INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have taken the next step in their offseason program.
Phase Two of the program, which started on Monday and runs for three weeks, has the players on the field and working with coaches for the first time in 2017.
By definition, Phase Two allows individual player instruction and drills (with coaches on the field) as well as team practice conducted on a "separates" basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
The Colts will spend three weeks doing individual instruction before OTAs begin on May 22.
Here's a look at five takeaways from Tuesday's media session after the Colts concluded their 10th day of the offseason program:
New Vontae Davis Enters Ninth NFL Season
On Tuesday, Vontae Davis sounded like the leader the Colts need him to be in 2017.
The Colts need Davis back to his Pro Bowl-self this year and they also need him to take control of a new-look defense.
"I'm looking to having a big year myself," Davis said of 2017, which is a contract year for him. "I think I'm the leader of that (secondary) and if I'm not playing well, I don't think anybody is going to play well. I've got to play my best ball ball all the time. That's the approach I'm taking. I'm raising the standard not only for the group, but for myself."
Davis had a keen eye on this year's NFL Draft, which saw the Colts take three defensive backs, including two in the first two rounds.
As a former 21-year-old first-round pick back in 2009, Davis knows what is on the horizon for Malik Hooker (21 years old) and Quincy Wilson (20 years old).
"We drafted those guys to play right away," Davis said. "We expect a lot of those guys.
"They have talent you can teach. It's just about putting it all together in the developmental process."
The Colts will rely on Davis and Darius Butler to offer the needed leadership in the secondary.
With so many questions regarding secondary personnel and playing time in 2017, Davis is part of a compelling unit this year.
"Training Camp is going to be fun," Davis says. "There's no position that's (solid)."
Well, besides Davis' spot as the No. 1 cornerback.**
Colts Send Mo Alie-Cox A Message**
Indirectly, the Colts sent another message to Erik Swoope this past weekend.
With the Colts not drafting a tight end, in a very deep draft for that position, it was another reminder that the No. 2 tight end is definitely Swoope's spot.
Throw in the trade of Dwayne Allen and what happened during the draft, the Colts are clearly investing a lot in Swoope this season.
"I think it speaks to both Jack (Doyle) and I," Swoope said on Tuesday. "We excelled (in 2016). I think we were both excited with the progress that we made. Seeing what's transpired, it's exciting. It shows you that they believe and they want to see our best."
Swoope's days of playing basketball are long gone.
He says he has picked up a basketball three times since joining the Colts in 2014. Only once was he actually playing a game.
The jump shot is gone. The dunking is not (Swoope's been dunking since he was 12 years old).
Football is Swoope's job and the Colts will be relying quite a lot on him in 2017.
"Every route, every catch, every rep of anything gives me more confidence because I can see the development," Swoope says. "Then it builds trust in my own mind because at the end, you have to be able to believe in yourself to make plays and prove it to your teammates as well. Every rep I get I have that intention of I'm going to gain some type of ground." Is Upside Still There For Barkevious Mingo?
In signing a former top-10 draft pick, the Colts still see upside in Barkevious Mingo.
So does Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick back in 2013.
"If you don't feel that way, what are you doing?" Mingo said on Tuesday.
Mingo has not recorded a sack the last two seasons from his outside linebacker position.
In playing with New England last year, Mingo's role was virtually only on special teams. A couple of weeks ago, Mingo went to the White House with his former team to be honored for Super Bowl LI.
The constant dream of reaching the game's pinnacle finally came for Mingo last season.
Now, in Indianapolis he's trying to get back there, while also seeing his individual contributions expand.
"We are in a position right now to put ourselves in position for a role, with what we can absorb in the playbook and how we translate that to the field," Mingo said.**
2017 Offseason Program - Phase II - Day One Highlights
It's "Guard" Joe Haeg (For Now)**
For now, the Colts are working Joe Haeg at guard, as he appears to be the early favorite for the right guard spot in 2017.
Haeg had never played guard in his life until the NFL.
But he saw plenty of time at both guard spots in his rookie season last year.
It was right guard where Haeg ended 2016, a closing stretch when Indy's offensive line was at its best.
Haeg said the run blocking at tackle and guard is very similar, but the pass protection has some differences.
One area of last year's line that should help the Colts in 2017 is being with OL coach Joe Philbin for a second year.
Philbin's own technique that was coached into every lineman last year is another year engrained. The learning curve from a technique standpoint is not there in 2017.
After starting at three different line positions in 2016, we will see if Haeg can find a more permanent home at right guard.
Margus Hunt Part Of Crowded Defensive Line Group
Inevitably, the Colts are going to have to cut some quality bodies from their defensive line this season.
You have the likes of Johnathan Hankins (Giants), Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson.
You have other new faces joining Hankins in Margus Hunt (Bengals), Al Woods (Titans) and the recently drafted Grover Stewart.
You still have youngsters on the roster in Hassan Ridgeway, T.Y. McGill and David Parry.
Hunt sees the intensity in how that position will shake out come late August.
"Very competitive, that's for sure," Hunt says. "There's a lot of good players on the defensive line. It will be very interesting in camp."
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