INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts rookie guard Danny Pinter today spoke to local reporters via video conference call. What were the top takeaways about how he's grasping the playbook, what he's taking away from the veterans along the offensive line and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some highlights:
» Pinter knows his place as a rookie, but has also been sure to be as assertive as he can be in virtual positional meetings: Offensive line coach Chris Strausser recently told Colts.com how impressed he's been with Pinter's ability to quickly pick up the playbook, which has been evident throughout the virtual offseason program in the team's positional meetings via video conference.
For his part, Pinter said it's been a fun balance of knowing his place as a rookie, but also grabbing his opportunity by the horns when he sees fit.
"Obviously, you're a rookie. That's your place. You have to understand your place on the team, but my biggest emphasis has certainly just been to grasp the playbook as much as I can," Pinter said. "I just have been putting a lot of time into that because the circumstances as they are right now – either way, even if we could be practicing the playbook would be certainly my No. 1 priority — but with everything being virtual right now, just really put a big emphasis on that. I think that's helped, but still continuing to put time into that to grow stronger mentally."
Asked if he still has a little bit of a "pinch me" approach to his opportunity — being selected in the fifth round of this year's NFL Draft and immediately being thrown into the mix with a very established, veteran group overall — Pinter wouldn't go quite that far. But he's excited about the opportunity to eventually get onto the field with his new teammates, where the learning process can really accelerate.
"In some ways I feel a little more settled in of course than initially right after the draft, but I think being able to get on the field, that will certainly be the next step," he said. " I'm sure there will be some parts to that that you just can't replicate virtually. I'm sure there will be some sort of a different approach to it then, but my approach right now is just attacking it.
"I'm just full-go, just still trying to attack it for what I can do right now," Pinter continued. "But I'm sure once we actually get on the field there will be a little different side to that."
» Pinter is already starting the process of building camaraderie with the veterans in the room: Quenton Nelson is a two-time All-Pro, Anthony Castonzo is a respected veteran with nine NFL seasons under his belt, Ryan Kelly is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection and is considered one of the top players at the center position in the league.
It could be daunting to try to establish yourself entering the league with guys like that around you, but Pinter has appreciated learning from the best in the business.
"From an X's and O's standpoint, obviously those guys are on top of their game and they know all the little intricate details," Pinter said. "That's something I've already learned just how important that is to know all that and I think that's what allows them to play at such a high level that they do."
But, also, Pinter is picking up cues from his veteran teammates "just by the way they carry themselves."
"They talk about how they're working out. They're really attacking whatever they do," Pinter said. "Just their presence and leadership – they're in full control of the room for sure. That's something I've definitely grasped from them."
» Pinter has been able to get in some side workouts with Kelly and others: Pinter entered his college career at Ball State as a tight end, but made a move to right tackle after his first two seasons with the Cardinals. Just two years into that transition, he would be named All-Mid-American Conference at the position.
But Pinter projects more as an interior offensive lineman for the Colts; he'll focus on guard and also try to work in when he can at center to continue adding value as a versatile piece up front.
Assisting in that work has been the Colts' veteran center Kelly, who has stayed in the Indianapolis area throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has been among the team's offensive linemen getting together for side workouts whenever they can in recent weeks.
"Yeah, being local has definitely helped," Pinter said. "I've gotten together with a couple guys. I know a couple of the rookies have been able to do the same thing as well. So that's definitely been beneficial."
Pinter said Kelly specifically has been a major help for him as he starts to navigate life as an NFL offensive lineman.
"Yeah, Ryan is awesome," Pinter said. "Even when I'm not working out with him, he sent me a text and said, 'Hey, any questions you've got, don't be afraid to ask me.' He's been awesome from that standpoint.
"He's a great person to watch on tape," Pinter continued on Kelly and working out at center. "He's one of the best in the league at the position. I'm just always trying to dig up something that I can from him, but I've been working on this transition for a while. I knew moving inside – as soon as my senior season ended, I knew that was probably the reality. So just trying to pick something to get better at every single day, just get more and more comfortable at it. I think that's just been a progression and that will be what it continues to be for me."
Get your first look at Danny Pinter after being selected 149th overall by the Indianapolis Colts.