INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin talked to local reporters today via video conference. What did Campbell have to say about working his way out of the concussion protocol to be ready for the 2020 season? Why is Ya-Sin focusing on his feet as he enters Year 2? Here's the latest edition of "Colts Chatter."
Wide receiver Parris Campbell
» Now fully recovered from a minor car accident that placed him in the concussion protocol, Campbell is excited for his second NFL season: It was two weeks ago today that Campbell was involved in a minor car accident — and, by "minor," his car was totaled, but he was relatively unscathed — and he was placed in the league's concussion protocol.
After a rookie year full of unlucky injuries — a hamstring in training camp, an abdominal injury and a broken hand and foot — Campbell worked hard all offseason to be 100 percent ready to go for training camp, only to find himself sitting out of practice once again.
"You know, stuff like that happens, but I was just thinking to myself, like, what are the odds this close to the season?" Campbell recalled of his accident today.
But Campbell quickly worked his way through the concussion protocol, and now he's fully cleared and ready to go for what he hopes is a much smoother Year 2, which begins Sunday on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Man, I'm super excited," Campbell said. "It's Week 1, it's here. It's been a long, long offseason, but it's finally here. I was telling some of the wideouts today, I've just been filled with energy, waking up every day with a smile. I'm just ready to go. I'm excited that it's finally here."
» Despite his age, Campbell is embracing a leadership role: While the clear leader in the Colts' wide receiver room is longtime veteran T.Y. Hilton — who was just voted a team captain for a second straight season on Tuesday — the rest of the group is young and very hungry to make a name for itself.
Zach Pascal is entering his third year in 2020, and then there's Campbell and Ashton Dulin beginning their second seasons, respectively, followed by two rookies in Michael Pittman Jr. and Dezmon Patmon.
Campbell certainly doesn't try to act more experienced than he is, but there's also something to be said about trying to lead when the situation calls for it.
"I definitely would say we're in positions where we need to step up, and I think that's very obvious for us," Campbell said. "Everyone knows that T.Y. is our leader — he drives the room, just got voted captain again. But nevertheless, obviously it's an opportunity for us to step up and take on that role of helping the offense on gameday, helping the room. So I would say it's kind of forming into that role, which is an opportunity."
Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin
» Ya-Sin has emphasized using his feet to his advantage much better as he enters Year 2: Cornerbacks that like to play physical are a dime a dozen in the NFL; it's the ones that know when to be physical, and when to let their feet do the work, that really succeed on a week-to-week, year-to-year basis.
Ya-Sin certainly learned this lesson throughout his rookie season last year. Like any first-year cornerback, he had some teaching moments — such as Indy's Week 8 matchup against the Denver Broncos, when he was called for five penalties. But as the season wore on, Ya-Sin began to learn just how to play effective coverage without necessarily putting his hands on the receiver.
It's a craft that he continued to work on this offseason, and it certainly showed in training camp.
"I just wanted to be a better pro all the way around. Specifically, I wanted to have better feet," Ya-Sin said about what he's worked on heading into Year 2. "I wanted to be more disciplined at the top of routes, keeping my hands down, not fouling guys and just making plays on the ball."
More often than not, Ya-Sin accomplished his No. 1 goal throughout camp: "do not let my guy catch the ball."
"That's my job description," he said. "That's what I wanted to do this camp."
» Ya-Sin is "more confident" as a player, and the cornerbacks are confident as a whole, entering Sunday's opener: There's a good mix of returning firepower and new — and experienced — talent at the cornerback for the Colts heading into the 2020 season.
Back are starters Ya-Sin and Kenny Moore II; new to the group are longtime veterans Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie, as well as 2020 sixth-round pick Isaiah Rodgers out of UMass.
Heading into the season, Ya-Sin and Rhodes will patrol the outside, while Moore II, Carrie and Rodgers can all play both inside and out. The group had a strong training camp and is looking to build off that momentum heading into Sunday's 2020 season opener against the Jaguars — who certainly have tons of talent at the wide receiver position with which to contend.
"I feel like we're very confident as a group," Ya-Sin in. "We put the work in. Confidence for us comes from demonstrated ability. We have demonstrated the ability to practice hard, practice well against our team, against our receivers and our quarterback. Now we're just looking forward to this test come Sunday."