INDIANAPOLIS -- With a veteran roster, Colts coach Chuck Pagano often knew what he had during his first five years. He could count on players like Robert Mathis, Mike Adams, D'Qwell Jackson, Reggie Wayne and others.
The Colts have turned their attention to getting younger, faster and more aggressive players. And it's safe to say that nobody knows how this new group of players will turn out as Indianapolis works to get back to the playoffs after missing the postseason in each of the past two seasons.
"We're going to throw a lot at them," Pagano told reporters at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday. "Throwing mud on the wall and see what sticks. At the end of the day, you're going to game plan, week in and week out. They have to learn your base coverages and fronts on defense. Run game, pass protections. There's going to be a lot of volume and (you) try to pair back so they can go out and play fast. You don't want to ankle weight them. You don't want to paralyze them so you take away from their natural ability."
New general manager Chris Ballard has done as much housecleaning as possible since being hired to replace Ryan Grigson earlier this winter. The Colts have signed 11 free agents, with five being defensive players.The Colts had no choice because the approach of plugging in aging veterans by the previous regime was no longer working.Winning became more challenging for them.
With the new faces will likely come some bumps along the road.
"We're all on the same page, we've been on the same page from Day 1," Pagano said with the roster overhaul. "We've lost some really good players. We're grateful for all their contributions ... Chris has a done a great job. He and his scouting staff have done a great job, along with the coaches, of bringing in guys with football character, guys that love the game, guys that are passionate about the game.
"There's going to be some transition. There's going to be a period where you're bringing in new guys and you have to learn the schemes, you have to carve roles for these guys. Again, we have guys that are workers."