ANDERSON, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their training camp Friday with Adam Vinatieri nailing a 50-yard field goal. They signed some autographs and then made a mad dash down I-69 to get back to their own beds after almost three weeks of sleeping in a college dorm.
The Colts obviously feel better now than they did when they opened camp on July 28. But there’s still the unknown of what type of team they’ll be. Part of it is because they’ve only played one preseason game. The other part is because they’ve dealt with injuries throughout camp.
Two likely starters -- free safety LaRon Landry and running back Ahmad Bradshaw -- worked out with a handful of their teammates on the practice field Friday while the rest of the team practiced in shoulder pads and helmets on the main field.
Tight end Dwayne Allen, who is rotating between orthotics and walking boot, is still out. Linebacker Pat Angerer just started practicing this week after spending the first part of camp on the physically unable to perform list. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey missed a little time with a sprained left knee. Same goes for linebacker Jerrell Freeman (shoulder).
So it’s way too early to say the Colts are definitely going to be a better team. You won’t get an indication of that until they have everybody healthy again. Coach Chuck Pagano said the injuries have set them “back a little bit.”
I touched on a lot of things in the Camp Confidential, which ran Friday. Here are some other observations from camp:
Receiver T.Y. Hilton is listed as the third receiver behind Reggie Wayne and Heyward-Bey, but don’t be surprised if he replaces DHB as the second receiver at some point. Hilton has outplayed DHB so far because of DHB’s inconsistency in catching the football. Whether he moves up to the No. 2 receiver or stays at No. 3, expect Hilton to have a great second season because of his speed – and confidence.
The secondary should be better this season. Corners Vontae Davis and Greg Toler were aggressive in pursuing the ball throughout camp. Darius Butler and Cassius Vaughn are battling it out to the be the nickel back. You know what you’re going to get out of Antoine Bethea. But again, you can’t give a complete assessment of the secondary because of Landry’s injury. That’s why I only said “should” in talking about the secondary.
Receiver Griff Whalen went from being the media darling and looking like he had the inside track to be the fifth receiver to joining Landry and Bradshaw on the practice field Friday because of a groin injury, which sidelined him most of the week. The injury moves Whalen back to the middle of the pack with the rest of the receivers trying to impress the coaching staff to be the fifth receiver. LaVon Brazill is the fourth receiver behind Wayne, DHB and Hilton.
Two things were discussed when talking about the offensive line in camp. Buffalo’s Mario Williams beating tackle Anthony Castonzo for clear shot on Andrew Luck last weekend and Robert Mathis putting on one of those it’s-time-to-stop-practice-for-a-moment moves on Castanzo to get to the quarterback dummy during a blitz drill earlier this week. Williams got to Luck because of a cadence mishap. But all in all, the offensive line hasn’t looked bad. “From a physical standpoint they’ve got the right mindset and attitude,” Pagano said. “They are athletic guys, communication-wise, they are on the same page.” You like to hear that.
Oh yeah, that player wearing No. 12 – Luck – had a great camp. But you expected that. So that’s no surprise.