AFC South: Indianapolis Colts

Colts Camp Report: Day 8

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
6:30
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:
  • Cornerback Greg Toler made the play of the day in practice Friday. With the offense running the two-minute offense, quarterback Andrew Luck tried to get off a quick pass in the flat, but Toler leaped in the air to pick it off and promptly returned it more than 90 yards for a touchdown. Toler's defensive teammates ran the length of the field to celebrate with him in the end zone. Toler, in excitement, tossed the football over the fence to a fan. A ball boy retrieved the ball and was immediately booed by the fans in the area.
  • Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, just like last season, won't have a full cupboard to work with during the regular season. But unlike last season when the Colts got to Week 1 before losing any players, the season-ending injuries have already started. Hamilton had hoped to have Vick Ballard to work with in the backfield with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw and veteran Donald Thomas to help a young interior offensive line. Ballard (Achilles) and Thomas (quad) -- like last season -- have already been lost for the season. "We've had to recalibrate," said Hamilton, who is in his second season as the Colts offensive coordinator. "We still have a lot of training camp, so in time I think it'll all take care of itself. The front line, the continuity of that group, is still a work in progress. As we said before, at some point in time, we'll probably need all of the above to step in and step up and make plays for us. It's the nature of the beast."
  • The answer to who is the leader of the pack to start alongside LaRon Landry -- whenever he gets on the field -- at safety is still unknown. The Colts have given Delano Howell, Sergio Brown, Mike Adams and Colt Anderson snaps with the first team in an attempt to get closer to an answer. "They're all in the mix right now," defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "I don't think anyone has set anybody higher than the other. We're kind of filtering in those three guys of four guys in with the first unit to see who will actually make the strides. When you get to the preseason games of course that holds a little bit more because they're going against live action."
  • As expected, rookie Jack Mewhort worked extensively with the first team at left guard now that Thomas has been lost for the season. Veteran right tackle Gosder Cherilus was given the day off. Joe Reitz, who can play tackle and guard, got Cherilus' snaps with the first team. Receiver Reggie Wayne, Landry, defensive lineman Cory Redding and linebacker Jerrell Freeman were also given the day off by coach Chuck Pagano.
  • The Colts will have a walk-through practice that's closed to the public from 9:30-10:50 a.m. and an afternoon that is open to public from 1:50-4:25 p.m.

Colts Camp Report: Day 7

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
10:00
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:
  • Colts coach Chuck Pagano has constantly defended his players when it comes to taking the cautious approach with them returning from injuries. But Pagano acknowledged it's getting close to the time for the injured players to get on the practice field. Safety LaRon Landry (groin) and cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) have yet to practice in training camp, which has been going on for a week now. The two are making their way to getting on the field, though, as they both recently worked out on the side in shoulder pads. "We want them back, like we've talked," Pagano said. "We need them to get out there, they need to get out there. They need to start practicing. They're doing a great job with the rehab, the trainers are pushing them. They're very, very close. Again, they need to start playing football. They need to get their helmets on, their shoulder pads on, and the full pads on, thigh pads, knee pads. And they need to get in the huddle. They need to start communicating with their teammates and like I said, playing football. So as soon as we can get them back, we're going to make the right decision when that is and certainly they have to start playing."
  • The Colts held their annual evening practice in front of 7,504 fans at Anderson (Ind.) University on Thursday. "Any time we get under the lights, little bit of a change-up, fans in the stands, all those kind of things, it always adds a little bit of extra excitement and a little bit of extra energy," Pagano said. "Our guys know, regardless of when we practice, whether it's in the morning, 1:50 in the afternoon, or a night practice under the lights, their mindset, our mindset is we got to go out and get better and can't waste a day."
  • The Colts have lost two players -- running back Vick Ballard (Achilles) and guard Donald Thomas (quad) -- to season-ending injuries in the past week. Pagano was asked if there was anything they could have done differently to avoid the injuries. Ballard and Thomas both suffered season-ending injuries in 2013, too. "You guys have asked a million questions about 'Why aren't we in pads?' or days off," he said. "We had a plan for all those guys. Donald was one of those guys that would practice two days and be off a day. We were going to monitor every one of those guys and see how many reps they took each day. We had a plan and we're going to look at the tape and see how things happen, we know some are non-contact, look at what happened to Donald. It's unfortunate but we are doing our due diligence and weighing every part of football."
  • The Colts placed Thomas on injured reserve as expected Thursday and signed offensive tackle Eric Pike to take his spot on the roster. Pike spent two days with the Colts during the offseason.
  • Davis, Landry, receiver T.Y. Hilton, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, offensive lineman Xavier Nixon and linebacker Josh McNary were among the players not to take part in the evening practice.
  • The Colts will only have one practice Friday from 1:50 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.
ANDERSON, Ind. -- Adversity is something the Indianapolis Colts are used to. Go back to the 2013 season if you need further proof. Five offensive starters lost before Week 7.

