Drew Ogletree spent the entire 2022 season dividing his focus between rehabbing from the torn ACL that ended his season and staying mentally engaged with the Colts' offense, all with the reality of 2023 driving his mindset.
"The expectation when you come back to the field is oh, you weren't hurt at all," Ogletree said. "So that work ethic is very key."
Anthony Richardson's work ethic has been routinely praised since he arrived in Indianapolis back in April. With the 2023 No. 4 overall pick undergoing season-ending surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, Richardson will need to stay engaged and keep putting in long hours of work in the coming months.
Because once 2024 hits and Richardson re-assumes his role as the Colts' QB1, like Ogletree said, the expectation is he'll be ready to go.
"I think he's done a good job of consistently coming in and taking notes, listening and learning and being in the meeting rooms and hearing what goes into the game planning," quarterback Sam Ehlinger said. "Everything's new at this level and yeah he's played a few games, but the season's long and there's a lot every week — it's a new game plan. I think for him to continue to stay engaged to see how we want to attack different defenses, and just the conversations that take place with Gardner to talk about reads and things like that.
"He has the experience. He's tasted what it takes and what it looks like, so now he can take a step back and learn the game really well."
Ehlinger said he learned as a rookie who didn't play much in 2021 how you have to "exert yourself mentally" to learn an offense, since there's so much information to take in and process. But Richardson's four games of experience – even if it's not as much as he or the Colts planned for him to have as a rookie – will benefit him as he develops through attending meetings and practices in the coming months.
"I think he's really eager to learn and eager to grow," Ehlinger said. "He's done a good job of asking questions and really seeking growth in a lot of different areas. That's what I've seen the most — I've learned he's smart. He processes information well, he retains information well. His learning capacity's very high. Just continuing to make sure that he's learning and growing is important."
And over those four starts this season, Richardson impressed his teammates not only with his electric play on the field, but his leadership and mentality off the field.
"I think I saw someone who was really – I know you guys heard a lot, really poised," running back Jonathan Taylor said. "Big eyes coming into the league, you're just getting started – very poised, though. I mean, I know you guys saw it versus (the Los Angeles Rams). I mean, just being down 23 to nothing and then seeing him have the guys rally around him and that's what you want out of a leader. So to have him have that trait this young is very special and I'm sure he's gonna continue to develop and grow on that."
Linebacker Zaire Franklin said he told Richardson this season-ending surgery would be a "minor setback for a major story," and added while it's certainly disappointing to not see No. 5 on the field again this year, he's confident Richardson will use this time to prepare his body and mind for 2024 and beyond.
"I feel like just as the city's gotten to know him, as I've gotten to know him since he's been here, I've felt like he shows you in every chance he can the type of man he is and the type of teammate, the type of person the community that he wants to be," Franklin said. "Will this define [him] or anything like that? No, no way. I think it's just another bump in the road and it's something he'll have to attack and overcome. I think he'll do that full head of steam and I know he can't wait for that next opportunity."
Wednesday's practice report: