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Colts' young coaches also learn in rookie minicamps

The SportsXchange

While the Indianapolis Colts put their rookies and a handful of second-year players through workouts at the team's practice facility, a pair of first-year coordinators are getting a chance to do some valuable on-field work as well.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and special teams coordinator Tom McMahon joined returning defensive coordinator Greg Manusky in reviewing the Colts' progress during rookie minicamp, which wrapped up with a single session Sunday.

They discussed their impressions thus far as they looked ahead to the start of organized team activity (OTA) workouts, which are set to begin on May 20.

"I saw a lot of young guys that are ambitious and excited about having the opportunity to be a part of a pretty good football team. The kids are working hard," Hamilton said of the rookie camp.

Manusky liked what he's seen of outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, the team's first round pick out of Florida State.

"Usually it takes players probably a whole offseason to get their feet underneath them," Manusky said of Werner. "For him, he looks good the first day I saw him out of a two-point stance," the Colts' defensive assistant said of the team's first-round draft pick.

"He's been working I know down in south Florida. He's been working on it a lot. Usually the hardest thing is once they stand up, they don't shoot their hands, but he seems like he's doing a pretty good job of it right now. It's a pretty good situation right now. We just know his burst off the ball, he uses his hands well and we'll see it once the pads come on."

Hamilton admits that Indianapolis' new-look offense remains a work in progress, in terms of figuring out what he and head coach Chuck Pagano want to do this fall.

"Like I said before, we are going to do everything we can do to feature our playmakers, " Hamilton said. "It's still early. The one thing I can tell you is (wide receiver) Reggie Wayne is going to touch the football. (Running back) Vick Ballard is going to touch the football.

"We will get our tight ends involved. We are going to allow (quarterback) Andrew Luck to really have a myriad of things at his disposal, but it's early. Once we get to training camp and we get a chance to practice against a defense, we will have a better sense of what we are."

He's not concerned about how outside observers will try to describe his offense. West coast, multi-dimensional, a hybrid. Take your choice.

"I think the coaches, we really want to press upon our guys to be open minded, " he explained. "We are going to continue on the success that they had last year."

"They were able to push the ball down field and make a ton of big plays in the passing game. But we want to try and balance it out some and be able to run the football and do a good job of creating conflicts for our opponents."

He says balance and multiple formations are important.

"As long as we keep the defense honest and force them to defend the run, as well as the pass, it plays in our favor," Hamilton said. "We are going to have a lot of different ways to run a few basic concepts. That's a big part of it. We have to have the ability to create matchups, create the matchups that we want. We've got to be able to feature our playmakers."
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