ANDERSON – The Colts are 10 practices into the Anderson portion of training camp and have reached an off day Tuesday that affords mental and physical respite.
The two tough pieces of news during the opening part of camp came at the same position with the season-ending Achilles injury to Vick Ballard and the waiving of running back Chris Rainey on Monday.
"We let Chris go, (a) violation of team rules. It's an in-house deal," said Chuck Pagano who expounded no further. "We're one (back) less, so those other guys will continue to get work. Ryan and I will see what we need to do.
"Guys have worked hard. I feel like we're at a good spot through the practices we've had."
Monday was very specific work with the team toiling extensively in red zone, third-down and two-minute situations.
Vontae Davis, LaRon Landry, Trent Richardson and Josh McNary spectated, while Davin Meggett missed some time, hopefully with just cramping issues.
Pagano said the team is cognizant of injuries and prudent in the approach to bring players along, wanting to avoid situations in the past two years where 17 players wound up on injured reserve.
"It would be foolish not to be proactive like we were in the offseason and do a lot of research," said Pagano. "We looked at the last two seasons, tried to find common threads and do everything within our power."
None of the other injuries in camp, or with players who have not practiced, are of serious nature.
Bjoern Werner continues to shine in stepped-up duty the last five days. Werner had a ruled sack of Andrew Luck in a hurry-up drill Monday, adding to his week that has seen disruptive play frequently.
"He might be the best German defensive end in the NFL (smiles)," said Luck. "He's savvy. He has a great athletic sense. You see him dropping back into coverage and covers a lot of ground. He's a big body. He has great ball instincts."
Said guard Joe Reitz: "He's a completely different player – bigger, stronger, faster. I think he's more confident. You can tell he understands everything. There's no hesitation with him. He looks really good. It's not always fun to see when you're blocking him, but it's good to see."
Pagano praised the development of Werner, just as he does of Luck.
"He (Luck) looks pretty good. He's getting better just like everybody else, he's growing," said Pagano. "(It's) another year back with Pep and the same system.
"He's got great command of the huddle. He's managing bad plays. The game's slowing down for Andrew. The identification, getting us in the right place, getting us out of bad plays, he's further ahead than he's ever been. He's on schedule to have a great season again, better than year one and year two."
PLAY OF THE DAY
Reggie Wayne makes this category for the second straight day. In red zone work, Wayne tipped a ball with his right hand until he could secure it for a TD. Josh Gordy was defending the play and had Wayne's left side legally in grasp. Reggie!
The defense won three consecutive two-minute situations Monday, including interceptions by Josh Gordy and Sergio Brown off Luck. Gordy nearly scored after the pick, but a hustling Ahmad Bradshaw ended the return.
Delano Howell picked Luck off early in practice, but and Luck eventually was 17-of-31 with five TD tosses (3, T.Y. Hilton; 1, Reggie Wayne; 1, Jack Doyle).
"Yeah, some poor decisions by me today. The defense makes you pay when you make bad decisions, I found that out quickly in the NFL," said Luck afterward. "You learn from the mistakes and you don't want to repeat them in a game. On the flipside, offensively we're putting a lot of pressure on them to play well as well. The old adage, 'Iron sharpens iron,' I think it really applies. Coach Pep (Hamilton) is our leader, Coach (Greg) Manusky is sort of their leader, Coach (Chuck) Pagano is everyone's leader but he's a defensive head coach (laughs). It's fun, good and competitive. That's how you get better – everybody pushing each other."
Werner had a tag-sack of Luck in a hurry-up drill. D'Qwell Jackson had a pass defensed off Luck, while Jeris Pendleton had one off Matt Hasselbeck. Loucheiz Purifoy defensed Hasselbeck and Chandler Harnish passes, while Hasselbeck and Josh Lenz combined on a TD play.
Adam Vinatieri hit three-of-five long field goals into a stiff wind on situational drills.
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY(Jerrell Freeman dismissing significance of brief yapping with Daniel Herron two days ago)
"How did that get so big? There were so many more scuffles out there. I don't know how that one got so big. It's running backs on linebackers. We're going to see a lot of each other during camp. That's just how it popped off. It's camp, man."
PREVIOUS TRIVIA QUIZ
In 30 seasons while playing in Indianapolis, only two non-linebackers have led the team in tackles over the span of a season. Name those two players.
ANSWER: The two non-linebackers to lead the Colts in tackles for a season were Antoine Bethea (2008-10) and Jason Belser (1997-98).
TODAY'S TRIVIA QUIZ
In 25 of the 30 seasons the Colts have played in Indianapolis, 13 different linebackers finished as the club's leading tackler. Seven of the 13 did it on multiple occasions. Name as many of those seven as possible, along with identifying the only one to lead the team seven different times. See the next Colts Camp Notebook for the answer.
PRACTICE ATTENDANCE: 1,252. TOTAL FOR CAMP: 10,793.
With inclement weather in the area, the walk-through and full practice were combined into a three-hour morning session. Overcast and heavy wind conditions prevailed throughout. The temperature hit 63, but consistent winds of 15-20 mph made conditions feel much cooler.
Tuesday is an off day for players after practicing twice daily for the past five days. Wednesday's schedule is the same as the first five practice days with a morning closed walk-though and an afternoon session from 1:50 to 4:25.