COLTS NOTEBOOK ITEMS:
MEDIA RECEIVES LESSON ON 2011 RULE CHANGES
NFL officials Jeff Bergman, Steve Freeman and Dave Wyant sat down with the media on Friday to explain rule changes for the 2011 season.
After watching a ten-minute instructional DVD on defenseless players, media members asked the three officials about various rule questions.
On Thursday night, all 32 NFL teams were shown the same DVD the media saw on Friday about the eight types of defenseless players. The three additions to the types of defenseless players in 2011 include a blind-side blocker, a quarterback after a change of possession and a kicker/punter during kick returns.
Along with addressing the topic of defenseless players, the three officials explained three other rule changes that will be enforced this season.
The kickoff will be moved up five yards this season to the 35-yard line and any player on the kickoff coverage unit must have some part of his body touching the 30-yard line prior to the kickoff. This will eliminate long run ups by the kickoff coverage unit and was enforced in large part because four times as many injuries happen on kickoffs than any other play.
Another rule change is coaches cannot challenge scoring plays. All challenges on scoring plays will come from the booth and the officials made it clear they will wait extra long between a touchdown and the point after before receiving confirmation from the booth on whether or not they need to review the score.
The final rule talked about is if a personal foul occurs at the end of the half or at the end of regulation than that penalty will be carried over to either the next half or to overtime.
HUGHES READY FOR HIS TIME
Last season is last season and that is perfectly fine with Jerry Hughes. The Colts 2010 first round draft pick went through the ups and downs most NFL rookies experience in their opening season. For Hughes, 2011 is a second chance and he is ready to embrace the opportunity.
A special teams player in 2010, Hughes did not record a sack in his rookie campaign. His head coach has seen the upward jump players make from their first and second years and expects the TCU product to do the same.
"They (second year players) get a lot more familiar with the system so therefore they don't have to think about it nearly as much as they can let themselves go," Caldwell said. "They don't have to worry about, every little step that they take. It becomes a little more automatic. So I think that's the stage that you find a lot of guys get to after they've been around the system a little bit. It all just clicks and I think he's (Hughes) starting to get there.
Hughes recorded six tackles in his first season as he sat behind Pro Bowl ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
The Colts success in NFL drafts speaks for itself and Freeney and Mathis are prime examples.
Many pundits questioned the selection of the undersized defensive end in Freeney when the Colts picked him 11th overall in 2002. All Freeney did in his rookie season was finish the season with 13 sacks while forcing nine fumbles.
The following season the Colts dove back into the defensive end pool during the draft when they selected Mathis in the fifth round out of Alabama A&M. Draft experts thought Mathis was a hybrid who was too small to play defensive end at the next level but he quickly dispelled those critics.
Mathis forced three fumbles and finished the 2003 season with 3.5 sacks before erupting for double-digit sack totals in his next two seasons.
The two veteran defensive ends have taken Hughes under their wing this training camp and have helped to put 2010 in the past and just play football.
"Well this is life, this is football, life in the NFL," Freeney said. "You will have your ups and downs. Some guys it maybe a week, some guys it's a month. You've got to keep grinding. We (the veterans) are going to help you out, and all the family that's kind of what it is. I just tell him keep grinding because that's just what it is. It's not always going to be sunny days, no rain. Sometimes the weather is going to be bad, your feet's going to hurt and your back is going to hurt."
The Colts have made two additions along the defensive line this past week in signing veterans Jamaal Anderson and Tommie Harris. However, Hughes has the caught the attention of the coaching staff during the first week of camp.
"Jerry Hughes is really coming along," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "He's been performing extremely well thus far, he's more comfortable with what we do and his effort has been great so we hope he continues.
In the afternoon practice on Thursday, Hughes showed why the Colts drafted him in the first round as despite being the biggest player on the kickoff coverage unit; he beat the rest of his teammates down the field and was the first to touch the goal line.
The Colts have 15 bodies for defensive line coach John Teerlinck to use, which is almost double the number that he is used to having. The additions of Harris and Anderson are the big headliners this off-season but the emergence of Hughes on the outside is another nightmare for opposing quarterbacks to worry about.
VETERAN FREE AGENTS HIT THE PRACTICE FIELD
For second time in the 2011 training camp the Colts put the pads on out at practice. Friday afternoon, the coaches had a full roster (minus injured players) with which to work.
After a walk-through in shorts during the 9:30 a.m. practice the Colts held a similar practice in the afternoon to what they had Wednesday evening.
Some of the special teams notes from the practice include kicker Adam Vinateri making six of his seven field goals at the beginning of practice.
During punt coverage and returns, wide receivers David Gilreath, Anthony Gonzalez, Joe Horn, Pierre Garcon and cornerback Jerraud Powers were the return men.
Also, punter Pat McAfee hit a 65-yard punt in the early portion of practice.
The kick returners during Friday's afternoon practice were Gilreath, Devin Moore, Larrone Moore and Chad Spann.
During 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work some of the standouts on offense included tight end Dallas Clark who was a popular target of quarterback Curtis Painter. Defensively, rookie defensive tackle Drake Nevis made some nice plays on the interior with linebacker Ernie Sims making a stop on Clark in the open field to force a fourth down.
The first week of practice will conclude Saturday morning with a mock game, which is scheduled for 10:30.
