With the departures of Mark Glowinski (Giants) and Chris Reed (Vikings) in free agency, an opportunity opened up for Danny Pinter to compete to start for the first time in his three-year career. But that opportunity at right guard isn't changing Pinter's offseason process as the Colts' offseason program kicked off this week.
"You're just looking for opportunities in this league and you got to run with them," Pinter said. "So I think I got an opportunity right now, but opportunities are what you make of them. My mindset is to come in here and work every day and trying to make the most of it."
Following a strong showing in three starts at center for the Colts last season, Pinter set out this offseason to work to improve from his mistakes and hone in on the why behind his successes in 2021. And for the second straight year, Pinter is spending time training in Chicago with longtime Bears center Olin Kreutz (Pinter, this year, has been joined in training with Kreutz by teammate Will Fries as well as Raiders guard/tackle Alex Bars and Bears center Sam Mustipher).
"I'm extremely grateful to have the opportunity to go work out in that gym," Pinter said. "It's a gym that commands your best every day. You got to show up, you got to put the work in and just learning from a guy like (Kreutz), it's no secret why he had the success he had while he was playing and just extremely grateful for the opportunity."
Pinter does not have in-game experience playing guard, but this is a guy who went from playing tight end and tackle in college at Ball State to center in the NFL, after all. And he's studied his teammates over the years – a group of players that includes one of the very best guards in the NFL.
"There's certainly differences — staggered stance, hand in the ground more than on the ball," Pinter said. "There's definitely all that type of stuff. But I've got guys like Q (Quenton Nelson), guys like seeing guys like Glow and (Reed) do it on film, that type of stuff, awesome guys to look at. That's just stuff you continue to attack."
Colts players on day 2 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for offseason conditioning.
Offseason Paye-ge Turners
As the team bus pulled away from TIAA Bank Stadium in Jacksonville after the Colts' stunning season-ending defeat, Kwity Paye's mind shifted to planning out his offseason goals. Those include growth physically and with his technique, certainly. But the former first-round pick explained on Wednesday a significant focus of his is on his mentality.
Paye read "Chop Wood, Carry Water: How To Fall In Love With The Process Of Being Great" and "Chase The Lion: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It's Too Small" over the last few months with the intent of building his intensity on gamedays in his second year in the NFL.
"I've always been a hard worker, but I felt like the mental part of my game was something that I lacked," Paye said. "So that's kind of what I focused on.
"... I've always been a good technical player, but when it comes down to straining and diving every play and just being relentless every single play — like, savagery — that's what I wanted to focus on."
Paye had four sacks and 10 quarterback hits over 15 games as a rookie, and he also earned Pro Football Focus' highest pass rushing grade among first-year defensive ends in 2021. And as he continues to refine his repertoire of pass-rushing moves, he'll have a chance to pick the brain of a guy he's studied for years in Yannick Ngakoue.
"I love the cross-chop, I try to do it in college," Paye said. "The COVID season when everything was shut down and we had to work out on our own, that's the only move I was doing. I was practicing that over and over and I was watching his film. So to have him in the building and talk with him and really learn from him — like how we approach it and stuff like that — is great."
What's Next at Wide Receiver?
Frank Reich has seen the narrative out there about the Colts' wide receiver room, which after Michael Pittman Jr. currently does not, collectively, have a wealth of receptions/receiving yards/touchdowns. But when Reich looks at the depth chart – Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Keke Coutee, Dezmon Patmon, Mike Strachan and De'Michael Harris – he believes in the potential those players can offer the Colts' offense.
And, too, he has immense confidence in general manager Chris Ballard to make any necessary additions to that wide receiver room as he sees fit in the coming weeks and months.
"I see the side of a lot of upside with those players and looking forward to seeing those guys continue to develop," Reich said. "... And then we'll see who we add. You guys know, there's nobody better than Chris — there's nobody better than Chris — at continuing to develop the roster as we go, whether that be in the draft, or whether that be signing guys in the next couple of months or signing somebody in training camp.
"There's nobody, in my mind, that does that better than Chris. So when I look at our roster and I think about where we're going to be, I trust Chris and I trust our guys. In my mind, w e got everything we need, but I know Chris is always working on that and it'll get better."