Losing left guard Donald Thomas (quad) obviously is not ideal, and you could tell by the way coach Chuck Pagnao was talking, he also stuck to the franchise’s customary “Next Man Up” line when asked about who will replace Thomas at that position.

Meet second-round pick Jack Mewhort.

Mewhort was already getting snaps at left guard with Thomas during practice. Now the rookie out of Ohio State will get the first crack at keeping that starting spot.

“My perspective has not changed,” Mewhort said. “Coming into this camp, my mindset was to compete, and that’s what I’ve been doing and what I intend to do during my whole career in the NFL. Obviously it was unfortunate what happened to Donald. It’s tough to lose him. My mindset hasn’t changed.”

Lance Louis will also compete for snaps, but it’s Mewhort’s job to lose.

Mewhort is about to join a young, inexperienced interior part of the Colts offensive line. Center Khaled Holmes is basically a rookie after playing 12 snaps last season and right guard Hugh Thornton is in his second season after playing 828 snaps as a rookie.

Pagano admitted that starting a rookie makes him nervous.

“Besides his toughness, position flexibility,” Pagano said when asked what he likes about Mewhort, "he doesn’t flinch when we move him around. ... The guy is unflappable. He’s a tough guy and nothing seems to bother Jack."

Mewhort is also one of the Colts' backup centers if Holmes struggles. Mewhort said the speed of the game has been the toughest transition for him in the NFL.

“Everything is so much faster,” he said. “With a quarterback like Andrew (Luck) out there, everything moves so much faster. You always have to your mind ready to go and ready to adjust. I think that’s one big adjustment.”

Colts Camp Report: Day 6

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
7:30
PM ET
A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:
  • There was a welcomed sight on the practice field for the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. Running back Trent Richardson returned to practice after sitting out the previous three practices with a hamstring problem. Richardson, the likely starter in Week 1, took snaps with the second unit behind Ahmad Bradshaw.
  • The Colts suffered a slight scare when receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had a team-high 1,083 yards receiving last season, left the field holding his right hand after failing to catch a long pass from quarterback Andrew Luck on his backside in the end zone on a play defended by cornerback Greg Toler. Hilton immediately grabbed his hand in pain and made his way to the sidelines. The medical staff looked at his hand and put ice on it. Fortunately for the Colts, Hilton only had a jammed finger. As far as the rest of the injuries go, tight end Dwayne Allen (precaution), safety LaRon Landry (groin) and cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) did not practice Wednesday. Landry and Davis, who have yet to practice in training camp, did some work in pads off to the side.
  • It seemed the fourth receiver spot would come down to Da’Rick Rogers and Griff Whalen at the start of training camp because they’re familiar with the system. Not so fast. Rookie Donte Moncrief is doing his best to stay in the mix. The Colts’ third-round pick had one of his best training camp practices Wednesday when he made three nice catches, including one for a touchdown. Moncrief’s best catch came when he jumped and came down with the ball with both feet inbounds while being closely defended on the play. With Hilton and Reggie Wayne (precaution) sitting out the end of practice, Moncrief was able to get some snaps with the first team.
  • Speaking of getting snaps with the first team, safety Mike Adams got some extensive time with the first unit in the secondary. Adams is competing with Sergio Brown and Delano Howell to start alongside Landry at safety. Howell had been getting the majority of the snaps with the first team before Wednesday.
ANDERSON, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts have already lost running back Vick Ballard (Achilles) for the season.

