INDIANAPOLIS –An off-season and training camp of flurry has been constant for the Colts in 2012.
With the arrival of General Manager Ryan Grigson on January 11 and the introduction of Head Coach Chuck Pagano two weeks later, the changes for this year's Colts are dramatic.
With the roster cutdown from 90 to 75 completed on Monday, there are only 23 players who finished last season on the active roster who remain with the club currently. Another six players among the 75 finished 2011 either on the practice squad or injured reserve, thus 46 players on hand have joined Indianapolis this season.
There may be no position group augmented more by the additions than the defensive secondary, where only six of the 14 players (eight cornerbacks, six safeties) have experience with the club prior to this year.
Cornerbacks Brandon King and Jerraud Powers, along with safeties Antoine Bethea, Jermale Hines, Joe Lefeged and Mike Newton are the ones who have been with the club previously.
Grigson is a tireless worker with a 24-hour eye for the possibility of upgrading his roster. Pagano also is attuned to that process to the same degree.
An aggressive personnel approach has seen the club swing seven trades this spring that netted eight players. Four of those players joining Indianapolis are cornerbacks – Vontae Davis, Josh Gordy, D.J. Johnson and Cassius Vaughn. Another corner, Korey Lindsey, was obtained by waivers.
The players are working together in trying to develop cohesion when the season starts on September 9. The most senior player in the secondary, Bethea, noted an approach that is different than when he joined the team in 2006.
"It's a different philosophy here. Before in previous years, there were not many trades," said Bethea. "It's a new philosophy here. I've never seen it, but there's no one way to doing things, obviously. The guys they are bringing in are going to help the team."
The secondary must operate in absolute sync in competition. Bethea thinks the team is on the way to getting the tightness needed to succeed.
"We're getting it down. Cohesion, of course, is going to take time. Cohesion come the eighth game is going to be better than it is the first game," said Bethea. "I think we've come a long way. This is many new people we have. It's a new scheme we have. I think we're doing a great job.
"We could easily sit here and make excuses or whatever, but I think we're doing a great job of everybody trying to get on the same page and work together. If (there) are mistakes, there's no finger-pointing. We're going to watch film. We're going to get it right. We can get it situated where we're not going to make that mistake again. We're coming along well. I think we're doing fine."
Powers also is an experienced performer on the unit, and he sees a more battle-tested nature in the secondary than a year ago.
"(There's) definitely more experience than last year. Last year if you looked at our group from top-to-bottom as a whole, you had me with three years experience and then after that it was me and (Jacob) Lacey the only ones with experience," said Powers. "From there, it was everybody trying to prove themselves. If you look at us now, Vontae (Davis) has been a starter in Miami for the last four years. I've been a starter here. Justin King's been a starter in St. Louis. Brandon King has played a lot of ball here.
"We've got more guys that have played a lot of ball. Even though we are young, it's still a lot of guys with experience and a lot of guys that can play the game."
Powers noticed along with Bethea the different approach made this year.
"That is true. I guess that kind of happens when the front office and coaches are trying to shake things out and find the best group, the best fit, the best camaraderie, what's best for the team," said Powers. "That's the business side of it. I've seen a lot of players come and go since I've been here. It is what it is."
Bethea thinks the unit can get Davis oriented well and that it will benefit from his on-field talents.
"He is a very aggressive player. He's strong, fast and plays the position well. He can cover. Playing that position, that's what you need," said Bethea. "I think we can get him acclimated pretty well. He's a student of the game. He's a good football player. At corner, my being a safety, I think I can get him on track as well.
"We've already started at practice together. If need be, will sit down together with the playbook. I'm sure he'll get with the coaches. I think he'll come along pretty well."