Colts Weekly Update
PLAYERS, FANS ENJOY NIGHT PRACTICE
Both players and fans alike enjoyed the Thursday evening practice that featured the Colts in full-pads, going through game scenarios and a multitude of positional drills.
After being rained out on Wednesday night, the players took the field to the adulation of their many fans that had come to catch a glimpse of their favorite team in action.
"There is no question they (the players) certainly like it," Head Coach Jim Caldwell said after the practice around 10:30 p.m. "We have great crowds. The crowds have been extremely receptive and the guys really enjoy performing in front of them."
None may like the large crowds more than Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who spent time signing autographs along the fence line of the football field before practice began.
"I think it's great," Manning said of the large crowd that attended. "When you have someone encouraging you or you hear some applause, there there's no question that makes a difference for players to kind of push through when you feel like someone's watching and cheering you on. (The) crowds have been great every day, and it was great to see after the rainout, crowds came back to see the turnout the next night."
And even though most of the screaming was for the offensive fireworks displayed by Manning and the offense, defensive linebacker Gary Brackett knows the fans will be there to support the entire team come game day.
"It's funny how that works," Brackett said laughing. "For a deep ball out of bounds, they cheer. I don't know if they are cheering for the defense or what, but we get it. They want to see some points put on the board. They love the defense, too, but I guess we will have to wait until the regular season to hear those cheers."
Not only were the players in good spirits, but also the weather cooperated with clear skies and cooler temperatures that everyone appreciated, including Colts running back Joseph Addai.
No stranger to hot temperatures, Addai played his high school football in Texas before starting his collegiate career in the sweltering heat at Louisiana State University.
"It was nice. The weather was good, too," Addai said of the evening practice. "I kind of make fun of some of the guys because they talk about how hot it is in Indianapolis and you go down South and it is really hot. But I kind of had my foot in my mouth the other day because I was just sweating."
Of more importance than the weather or festivities of the night practice to coach Caldwell was the direction of the team during the practice.
"We thought we had a good, spirited practice this evening," Caldwell said. "We got quite a bit done and had an opportunity to work on a number of different situations. We certainly got chances to kind of hone in our running game early on during our inside drill period and had a good two-minute drill period as well. That is a very, very important part of our operation on both sides of the ball. So we think we got a lot done today."
"IT'S UP TO US"
The Indianapolis Colts have a new offensive coordinator (Clyde Christensen) and offensive line coach (Pete Metzelaars), and while quarterback Peyton Manning believes that the recent additions in these positions will take some getting used to, he said the onus of success falls upon the players.
"Once again, it's up to the players," Manning said after the morning practice on Friday. "The players have to go out there and execute the offense. If the players can't complete a third-down conversion, you can't say it's the offensive coordinator's fault. The players have to go out and do it. It's always been the players that have to be accountable and go out and do what the coaches tell us to do, but training camp is a great time for the coaches to get to know Clyde as a coordinator and in that leadership role."
Former offensive coordinator Tom Moore will serve as Senior Offensive Assistant, but gone is former Offensive Line Coach Howard Mudd, who coached the offensive line for 12 years and retired following Super Bowl XLIV.
Being tabbed as the new Offensive Line Coach, Metzelaars has been with the Colts since 2004, when he joined in the capacity of offensive quality control coach, and in 2008 he was given the added responsibilities of assistant offensive line coach.
"Anytime you have a different coach in any capacity there's going to be a change there, but I think the linemen are getting used to working with those two (Metzelaars and Assistant Offensive Line Coach Ron Prince)," Manning said. "I know I certainly am and it's up to the players to make it work. We still have to do what the coaches tell us to do, but those guys are into it and working hard. It's a great opportunity for them, and it's important for us to make that transition work."
Rookie fourth-round draft pick Jacques McClendon may be in line to back-up center Jeff Saturday, and as far as intellectual capacity goes, he seems to be made for the position, especially in the Colts offense where intelligence is key at that position.
With so many adjustments at the line due to the complexity of the offense and quarterback Peyton Manning's' last-second audibles at the line, it helps to have a player like McClendon, who has both his bachelor's degree in economics and master's degree in sport management, dealing with those adaptations.
"You'll find that position (center) in itself is a cerebral position," Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "It is a position you have to be able to adjust on the run, particularly within our scheme. You have to be able to adjust in a nanosecond. Peyton may change the play and you have to be able to adjust accordingly.
"He has all of the tools. He is strong. He is very smart, capable, moves his feet extremely well and he is learning our system. Our system is not the easiest to learn, so it takes a little while to learn, particularly in the position which he plays. He is a great student of the game."