The team now must worry about guard Donald Thomas.

Thomas limped off the practice field Wednesday after it’s believed that he re-injured the same right quad that kept him out of all but two games in 2013, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Thomas was clearly upset after he got up off the ground and made his way off the field. He’s expected to undergo an MRI on Wednesday evening.

The Colts can’t afford to lose Thomas for an extended period of time because not only is he projected to start at left guard, he’s also the team’s primary backup center.

Rookie Jack Mewhort, Lance Louis and Joe Reitz are guards on the Colts' roster.

 
ANDERSON, Ind. -- As expected, the emotions were mixed as Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis sat on the edge of his bathtub with his head down in his hands after getting the news of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

On one hand, Mathis and his wife, Brandi, were excited because they were going to be the parents to their third child, a daughter, Brielle Emma-Rose Mathis, who was born July 19.

[+] EnlargeRobert Mathis
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsIndianapolis Colts defensive end Robert Mathis isn't focused on the past, but is ready to get beyond his upcoming four-game suspension.
On the other hand, Mathis let his team down because he took a substance, Clomid, that's banned by the league.

Mathis released a statement immediately after the suspension was announced May 16 that he took Clomid because he and his wife "faced fertility challenges."

But questions -- and rightfully so -- immediately started about whether Mathis took the banned substance for the strict purpose of helping to get his wife pregnant or if he took it to improve his on-the-field production.

"The timing was wrong," Mathis said. "I cost my team on the professional level. Personal level, I have a lifetime worth of smiles and kisses. I try to learn from it and move forward."

A simple Google search, phone call to a team official or somebody in the NFL Players Association could have avoided this problem for Mathis. He said in his statement in May that he "specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed" was banned by the league.

"I didn't call the right person, ask the right person," Mathis said. "(I) didn't, so take your lumps and just rebound from it."

Mathis played with extra motivation in 2013 because there were doubts about whether he could still be an effective pass-rusher without linebacker Dwight Freeney lined up opposite of him on the other side of him. Mathis talked that about motivation, too, last season. He went from 8.0 sacks in 2012 to a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2013. So it's easy to understand why the question would come up about the Clomid.

Mathis didn't turn his cellphone off or shut his Twitter account down to avoid paying attention to the criticism. He kept his devices on so he could get through the negative comments to read the positive remarks from the "reassuring Indy fans." The criticism that ate at Mathis went away in the "atmosphere" after Brielle was born earlier this month.

"People don't see the position change," Mathis said. "The fact I'm now the No. 1 rusher in this game. People who know the game, the No. 1 rusher, it starts and stops through that guy. Of course there's going to be increased production moved to outside linebacker, but I'm not going to sit here until I'm blue in the face trying to explain because it is what is.

"I apologized for the professional side of it, the personal side of it. I have no regrets at all. I look at my baby's face in my phone every day and I have no regrets. ...I know how people are going to react, know what people are going to say coming off a season like last year. That's human nature."

Mathis, who is allowed to take part in training camp, is eligible to return to the Colts' active roster on Sept. 29. The suspension will cost him about $706,000, but the money is the last thing he's worried about when he's holding his baby girl, who already has him wrapped around his fingers.

"(Brielle) looks at me and sees no wrong," Mathis said. "She don't know how she got here, she doesn't care how she got here. She knows she's here and feed me. That's my job and that's going to be my job for the next 18 years or however long it takes, football will be long gone. She'll be here."

W2W4: Day 6 Colts Camp

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
7:00
AM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts return to the practice field at Anderson (Indiana) University on Wednesday morning after having Tuesday off. They'll have a walk through that's closed to the public at 9:30 a.m. ET then have an open practice at 1:50 p.m.

