A Rundown of Thursday's Happenings at Training Camp
It is hard to believe, but training camp at Anderson University is closer to the end now than the beginning. The team has completed 17 practices in Anderson, Ind., and has seven more practices scheduled before breaking camp next Wednesday and heading back to the team's home, the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, to complete the preseason.
From Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay to the players, everyone has been impressed by the crowds at Anderson.
"I'm loving Anderson right now," Robert Mathis said. "They come out every day, strong. They are ready for the Colts and we love them for it. It makes practice a whole lot of fun and go by that much smoother. We have the crowd going. Everybody's good and enjoying themselves."
Fans in attendance at practice recently have seen the defensive players be very interactive with them, even getting them to chant, 'Defense.' This gesture came following a night practice early in camp where the defense felt only the offense was receiving an applause.
"(It's) kind of (like a game atmosphere), other than the fact that they are only cheering for the offense," defensive end Dwight Freeney said smiling after that practice. "But it's all good."
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell hinted that the defensive players and Freeney may have taken the crowd's reaction the wrong way.
"I think sometimes (the crowd) may be partial to touchdowns, but nevertheless, I think there are a few that are out there screaming for him (and the defense) as well, I'm certain," Caldwell said.
Yet, all of the players, offense, defense and special teams, appreciate the support that they have been shown, by the crowds and city.
"This is the first time I've been in Anderson," running back Joseph Addai said. "Everybody is into it. Everybody is encouraging. When the defense is shining, it is all about the defense. When the offense is shining, it is all about the offense. It feels like a game atmosphere."
The players have tried to find special ways to thank the fans all camp. Many players have stayed on the field long after practice is over to sign autographs. One young fan at a recent practice was called onto the field by quarterback Peyton Manning and got to catch a pass from the four-time NFL MVP.
Jim Irsay donated $25,000 to local Anderson charities on Wednesday and he, too, praised the support his team has received from the crowd and Anderson University.
"It's been tremendous," Irsay said. "People should know that Anderson University's makeover is completely different from the 1980s and 90s when we were here. They've put a lot of money into the University. The Mayor of Anderson (Kris Ockomon) has been extremely motivated. We've had crowds in excess of 12,000 people come up here. It's really good to feel wanted. I really think the partnership here has been important."
NOTE OF THE DAY
The Colts have won seven or more consecutive games in six consecutive seasons, an NFL record (8, 2004; 13, 2005; 9, 2006; 7 and 6, 2007; 9, 2008; 14, 2009).
"I think it is key for us. We need to get a couple of guys that can do it for us. We are going to give a number of guys an opportunity to see what they can do. It is going to be a great competition and we are all looking forward to that." – Caldwell on developing the return positions during training camp.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Worse." – KR-Brandon James on if Thursday afternoon's heat in Anderson felt like Florida.
The Colts held one practice on Thursday, a special teams only practice that began at 3:30 p.m. and lasted one hour. Friday's schedule calls for two practices, the first beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the second starting at 3:30 p.m.
The weather in Anderson on Thursday was sunny skies and a high of 91 degrees according to weather.com. Friday's forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 92 degrees.