early.
"You don't ever start looking too far ahead," Caldwell said. "Let's deal with the here and now. Things change in a day, in a week. You just never know."
In a little more than a week things will change for the Colts and the other 31 NFL teams. They will first trim their rosters down to a maximum of 75 players by Tuesday, August 31. They will play their final preseason game and fully turn their attention to the regular season. And with that, rosters will be cut down to 53 active players by Saturday, September 4.
The evaluations are never-ending. They began in May when teams started Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and will continue from here on out. But Caldwell says that while the coaches and personnel staff are working diligently on putting the team together for this season, they are not focused on cut-down day, and the players shouldn't be either.
"That part of it is one that we don't focus in on at this point in time because we allow the performances to dictate what happens when we do have to reduce the squad," Caldwell said. "That will happen in the ballgames. That will happen this week. The guys will be able to solidify a position and move themselves into a little bit better position to make the team."
The players take the field on Thursday in Green Bay and then for a final time in the preseason on Thursday, September 2, versus Cincinnati at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. And after a summer of OTAs, mini-camps and training camp, Caldwell made clear there is still work to be done.
"I don't think you ever get to that point," Caldwell said. "There's always questions, no question about that. And those are never easy decisions. They take a very thorough evaluation. It's tough. Those decisions are tough. What we do is evaluate the film, watch the film, determine what we've seen in practice and make a decision from there.
"I think you have to evaluate everything. I just think that's the way it is in our business. You can never get comfortable. You can never get complacent, always trying to unearth something new and different, always trying to find a way to get an edge. You don't want to place any limitations on anyone. You want to see the competition and let it unfold. That's what makes it fun."
For the Colts, with two Super Bowl appearances in four seasons and winners of 12 or more games for seven consecutive seasons, success has come with successful players. And while it is a good situation to have, it also means that difficult decisions must be made towards the end of the preseason.
"Our personnel office does a tremendous job of bringing people in that fit our system, and not only that, that can perform extremely well," Caldwell said.
"It's highly competitive. There is a reason why they are here."