Colts Finish Organized Team Activities at Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center
INDIANAPOLIS – All in all, Jim Caldwell liked what he saw.
Caldwell, entering his second season as the Colts' head coach, said the Organized Team Activities period that ended on Friday was a productive one in several areas.
The rookie class learned. The veterans improved.
Some changes were made.
And overall, and most imantly, Caldwell said the Colts made significant strides preparing for the 2010 regular season.
"Our team has a real strong work ethic," Caldwell said Friday shortly following the final session of 2010 OTAs, four weeks of on-field, team-oriented work held at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
"This is an eager and hungry group."
The Colts, the defending AFC South and AFC Champions, began their off-season conditioning in mid-April, and the players spent much of the last four weeks in OTAs.
They will open training camp at Anderson (Ind.) University on August 1.
Caldwell said while there is still work to be done during training camp and the pre-season to prepare for the regular season, he said the progress toward being ready has been made.
He said the Colts are making some changes in certain areas in terms of approach, and the first steps toward teaching and learning those concepts – and being able to execute them – are well underway.
"We got a lot accomplished," Caldwell said. "I really do believe from an introductory standpoint, in terms of schematically – things that we changed that were new – we got familiar with those things. I think we improved in terms of overall execution.
"I think, overall, we improved in almost every single phase, not to the point where we'd say we'd be ready to play tomorrow. We don't have to get started until later on this year, but I felt good about what we got accomplished."
While the Colts' OTAs ended, Caldwell said to varying degrees players will continue working throughout much of the off-season.
"That's one of the things that I think is a misconception, that once OTAs end, the work is stopped," Caldwell said. "We continue to work all the way through training camp. They will lift. They will run. They'll work on their routes and obviously, their coverage techniques. They'll work to try to find a way to get better."
Caldwell and much of the rest of the coaching staff will have in the next few weeks the opportunity to "decompress a little bit, particularly with the season – how long it goes, and certainly how intense it is, you need a little break in the action."
A major part of the off-season – particularly the post-draft OTA period – is acclimating rookies to the Colts' approach on and off the field. Caldwell said while the rookies aren't yet fully acclimated, "I think they've done well."
"I know it's moving fast for them right now, which you would expect and anticipate," Caldwell said. "I think for the most part the coaches have done a great job with them, spending a little extra time with them and making sure they understand what's required of them. They have to learn so much – from how we do things in the training room, the weight room – just in terms of things not only from a league standpoint, but from an organizational, franchise standpoint.
"They have a lot to learn, but I think they're doing quite well. They have a long ways to go, but we certainly feel good about what they've accomplished."
Also on Friday, Caldwell discussed:
• Avoiding complacency: "I think it's a healthy atmosphere around here, that we never become complacent. I think it's because a great majority of our guys have that kind of attitude, that we have not arrived. We understand how hard work plays into good, solid consistent play."
• On newly-acquired reserve quarterback Tom Brandstater: "He's a guy who has strength and size. He's smart. We threw him in a little bit in terms of drill work so we could watch him from a mechanics standpoint. He looks like has some potential, so we're excited to have a chance to take a real good look at him in the fall. He'll be in that playbook. When he first arrived, he was in one of the quarterback meeting rooms. He was in there with (backup quarterback Curtis) Painter, actually going over all the details, trying to learn as much as he could. He was putting in the extra time. That's the great thing about our guys – they share information. They work with one another to try to bring the new guys up to speed. That's certainly what will be going on with him here the next few weeks."
• On Painter: "Anytime they (players) get into their second year, when they've had a chance to immerse themselves in the concepts of our system, you can see improvement. I can see he's a little bit more comfortable in his execution, in terms of his play calls and things of that nature. He has a little bit better grasp of his read progression, and he's becoming a bit more accurate. It's not a real easy offense to grasp and to manage. I think he's improving day after day."