INDIANAPOLIS — It's time to pick up the pace a little bit more.
The Indianapolis Colts this week kick off their 2016 mandatory minicamp, giving the players a good taste of what they're going to be facing come late July, when they report to Anderson University for training camp.
Last week, the Colts wrapped up their final week of OTA practices, and those taking in their session on Tuesday, for example, could tell head coach Chuck Pagano and his staff were really starting to throw more and more at their players: situational drills, backed-up drills, two-minute drills, red zone drills, etc.
Coming off the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, Pagano admitted things weren't too sharp to begin Tuesday's on-field action. But it didn't seem to take long for those on the offensive, defensive and special teams units to regain their focus and put in a good day's work.
As you await to hear the news and notes from this week's Colts minicamp, check out some of the top quotes from the players and Pagano about Week 3 of OTAs:
• "You look around the league and he meets all the requirements that we are going to ask of our starting tight end. He's one of the better blockers in the league. We know when healthy he can be a mismatch. He's a big body guy that can make plays. He's going to be big for us in the red area. He's a starting tight end. He's a damn good tight end. That's why he's here." — Head coach Chuck Pagano, on what went into the signing of tight end Dwayne Allen over Coby Fleener.
• "It will be good for me. I enjoy playing in front of people. I'm just going to go out there and be me and compete like I've always competed and just go out there and be T.J. Green." — Safety T.J. Green, on Wednesday's minicamp practice in front of the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
• "Yeah, you're used to spring football in college where you can hit guys for 15 practices in spring ball but not here. There are a lot of things that we can do without pads on. Collectively you get better as our fundamentals go on. But obviously I think everybody is a little anxious to get pads on and to be able to do more physical stuff as well." — Center Ryan Kelly, on the anxious feeling to put the pads on for the first time during training camp practices.
• "Guys are doing a great job of adapting to what we are doing and making plays. They're showing up (and) they are jumping off the tape. They're doing some good things out there and I think the sky is the limit." — Defensive end Kendall Langford, on being encouraged by the new additions — rookies and free agents — quickly getting up to speed with the team.
• "I'm working on some technique stuff, and working on, you know, just getting better; polishing the little things. You know, it's easy to kind of get away from those things when you're not playing with pads on and it allows you to get a little bit sloppy with your technique, so you kind of gotta focus on it because there's a lot of things that we can't do right now, you know — can't do any 1-on-1s, can't do stuff like that — so I'm just trying to polish my technique, do everything in my power to get better as a player." — Nose tackle Zach Kerr, on how offseason work is progressing for him.
• "It was tough, but, you know, when adversity strikes, you have to overcome it. You have to learn, and, really, it's a mental thing. Mentally, you have to be prepared and mentally stay focused throughout the ups and downs. And last year was a down, but I was fortunate and blessed enough to still be in this league, and a lot of people don't get that opportunity, so I look at it as a positive thing, and I was tremendously blessed … they (the Colts) gave me an opportunity to come and learn and, you know, they picked me up. They did something they really didn't have to do, and I'm blessed to have been in that situation last year." — Cornerback Tevin Mitchel, on suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last year during training camp with the Washington Redskins, but being signed by the Colts shortly thereafter to get a second shot in 2016.
• "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It's like a family. Like Coach Pagano always preaches: family. So it's not like a locker room where you've got too many egos, people not getting along. Everybody pretty much is getting along very good. Even if there is some dispute, it pretty much gets handled quickly." — Outside linebacker Ron Thompson, on what he's noticed about the atmosphere at the Colts' facility during his rookie year.
2016 Organized Team Activities (OTA) - Week 7 - #4
• "Oh absolutely. Because everybody, that human element comes into play when you've been in the system for so long that you get complacent. Now, every guy basically has a clean slate — coaches, they somewhat know you, but they don't know you on the field, so it's important to ask all the questions that you need answered now, so when we get to the field it's seamless, you're moving forward and you'll be able to correct (things). There's going to be some things that you're actually going to have to go through in order to play exactly how they want you to play technique-wise, but it's a fun time. We've got a lot of great rookies in here. I think this year's going to be that solid year for us." — Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, on if he's having more fun this offseason due to the challenge of learning new defensive coordinator Ted Monachino's schemes.
• "So far, just great. I am still here. But, yeah, I mean, obviously God's blessed me every day that I wake up and I'm able to come in here. Like I said, just take it one day at a time — that's really all I can do, and give my best every day. Yeah, it's been an amazing experience, and again, that's because of the organization I'm in, I think. With like Coach P (Pagano) and Coach Hos (Hostler) and Coach Chud (Chudzinski) — all of them, all the way across the board, to our lifting coaches and then to the players surrounding us — vets, rookies. I mean, it's just an organization that's a team unlike any that I've been on. It's not exactly what I expected, and it's been just a pleasant surprise coming in." — Tight end Mike Miller, an undrafted rookie out of Taylor University, an NAIA school in Upland, Ind., on his daily approach and experiences now with a taste of the NFL life.
• "Absolutely. Especially when they're bringing all these young guys in to take your job, so you've gotta have fun with it and enjoy it — and, like we like to say, just enjoy the day for the day. Be the best you can for that day instead of worrying about what's down the road." — Outside linebacker Erik Walden, asked if the game is still fun to him.