Players Focused on Preparing for the 2010 Season
When the Indianapolis Colts' last organized team activity ended last Friday, the players had exactly 50 days until they would reunite as a team for training camp at Anderson University on August 1.
However, according to the team, that does not mean those 50 days will be without work. Rather, the players will devote the time to preparing for the upcoming 2010 season.
"It continues," Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's one of the things that I think is a misconception, that once OTAs end that work is stopped. But we continue to work all the way up until training camp. They'll lift, they'll run, they'll still be working at their routes and coverage techniques, etc., and just try to find a way to get better."
Some players will opt to stay in Indianapolis for the duration of the break, while others will take the final chance to return home before the season. But regardless, the work doesn't stop.
"It's crucial," second-year running back Donald Brown said. "You want to get away, but really train hard, get your body into the condition that it needs to be come August 1. It's a long season. You have to get ready."
Rookie linebacker Pat Angerer is planning on staying in Indianapolis and continuing the progress he has made since the beginning of OTAs.
"Obviously, there is a ton of work that I need to do, but I've been able to improve each day I think," Angerer said. "The other guys have been so helpful here. It's really made it an easy process.
"I'm going to stay around here. I think it's going to be very important. We've put in a lot of work. If I go back home, I'd probably forget everything. I figure if I say here and stay on the tape and stay working with the guys, it will benefit me a lot."
Fellow rookie and first-round draft choice Jerry Hughes also is electing to stay in Indianapolis and see what secrets game film will show about Pro Bowl teammates Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
"I'll be up here working out," Hughes said. "Just trying to get in shape, trying to get stronger, faster and learn my playbook. I'll watch film to see what moves I can get down from Dwight and Robert."
BRANDSTATER GETTING ACCLIMATEDFor newly-acquired quarterback Tom Brandstater, who was claimed off waivers by the Colts from Denver last week, joining the club offers him a new start and a chance to study one of the NFL's best quarterbacks.
"I do look at it as a fresh start," Brandstater said. "I learned a lot last year about how to be a professional and how to carry myself. Coming into a place like this, with Peyton Manning to really learn (from) and learn how he does everything, I feel it will add (to it) when I'm around one of the best ever."
To Brandstater, part of being a professional means having a full grasp of the playbook, a daunting task with training camp a month-and-a-half away.
"I think as a professional quarterback it is your job to learn (the playbook)," Brandstater said. "Luckily, so far, going through what I have gone through, I've had a lot of help from the other players and the coaches. The stuff makes sense here. I'm happy with my progress in four days, but multiply that by a couple of more weeks, and I'll be feeling pretty good."
The former Fresno State quarterback has spent his one week in Indianapolis reading the playbook and learning the Colts way of doing things.
"I've been in my playbook every night," Brandstater said. "I've got nothing else to do but learn my stuff. I've been trying to do that and get accustomed to how they do things. The biggest thing will be not so much learning the offense, but learning how you do the ins-and-outs; how you communicate in the huddle, how you call the snap count. All that stuff is harder than learning the X's and O's of it."
Brandstater, a 2009 sixth-round draft choice of Denver, has learned that nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. So, he is focusing on doing the best he can.
"I'm going to compete to be the best guy that I can be," Brandstater said. "The coaches will designate my role based on my play, so if I just play well and do everything I can, the rest will take care of itself."
BROWN READY TO ROLL IN YEAR TWO
For Donald Brown, there were highs in 2009. There was his first touchdown, a 15-yard romp at Miami, a 72-yard reception at Arizona and a 45-yard run at St. Louis. And there was playing in Super Bowl XLIV. But, the 2009 first-round draft choice said, there also were down moments as well, including missing five games with various injuries.
"It was (frustrating)," Brown said. "I think it made me a stronger person. Not everything is going to be easy, and that obviously proved it. It was disappointing not being out there and having to sit out a few games. I went through a whole slew of things. You learn from everything, and you build on it and you move forward. You get your body into shape and that will hopefully limit your risks."
But for Brown, with a year of experience behind him, he is comfortable and ready for year two.
"I know the lay of the land now," Brown said. "Obviously, there is still a lot more to learn, still a lot more to get better at. I think the (Super Bowl) lights a fire underneath you. You want to get back there, but this time you want to take the trophy home with you. That definitely lights a fire."
The former Connecticut standout, who graduated from the school this offseason and holds the school's career rushing record with 3,800 yards, said he still benefited from his rookie season because he listened to his older teammates. He thinks it served him well, and he said this year's crop of rookies would be wise to listen to them as well.
"Don't say much and watch the veterans," Brown said. "That's the best advice you can give to the rookies, especially with the guys on this team…they are hard workers and guys that obviously get it done on the field and off the field."