A Rundown Of Monday's Happenings At Training Camp
CALDWELL PLEASED WITH TEAM'S PERFORMANCE ON DAY 1
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – If it is possible to have a seamless transition from one head coach to another, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell is doing just that.
On the first day of training camp, Caldwell said he does not anticipate running the Colts much differently than his predecessor, Tony Dungy.
"There are a lot of similarities in the way we have done things over the years," Caldwell said. "It's been very, very positive and we've had great results."
Although Caldwell has tweaked training camp a little bit this year, he said the coaching staff has tweaked the team's off-season program ever since he has been in Indianapolis.
One difference between Caldwell and Dungy that has been cited repeatedly is Caldwell's willingness to raise his voice if a necessary circumstance presents itself. But Caldwell said there is a reason if he gets loud out on the field.
"I only raise my voice when I need to be heard, for instruction purposes," Caldwell explained. "It's just every once in a while in order to hear me…and sometimes my voice has to cover quite a distance, so I speak up a little bit."
Overall, the Colts coach said he was pleased with the team's performance on the first day of camp, but there were a few more miscues in the morning practice than he would like. If there was one thing he could change about the training camp opener, Caldwell said it would be the temperature.
"We could turn it up about 10-15 degrees and turn the humidity up a bit," Caldwell said with a smile. "We have a couple of games that are going to test us in terms of the heat, so it'd be nice to work in a lot of heat, but we'll take whatever the Lord gives us."
WHO IS SLOTTED FOR THE SLOT?
A little competition is healthy. Which is why Peyton Manning is okay with not knowing who his slot receiver will be this season quite yet.
The first day of training camp marked the beginning of a friendly battle among a slew of young players competing for the team's third wide receiver position.
"There certainly is a receiver spot open now that Marvin (Harrison) is gone," Manning said. "Reggie (Wayne) and Anthony Gonzalez will certainly be there, but that third spot is a good healthy competition."
Among the young wide outs competing for the slot position are Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Roy Hall and Taj Smith – all of whom have two years of NFL experience or less.
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell predicted the competition will likely "shake itself out in training camp." While Manning said he expects the race to run through the team's preseason schedule.
"It will certainly let the cream rise to the top," Caldwell said. "But we'll also develop some depth along the way. We want to make sure our young receivers get the work they need…those individuals have to get their reps, and we anticipate they'll get better."
Caldwell would not pick favorites on Monday. He told reporters there is no front-runner for the position.
"Hopefully, we'll have a tough decision to make which will mean the guys performed well and we have a little more depth than we anticipated."
PLAY OF THE DAY
The players worked primarily with their position coaches on Monday, but the highlight of the training camp opener came during a wide receiver/defensive back drill.
Colts wide receiver Taj Smith ran down the field and made a cut towards the sideline to receive a pass before running out of bounds. But Colts cornerback Dante Hughes hounded Smith, refusing to give him an inch in coverage.
Smith got two hands on the ball and appeared to reel it in, only to have Hughes rip the ball from his grasp, plant two feet inbounds and complete the interception.
"It went well. Obviously, in terms of the organization it was probably not as sharp as we like, but that's kind of what you can expect. We have a lot to build upon, and like I told them, even though we had a few more miscues then we like, as long as we come out this afternoon and are a little bit better the second time around and keep making improvements that's what counts." – Colts head coach Jim Caldwell on the team's first practice of training camp
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"You just have to keep trucking. If you sit back and worry about what happened and what we used to have then the wheels falls off and all of a sudden you're not going anywhere. Everyone has to pick up the load, and pick up for the guys we lost." – Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne (who arrived at training camp in a bright yellow dump truck), on the upcoming season without Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison
The Colts held their first two practices at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology on Monday. The morning practice began at 8:30 a.m. and the second session commenced at 3:30 p.m. Both ran about two hours. On Tuesday, the team will hit the practice field at 8:30 a.m. and hold a special teams practice at 3:30 p.m.
The weather in Terre Haute on Monday was sunny with a high of 85 degrees, according to weather.com. Tuesday calls for scattered thunderstorms and a high of 83.