As 2009 Organized Team Activities Approach An End, Caldwell Likes What He Has Seen
INDIANAPOLIS – Overall, Jim Caldwell said he is pleased.
Caldwell, entering his first season as the Colts' head coach, early on Wednesday afternoon made his final scheduled media appearance of the 2009 offseason, saying there had been some basic goals that needed to be accomplished in recent weeks.
And he said those goals have been achieved.
"Things have gone well up to this point," Caldwell said Wednesday, the final day of media availability at the team's 2009 organized team activities sessions at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"We feel that we've gotten installed and implemented our offensive and defensive schemes up to this point as we had planned. They seemed to have certainly caught on very well, those who are brand new to the system. Those who have been in the system for a while are functioning at a steady high level. We've been pleased with the progress. . . .
"We feel good about where we are. We certainly feel at this point we've gotten the things accomplished that we wanted to get accomplished."
Caldwell said although the last OTA practice with coaches will be held Thursday, the players' conditioning and preparation doesn't end, and that players will continue to work with strength and conditioning coaches Jon Torine and Rich Howell.
The Colts are scheduled to reto training camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute on August 2.
"The guys are around," Caldwell said. "They continue to do their conditioning, training and things of that nature. They just don't have any coach involvement after this juncture. Some of the guys will probably get out there and work on their own, but there won't be any coaches involved in any onfield activities.
"The guys continue to throw and catch. That's important, because they can't just put it down right now and start it up again come August 2."
Caldwell during the availability addressed the depth of the offensive line. Offensive guard Ryan Lilja, who missed last season with a knee injury, participated in some of the OTA sessions, and three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday re-signed with the team earlier this offseason.
"Really, it makes all of us feel a lot better," Caldwell said. "Adding the experience we have there on the interior, plus if we can stay healthy, that's very important. One of the things you can't discount is that last year, because of the fact that there was so much upheaval up front, we had to play a lot of younger guys, maybe a little bit sooner than we anticipated.
"You go through some tough times doing that, but at this point in time for us we have a lot of young guys who have some good, valuable experience because they've been in the middle of it and they've had to make the adjustments.
"Now, when you couple that with the veterans we have coming back healthy again it should really make for, I think, a strong unit."
Caldwell said key to the coming weeks is players balancing the time off with focusing on football.
"There are probably windows of opportunity for them, and certainly without the coaches being involved on a daily basis it will certainly give them an opportunity to get a little bit of a break," Caldwell said. "It's important for them to get a little relaxation in there, yet they still have to maintain their conditioning and sharpness and things of that nature.
"We try to get a lot of work put in this time of year so we can come to camp just a little bit later and provide a better opportunity for our guys to function at a high level."
Caldwell said a topic toward the end of the OTA session was avoiding off-field distractions not only between now and the start of training camp, but year-round.
"We do that constantly, but that's indeed important," Caldwell said. "We talk to them in clusters and groups from time to time, but we had our overall large meeting on Tuesday morning and kind of went through the whole schedule for the rest of the summer and things of that nature.
"After practice is over (Thursday), one of the things you don't necessarily want to do is stand in the doorway when that whistle blows. They will certainly be moving out."