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The Colts' mandatory 2009 mini-camp concluded Sunday, with three days remaining in the team's organized team activities. Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell on Sunday called the final three days of OTAs pivotal for the team's younger players.


As Minicamp Ends, Colts Continue to Focus on Basics

INDIANAPOLIS – The goals haven't quite been reached, which Jim Caldwell said is to be expected.

Caldwell, entering his first season as the Colts' head coach, said as the 2009 mandatory mini-camp closed Sunday the team wasn't quite where it wanted to be. He also said that was OK because the Colts aren't yet done working.

There are organized team activities remaining this week.

And there's training camp in August.

All in all, Caldwell said the team has made progress during the 2009 offseason, and as the mini-camp segment closed this weekend, he said Colts are on schedule as they prepare for the coming season.

"We're not where we want to be yet, but we don't have to play tomorrow – that's the good thing," Caldwell said Sunday as the Colts closed their 2009 three-day mini-camp with a morning session at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

"We continue to work on our fundamentals and techniques."

The Colts are scheduled to reto 2009 Training Camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., on August 2.

The Colts continue OTAs this week, with the final practice scheduled for Wednesday.

"Our effort was very, very good, but I think we need to hone in on the details," said Caldwell, who succeeded longtime head coach Tony Dungy in January. "We probably had some areas, some different mistakes, that we'd like to clean up here these next three days."

Caldwell said as was the case under Dungy, the mini-camps and OTAs are far more information-oriented than they are about evaluation.

"We do quite a bit of evaluating, but until you get pads on, it's very tough to make assessments – complete assessments, I should say," Caldwell said. "But we can get a few things accomplished."

The OTAs and mini-camps have been the first opportunity for the Colts' eight selections in the 2009 NFL Draft and 15 rookies later signed as free agents to work with the team's veterans. While the truer time to gauge their ability will be training camp, Caldwell and veteran players said Sunday they liked what they have seen.

"Overall, if I would put just a broad stroke on the entire group, they learn very quickly," Caldwell said. "It's a talented group. They learn at a particular speed in the classroom and out here, it's a little different speed, particularly with some of the offensive guys and when (Colts quarterback) Peyton (Manning) gets behind the wheel, things kind of speed up a little bit. But they have been adapting and adjusting well."

Said Colts safety Bob Sanders, "They're doing great. This is probably the best group that I've seen so far in my short career – just with guys coming in and being on top of the details and learning on the run. The defense has been installed very quickly. There have been a lot of new changes, but they're learning fast.

"It's a little bit of a surprise. You always expect the new guys to come in and they're wet behind the ears and don't know what to do. They've been following the older guys well and picking up on it fast, so it's an exciting thing to see."

Because of the amount of information to be learned and a limited amount of time before the season, Caldwell said each step in the learning process is critical. That, he said, includes the coming week.

"I think these next three days are really going to be pivotal," Caldwell said. "They're important days. We're going to have to be certain that we ramp it up and they have to be able to keep pace, but I think that will happen.

"I think I would say overall they all are doing what we anticipated and expected. We'll go through another phase of evaluation during training camp once we get the pads on."

Said Sanders, "We're very excited. When you get to this point in mini-camp, the season has pretty much started. We're ready to go and excited. It's good to see younger guys playing, and see new faces and those guys start to get work."

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