INDIANAPOLIS – Chuck Pagano and staff wrapped up a three-day, five-practice rookie camp Sunday that is anything but a getaway day for many of the participants.
Twenty-eight of the camp players are under contract, and the vast majority will remain in Indianapolis as phase two of the off-season conditioning program resumes this week before OTAs start on May 27.
"(We) felt like we got five really good (practices) in, found out what we needed to find out about not only our draft picks but college free agents and tryout guys," said Pagano. "Guys did a great job. Guys handled it well. Players came in and worked."
Pagano said an early-morning meeting today included mention that not everyone would be back, but he provided the groundwork message about what it is to be a Colt.
"Grit, perseverance, resolve, process," said Pagano. He spoke of the foundation laid and how the team is able to thrive under pressure, "60 minutes, all you got, one play at a time, don't judge."
The majority of the room has seen Indianapolis win under Pagano in a number of ways, and they want to be a part of his roster.
The players took the message and worked for nearly an hour. Two highlight moments were long completions from QB-Seth Lobato to WR-Tony Washington and tryout QB-Caleb Herring to WR-Josh Lenz.
Last year's rookie camp ended with a two-minute drive that concluded with a 20-yard TD pass. This one ended when tryout kicker Andy Wilder nailed a 46-yard field goal.
SEEKING SIZE – The last two seasons have been a search for size on the defensive line to help adapt to a 3-4 defense.
The roster Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson inherited in 2012 had only two-of-11 linemen (Antonio Johnson and Fili Moala) topping 300 pounds. The average size along the line was 6-3, 276.
The Colts exited last season with eight linemen (two on IR), with only one (Ricky Jean Francois, 297) coming in below 300 pounds. The average size per lineman was 6-2, 322.
Indianapolis tabbed Arthur Jones (6-3, 315) as one of its centerpiece unrestricted free agency signings, and the increased bulk is more than noticeable, as is the quest to find components to make the 3-4 more stout.
"We finally have the body types, the guys that know how to play square, the guys who have been in this scheme before," said Grigson this spring.
This week is the next step to possibly find more.
Fifth-round pick Jonathan Newsome, at 236 pounds, is ticketed to play a standup position like Robert Mathis, and one camp prospect, nose tackle Zach Kerr, could fit the club's prototype.
Kerr (6-2, 310) manned the spot at Delaware, but went undrafted after playing in 23 games his last two seasons, totaling 84 tackles (10 for losses) and 4.5 sacks, while becoming the first school linemen since 1996 to return an interception for a score.
"(He's) big, fast, smart, has great feet, great quickness. You can see the energy and passion he has," said Pagano.
Kerr watched last weekend's draft and got past the disappointment of not being picked, and he has focused on moving from being a Blue Hen to wearing Colts blue.
"All it's about is the opportunity. I'm excited," said Kerr. "You have to play fast. It's a brotherhood, that's something Coach (Gary) Emanuel is teaching us.
"It's a new level. You're dealing with people who have been playing this game for a long time. It's a little bit of a development in the game (for me)."
Kerr is the only nose tackle in the camp, a position that is essential in the club's scheme. Jones may line up there. It could be Josh Chapman. It must be somebody since the organization has been aggressive in its search.
"You have to use your hands a little better. You have to run to the ball harder," said Kerr of the step up from Delaware. "You have to know blocking schemes a little bit better. You have to know more than just your job. You have to know formations and things like that.
"I'm learning a lot. It's almost like being a linebacker. You have to go 100 miles per hour. That's what I'm doing. If I make a mistake, it's not a mistake until the whistle is blown. You have to go 100 miles an hour until they blow that whistle."
CAMP QUOTEBOOK – Chuck Pagano (on why team consistently handles adversity): "We laid out a foundation when we first got here. We talked about a vision. We know what our vision, it's hanging (Lombardi banner) in the indoor (practice field). We talked about environment and culture we wanted to create. We talked about process, how you go about your business on a (daily) basis. How you handle a game, '60 minutes, all you got, one play at a time, don't judge.' Over a period of time, how you do have seven fourth-quarter comebacks (in 2012), how do you come back from 28 down against the Chiefs in a playoff game? (It's) because our guys don't judge, and they stick to the process. They take things one day at a time. We're a family. We're tight. We have each other's backs. We know that, not to mention we have some really good players. We have the best owner in the NFL. Top-to-bottom the organization, I could go on and on. It really boils down to process."
AROUND THE COLTS –** Ryan Grigson has announced three promotions in his personnel department. Kevin Rogers, a 14-year Colts veteran, has moved to director of pro personnel. Jon Shaw has moved to pro scout/special projects and Dan Pitcher has been named a pro scout. Grigson's staff has helped re-shape the franchise since 2011. Only seven active players remain prior to Grigson's arrival, the lowest number of any team in the league, while the Colts have produced the fifth-best regular-season record (22-10) over the last two years...the Colts signed free agent WR-Ryan Lankford today and waived WR-Greg Moore.