Minicamp Practice Open to the Public
First, a reminder that the Colts will have an open Minicamp practice today at Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s a free event, and they will provide free parking in the Tire Barn South Lot. Here’s the info from the Colts’ release:
"On Wednesday, June 12, the Indianapolis Colts will host an open Mini-Camp at Lucas Oil Stadium. The event, which will give fans the opportunity to watch practice and enjoy a variety of activities, is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 2 p.m. for fans to enjoy access to the field, give-a-ways, half price concessions and more. Practice is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m."
Fans won’t get a chance to see the team take the field again until training camp at Anderson University. Unless otherwise detained by my other job (It’s a busy time for Realtors), this writer/blogger/guy sitting at a computer intends to be there, getting my football fix and seeing how some of the new players look on the field (send a tweet and come say hi).
And now, the Notebook:
All about LaRon
The Colts are in the middle of a three-day mandatory minicamp that began yesterday and will finish up on the 13th. The big stories have been the Ahmad Bradshaw signing (more from Mr. Bradshaw shortly) and Safety LaRon Landry’s first practice as a Colt. During voluntary OTA's Landry continued conditioning on his own in Scottsdale, AZ, where he works out each offseason with fellow Colts Safety Antoine Bethea. (Continued after the jump)
“One thing we knew about LaRon was he was going to be in shape,” Head Coach Chuck Pagano said of the veteran safety. “His arms are bigger than anybody on the planet. He looks like the Incredible Hulk. We knew he could run, which he can. He can run all day.”
Pagano added that he believes Landry can make a smooth transition to the Colts defensive system, which makes sense, considering he played for another former Ravens DC last season. In fact, it sounds as though very little will change for him. “It sounded like the same terminology that I came from with the Jets, you know, dealing with Rex,” Landry said. “They came from the same cloth from Baltimore. So it’s comfortable for me.”
As far as the practice field, Landry was full speed ahead. At one point, Pagano even had to take him aside and have him ease back on the throttle a bit after a collision with veteran receiver Reggie Wayne. “I’d much rather have to put my arm around a guy and slow him down rather than have to go the other way,” Pagano said. “He understands the tempo, he understands the pace. He understands how we go. We can’t afford to lose anybody, not any time of the year, especially now.”
They already had to settle him down on his first day of practice. So, what does a guy like that bring to table? “Oh gosh, intimidation,” said Cory Redding. “A lot of knockouts across the middle. You better be scared to come across with that big old guy coming at you. He’s a good solid presence in the backfield with Antoine (Bethea) and Landry in the back there and all our linebackers flying around and us up front. He’s that missing piece that we need on our defense to get where we want to be.” Let’s hope that decent pass coverage continues to come as a package deal with the intimidation.
Ahmad Bradshaw Conference Call
Ahmad Bradshaw, coming off a third surgery on his right foot, isn’t quite ready to practice yet. As they have tried to do with this sort of thing, the Colts will be using both caution and patience in bringing their newest running back up to speed.
Bradshaw does believe he’ll be ready for training camp in July, and he is excited, of course, to be joining the Colts backfield. “Definitely. We just see a huge opportunity for me to come and help Vick (Ballard) and those guys out,” Bradshaw said when asked about helping Indianapolis’s running game. “I feel this offense is young and they need a spark and I feel like I can be that spark that they can use. My point is to get in and learn the offense and get started as quick as possible.”
As far as his recovery from surgery, Bradshaw said, “I’ve been battling injuries my whole career and overcoming foot surgeries and different things. I’ve had to prove myself every year after the surgeries. This is another year. That’s my plan.”
Bradshaw was linked to several different teams at different times in free agency, but he chose Indianapolis after several days of contract talks. “Any team that gets to the playoffs has a chance,” he said. “Like I said, with these guys being young, with Andrew Luck growing every year, last year coming in the league and proving what he can do, I think this team has great potential to be a contender. That’s also a big reason why Indiana was my choice.”
Nose Tackles: Josh Chapman was a Fire Hydrant; now he’s a Safe
Many people expect last year’s 5th round pick, Josh Chapman to win the starting nose tackle job before the season begins. Chapman has been compared to several immovable things, such as a fire hydrant, certainly a compliment for a 3-4 nose tackle, but due to an injury that was neglected in college; he has yet to play a down of NFL football.
One thing is for sure, though. No matter how the depth chart ends up, it’s currently a position with good depth and leadership. “Yeah, you love Aubrayo (Franklin) coming in just from a leadership role, mentorship,” Pagano said of the NT’s. “I mean, he knows how to play the game. He’s got a ton of snaps under his belt, obviously great experience.
“He’s going to be a great mentor to Chappy (Josh Chapman). And Chappy’s like sticking a 700, 800-pound safe in the middle. You’re not going to move him. Someone tries to come in the house and take the safe, it ain’t happening. So he’s going to command double-teams in there. Aubrayo’s going to do that. Martin Tevaseu, MTV’s doing a great job. B-Mac’s (Brandon McKinney) going to be back from injury. He’ll be ready hopefully by training camp. So we’ve got significantly bigger across the board, especially at the nose spot.”
An 800-pound safe. He could simply say he is impressed with Chapman’s progress, but clearly, Pagano and the coaching staff remain completely enamored with the young tackle’s ability to stand his ground, draw double teams, and generally imitate an immovable object. This is an encouraging sign.
- The hard-working Dwayne Allen, on practicing in front of the fans: “Yeah it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to interact with the fans. A little fan appreciation, that’s what Coach Pagano and from top to bottom this organization loves giving back to the fans. They’re the ones who give to us during the season with support and being at every game. Every opportunity we get we love to give back to them.”
- Coby Fleener, with some positive words about fellow TE Justice Cunningham, the last pick in the draft: “I’m impressed. He’s a quick learner. The offensive system that we have in is not an easy one to learn, and for him to be able to understand it and pick it up so quickly is impressive.”
- The speedy (and somewhat candid) Darrius Heyward-Bey, on learning a new scheme: “I’ve had four different offenses already in my career so whatever they throw at me I try to pick up. I think I’m a smart individual so I just pick it up and take it from there.”
- Heyward-Bey, a bit less candid, on what he sees in the offense: “I see good things. I think Pep (Hamilton) is definitely bringing something in that I’ve seen before in the past and I’ve seen it work. We definitely have the weapons. We have two tight ends that could be great. T.Y. (Hilton), he brings something special to the game that most teams don’t have. Me and Reggie (Wayne) could definitely do things and then our running game; it’s going to be good.”
- The recently married Robert Mathis on Chuck Pagano, and whether last year’s experience/ordeal has changed him: “Not that much of a change because he’s always been a spirited coach who loves to be around the game. But I would say his appreciation for the smaller things in life has grown that much. We all can learn from his ordeal and the way he came through it and the way he persevered.”
- Mathis on being a leader on this Colts team: “Yeah, coming up through the ranks, being the homegrown guy, seeing the greats here and now being viewed as one of the guys that’s going to keep the torch burning. It’s a great honor and it’s something I don’t take for granted.”
- Rookie OLB Bjoern Werner on what he’ll be doing between Minicamp and Training Camp: “Everything is going on at the same time. We got the rookie symposium. I am going to stay here the whole time. This is my new home. Being from Germany I can’t just go back and forth. It’s a long trip. So I’m just going to stay here, it’s my new home, and just get settled in before training camp.”
- Strong Safety LaRon Landry on Chuck Pagano: “Oh, great guy. Great guy. I’d do anything for him, so I’m glad to be here. I made a great decision. I made a great choice.”
All quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR Department.
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