Lacey, DeVan Among the Young Players Happy to be a Colt
INDIANAPOLIS — For some, it was not the call that came, but the call that did not come that made their weekend.
Colts rookie defensive back Jacob Lacey is one of those players.
With NFL teams required to turn in their 53-man rosters Saturday, players knew they could receive that infamous calling letting them know they had not made the team.
When looking back to training camp and the preseason this weekend, Lacey thought he had played pretty well and deserved to make the team. But he was not certain, which led to a nerve-wracking Saturday.
"I just tried to stay by my phone, but at the same time not stay by it," Lacey joked.
When Saturday passed, so too did the suspense.
Lacey, an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, followed in the footsteps of Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt by making the team and became the latest success story for an organization known for uncovering productive players who slipped through the draft.
Since the first day of training camp, when Lacey intercepted two passes, the rookie's lone goal has been making the team.
"I tried every day to show them I could play," he said. "Whether it was a deep ball or a short ball in practice, I tried my hardest, and I think that's what got me in."
Like Lacey, first-year offensive lineman Kyle DeVan had a similar mindset: make the team's roster no matter what.
"That was my goal, that's what I came here to do, to make this roster," DeVan said. "Every day I put in the work to achieve that goal. Now I need to set new goals. I want to contribute to this team in any way I can."
In camp, DeVan did his best to make sure coaches noticed him. When he learned a new technique in a morning meeting, he tried to apply it in the afternoon's practice to show he was listening.
"I'd try to implement what they taught us and I think it helped out," he said. "Over time and through hard work I think it paid off, just working on their technique and doing what they want you to do."
Like a utility infielder in baseball, DeVan is hoping he can be a jack-of-all-trades to the Colts offensive line. He played three different positions this summer, both guard spots and center, and transitioned from one to another seamlessly in both practices and preseason games.
"That's really something you have to do in this league," DeVan said. "If you're playing only one position you're really hurting yourself."
DeVan said starting left tackle Charlie Johnson provided a "great example" for what an offensive lineman can do to stick with a team.
Johnson moved around from left to right tackle in his first two years with the Colts and started 12 games at left guard for the team in 2008, displaying his valuable versatility. Now, in his fourth year with the Colts, Johnson is the team's starting left tackle and is doing exactly what DeVan hopes he can do with the team.
Having played center throughout college, DeVan said he is now focused on mastering both guard positions.
"I'm just going out there trying to make myself better every day and make myself a valuable piece of this organization."
THREE IS GREATER THAN TWO
Curtis Painter proved he belonged. But with the team's starting and backup quarterback positions firmly entrenched, the rookie quarterback now has to find a way to contribute in some fashion.
"Whatever case that may be, whether it is in practice or on the sidelines," Painter said. "I just need to be in position to do my best and help the team anyway I can."
Despite having a history of being a team that keeps just two quarterbacks, Caldwell said Painter's play warranted the team to break its trend.
"He performed very well and did a great job more than anything else," Caldwell said. "He handled some very difficult situations with a lot of poise and he was very effective."
With cuts looming this past weekend, Painter said getting through the weekend was "a big relief."
"I'm extremely happy to still be here and get this thing rolling," he said.