Bigger Role, Additional Reps Helping Sorgi Improve, Dungy Says
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. –Jim Sorgi can feel a difference. A huge difference.
Sorgi, the Colts' top backup quarterback during each of his first four NFL seasons, has spent 2008 Training Camp as the starter, and in two and a half weeks, he said he has liked some things and not liked others.
But one thing he said he knows for certain:
He's better than he was three weeks ago.
Which he and Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said is only logical.
"I can tell you right now it has helped," Sorgi said Wednesday morning between a pair of practices at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
"It's a little bit more attention, a little bit more pressure on your shoulders, from the coaches, which I think is a good thing. The more pressure they put on you in practice, the less pressure you're going to feel in the game.
"I think these repetitions have helped immensely."
Sorgi, with starter Peyton Manning out recovering from surgery to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee, has started two preseason games, completing 13 of 19 passes for 131 yards and an interception with no touchdowns.
Sorgi on Wednesday said he – like many of the Colts' offensive starters – was disappointed with the starting unit's performance in 23-20 overtime loss to Carolina this past Saturday, but Dungy said Sorgi has improved with the additional work during training camp.
"Everybody benefits from playing more," Dungy said. "That's one of the things we talked about, was getting Jim more rep(etition)s this camp even before Peyton's situation, so he could get comfortable and improve.
"I think it really has helped him. You can see the confidence he has gained by it."
Because Manning typically takes the majority of the snaps in practice and games when healthy, this year's camp is the first time Sorgi has gotten significant repetitions with the first team. Sorgi said while he actually has thrown a bit less in camp this year than past seasons, he said he works more in 7-on-7 and team drills with Manning absent.
He said early in training camp he had newfound respect for the scope of Manning's role, a stance he reiterated on Wednesday.
"You're taking so many reps when you're the No. 1 guy," Sorgi said. "The legs get a little tired and a little sore. There's a little more maintenance work that has to be done when you're taking so many reps – icing, cooling down, getting warmed up and cold tub.
"I'm in pretty good condition being here two weeks, but it's a newfound respect for what he did for 10 years."
In other Colts news, left tackle Tony Ugoh missed practice Wednesday with a bruised knee that Dungy said "doesn't appear to be too serious."
"He had some pain there and we couldn't see it was in the X-Ray," Dungy said, adding that Ugoh may miss a day or two. "I think he's going to be fine eventually."
Dungy said Ugoh may still play Saturday against Atlanta.
Also, with punter Hunter Smith having strained a hamstring, Dungy said reserve kicker/punter Adam Crossett likely will handle punting duties against Atlanta.
Dungy said Smith likely will return to practice next week.