A Rundown Of Today's Happenings At Training Camp
A LONG TIME COMING
TERRE HAUTE – Colts Offensive Lineman Charlie Johnson made his 2009 training camp debut on Monday, making him the final healthy piece to the team's offensive lineman puzzle.
Johnson's return comes a little more than a week after six-year veteran Ryan Lilja resumed practicing full-time with the team. Lilja spent the 2008 season on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list with a knee injury he worked hard to rehabilitate.
"He's been itching to get those pads back on," Colts Offensive Lineman Ryan Diem said of Lilja. "He looks pretty good, he hasn't missed a beat."
With Johnson back, the Colts now have their entire offensive line healthy and on the field practicing together, a luxury they have been without for quite some time.
"This is the first time in awhile we've had everyone together and on the same page," Diem said. "It's kind of cool to see everyone out here and the unit we are most likely starting the first week with."
In 2008, Johnson started all 16 games for the Colts, playing 12 at left guard and four at left tackle. On Monday, Johnson practiced at left tackle, one of the many positions he said he is "comfortable" with.
Johnson was drafted by the Colts in 2006, and soon realized he should learn as many offensive line positions as possible, in order to increase his value with the team. Johnson said on Monday he has always had the mentality of playing wherever the coaches tell him to play and going out and performing to the best of his abilities.
More than anything, Johnson is just happy to be back.
"It feels really good to come out here and be a part of this team and be a part of this line," he said.
Johnson admitted it was hard to watch the first week of training camp in shorts and a jersey on the sidelines and said it felt good to be able to participate in his first practice alongside his fellow linemen.
"Hopefully, now we'll get caught up with the plays and we'll start playing together," Johnson said. "That's the biggest thing, having that chemistry back and getting to where we were a couple of years ago."
WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell has his team's intensity level where he wants it, which means the team's first preseason game must be just around the corner.
Caldwell said the Colts had a "good, solid practice" in their first training camp workout since Saturday's mock game. With three players (DB-Marlin Jackson, DT-Antonio Johnson and OL-Charlie Johnson) returning from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday, the Colts now have a few more starters in pads anticipating the team's first preseason game of the season Friday against the Minnesota Vikings.
With an abundance of healthy, and capable, players on the field, the next task ahead for Caldwell is divvying up playing time for the team's first contest.
"That's something we'll determine here in the next couple of days and we'll go from there," Caldwell said.
One player who will see plenty of minutes is rookie quarterback Curtis Painter. The team's sixth-round pick practiced Monday with the second unit while quarterback Jim Sorgi continues to recover from a minor hamstring injury.
"Due to the circumstances, he's going to get a pretty good amount of work," Caldwell said, "which will be good for him."
The Colts also on Monday signed quarterback Chris Crane, who is expected to play on Friday. Crane, a rookie out of Boston College, was previously with the Colts after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in May.
"We certainly couldn't go into any ballgames coming up with only two quarterbacks," Caldwell said. "He'll step in there, he knows our system and he'll do a great job."
Despite Friday's game being only a preseason battle, Caldwell said he is not taking the game lightly, nor are his players.
"When they stop keeping score, then I'll stop worrying about whether or not we win," Caldwell said.
With several new coaches and 80 players in camp competing for a roster spot, Caldwell said Friday should provide some valuable opportunities.
"It's important for us to go out and try and learn as much about ourselves as we possibly can," he said.
PLAY OF THE DAY
Do not expect to see Monday's play of the day on any Sunday afternoons this season.
It happened during a passing drill in which the receivers were running routes uncovered towards the end zone. The passes were being thrown over the receiver's heads so they would have to run under the ball and catch it over their far shoulders.
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne had just caught his for a touchdown when he began to trot back up field. Next in line was teammate Pierre Garcon, who was tracking his pass and headed directly for Wayne without knowing it.
Garcon's ball sailed just a few feet outside of his grasp and just a few inches within Wayne's. The three-time Pro Bowl selection did not miss a beat and cleanly caught the football with one hand before it touched the ground for a very unroutine catch.
"I am (glad). It's not doing me any good, but nevertheless, our team certainly needs it. It was great for them to be able to handle this heat. We're going to have some games where it's going to be quite humid, and it's important for them to have an opportunity to run around in those pads (and) get their bodies acclimated." – Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell on Monday's weather
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It has been my dream since I've been little to play in this position. So to experience this for the first time will be exciting, and hopefully I'll get the nerves out of the way before I start a drive or anything. But it's going to be exciting, it's going to be fun, and hopefully we'll do well." – Colts quarterback Curtis Painter on his excitement for Friday's preseason game against Minnesota
The Colts practiced in pads at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning and returned to the practice field for a special teams practice in shorts at 3:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the team will once again work out at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
It was a sticky morning in Terre Haute on Monday, with the high expected to reach 87 degrees. The humidity made it feel like it was in the mid-90s, according to weather.com.