Here are three areas to monitor Wednesday.
  1. Could this be the day injured players Vontae Davis (groin), LaRon Landry (groin) and Trent Richardson (hamstring) get on the practice field? I'd be more surprised if it happened than if they didn't practice. The Colts are taking the ultimate careful approach with their injured players after they had an NFL-high 17 players end up on injured reserve during the 2013 season. “I think it would be foolish on our part not to be proactive like we were in the offseason and do a lot of research,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Our trainers, our strength staff, we went to work and we looked at the last two seasons. We looked at 2012, the guys that we placed on IR. We looked at all the guys last year, tried to find common threads, common themes and do everything that we can within our power, again, be proactive so that certainly we don't place 17 guys on IR again.”
  2. Expect quarterback Andrew Luck to have a bounce-back practice against the defense after he threw three interceptions against the unit in practice Monday. Luck probably spent part of his off day Tuesday watching film from that practice to make sure he doesn't have a repeat. “He'll continue to work on his fundamentals and his technique, and work his eyes, and controlling safeties, and moving the defense and identifying the defense and working the cadence. All those things,” Pagano said after practice Monday.
  3. The Colts added running back Phillip Tanner to the roster Tuesday. Davin Meggett was signed over the weekend. The goal is to find the third running back after Vick Ballard (Achilles) was lost for the season. Being able to contribute on special teams is also a plus for those auditioning for the position. General manager Ryan Grigson will continue to turn over every rock until he finds a player he believes is capable of handling that role.
The Indianapolis Colts' attempt to find a replacement for running back Vick Ballard (Achilles) on the roster continues.

The Colts signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner and linebacker Jonathon Sharpe on Tuesday.

Tanner spent the past three seasons with the Cowboys, primarily on special teams. He has only 56 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns in his career.

The Colts released running back Chris Rainey for violating team rules Monday.

Sharpe had 132 tackles, including 23.5 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions, in two years at North Greenville University. He took part in the 2014 Super Regional Combine in Detroit.
ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts strolled into training camp last week with a deep group of running backs on their roster.

Several things have happened since then.

Vick Ballard went down with a torn Achilles, then away went Chris Rainey for not following team rules. And, oh yeah, Trent Richardson continues to watch training camp practice from the sidelines.

[+] EnlargeTrent Richardson
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsThe Colts hope running back Trent Richardson can have a bounce-back season.
So the depth the Colts had before?

Gone.

Injuries and immaturity have left the Colts with Ahmad Bradshaw, Dan Herron, Davin Meggett and Zurlon Tipton as the only healthy running backs taking snaps in practice.

"We're one less, so those other guys are going to continue to get work," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "[General manager Ryan Grigson] and I, again, will look at the roster and see what we need to do. He's always looking at the wire and who is on the street, to see if we need to bring in another set of legs."

Richardson could help stop some of the uneasiness that's going through the organization about depth concerns at running back by showing he's ready to have a bounce-back season. Everybody's waiting -- and waiting some more -- to see if that will happen.

Pagano hasn't given a timetable on when Richardson will practice.

"We're not going to push these guys," Pagano said. "We've seen guys go down and we're always going to err on the side of caution, you know that. But they're doing better and they're getting really close and hopefully they'll be back sooner than later."

Losing Rainey means the Colts miss out on having a player who could handle two roles on the roster for them.

Pagano knows it, too.

He spent several minutes less than 48 hours prior to Rainey's release telling a story about watching a DVD of Rainey in high school in Florida with his daughter. Pagano saw Rainey's "athleticism, the burst, the speed" in the video. But Rainey failed to take advantage of the opportunity to be the Colts' third running back and return specialist. He has only himself to blame for his mistakes.

Bradshaw has been a positive so far in training camp. He has been a regular in practice -- even sprinting down field trying to catch cornerback Josh Gordy after an Andrew Luck interception Monday -- and he's not showing any signs of having a problem with his neck, which caused him to miss the final 13 games of the 2013 season.

"He looks fantastic," Pagano said. "He has found the groove to make it. We know how tough Ahmad is. We know how he's wired, so I'm not going to be pulling back on the reins. He's one of those guys we have to protect them from themselves. It will take care of itself. He's not one of those guys that will think about what he went through.

