INDIANAPOLIS — You really want to know the nitty-gritty when it comes to the Indianapolis Colts' offseason? Talk to the coordinators and position coaches.
While it's always a pleasure to hear from head coach Chuck Pagano, who has addressed the media at several points the past few months as the team gets ready for the 2017 season, it's always interesting to hear the perspective of the other coaches on staff, who spend hours upon hours each day trying to perfect their craft so that they can get their players as prepared as possible to go out and win week in and week out.
The media — and team fans, for that matter — had that very chance this week, as Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino and several of their assistants held one of two annual sessions with reporters, this time giving updates on the progress seen throughout an interesting offseason.
With new general manager Chris Ballard now in charge of the roster, the Colts have already seen a plethora of changes — particularly on the defensive side of the ball. But there are still plenty of questions for the offensive side, as well, which is deep in talent, but still hopes to clean some things up to become even more efficient.
So with that being said, let's check out the Top 10 quotes from Chudzinski, Monachino and their assistants from this week, and get all caught up on the offseason action at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center:
• "Yeah, it's a challenge. It's nothing new. Last season, we dealt with a lot of that and a number of guys being out and working through practices and those type of things. The bottom line is the best thing for Andrew (Luck) and keeping him healthy and ready to go, and I have no doubts in my mind that he'll be ready to go once he's back out on the field. He's proven that he's done that before. In the meantime, we've got a lot of work to do, as I mentioned. Individually, we've got a lot of improvements to make. We can all get better during that time when he's out, and whenever he's back, we'll bring him back into the mix and get ready for the season." — Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, on the effect of not having starting quarterback Andrew Luck, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, out on the field for workouts.
• "I think that hopefully we'll be what we've talked about all along – we'll be faster, we'll be more physical, we'll be bigger. We'll be, hopefully streamlined and smarter about how we approach what we do. Just by the nature of the football character of some of the guys we have brought in we should change a little bit." — Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino, on how he envisions his unit will play with many new, younger faces in 2017.
• "It is. It is. It's exciting. The most exciting thing is we've only been on the field five or six days and to see the improvement in their route running in just five, six days. It shows you that they're putting in the work. They're doing extra on their own, and they're taking the coaching. So as a coach, that's all you can ask for." — Colts wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, on seeing his position group grow even throughout the on-field work during Phase 2 of OTAs.
• "They just kept working. Let's say you're on the field for five or six hours during practice week and you're in the meeting room and you hope that a player incrementally gets better as the year goes on. Do Ryan Kelly and Joe Haeg have a chance to grow a little bit more than Anthony Castonzo? Probably a little bit, but we're not going to move mountains in one day or in one year. We have to just see if they can come in with the mindset that daily improvement is going to make me a better player at the end of the day. So that's really all that we're looking for as we get together – let's get a little bit better, refine our technique, refine our fundamentals, play a little faster." — Colts assistant head coach/offensive line coach Joe Philbin, on how some of the younger linemen were able to see so much improvement the last four to six weeks of the 2016 season.
• "We say this all the time, 'Andrew should not be a double-digit interception guy.' Like that's the phrase that we use. He's just too good of a player. So again, if he can eliminate some of those decision-interceptions – I think there are five or six of them – those numbers drop significantly. You're going to throw interceptions. It just happens. Normally they're bad throws that cause those, but the decisions, if we can eliminate those, that'll obviously help him drop down. That's kind of the number we've been using. He should throw seven, eight, something like that. He had 13 (interceptions) last year." — Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer, on if he believed the mistakes made by Luck last season were due to decision-making or mechanics.
• "Yeah, that's huge for that group. Any team – the camaraderie, the relationships that you have it's important, but for that group, as much as any, it's huge. And those guys have been hanging out. You see them around all the time together. They've been working out. They've been doing their things together. Those things and them working through the issues and the things that come up on the field and as we get into it and them talking and committing themselves together to being better and to getting to where we need to be, it'll pay dividends." — Chudzinski, on seeing the team's younger offensive linemen meshing both on and off the field this offseason.
• "I just had in one of our unit meetings last week; I made the point that I've been down that road. When you take veteran leaders out of the room and that falls on coaches and it doesn't work. That does not work for coaches to lead position rooms. Those players have to take ownership. What I did is I said I don't care where they came from – young guys, old guys, backups, veterans, new guys. We just were looking for those leaders to emerge and they will. They do that. That's what happens. Guys that have those traits – you think talent, you think personality, you think intelligence. Those guys that have those traits, those are the guys that we would expect to step forward." — Monachino, on deciding which voices to lean on for leadership.
• "I can't say what's been missing, but I can say he has to – he generates speed, but he has to control his speed. When he figures out how to control his speed, he'll be in and out of breaks faster, and he'll be able to use all his tools. So it's really a lot like the other guys, it's really refining his routes, understanding body control and then it should fall into place for him." — Lal, on what now-third-year wide receiver Phillip Dorsett can do to elevate his game in 2017.
• "I think they enjoy being around one another. It's more fun that way. In coaching, if you enjoy the staff that you're with on a daily basis that makes things more fun to be around. It's kind of amazing. You don't know if it's the chicken or the egg, but the great teams that I have been a part of seem to have great chemistry and the coaches like the players, the players like the coaches and they like one another. It's a nice big tea party and everybody loves each other." — Philbin, also discussing the closeness of his offensive linemen this offseason.
• "Classroom stuff has been great going back through the cut-ups. Obviously going into year two with Chud's (Rob Chudzinski) system, that's been great. And then again, I think the fun thing for him is actually when he's out there he gets the chance to coach a little bit. So he's out there, and he communicates with the other guys, the receivers, tight ends some of the things that he's seeing which is cool. So, maybe he's Coach Luck for the next little bit and kind of telling people, 'Hey, here's what I'm seeing from my standpoint,' and getting everybody on the same page." — Schottenheimer, on what the next couple months will be like for Luck as he continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery.
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.