INDIANAPOLIS --- Chuck Pagano said last week his team is farther along this offseason than any previous offseason since he has been head coach for the Indianapolis Colts. Part of that reason for that is quarterback Andrew Luck taking even more of a leadership position within the offense, entering his fourth season, to the point where Luck is advanced enough to function as a coach at times.
"I see that, yeah. I was never really sure what he was like off the field, but he definitely conducts himself on the field like a coach," said guard Todd Herremans, who signed with Indianapolis as a free agent this offseason from Philadelphia. "Then once I got here, and I was able to listen to him talk in the meeting rooms and in the install and everything, he's basically coach/player. That's exactly what his role is, and he's excellent at both of them."
Luck explained Tuesday before the Colts first mandatory veteran mini-camp practice how the team is more advanced this offseason than in previous years since he entered the league.
"This is going into year three with Coach Pep (Hamilton) as the (offensive) coordinator. So, certainly the guys that have been here have a better grasp and understanding of what we're trying to accomplish," said quarterback Andrew Luck, before the team's first mandatory veteran mini-camp practice Tuesday. "It allows for us to speed up that install process, during the offseason and get working on very, very specific things of the offense."
Luck said being more advanced this offseason also has a trickle down effect to the rookies and new veterans.
"I think it also helps the new guys acclimate," said Luck. "You can ask questions to everybody, not just the coaches, and you should be able to find an answer."
Herremans agrees with that point.
"I feel like I'm further behind than I've been in a long time," Herremans joked, after spending the first ten years of his career in Philadelphia. It's the first time since his rookie year he's spent a good chunk of the offseason learning. "It's good. I think part of bringing in vets, like me, Andre (Johnson), Frank (Gore), Trent (Cole), is that they know they're behind. They'll go out of their way to try to find somebody that will help them catch up, as opposed to a lot of times rookies come in, and they just kind of wait for it to click, kind of wait for the coaches to feed it to them. It's active on both sides. It's good to see how hungry these guys are to make the people around them better."
Wide receiver Andre Johnson also agrees, adding he will get together with his new quarterback after mini-camp and before training camp in August.
"We'll try and set some dates up, stuff like that, and just go from there," said Johnson in the locker room Tuesday. "It's been a smooth transition...Andrew, he's a hell of a player. I think he's the best quarterback in this game. He's very helpful."
Pagano himself said the passing game looked "pretty sharp" and "very, very impressive" after Tuesday's practice. All of the above will only help come training camp, preseason, and the regular season for the Indianapolis Colts.