Offseason Conditioning Program Continues at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center
INDIANAPOLIS – As Jim Caldwell sees it, it's a subtle thing.
But Caldwell, a Colts assistant the past seven seasons now in his first season as head coach, said there are certain changes around the organization he considers crucial.
The approach to the offseason.
The Colts' 14-week voluntary off-season conditioning program, which began March 30, has taken on a new slightly new focus this offseason, with Caldwell saying there has been a bit more emphasis on specific conditioning in the early weeks than there was in the past.
And yes, Caldwell said, the change is subtle.
But it's also imant.
While the program began March 30, the Colts met as a team March 16.
That was Caldwell's first chance to address the team as a group since taking over for Dungy, and while he said he delivered a message, he said he doubted it was a drastic change for most players.
"We've just reemphasized some of the things we believe in," said Caldwell, who worked under former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay in 2001 and in Indianapolis from 2002-08. "I've been somewhat indoctrinated on this since I've been in this league. Every organization I've worked for in professional football Tony has run, so the way in which we do things, how we do them, I'm a believer in.
"We talked about some of those things, but I also told them that obviously there are going to be some changes here and there – subtle things in terms of our schedule or maybe some things they consider somewhat dramatic. But overall, they have been very subtle changes."
Asked if the average fan would notice the changes, Caldwell smiled.
"I certainly hope not," he said. "I certainly hope they notice the things we've been good at the last seven years. I hope they don't notice a change in terms of the number of games we win.
"I hope it just keeps escalating."
The Colts' organized team activities – OTAs – are scheduled to begin May 19. The Colts are scheduled to hold fewer than they have in the past.
"You may look at that and see that we have a reduced number of summer school practices, but we've tried to kind of take a little bit away from that area and tried to really emphasize on some areas where we think we can get some improvement, in terms of our strength and conditioning areas," Caldwell said. "We also decided to take a portion of that and use it for skill development where we could focus in on some of the players individually. The coaches get a chance to meet with them in a classroom setting, but then also some of them, they take them out on the field and do a little skill work individually."
Caldwell said the key to the program's success will be not so much the program, but what the players do within the new system.
"We have a very good core of veterans who have been here and understand what work is all about," Caldwell said. "You can't stay the same. That's one of the things I've been so excited about, is how hard the guys are working. Guys are going through this period of time right now, trying to find different ways of getting better. Good players find ways to get better. Even when you think they're tapped out, they're far from that. "The guys we have in our organization are self-motivated individuals. That's a thing we have to do as a staff in terms of an overall organizational standpoint: 'Where do we think we can get a little better in terms of classroom time, in terms of learning the scheme a little better, things of that nature.' There's a lot that can be done and a lot of improvement that can be made, and actually, we have to improve tremendously to keep up with our division and our league."