INDIANAPOLIS – With the end of the Colts three-day mini-camp last Thursady, the team's eight-week offseason program has come to a close.
Next up for the Colts is a break.
Players and coaches will now get away from the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for nearly two months, before Training Camp commences in August.
What was learned during the Colts offseason program?
WEAPONS A PLENTY
Finding skill players, all over the field, won't be an issue for Andrew Luck in 2015. It will certainly be a problem for opposing defensive coordinators in trying to combat the Colts' array of pass catchers and runners.
The Colts knew they were going to have another profliic offense in 2015 with returnees in T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener and Boom Herron.
That group was enhanced in the offseason by seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson and eight-time 1,000-yard rusher Frank Gore.
Yet another playmaker came in early May when the Colts selected Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett with the 29th overall pick.
From a receiving standpoint, Pep Hamilton is going to salivate over which three-wide receiver sets he employs in 2015.
From a running standpoint, Gore is more than eager to see some defensive boxes that include less than eight defenders.
From a tight end standpoint, the Colts still have the luxury of Allen and Fleener forcing defenses to often remain in base sets when Indianapolis chooses to go with a double tight end look.**
PARTICIPATION NOT A WORRY**
The first seven weeks of the Colts offseason program was voluntary (per CBA rules), but you couldn't tell by taking a look on the practice field.
Particpation was hovering well over the 90 percent mark for the entire Colts 90-man roster.
This time of year you often see vetearns training elsewhere. That wasn't the case for the newcomers in Frank Gore, Andre Johnson or Trent Cole.
Dwayne Allen was in Arizona for the start of the offseason program, fine tuning his body after an injury riddled back-to-back years.
With coordinators Pep Hamilton and Greg Manusky entering their third and fourth seasons in Indianapolis, players still didn't hesitate from reporting to work throughout the voluntary portion of the offseason.
Players who did not particpaite in the Colts offseason program include running back Vick Ballard, right tackle Gosder Cherilus, left guard Donald Thoams, outside linebacker Robert Mathis and inside linebacker Nate Irving.
Ballard and Irving are both on record saying they expect to be back on the field come Training Camp.
The Cherilus' injury has the most potential "domino effect" of the ones mentioned above (see below for more on how that could play out).
Mathis spoke with the media last Thursday and reiterated the time table of being back on the field when the regular season begins in September.
If Ballard and Irving prove they are healthy come camp, there's no doubt they will each compete for playing time at their respective running back and inside linebacker positions.
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE
The Colts closed out the offseason program with a starting offensive line of (left to right): Anthony Castonzo, Lance Louis, Khaled Holmes, Todd Herremans and Jack Mewhort.
At right tackle, it was Mewhort who got the first-team reps towards the end of OTAs and mini-camp. The ever-interchangeable Joe Reitz also saw ample at right tackle work, with Cherilus sidelined.
Herremans came over to Indianapolis after 10 seaosns in Philadelphia and he looks to have the early nod at the right guard spot, while also having the ability to play multiple spots.
The center competition will carry into Anderson with Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison both seeing plenty of first-team run during the offseason program.
With Mewhort (the Colts starting left guard in 2014) sliding over to right tackle, it was Lance Louis filling in as a starter. Louis was the Colts starting right guard during their postseason run last year. Hugh Thornton and Donald Thomas (if healthy) are two more names to watch at guard during Training Camp.
Anthony Castonzo is the engrained rock at left tackle with his starting position written in sharpie marker.
ROOKIE (INSTANT) IMPACTS
Every year when the NFL Draft comes to a close and the grades from "experts" get thrown around, fans clamor to know which rookies will play the earliest.
Let's start with first-round pick Phillip Dorsett.
Yes, the Colts have an abundance of pass catchers, but that won't keep Dorsett off the fieid. In watching the offseason program, the Colts will get Dorsett involved in a surplus of ways.
Dorsett’s role could definitely include return duties and lining up all over the offense, touching the ball in other ways besides just a "typical" receiver.
Let's now head to the defensive side of the ball, where the Colts spent their next four picks.
Cornerback D'Joun Smith appers to be an injury away from being the Colts current fourth corner to a virtual starter. The Colts have Smith positioned as an outside and a nickel corner, preparing him for his rookie season.
Stanford linemen Henry Anderson (more of natural 3-4 defensive end) and David Parry (more of an interior guy, likely a nose tackle) came in the third and fifth rounds for the Colts. Anderson has been a frequent first-team substitution and Parry has seen time in various sub packages.
Safety Clayton Geathers "has exceeded expectaitons", according to his head coach. Geathers is the new age safety of the NFL, if you will, and he's been a box-safety when the Colts go to their dime-look during OTAs and mini-camp.
Sixth-round pick Josh Robinson could factor into the order of running backs the Colts run out there in 2015.