The Colts' top two draft picks aren't in attendance for this week's OTAs while quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener take their final exams at Stanford, but coach Chuck Pagano said he's extremely pleased with where the team is at.
Owner Jim Irsay tweeted on Tuesday that a deal with Luck is "getting close," and the expectation is a contract could be done in time for when Luck returns for the Colts' minicamp next week.
"It will be great for, obviously, Andrew as far as getting in here, getting in the locker room, getting back with the offense, getting the timing down with the receivers and all of those kinds of things," Pagano said. "It will be super to have him back."
Meanwhile, Pagano is focused on the players he does have on hand this week. Running back Donald Brown is working with the first-team offense, with Darren Evans also getting in significant work while Delone Carter recovers from offseason thumb surgery.
While Evans, Carter and Vic Ballard are in the backfield mix, Brown has earned the ability to be the team's feature back with his strong finish to last season.
"Donald is an every down back," Pagano said. "He is doing a tremendous job and he is having a fantastic offseason. He understands, especially on third down as far as protections go and all of those things. Nothing is going to be more important than protections."
Luck and Brown will need strong play in front of them from an offensive line that is undergoing several changes as well.
Guard/tackle Ryan Diem, center Jeff Saturday and reserves Quinn Ojinnaka and Mike Pollak are among those no longer with the team, while tackles George Foster and Winston Justice, guard Mike McGlynn and center Samson Satele were brought in over the offseason. Second-year players Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana are also progressing following injury-plagued rookie seasons and will be ready for training camp.
"They are coming together really well. I think the veteran guys that we brought in here and added have fit right in," Pagano said. "They are starting to communicate, they are starting to get on the same page and we are starting to get a group that is pretty cohesive and works together. There are a lot of bodies out there and it would be great to get the two, Anthony and Ben, back in the mix come training camp time. But we are happy with their progress also."