Good morning, Colts fans. It’s time to take a break from reading your 2014 Colts Authority Annual and welcome the Colts Notebook back from its offseason hiatus.
Grit, next man up, saying “guy” or “guys” two or more times in a sentence. Yes, training camp is upon us, and that means the football coaches – and their quotes – are back. Over the next several months, we’ll hear what sharpens what, who is taking it one day at a time, and who is ready to get in there and mix it up. I have missed it so. Welcome back, Football.
Last offseason, Colts coaches talked up a run first philosophy and how the offense was going to impose its will by running in obvious running situations, running in passing situations, and then running some more. Several times, however, they found themselves playing catchup in the second half with the passing game.
This year, the buzz phrase has been “score first.” It’s not a drastic change, but they no longer appear bent on forcing the run. Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton wants to find what works, and then find the end zone early and often. It certainly would be nice to see them playing with a lead with more regularity.
“It’s always our goal to try and score every time we touch the football,” Hamilton said yesterday of the team’s score first mentality. “When you look at the personnel we have available now, it’s going to give us an opportunity to put a lot more pressure on the defense in a lot of different ways with Reggie (Wayne), T.Y. (Hilton) and Hakeem (Nicks), having all three of our running backs available to go out there and make plays as well as our tight ends.
“I’ve always loved having tight ends at our disposal and allowing those guys to take advantage of the nonconventional matchups. So we’re excited about our personnel and we’re excited about kicking the season off.”
Yes, Pep, and we’re excited to see more of the quick strike offense that became so successful near the end of the 2013 season. Overall, if they can avoid some of the injuries that plagued them last year, open things up early and often in the passing game, and manage a serviceable running game, Indy’s offense could be something special to watch this season.
Excited…for Training Camp?
Training camp is a long, grueling process for the players, living together, eating together, and putting in those long hours practicing in the summer heat. Yet, some players (mostly the younger ones) actually sound as though they enjoy it.
“There is always a lot of giddiness,” Luck said of the first day of camp. “It’s fun to see everyone’s faces again and get back to it. With this day, there is a lot of waiting around but getting ready for practice tomorrow. A lot of guys will have trouble sleeping and I know I always do.”
He went on to tell another reporter simply, “I love camp. It’s fun, it’s easy in the sense that you focus on football 24/7 and it’s a lot of fun.”
Ricky Jean Francois talked about the importance of working on technique and such. “I think camp is necessary,” he said. “This is where you find the players at. This is where you find the clutch-time players at. This is where people start building up technique. It’s a fun time because you get to grow closer with your guys being away from your wife and kids. It’s just us, so this should be fun this year.”
But when asked directly if he enjoyed training camp, Jean Francois added, “Alright don’t tell the older guys this, but yeah it is fun. This is the time you get to find out about the rookies and all the new guys. You get to catch up with all the guys and the time you missed.”
Pat McAfee is happy to be back in Anderson too, but mostly because he didn’t know if he’d be able to return in 2014. “I’m so excited,” he said. “Going into free agency, I really had no idea where I was going to be. That’s kind of like the most nerve-wrecking thing, is you don’t know where you’re going to live, you don’t know anything. I’m so excited to be back in Anderson, I’m so pumped to be a Colt, hopefully for the rest of my life. And this year will hopefully be my greatest year and I can’t wait to get started.”
McAfee on what he can’t go without at camp: “I think a pillow is big. I think a blanket’s big. I think those are really two big things Andrew (Luck) brought up. But for me I think the big thing is my iPhone. I mean nowadays Steve Jobs created this thing where I got TV, a computer, a texting, and a phone device all in one thing and I can even check out who’s on the moon right now and in space. I think the iPhone’s the big thing and I’m not paid by Apple to say that, but boy they’re fantastic.”
Reggie Wayne on whether his grand entrance in the two-seater IndyCar was his best yet: “Oh by far, by far. I want one of these, I don’t know how I’m going to get one. I’m a guy that likes speed and this is one way to get that speed in me. So I enjoyed every bit of it.”
Wayne on his current playing status: “I’ve been cleared, yes I have. I am ready to go. You can hear it from me, I am ready to go. So we’ll just see from that point on. Hopefully everything stays the course and I’ll be out there tomorrow.”
T.Y. Hilton on the current group of receivers and tight ends: “We’re very strong. If we’re not number one, we’re doing something wrong. Right now, whoever has got to stick us is going to be in trouble.”
As usual, all quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR Department