INDIANAPOLIS – Ever since the Colts have returned from Anderson, the weather has felt like a typical Training Camp out at practice.
The Colts will hold one final practice on Friday morning before the team departs Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon.
Here are a few headlines from the Colts coordinators chatting with the media on Thursday:
Pep Hamilton on having a full assortment of skill positions ready:
"It's not just exciting for me as a coordinator. It's exciting for our quarterback and our entire football team."
Bowen's Analysis:* *As soon as Hamilton got asked this question on Thursday, the smile slowly grew across his face. He's been waiting to have this group together since the offseason and now the skill players are healthy and ready to go.
There's no doubt the Colts offensive coordinator had one hand tied behind his back last year trying to put together a productive unit out there with so many different faces week-to-week. Now it's all about seeing how the pie is divided among the Colts talented skill parts.
Greg Manusky on how best to attack the Denver offense:
"It's two-fold. You want to put pressure on the quarterback but you also want to have a good coverage standpoint from the backend. It goes hand-in-hand. I don't know the answer for it but it's changing it up."
Bowen's Analysis: What might be lost in the Colts four sacks in 49 pass attempts last year against Manning is what the backend of the defense did for the pass rush. Several of the sacks from the Colts defense came thanks to the coverage and Manning not having anyone to throw to.
Obviously, without Denver giving ample attention to Robert Mathis, the play of the Colts secondary will be at even more of a premium on Sunday night. The sack number from last year might not be the same this time around but constant disruption is key in trying to limit Denver's efficiency.
Greg Manusky on his worry about conditioning in the high altitude of Denver:
"Usually you talk about the defensive line more than anything and those are the guys that you substitute in and out. It is going to be a situation that we talk about defensively.
"It's high altitude. It's the first game of the season. I always tell those guys that they have to blow out their lungs and I think we did with a majority of those defensive linemen in the third preseason game."
Bowen's Analysis: Whenever Manusky is asked about playing time in the preseason, the "blow out their lungs" line always comes out. That's why in the Saints game it was nice to see the Colts play pretty much all of their defensive starters (besides Jerrell Freeman) into the third quarter.
Substitution patterns will be monitored closely on Sunday night, not only by the Colts but also by Peyton Manning himself. He's going to look for any advantage when new packages come on the field so being on the same page will be vital for the Colts defense. Up front, the Colts have lost some key depth parts this offseason so it will be interesting to see how those reps behind the starters get divided up.
During the open media portion of Thursday's practice, the following things were observed:
-The center position once again had everyone on deck at practice. Center Khaled Holmes (ankle) was in a limited role and Jonotthan Harrison (thumb) was a full participant. That marks two straight days of limited work for Holmes. Tomorrow will be the day to watch to see if Holmes can practice full and ramp up that conditioning aspect of things, if he hopes to play Sunday night.
-After a rest day on Wednesday, Reggie Wayne (knee) was back as a full participant on Thursday.
-Erik Walden (abdomen) and LaRon Landry (rest) did not practice on Thursday afternoon.
-Sergio Brown (shoulder) was again a limited participant in practice but did not wear a red non-contact jersey, like he did on Wednesday.
-Joe Reitz (ankle) was once again held out of practice.