Competition Thrives at Training Camp
Competition is a healthy thing.
It brings out the best in most athletes, and with the Indianapolis Colts, it is no different.
"I think guys like Reggie (Wayne), Pierre (Garcon), Gonzo (Anthony Gonzalez) and Dallas (Clark) compete," second-year receiver Austin Collie said. "You compete with those guys and that causes you to want to get better and get on their level. Sometimes you do things that you did not think you were capable of doing."
Collie and the rest of the receiving corps are looking forward to the return of fourth-year veteran Anthony Gonzalez, even if it potentially means less playing time. Because to Collie, competition only will help the team in the long run.
"Whatever happens, happens," Collie said. "The main thing I'm focused on is to get back to where we were last year and winning ballgames. You can't go wrong with having too much talent on a team. We have a lot of guys, especially in the wide receiver corps, that can make plays, and that is going to benefit us down the road."
On the defensive side of the ball, Melvin Bullitt filled the strong safety position the past two seasons while teammate Bob Sanders was out. Now, with a healthy Sanders back on the field, many wonder what the Colts will do with all three healthy.
As Head Coach Jim Caldwell sees it, depth not only creates competition, but opportunities.
"There are a lot of different packages, a lot of different options for us," Caldwell said of the safeties. "We just try to use our personnel the best we can. The more guys we have available, the more things we can do. It does give us an opportunity to create some matchup problems."
Playing time in the NFL does not come easily. Roster spots must be earned through hard work and dedication, not on past reputation or playing ability.
And Caldwell praised Colts' veterans for their leadership and helping newcomers become acclimated.
"Our veterans have been a group, number one, that have been around a long time, but they would never take on the position where they would say, 'Hey, I have it under control. I know everything that's going on. I don't have to work nearly as hard,'" Caldwell said. "Every single day they go out to try to improve upon their craft. They're setting an outstanding tone for our young guys because I can stand in the meeting room and say, 'Hey, you want to know how to be a pro, how to play a position, how to do things the right way? Watch this particular guy.' Almost in every position we have a guy like that."
By driving each other to compete at training camp and throughout the season, it is no wonder why the Colts' mantra of 'Next Man Up' works so well.
Colts running back Joseph Addai refers to his scenario as a perfect example.
After former Colts running back Dominic Rhodes helped Addai adjust to the NFL in his rookie season, Addai now feels obligated to help and pass on that knowledge to those coming in with him, including last season's first-round pick, Donald Brown.
"Donald (Brown) last year came in asking a lot of questions, and I kind of saw myself doing the same things with Dominic (Rhodes).
"You cannot, not give back. You have to think team, and I think that is one of the reasons the Colts are good year after year. You want to do that, and by doing that the older guys have to help the younger guys. You see Peyton (Manning) helping Curtis (Painter) all the time along with the other quarterbacks. He is always showing them how to go about things, and it would be wrong if I or other veteran guys didn't do that."