"We'll have the mock game tomorrow, which has been part of our routine here at camp for the last 10 or 12 years," Vice President and General Manager Chris Polian said. "That's a situation where they will go in shoulder pads and helmets come on and off the sideline, the coaches will be on the sideline, not behind the huddle. It will be a little bit more of a competitive setting than a normal practice."
The Colts had nine practices during their first five days of camp and Head Coach Jim Caldwell is ready to throw some game-like pressure at his players Saturday.
"What we do up to this point we try and segment all the situations that arise in a ballgame: two minutes, four minutes, goal-line, short-yardage, third downs, first downs, second-and-long," Caldwell said. "We segment them during the course of practice and now that we go to the mock game you blend all of those together, our substitutions, the kicking game. See how they (the players) react in those situations and hopefully some things come up that we are going to have to talk over and get corrected obviously before our first preseason game next week."
Offensive lineman Ryan Diem got the first taste of practice on Friday and knows the practices can be even more important than the games.
"Yeah, that's (the mock game) always fun," Diem said. "They (the coaches) kind of put us in different situations and let us run through some stuff. But really it's the practices like this afternoon that are going to help us get better with our technique, fundamentals, and that's the most important thing."
The scoring for the mock game is as follows: the offense follows the same point system as if it were a real game (six points for a touchdown, three for a field goal and one for a PAT) and the defense gets seven points for a takeaway, three for a forced fumble and one for a forced punt or turnover on downs.
Wednesday night's practice brought 9,000 fans to Macholtz Stadium and defense end Dwight Freeney is looking for another large and boisterous crowd on Saturday.
"I think we have some real great fans," Freeney said. "They really support their teams out here. It (the atmosphere) has always been electric on the mock game, so hopefully we get a big crowd again."
PLAY OF THE DAY
The pads were strapped on Friday afternoon as the Colts welcomed their veteran free agents to the practice field. The highlight of the early portion of the practice was kicker Adam Vinateri connecting on a 52-yard field goal into a slight breeze. During the 7-on-7 portion of the practice, Anthony Gonzalez made a beautiful catch over cornerback Jacob Lacey on a 30-yard gain down the right sideline. Quarterback Curtis Painter put the ball in the perfect spot for Gonzalez who made the catch even though Lacey was flagged for interference on the play by the officials who attended the practice.
PLAYERS WHO DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN TODAY'S AFTERNOON PRACTICE DUE TO INJURY INCLUDE:
DT DeMario Pressley (Hamstring)
LB Cody Glenn (Neck)
TE Brody Eldridge (Knee)
CB Chris Rucker (Ankle)
On the team's mock game Saturday morning and the first preseason contest a week from Saturday at St. Louis.
"Well this morning we worked on goal-line, short-yardage, really focused in on those areas. This afternoon we will work on it as well with pads on. We will hit some more situations. Tomorrow we will try to blend them all together, put it in a game-like setting and hopefully a lot of those things will come up naturally so they will have to do the substitution from the sideline…so it gives you a chance to go through it a week ahead of time. It's (the mock game) what we have always done at this particular weekend. It's unusual because of the fact that typically your whole team is with you. But now we have a few guys that have only been with us in terms of practice one day prior to the mock game, so that will be interesting."
QUOTE TO NOTE
Offensive tackle Ryan Diem on playing a mock game Saturday morning:
"Yeah, that's (the mock game) always fun. They (the coaches) kind of put us in different situations and let us run through some stuff. But really it's the practices like this afternoon that are going to help us get better with our technique, fundamentals and that's the most important thing.
Peyton Manning holds the record for the most consecutive completions by a Colt in the regular season. Name how many completions it was and the two teams the streak (the completion streak stretched over two games) was set against.
The Colts had two practices on Friday going with shorts at the 9:30 practice before strapping on the pads at the 3:30 session. Saturday morning the team will hold a mock game in Macholtz Stadium at 10:30.
WHO'S COVERING (WATCHING) THE COLTS
Country music singer Josh Turner was out at the Colts morning practice on Friday. Turner was scheduled to perform at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Friday evening.
With the Colts in full pads for the second time this training camp, Mother Nature cooperated with partly cloudy skies and a high of 86 degrees with a low of 71 on Friday. The forecast for Saturday's mock game looks to be around 80 degrees with a 30% chance of rain.
FOR THE FANS
COLTS CITY remains a popular destination point for training camp attendees. Colts city elements include: interactive inflatables, sponsor booths, giveaways and register-to-win ticket opportunities, Colts In Motion traveling museum, Colts Express Retail Trailer, cheerleader autograph session, opportunities to learn about and support charities in the community and appearance by Blue (the official mascot of the Colts)
COLTS CITY OPEN:
Friday, August 5 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 6 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tuesday, August 9 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tuesday, August 16 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
COLTS CITY CONCERT SERIES:
Wednesday, August 10 'Living Proof' from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday, August 16 'Clayton Anderson' from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Fireworks show following the conclusion of the 7:30 p.m. practice
Thursday's Trivia Question was: Who holds the record for the most receiving yards in a Colts playoff game? This receiver caught 10 passes for 221 yards in the game. Name the receiver and the team he did it against.
The answer is Reggie Wayne against the Denver Broncos on January 9, 2005. Wayne added two touchdowns to along with his 221-yard effort.