Monday Training Camp Notebook
While Indianapolis Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay addressed other topics with the media while attending the team's first practice during training camp at Anderson University Monday morning, one familiar message came through loud and clear.
It is about the present and the immediate future, and not looking too far ahead or too far behind.
"We are at it again and we have a great opportunity," Irsay said. "Our mantra is about this practice right now, and that's where we are. You can look in the rearview mirror, but just don't stare. You have to move on, and that is the way it is, but you do not want to get too far down the road either.
"It's about being in Anderson. It's about the next practice, and that's always been our focus, blocking out the noise and getting focused on what we do, and that's what we are doing today."
That mantra has led the Colts to two Super Bowls in the past four seasons and seven straight seasons of 12 wins or more.
Irsay also offered his perspective on how Colts quarterback Peyton Manning dealt with the Super Bowl loss. It should surprise no one how the league's four-time MVP responded to the situation.
"He's a veteran now and he takes it in stride," Irsay said. "It's a part about greatness and about consistency and about pushing himself to the Hall of Fame.
"It's about overcoming adversity. You could almost define greatness in this league, and in life that's what it is about. It's not about everything going your way."
DEPTH, IT'S A GOOD THING
The saying goes: "You can never have too much of a good thing."
That statement may reflect that of the Colts wide receiver position.
With receivers Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez, and tight end Dallas Clark, quarterback Peyton Manning likes the possibilities going into training camp.
"All of them are capable of working different sides of the field," Manning said after the opening practice at training camp at Anderson University on Monday. "Reggie, Anthony and Austin are all capable of playing in the slot. Austin's working some outside, Pierre's the one guy who hasn't played as much in the slot. There is no question about the versatility."
And while Manning has had some impressive receiving corps in previous seasons, he likes what he sees from this group in terms of their work ethic and intangibles.
"It's hard to get into comparisons of years past, but I really like the group because of how hard they work, the unselfishness of the group and guys that like to catch the ball and make yards after the catch, guys that like to get physical," Manning said. "It's really whoever is lined up out there I am going to have 100 percent confidence in all of them to throw it to them on any down and distance."
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell understands what such a talented group of pass-catchers can do for the type of prolific passing game the Colts possess.
"We have an offense that certainly spreads the ball around quite a bit, and we need as many options as we can possibly have," Caldwell said. "Over the years that has boded well for us. Obviously, Dallas (Clark) is in that mix as well along with the wide receivers that we have. I think there will be plenty of time to catch the ball and do something with it after they catch it."
Safety Bob Sanders, a two-time Pro Bowler, missed significant time over the past two years due to injuries.
But much like the bright and sunny weather during Monday morning's practice, Sanders seemed to glow while talking after practice about how it felt to participate in the opening of training camp for the first time in a few years. And he did so without any apprehensions about what was in store once he hit the field.
"It was good and felt good," Sanders said. "I moved around and I am excited. It was a great feeling.
"I felt normal, and you would think that I would come in eager and be kind of anxious and off my game, but it felt normal and really good to be back in the groove."
While Sanders' hard-hitting style may have been missed on the field, he acknowledged that the player who replaced him, Melvin Bullitt, did a fine job in his absence.
"I think that there are guys who have really proved themselves and have done a great job stepping in my place," Sanders said. "There is a position I'm still fighting for and I have got to keep on working. Melvin did a great job in the last year proving he can play.
"I just want to make sure I can keep healthy and stay on the field. I am as healthy as I have been in a long time."
Many of Sanders' teammates commented after practice about what it was like to have him back on the field.
Defensive end Dwight Freeney, who also is returning from an injury, said, "It was definitely good to see Bob out there. We are all rooting for him, and I know he will be fine. He brings that X-factor out there with how he plays the game. I know receivers and running backs will be a little more cautious."
On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Dallas Clark acknowledged the difference-maker Sanders could be when healthy.
"That guy has gone through a lot of things and it is just great to see him keep fighting through them and the adversities of his injuries here and there," Clark said. "It's just great to see him keep battling and trying to fight back. When he is in the field he is something special."