INDIANAPOLIS – Behind closed doors, the physicality could be ramped up a bit at this year's Training Camp for the Indianapolis Colts.
That is what Chuck Pagano and his staff will be weighing the pros and cons on over the next month.
Or not to tackle?
Getting game ready vs. staying away from possible injuries?
"We've talked long and hard about that," Pagano said of implementing some live tackling into camp. "You're always scared to death (of injuries), but at the same time if you don't tackle, it's hard to get good at tackling.
"We do, obviously, a lot of what we call thud. It's first contact, it's wrap up and you try to stay off the ground as much as you can and take care of each other. But we'll continue to have discussions regarding that and there may be some periods come training camp that we decide we want to go live here. Again, until you do that, you get to the preseason and usually that first or second preseason game is an eye-opener for a lot of the guys, especially the young guys until they adapt to the speed of the game."
The Colts struggled early last season with their tackling.
Watching film of those issues surely has contributed to why Pagano is thinking about having his guys tackle during camp, something the Colts have not done under his tenure.
Over the years, the physicality of Training Camps around the NFL has tapered off.
Full pads come on three practice days into camp (per the Collective Bargaining Agreement). That leaves time for around 10 full-padded practices during the month of August, sandwiched around four preseason games.
Outside of thudding, we have seen the occasional 'Oklahoma' drill used by Pagano, to try and simulate some game-day speed for defenders.
Ask Chris Ballard his thoughts and he believes the simulation of tackling must occur during the month of August.
"We've had long talks with Chuck and the staff (and) this will be a physical camp for us," Ballard says. "We've got a young football team and you need to spar. You need to spar and I think we will.
"I think we will have a physical camp and I think you need to get your body ready. A lot of the problems we have is that we don't hit enough. You are always worried about injuries. It's a physical game and much like boxing you've got to spar. Your body has to get prepared for the grind and the hits in the season that it's going to endure. If your body doesn't get used to that in camp, I think that's when things fall off during the season."
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