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One-by-one, the list of off-season dates is passing by. The combine, start of free agency and the draft are history. Today marks the start of week four of the voluntary program, and the end of the week holds the rookie camp. Tick, tick, tick towards the action.





INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts' 2012 season ended four months ago today with a Wild Card playoff loss, and the 2013 calendar now is in May.

The combine, the start of free agency and the draft are history, and today is the start of the fourth week of the voluntary workout program.

The end of the week holds the rookie camp that will involve a large number of hopefuls for the roster, including seven draft picks.

It has been an active four months with new faces in the fold – eight unrestricted free agents, the addition of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (the most experienced backup QB in town in more than 15 years) and the trade for a fullback.

Also, new coordinators in Pep Hamilton (offense) and Tom McMahon (special teams) are on the landscape.

"We got a lot of new faces, just like last year," said punter Pat McAfee, who with four seasons completed ranks as a "senior" Colt.  "I've kind of learned that a lot of new faces in the locker room mean you've got to build camaraderie quick.  That's what we've got going on right now."

Players have worked Monday through Thursday for the last three weeks in the off-season program.  Attendance has been around the 90 percent level. 

On-field work started on the uptick last week, and work this time of year helps build the competitive foundation.

"That's what we've got going on, a lot of fundamental-building stuff on the field," said McAfee.

"It's good times.  Also, we're getting in shape.  I wasn't able to straighten my arm for a week or two because of too many biceps.  That's the way things are going, but it's been a lot of fun."

This is the second straight year Indianapolis has had a healthy influx of new bodies.  With that comes a bit of orientation, including learning about each other on the field.

"Guys are getting out there communicating, just getting a feel for how a play is going to go when you're out on in the fire," said Cory Redding.  "You've got to get guys in situations where they have to communicate, 'Hey, if I'm going to do this, you are going to play off me.'

"Those are the things that are not taught in the classroom, they have to come with experience and the players out there getting a feel for one another."

Chuck Pagano and his staff last year blistered players with a heavy dose of the playbook in the spring. 

They were demanding then so training camp would be a true building time in readying for the season.  New faces, new ideas, new year.

"It's always good to have fresh legs coming in here, fresh ideas, not knowing what to expect," said Redding.  "It's going to be fun to have the young guys in there.

"We've got to get together, get to know them really quick and see what they can do for us this year and just go forward."

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