Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and special teams coordinator Tom McMahon joined returning defensive coordinator Greg Manusky in reviewing the Colts' progress during rookie camp, which wraps up with a single session this morning.
They also discussed how the veteran group has done through offseason workouts and looked ahead to the start of 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. The coaches have done a tremendous job in the short amount of time of getting these guys ready to go out and execute the plays that we are asking them to execute in practice," Hamilton said of the rookie camp.
Manusky, meanwhile, liked what he's seen of outside linebacker Bjoern Werner so far.
He said, "Usually it takes players probably a whole offseason to get their feet underneath them. For him, he looks good the first day I saw him out of a two-point stance.
"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.
Hamilton said, "Like I said before, we are going to do everything we can do to feature our playmakers. 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. We are going to continue on the success that they had last year," he explained.
"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."
Balance and efficiency are the keys.
"It's hard to predict what the exact number (of runs to passes) may be, but I think the better we can run the ball it's going to open up opportunities for us to pass the ball. 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 can't waste plays. We have got to stay away from the friendly fire - the turnovers, the pre-snap penalties, all of the things that tend to put you on the wrong end of the score on game day. We've got to stay away from those things. We have tough, smart guys as well as our coaches who are doing a really good job of preparing our guys for what's to come."
One thing is certain. Indianapolis figures to show a lot of different formations in order to try and keep opposing defenses guessing.
"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," he noted.
Manusky can't wait to get nose tackles Josh Chapman and Brandon McKinney back on the field this offseason.
Both defensive linemen missed the 2012 season with knee injuries. Chapman, a fifth-round draft pick last season, appears ready to go. McKinney, though, should also be in the mix.
"Josh has been working with the first unit (in offseason workouts) and getting some quality reps. McKinney is getting in there. He's still wobbling a little bit, but we are looking forward to getting both of those guys really, really healthy and ready to roll," Manusky said.
"We are starting to fit those pieces of the puzzle together based on what that 3-4 defense is supposed to look like. It's good to get additions across the board, d-line, linebackers and the secondary. It's always good."
The Colts announced the signing of six draftees picks Thursday—third-round guard Hugh Thornton, fourth-round center/guard Khaled Holmes, fifth-round defensive tackle Montori Hughes, sixth-round safety John Boyett, seventh-round running back Kerwynn Williams and seventh-round tight end Justice Cunningham—from the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday.
The Colts also signed undrafted free-agent center Rick Schmeig.
Special teams coordinator Tom McMahon on taking over as the Colts' new special teams coach: "Being my first year, I don't know what it's been in the past. I've been very happy with what's been stressed in this building. Anywhere you see it is through the players. It comes through coach Pagano and (general manager) Mr. (Ryan) Grigson. But at the same time, these players, when you get them in the meeting room, it's important. They stress it within this locker room. It's the players that make plays and they are the ones that stress it. The schemes right now, you can't do any scheme without being on the common language with communication. That's the biggest thing we are trying to do is just different terms that I use on how to block, how to protect, all of those things. That's what we are getting through right now."
McMahon is the Colts' fifth special teams coach over the past 11 years, the third over the last three seasons. He was proceeded by Ray Rychelski and Marwan Maalouf.
Quarterback Andrew Luck on his comfort level after his rookie season with Indianapolis: "I am 100 percent more comfortable. On this day last year, I was probably sitting in class. It is nice to be able to have the full offseason with the team. We have changed (offensive) coordinators, but I have had a great relationship with Pep Hamilton from before. To be around him and talk his style of offense has been great. It is just nice to be around the guys."
Coach Chuck Pagano on not having to depend on as many rookies heading into the 2013 season as he did a year ago: "Exactly right. Last year was much different, obviously. We did have more holes to fill. Guys were able to come in, especially on the offensive side of the football, and contribute early. That doesn't mean to say that some of these guys that we drafted or any of the tryout guys or college free agents can't come in and contribute in some capacity, especially on special teams. With what we did in free agency, there's not that many holes to fill. Some of the guys can come in and the pressure's not on, so to speak, to get them ready as some of the guys last year."
Pagano's first impressions of first-round draft pick Bjoern Werner: "You know what, kind of what we thought, probably a little better. He's in great shape. He works out all the time. He's a really athletic football player. He can bend. He's got first-step explosiveness. You see him running around here doing some things, all the things we saw on the tape. Up close and personal now, it's even more impressive. He's a really bright guy. Again, we threw a ton of material and information at those guys, on both sides of the ball. He came out here and there wasn't a deer in the headlights, so to speak. He understands and gets football. For playing the short period of time that he has, he really understands it."
All of the Colts' draft picks fully participated in the team's rookie camp except safety John Boyett, who is still rehabbing from multiple knee issues. He will hopefully be cleared to take part in OTA workouts, which are scheduled to start the week of May 20.
"We're holding him back. He's still a little bit limited. We feel like he could probably come in and he feels like he could probably come in and do some things, but we are in no rush to push him and have another setback and cost him at least the 10 OTAs. We're going to err on the side of caution with him. He wants to go. He's champing at the bit. He's really eager like the rest of the guys, but we are going to make sure that he's 100 percent before we throw him out there. He'd be the first one to tell you he's his own worst enemy when it comes to that. He loves the game, he loves football, he loves being out there, he loves competing, so we have to kind of protect himself in that regard."
