INDIANAPOLIS – Two months from their 2017 preseason opener, the Colts began their final work of a nine-week offseason program on Tuesday afternoon.
Some pop-up rain showers had the Colts in their indoor facility for the first practice of the mandatory minicamp.
Players not participating on Tuesday included Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, T.Y. Hilton, Denzelle Good, Frank Gore, Jack Mewhort, Brian Schwenke, Hassan Ridgeway, Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Kendall Langford, Marlon Mack and Akeem Ayers.
Here's a look at three takeaways from Pagano meeting the media with the Colts having two more days left in their offseason program:
Chuck Pagano on this being the most competitive offseason program of his six years in Indianapolis:
"There's great competition at every position."
Bowen's Analysis: One area where the competition has picked up this offseason has been in terms of practice availability. Getting younger and healthier has allowed for more bodies at practice. Not as many veteran days off for guys has upped the position battles, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Now, until things get more real in Training Camp and the preseason, the Colts will not have as clear a picture for a definite depth chart. The differences between minicamp and OTAs are the "mandatory" part of things and more time allowed in the building (10 hours this week vs. 6 hours during OTAs).
Chuck Pagano on what has impressed him during the offseason program:
"The defensive line has done a really job.
"The front seven, I think we are heading in the right direction."
Bowen's Analysis: Even without Kendall Langford (knee) and Hassan Ridgeway (shoulder) this time of year, the defensive line group continues to be a bunch Pagano has liked. A trio of new free agents, led by Johnathan Hankins, have fit the 3-4 scheme for the Colts.
Along with the defensive line, the wide receiver group has stood out to Pagano. The wide receivers have added some different body types this offseason and will undoubtedly be very competitive come camp. Second-year receiver Chester Rogers is a guy that continues to push for more and more first-team reps.
Chuck Pagano on tackling more in Training Camp:
"We've talked long and hard about that. You are always scared to death. But at the same time, if you don't practice tackling, it's hard to get good at tackling."
Bowen's Analysis: Could we see a new wrinkle to this year's Training Camp? It's a debate coaches have around the NFL ever year. How physical should practices be when wanting/needing to stay as healthy as possible for the regular season?
The Colts struggled in the tackling department early last year. That's certainly a reason why Pagano and his staff will continue to discuss some live periods for Training Camp. This will be something to watch when late July arrives.
- WR-T.Y. Hilton (hamstring): A tweaked hamstring will likely keep Hilton off the field this week. Hilton left last Tuesday's open OTA session with the hamstring injury.
- DT-Hassan Ridgeway (shoulder): Pagano confirmed on Tuesday that Ridgway has missed time due to off-season shoulder surgery. The second-year defensive tackle is expected to provide depth along a crowded defensive line in 2017. Pagano said Ridgeway is expected to be ready for Training Camp.
**The Colts had eight tryout guys participating in Tuesday's minicamp, several of which have various NFL experience:
-CB Phillip Adams
-LS Andrew East
-TE Larry Donnell
-TE James Dray
-ILB Jeremiah George
-TE Brandon Greene
-CB Shakiel Randolph
-WR Mark Thomas
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