"He's a football player, tough guy, hard nose. Love to see what we can get out of him. We are putting the pads on today for the first time so we will find some other things out."

Bradshaw can continue to look good and impress, but all eyes will remain on Richardson.

Colts Camp Report: Day 5

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
5:15
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:


  • It is not often that the defense will win the battle against quarterback Andrew Luck and the rest of the offense. Monday was one of those days. The defense got the better of Luck and the offense during the two-minute and goal-line drills. The unit picked off Luck three times. “There were some poor decisions by me,” Luck said. “The defense makes you pay when you make bad decisions. I found that out quickly in the NFL. You learn from the mistakes and you don’t want to repeat them in a game. I think on the flip side, offensively we’re putting a lot of pressure on (the defense) to play well as well.” Luck, who is his own worst critic and still a student of the game, used his mistakes to talk to some of his defensive teammates to get their thoughts on why they were able to make a good play on the ball. “If I thought I was fooled I want to ask them about their technique,” Luck said. “It’s fun to pick defensive guys’ brains sometimes. They’ll say, 'Well you tipped me off on that one Andrew because of this.' Ok, now I’ve got to put that in your memory bank and go from there.”
  • The Colts showed their offensive versatility during a red-zone drill when they used a formation that featured receivers Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks lined up out wide on one side and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener lined up out wide on the other side. With both Allen and Fleener standing 6-foot-3 and 6-6, respectively, the Colts will have a height advantage to throw the ball up high to their tight ends against the smaller defensive backs. Luck tried that once on a play when Fleener was defended by safety Delano Howell. He ended up overthrowing Fleener, as the pass went out of bounds. Still, Luck didn’t have those types of options last season. “Coach told us never to compare seasons to seasons because you end up devaluing someone along the way,” Luck said. “So I’m not going to compare it to whatever I’ve played with in the past with some awesome, awesome dudes. But again, it takes a bunch of guys throughout a season and we know that. So the way the guys are playing now, it should be a lot of fun.”
  • Punter Pat McAfee wants to hopefully add kicking duties to his resume once Adam Vinatieri decides to retire from what will end up being a Hall of Fame career. Don't McAfee's ability discredit to throw the football, either. McAfee has often been an extra passer to receivers during drills early in practice.
  • The Colts were scheduled to have a walk-through Monday morning and then a practice in pads in the afternoon, but Pagano condensed it into one three-hour session in the morning. They had a 30-minute walk-through and then a 2-hour practice. The players will have Tuesday off and resume camp Wednesday morning.
Examining the Indianapolis Colts' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
This is the safest position on the roster for the Colts. They plan to always keep a veteran backup if Luck ever goes down with an injury.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Harvey, who has made the switch from linebacker, has moved head of Stanley Havili to be the team's fullback because Havili is on the physically unable to perform list.

RECEIVERS (5)

The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.

LINEBACKERS (10)

All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.

SPECIALIST

This only changes if an injury occurs.

