Colts OG-Kyle DeVan Looking Forward to Competing in Training Camp
INDIANAPOLIS – The past means nothing to Kyle DeVan.
Entering his second season with the Colts, DeVan – an offensive guard who started much of last season – said his story from last season doesn't matter now. Whatever success he had, however memorable his first season, it won't help once the beginning of August rolls around.
Then, he'll be guaranteed nothing. Then, he'll be competing again.
And that's OK with DeVan.
In fact, he said he likes it that way.
"Last year, it really doesn't mean much," DeVan said during the Colts' 2010 organized team activities, four weeks of on-field, team-oriented activities that recently concluded at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"I was able to get into the starting lineup, but this year is a new year. The only thing you take from last year is you learn from it. You're able to break down yourself and your team as a whole."
What DeVan (6-feet-2, 306 pounds) learned was this:
A player who gets released by two NFL teams and who is playing in ArenaFootball2 in the spring can be starting in the Super Bowl by the following February.
That's what happened to DeVan, who was released by the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets in 2008, and was playing with the Boise Burn of Arena Football2 in the 2009 off-season when the Colts signed him. He made the team out of training camp, then moved into the starting lineup midway through the season.
He started the final nine games of the regular season at right guard, then started all three post-season games, including Super Bowl XLIV against the New Orleans Saints.
"It was last year," DeVan said. "It's over now, and the Colts and myself, we have to move forward."
DeVan said that likely will mean competition – difficult competition.
The Colts early in the off-season released long-time starting left guard Ryan Lilja, and entering the off-season have seven guards on the roster: DeVan, a 2009 starter at right guard; Mike Pollak, a 2008 starter at right guard; Jaimie Thomas, a 2009 seventh-round draft selection; Jacques McClendon, a 2010 fourth-round draft selection; Jamey Richard, 2007 seventh-round draft selection; 2010 collegiate free-agent Gregg Peat; and Andy Alleman, a fourth-year veteran who signed this off-season as a veteran free agent.
"I think particularly on our line, I think it's going to be a very good, solid competitive situation," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's like my old high school coach would always say, 'Cream will always rise to the top,' so we'll see what happens.
"Certainly, what we're looking for is improvement. That's the key. We want to become a better unit overall, in all phases as a result of our work this spring and also in training camp as well."
DeVan said considering his background, and considering his experience last season, competition is hardly something that bothers him.
"That's how I came into this league – because of the competition it offers," DeVan said. "Without the competition, your team is never going to get better. Every position, everyone has to get better. That's what this game's about. With the competition coming up, I'm excited for it.
"I think it will bring out the best in all of us. We'll see what happens at the end of the day."
And DeVan said while it's true that he started the last of the regular season and the post-season, it's just as true the off-season that just passed was critical to his development. He was, he said, able to use the previous season and learn from it during the recent OTAs.
"Getting a year play with the team and learning the playbook so in-depth is really going to help me this year," DeVan said. "I don't have to sit at home and really go over calls, because I know them. They're in the back of my mind. Now, I can focus on my technique and things I need to do personally to get better.
"You go back and look at film from last year, and seeing things I need to improve on, that will really help me step up my game. There were little things that I wasn't as successful at as others. I have to improve that, and just improve my overall game."
It was the "overall" that he emphasized.
"I'm just working on overall technique, everything," DeVan said. "My game as a whole needs to improve, and there were certain areas in pass pro and run pro I needed to work on. I was able to do that, especially getting the time with (new offensive line coach) Pete (Metzelaars) in some one-on-one sessions.
"That part was nice. That's what the spring was about, working on your own skills and working on the things you need to work on."
DeVan said that's perhaps the most significant change for him entering this season from his past NFL experience. In 2008, he joined two teams in the off-season and last season, he joined the Colts during that time. In each case, he said he spent time learning the basics of the scheme and techniques employed by that line. This off-season, he said, already knowing the basics has allowed him to start at a place further ahead than in previous off-seasons.
"This is the first time for that for me in my career," he said. "College is a little different. This is my job, so I put all my energy into this. I hope I can improve and keep my spot."