Colts Add Situational Drills as OTAs Continue At Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center
INDIANAPOLIS – The objectives are basically the same.
But midway through the Colts' 2009 organized team activities session, the team's overall approach has been altered just a bit, Head Coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday.
Early on, fundamentals and technique were paramount.
While those areas are still key, the final two weeks will include a bit more, Caldwell said.
"Now, we're at the point where we're adding a little bit more to our practice," Caldwell said on Tuesday after the Colts' seventh 2009 OTA session at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. "We're trying to still combine that with an emphasis on fundamentals.
"It's obviously an information-gathering session for the players and disseminating for the coaches. We're also looking at adding a few more situational things in."
Caldwell said the Colts worked on 1st-and-10 situations Monday, third-down situations Tuesday and will work on red-zone situations Wednesday.
"We're trying to add a little teamwork and 7-on-7 as well," Caldwell said.
Also Tuesday, veteran offensive guard Ryan Lilja participated in some drills in the no-pads, no-contact practice, with Caldwell saying afterward Lilja was making progress.
Lilja, a six-year veteran, missed all of last season with a knee injury.
"He appears to be coming along very well," Caldwell said. "He's making good progress. He feels he is certainly a lot further along than he has been. They're starting to do things with him little by little.
"He's increasing his activity."
Caldwell was asked if he were optimistic Lilja would be ready by training camp, which is scheduled to begin August 2 at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.
"The way things are going right now, it looks pretty good," Caldwell said. "I'm not certain exactly when he'll be to the point where he can perform full speed consistently, but I know he's moving in that direction."
The Colts finished 31st in the NFL in rushing last season, and Caldwell said the Colts missed Lilja's presence in the lineup and in the locker room.
"He's a very experienced guy," Caldwell said. "Not only that, he certainly has a great attitude in terms of his leadership and in terms of his understanding of our scheme. He's a very, very bright individual and does just a great job in terms of executing his techniques on the interior.
"Anytime you lose a bit of experience like that, it certainly does have an effect on you. We had some young guys who did step in and play quite well, but Lilja gives you a little more experience in there."
A MEASURED APPROACH: In years past, the Colts have closely monitored the number of throws by quarterback Peyton Manning in the offseason. Caldwell said that approach hasn't changed.
"Today, for example, he did 7-on-7 and teamwork," Caldwell said. "We just make sure we keep a count. (Quarterbacks Coach) Frank (Reich) and Peyton have a schedule, a number of throws they like to make each day. It varies. Some days are heavier than others. Some days are light days. He still gets his work in each day, but the volume decreases somewhat.
"We're just trying to make sure we keep him fresh."
WORKING AS A ROOKIE: Running back Donald Brown, the Colts' first-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, said recently he's learning quickly about the Colts' offseason approach.
And he said it's not a huge, huge adjustment.
"I got a glimpse of it," said Brown, Division I's lone 2,000-yard rusher this past season. "I'm not new to hard work, so I think I fit in quite well. I'm getting much more acclimated with the team, the playbook, the city itself. It's been great so far. The veterans have pretty much welcomed us with open arms, so that's been great.
"I've been in my playbook, watching film, so I'm just trying to learn the offense as soon as possible."
Brown said he also quickly has gotten used the notion of playing with Manning.
"He's my teammate now," Brown said "He's one of the guys. . . . I've worked out with him a couple of times. It's been great. He's very knowledgeable. He's like a coach out there.
"Whatever he says, I try to let it soak in."