Colts Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
5:55
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:
  • The only sign of receiver Reggie Wayne having any kind of knee issue was the ice bag wrapped around his right knee as he caught passes from the Jugs machine after practice Sunday. Turns out the ice wrapped around Wayne’s knee was just a precaution. Besides that, as he hauled in passes during a red-zone drill in practice, Wayne looked like the player who terrorized defenses for many years prior to tearing his ACL last October. He caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck between two defenders and another one from Luck that was tipped by the defender. There’s still more than a month before the Sept. 7 opener against Denver, but Wayne is continuing to make steady progress toward regaining his form from the torn ACL.
  • The Colts have been using the term “soft-tissue” issue when talking about why safety LaRon Landry, running back Trent Richardson and cornerback Vontae Davis have not been practicing in training camp. A little more light is starting to be shed on what their injuries are. Landry and Davis are dealing with groin problems and Richardson has a hamstring issue. Richardson isn’t practicing, but he has been catching passes off the Jugs machine at the conclusion of practices. Defensive tackle Josh Chapman and linebacker Josh McNary did not practice Sunday.
  • The Colts signed veteran Mike Adams, who played on a Denver team that reached the Super Bowl last season, in the middle of June to add to the safety competition. But it’s been Delano Howell, who was projected to be the starter after Antoine Bethea signed with San Francisco, who's been working with the first-team defense. Sergio Brown has been getting first-team reps at the other safety position with Landry out of the lineup.
  • The Colts had their first practice in full pads Sunday. The pads brought out the competitiveness. Center Khaled Holmes and linebacker Cam Johnson had to be separated after a play, and then linebacker Daniel Adongo and offensive lineman Joe Reitz had to be separated. During a stretch where he went 13-for-13, Luck was 7-of-7 on red-zone pass attempts.
  • The Colts made a few roster moves Sunday. They waived tackle Jack Breckner, placed linebacker Aaron Morgan on injured reserve and signed running back Davin Meggett to give them an extra body in the backfield since Richardson isn’t practicing and Vick Ballard (Achilles) is out for the season. Meggett spent time with the Colts during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He originally signed with the Houston Texans in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland. Meggett is the son of former New York Giants running back David Meggett.
ANDERSON, Ind. -- It’s not a glamorous position. It’s not one that often gets praise; more so it gets criticized when there’s a mistake. But for the Indianapolis Colts, it’s one that will be heavily scrutinized until the position is solidified.

Their run with Samson Satele at center ended in March, and now they’re going with unproven NFL player at the position.

Holmes
Look at Khaled Holmes' college resume and it screams promise. He started 37 games while at USC. Look at his NFL resume and it screams risk. Holmes played a total of 12 snaps as a rookie last season.

Now he’s responsible for making sure he blocks well, the offensive line is on the same page, and there’s a clean exchange between him and franchise quarterback Andrew Luck.

“I think as long as you approach it, look at the small things and the details of it, you don’t get lost in the big picture and having too much pressure put on yourself because that’s going to be there for everyone and every position,” Holmes said. “As long as you’re focused on the details and technique and what you have to do every day, it works out.”

There was no official announcement that Holmes would be the starter. But it became clear after Satele was released and general manager Ryan Grigson elected to sign Phil Costa, who was beaten out by a rookie in Dallas, instead of attempt to spend top dollars to make a run at Cleveland restricted free agent Alex Mack.

Grigson stood by the decision to go with Holmes while talking to ESPN.com and a reporter from the Indianapolis Star during the league meetings in Orlando, Florida, in late March and again during a press conference at the conclusion of the draft in early May.

The questions about Holmes’ ability to hold down the starting position are legitimate after he only played 12 snaps last season despite the problems the Colts had at center.

“There was really no necessity to, to be honest with you,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “We never, even though we had shuffled that line and we had seven or eight different lineups throughout the course of the season, it really was no need at the center spot. With having Samson (Satele) available, Mike (McGlynn) going in and getting snaps and having a veteran guy.”

Holmes and Luck spent extra time working out together, and Holmes passed up vacation time to be with other centers around the league at LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Performance facility for four weeks in the offseason. Holmes has a 35-inch wing span, which is considered great size for a center.

“He’s a smart guy, he’s a tough guy,” Pagano said. “He understands football, he gets football, he loves football. He’s a gym rat type guy, but he’s got to play. You’ve got to get a helmet strapped on, you’ve got to get in the shoulder pads and he’s got to see live action. Then I’ll be able to tell you more once that happens.”

Holmes is no longer the bright-eyed rookie, roaming around training camp in a walking boot trying to grasp things from the sidelines because an ankle injury caused him to miss most of camp last year. Holmes will only be judged by the job he does on the field. He’s still rough around the edges and is being pushed by others at the position, but he’s playing with confidence and has turned the heads of some of his teammates because of the way he’s taken command of the line of scrimmage. The Colts have four players, including Donald Thomas and rookie Jack Mewhort, on their training camp roster who can play center.

