Colts revise camp to avoid complacency
INDIANAPOLIS -- Tony Dungy's master plan for NFL success is simple. Never get complacent.
So as the Indianapolis Colts opened another round of mini-camp Tuesday, Dungy tweaked the schedule. Some starters, like Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark, spent the morning workout conditioning by themselves while others, such as Gary Brackett and Marlin Jackson, worked out in helmets and shorts.
It's all part of a strategy to keep things interesting during what can be mundane summer refresher courses.
"We're trying to find different ways to do some of the same things," Dungy said after the morning workout. "We want to challenge the veterans and not leave the rookies behind, so we're trying to find ways to do the same drills and still get our points across."
One reason for the change is Dungy wants to keep the Colts' focused.
Another explanation: Dungy wants to give his new players more opportunities to fit in.
The old script, Dungy acknowledged things tended to go too slow for the veterans or too fast for the rookies. Now, he believes both groups of players are getting the best of both worlds.
"It's really for the young guys," he said. "When we had the rookies and veterans going together, it was kind of boring if we went slow for the veterans, and it was too fast for the rookies to get comfortable. The veterans now know when they come here, it's really tailored to them."
Not everybody, however, was in town for the voluntary mini-camp.
Those absent included receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, who have traditionally skipped most of the summer sessions while they continue working out on their own. Both attended last month's mandatory mini-camp, and the Colts have said nothing more about the police investigation into a shooting that allegedly involved Harrison in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Dungy wasn't concerned since both players usually report to training camp in good shape.
"A lot of the stuff this week is really more individual stuff anyway," Dungy said. "It's not like we don't want them here, but they really don't have to be here."
It's different for the newcomers.
Indianapolis took nine players in April's draft, brought in 13 undrafted free agents and has some other veterans, such as receiver Courtney Roby, an Indianapolis native, who have NFL experience but have never been in camp with the Colts.
For them, the mini-camps are a chance to learn a new playbook, a new tempo and the Colts' no-huddle offense.
"It's a lot more complex (playbook) than what I'm used to," said offensive lineman Mike Pollak, a second-round selection and the Colts' top pick in April. "Of course, I knew with Peyton Manning running the offense, it would be."
But the new format is also giving veterans a chance to fine tune other things.
"We're putting in some new things on defense, so I think it is important to have the first-teamers out there," said Brackett, the team's starting middle linebacker.
What Dungy wants most, though, is focus, and he believes the changes will help keep players' motivated over the next couple of weeks -- and later when the Colts try to extend their league record of five consecutive 12-win seasons.
"I don't have to guard against taking it (winning) for granted, but I think you do have to do that sometimes with players," Dungy said. "We've got to take care of the details, keep that going and make sure we don't miss the details, and that's part of the reason we're doing it this way."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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