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Offseason Notebook

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Offseason notebook: Shaquille Leonard, Jonathan Taylor making progress; Gus Bradley says Kenny Moore II has been 'great'

Here are some key takeaways from what we heard from Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard, running back Jonathan Taylor and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley during the second week of the 2023 offseason program. 

Three notable things we heard on Wednesday during the second week of the Colts' 2023 offseason program:

The quote: "I feel a whole lot better than what I did at any point of the year last year. Moving around a whole lot better, got more power in the calf. Still not where I want to be, still taking it one day at a time, one step at a time, and maintaining the focus and trying to get 1 percent better each day."  - LB Shaquille Leonard

Context: Leonard underwent two procedures in 2022 to address nerve issues affecting his left leg – one in June and one in November – and said in January he began feeling "tingles" in his leg after the second procedure. Three months later, Leonard said he has "way more" power and explosion in his left leg, and feels confident in how his recovery is going, though he's not fully cleared yet.

Leonard on Wednesday also reflected on the three games in which he appeared during the 2022 season.

"A lot of people thought I was selfish for shutting it down and having the surgery," Leonard said. "But I think the only thing selfish that I did last year was actually go out there and try to play. I felt like I hurt the team last year whenever I was on the field. 

"There's been a lot of times where I've been watching of my old self and find that reassurance of who I am, and never lose sight of who I was and who I could still become. It's hard. It's hard day in, day out to have 365 days where you can't do a calf raise. It sucks."

The quote: "Being able to work myself back and to be able to go out there and start training camp normal and then get on the field, that's the end goal. You want to be on the field." - RB Jonathan Taylor

Context: Taylor underwent a procedure this offseason on his ankle after injuries limited him to 11 games in 2022. He said he's confident in where his ankle is now – "been working constantly on that," he added – though he doesn't expect to be fully cleared for next week's three-day voluntary minicamp. Taylor, who hadn't missed a practice – let alone a game – in his life until last season, rushed for 2,980 yards (5.3 yards/attempt) and 28 touchdowns in 2020-2021, but saw his production dip to 861 yards (4.5 yards/attempt) and four touchdowns in 2022.

The quote: "He's been great. The thing about Kenny (Moore II), and I support him — he's a really good communicator. He's come in the offseason visiting, talking about the next step for him, the next step for where we want to go as a defense. And he's been tremendous. He's going to play a big part for us right now. I know he was frustrated with the production overall — the interceptions, the caused fumbles when he was playing — but some of the things he did within our scheme, some of the fundamentals, some of the things we asked him to do, he performed at a high level. But sometimes it appears just because of the takeaways you get or things like that, and that was his frustration. And he's right. That's why we got to do a good job of giving these guys a chance to be around the ball and the nickel has a chance to do that." - Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley

Context: After four productive years under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (13 interceptions, 263 tackles, 7 sacks from 2018-2021), Moore didn't record an interception for the first time in his career during the 2022 season. He's come into the 2023 offseason program eager to bounce back from last year, and another year in Bradley's system should benefit both Moore and the entire Colts' defense.

Highlights from Phase 1 - Day 6 of the Colts' offseason workout program at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

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