“He’s a completely different guy from last year,” left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “He’s got a lot more fight and tenacity to him. He’s showing a lot of confidence, which is really good out of your center. I think what’s really good is that he knows what he’s doing on every play. So he can go out and do it on full speed.”

Colts Camp Report: Day 3

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
7:00
PM ET
ANDERSON, Ind. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Indianapolis Colts training camp:


  • Running back Trent Richardson missed his second straight practice as the team continues to take a precautionary approach with him. Coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson has a “soft tissue” issue. Pagano declined to go into detail when asked what soft-tissue injury Richardson is dealing with. The decision to sit Richardson, who needs as many reps in practice as possible after struggling last season, is surprising but Pagano is taking a better safe than sorry mentality to avoid the running back suffering a more severe injury. “I held him out of practice for the most part,” Pagano said. “He’s started doing some things going about half speed and it made no sense really having him out there and we’re going to err on the side of caution. He knows exactly what to do. We want to get him 100 percent before we get him out there.”
  • New Colts safety Mike Adams said shortly after he signed that his goal was to be able to convince teammate Darius Butler to give up his No. 20. Adams planned to take Butler out to dinner in an attempt to persuade him to switch numbers. The move didn’t work, as Butler still has his No. 20 and Adams is wearing No. 29. “He told me he bought his kids the number, he bought his kids the jersey already so I didn’t push it too much,” Adams said. “I just nudged him and every time he made a play I'd tell him, 'That number 20 looks so sweet.’ So that's the only thing, but I didn’t push too much.” So how did Adams end up with No. 29? “I told my daughter that I might change my number and she said get 29 and so I had to get 29,” he said.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw was on the practice field when fellow running back Vick Ballard tore his right ACL in September. Bradshaw was on the practice field when Ballard tore his Achilles on Friday. “I talked to him and he’s in good spirits,” Bradshaw said. “I think he just feels bad that it’s two years in a row. He loves football. His passion for football is there. He’s just heartbroken.”
  • Richardson wasn’t the only Colts player to sit out of practice Saturday. Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, Cory Redding, Jack Mewhort, LaRon Landry, Vontae Davis, Gosder Cherilus, Donald Thomas, Henoc Muamba, Cam Johnson and Loucheiz Purifoy also did not practice.

 
ANDERSON, Ind. – The immediate reaction to the news of Vick Ballard’s season-ending Achilles injury is that Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson needs to look outside of the organization to find another running back to replace him on the roster.

Ballard
Grigson is working the phones, but at the same time don’t be surprised if he doesn’t make a splash move like he did last season in acquiring Trent Richardson from Cleveland shortly after Ballard tore his ACL in practice last September.

“Ryan and I are discussing roster mechanics as we speak and we’ll make a decision,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “We’ll check and see who is available and what’s best for the team and what gives us the best chance to win and see if we need to get some legs to gut us through camp and try and get someone in here with the opportunity to compete and make a roster.”

Ballard’s season came to an end when he tore his left Achilles during a non-contact drill in practice Friday.

If the Colts do look on the outside for help, some notable veterans available include Ronnie Brown, Felix Jones, and Willis McGahee. They also have time to wait and see which players get released later in training camp.

As far as internal options go, Chris Rainey and Daniel “Boom” Herron will have an opportunity to show if they're capable of being the Colts' third running back behind Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw.

Rainey and Herron got plenty of opportunities to get snaps in practice Saturday because Richardson (precautionary) did not practice for the second straight day and Pagano doesn’t want to overwork the 28-year-old Bradshaw.

“Whatever the coach wants me to do,” Herron said. “I am just out here working as hard as I can just to make the team and help the team out.”

If you had to give the edge to either Rainey or Herron, you’d have to say Rainey has the advantage because of his versatility. He can return punts and kickoffs. The Colts signed Rainey in November 2013, but his season came to an end less than three weeks later because of a foot injury. He averaged 7.3 yards on his four punt returns and 21.8 yards on six kickoff returns.

“He’s going to help us in the return game and that’s going to give him a chance to make this team,” Pagano said. “You can see the athleticism, the burst, the speed. He puts a foot in the ground and gets north and south.”

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