Players were welcomed back to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Monday for the start of Shane Steichen's first offseason workout program as Colts head coach, kicking off an important two-month stretch to solidify the bedrock of the 2023 season.
Between April 10 and June 15, the Colts will roll through three phases of the voluntary offseason workout program. Phase 1 runs for the next two weeks and will consist of strength and conditioning work plus meetings. Phase 2 goes for the next three weeks, with walkthrough-speed on-field workouts permitted (though no live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are allowed).
The final four weeks are Phase 3, which will consist of 10 OTA practices (between May 23-June 8) followed by a mandatory veteran minicamp (June 13-15). And because the Colts have a new head coach in Steichen, they're afforded an additional voluntary minicamp, which will be held April 24-26.
Steichen, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and the new Colts' coaching staff spent the last few weeks installing the terminology of Steichen's offense – how things are called, how things are communicated, stuff like that. Now they'll start passing on knowledge – and vibes – as players convene on 56th Street.
"I think you got to bring great energy into that building," Steichen said. "The players will feed off the coach's energy, that's where it starts. And we got to bring that energy into the meeting rooms, on the practice field, in the weight room, training room, all throughout the building just having great energy and feeding the positive energy and weeding out all the negative stuff."
Steichen's been through this process before as an offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021, Nick Sirianni's first year as head coach there. The Eagles spent months installing and building their offense, then during the season pivoted to a scheme that best fit the talents of their quarterback – and turned a 2-5 start into an NFC wild card berth.
The point being: Flexibility throughout this process, from the start of the offseason program through the end of the 2023 season, is important.
"It doesn't happen overnight," Steichen said. "You gotta develop your players and really get to know them and go through that process in OTAs and training camp. And then you get into the season and really find out who you are through that process and really putting your guys in position to make plays is the biggest thing we gotta do as coaches."
And, yes, the Colts begin their 2023 offseason program without knowing who their Week 1 starting quarterback will be. Maybe it'll be Gardner Minshew, who signed in free agency last month, or Sam Ehlinger. Maybe it'll be a rookie selected in the NFL Draft in a few weeks. But not knowing the answer to that question yet won't hinder the work Steichen and the Colts will complete in the coming weeks.
"You fit the system around the guy that's playing," Steichen said. "As a coach you have to do that. You gotta do a great job of putting these guys in position to maximize their potential so they can shine on Sunday. That's our job as coaches to figure out what they do well and put them in position to make plays."
Players arrived at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center marking the start of the Colts' 2023 offseason workout program.
Go inside the weight room on Monday as Colts players returned to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for the beginning of offseason workouts.
Go inside the weight room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center during day two of the 2023 offseason program.