ANDERSON, Ind. — Football season, it's fair to say, is officially here.
The Indianapolis Colts last week reported to Anderson University, where they got their dorm rooms all situated and began the at-times grueling grind that is training camp.
From early in the morning until late in the evening, the Colts players and coaches are entrenched in meetings and on the practice fields — oftentimes for about three hours under the hot sun — and, during assigned "rest" periods, there's more time spent studying the playbook and checking out film just to ensure everything is 100 percent.
For veterans, the goal is to be sharp physically and mentally for the season opener against the Detroit Lions. For the younger players, the goal is to show the ability to adapt — and quickly — to being a professional football player in the Colts' system, so that when their opportunities come, they're ready to go and contribute.
While the team gets Week 2 of camp underway, check out some of the top Colts quotes from the first week of action in Anderson:
• "He's one of those guys; he's a hard hat and a lunch pail guy. He gives us everything that he has every single day. He's one of the hardest working guys on the football team. Nobody has more passion and love for this game and love for his teammates than that guy and it shows every day at practice." — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, on veteran running back Frank Gore's abilities as a leader.
• "The staff we have is incredible. The guys really work together well. There are no egos on our staff, and I'm excited. It's fun being with them on a day-to-day basis. They challenge me as a coach, hopefully I challenge them as a coach, and we talk things through and work things through. I think that will carry over and it has carried over with our players." — Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, on how his players are able to pick things up from their coaches during camp.
• "Well, we've got a long ways to go in terms of us knowing each other well. I think that they have figured it out that we want to be simple and we want to be sound and we want to play fast. I think they figured it out that we're going to be aggressive when those opportunities arise. But I know that they're all very focused and very determined to play great on defense. We're looking forward to it. Can't wait to get going." — Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino, on the balance as a first-year coordinator of evaluating talent versus putting the defense together.
The Colts dodged rain drops during their third practice of the 2016 Training Camp.
• "Feel great body-wise. Mentally great. We're in the grind of camp. I don't think I've left the field feeling like I've had a perfect practice, and that's the goal, to leave this field feeling like you've had a perfect practice. That's why you do practice. But I feel very good." — Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, on how he's feeling personally and body-wise.
• "It's a big emotional uplift knowing you're not banished to the, we call it the dungeon, the dungeon field. You're out there, you're able to get your time and get whatever you need, and you're on the same wave lengths as the rest of the players." — Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis, on the feeling of actually practicing at this time last year versus rehabbing at this point last year.
• "He should be back there, to be able to smoke a cigarette if he wants before he throws the ball. That's how I look at it. He just has to drop back and throw the ball. … We'll take care of the rest." — Tackle Anthony Castonzo, on the role of the offensive line when it comes to protecting quarterback Andrew Luck in passing situations.
• "That's not by accident. The GM is always saying I got a four leaf clover in my back pocket. He just doesn't know I know the game. No, I'm just messing with him, but yeah, I understand. I understand things. I understand where I'm supposed to be and I'm always running to the ball. Someone told me, run to the ball and good things will happen and good things have been happening." — Colts safety Mike Adams, on how he just seems to always be at the right place at the right time.
• "If I felt different I wouldn't play the game. That's why I train so hard to make sure I can be ready for camp and so I can go hard every day and so I can compete with the guys I'm competing against." — Colts running back Frank Gore, on if he feels if there's anything he can't do now that he could do in the past.
• "Good, it's just more fuel to the fire. I know what we have in that locker room, I know the sense of urgency coming from every guy in that locker room that was a part of last season and prior seasons. I'm glad, no one is expecting us." — Colts inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, on an NFL Network projection of the team finishing 6-10 this season.
• "That's football for you. That's life. We had AV (Adam Vinatieri) talk to us the other day about how Lou Gehrig got his opportunity. Or you look at a guy like Tom Brady and how he got his opportunity. That's just football. Tom Brady probably never sucked, but Drew Bledsoe was better than him. That's football for you. People get hurt, people go down and crazy things happen but you just have to keep rolling with the punches and keep going." — Colts nose tackle Zach Kerr, on how players can take advantage of every opportunity to earn more reps and playing time.