Pagano on rookie camp: "We threw a lot at these guys, from a mental standpoint, physical standpoint. It started early this morning with meetings - offense, defense and special teams. Like I said, we gave them a bunch of information. They did a pretty good job of digesting that. Obviously, the things you expect in a rookie mini-camp to happen took place - some dropped balls, center-quarterback exchange, a few mental errors here and there. Really what we're looking for. The effort was fabulous. They came in in probably better shape than any of us anticipated."
Six of Indianapolis' seven draft picks are under contract. The only exception: linebacker Bjoern Werner, the 24th overall pick in the April draft. That's not a surprise. Last year, quarterback Andrew Luck, the No. 1 overall pick, remained unsigned until mid-July.
The team officially signed its other six selections: guard Hugh Thornton (third round), center Khaled Holmes (fourth), nose tackle Montori Hughes (fifth), safety John Boyett (sixth), running back Kerwynn Williams (seventh) and tight end Justice Cunningham (seventh).
The Colts continued to shuffle their offensive line, trading backup center A.Q. Shipley to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2014.
Shipley signed as a free agent in January 2012 after being out of the NFL the previous season. He appeared in 14 games, starting five.
With the trade of Shipley, rookie Khaled Holmes moves in as Samson Satele's backup.
The Colts named Matt Terpening a national scout, Dave Razzano a senior scout and Mike Derice an area scout (Northeast region). Also, Jamie Moore, who used to cover the Northeast, will focus on the Southeast. Mickey Berce was added as a scouting assistant.
The Colts have scheduled a June 12 veterans' minicamp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium where any remaining season tickets will be made available to the public. Available seats will be marked and fans can check them out in person at the event.
The team has sold out 87 straight games, including the playoffs, and 121 of their last 122 games.
The Colts have officially announced that the team will return to Anderson University in Anderson, Ind. for training camp later this summer.
It marks the fourth consecutive year the Colts will hold training camp at the school. They trained in Anderson from 1984 through 1998 before relocating to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute in 1999.
Players are expected to report to Anderson University either July 28 or July 29. Training camp usually runs for three weeks.
An Indianapolis bar that caters to Colts fans closed their doors recently after not being able to pay $75,000 in back rent. The team-themed establishment opened in 2004.
But Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay has stepped in to help rescue the bar, at least for now.
Irsay cut a personal check that addressed the debt and covers the $8,400 monthly rent through the start of the NFL season. The Colts open Sept. 8 against the Oakland Raiders.
"Hopefully we build off the experience - young guys and the older guys - and continue to get better. I think we are very fortunate to have to great veteran leadership - Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, Cory Redding, Antoine Bethea - that really have set the standard here and know how to win. We just try to follow their lead but hopefully us second and third year guys improve and help the team out."—QB Andrew Luck on the Colts coming off last year's 11-5 record and heading into the 2013 season.
A closer look at the Colts' picks:
Round 1/24 - Bjoern Werner, OLB/DE, 6-3, 266, Florida State
High-motor player who should push for a starting role as a rookie. Good size, athletic skills. Plays faster than 40 time. Expected to be disruptive at the point of attack. Still raw in some areas but has a great upside.
Round 3/86 - Hugh Thornton, G/T, 6-3, 320, Illinois
Versatile offensive lineman who is expected to play guard. Started most of last season at offensive tackle for the Illini but will get a long look at guard for Indy. Colts targeted Thornton early. Was recruited to Illinois and coached by current offensive line coach Joe Gilbert.
Round 4/121 - Khaled Holmes, C/G, 6-3, 302, Southern Cal
Another versatile offensive lineman who can play all three inside positions. Primarily a center but can also be efficient as a guard. Played most of the 2012 season with a high ankle injury. Holmes will get looks at both center and guard during rookie camp and OTAs before a decision is made about where he will eventually play.
Round 5/139 - Montori Hughes, DT/NT, 6-4, 329, Tennessee-Martin
The Colts traded a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft to Cleveland for the opportunity to select Hughes. The Colts did not have a fourth-round selection prior to the trade. Hughes has experience in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes. Can play nose tackle and defensive tackle. Reminds Colts coaches of Ravens nose tackle Haloti Nagta. Began collegiate career at Tennessee.
Round 6/192 - John Boyett, SS, 5-9, 204, Oregon
Played in just one game during the 2012 season after suffering tears in the patellar tendons in both knees. Led team in tackles in 2010 and 2011, recording 108 tackles with 67 solos as a junior in 2011. Played through most of his junior season with his patellar tendon issues.
Round 7/230 - Kerwynn Williams, RB/KR, 5-7, 196, Utah State
Speedy back who may end up returning punts and kickoffs for the Colts. Was an all-purpose back in college. Excels at running between the tackles. Shows good burst at the line of scrimmage. Was considered the best kickoff and punt returner remaining on the Colts' draft board.
Round 7/254 - Justice Cunningham, TE, 6-3, 258, South Carolina
Mr. Irrelevant for 2013; the final player selected in the draft. Gives the Colts additional depth at the tight end position. He is the third tight end drafted by Indianapolis over the last two seasons. A strong blocker and receiver, Cunningham should fit in well in the Colts' new offensive system. Aggressive as a receiver.
P Pat McAfee (tendered at $2.977 million; signed tender April 2).
WR Austin Collie will not be re-signed when his contract expires on March 12. Collie missed most of the 2012 season with a knee injury. He has also suffered four concussions in the past three seasons.
OG Tony Hills was a backup last season. Did OK when called upon to step in and play when injuries mounted up on the offensive line. Might be back.
OT Winston Justice started all year at right offensive tackle. Played OK when healthy but was nicked up over the last half of the season. The Colts might decide to upgrade at the position through free agency.
RB Mewelde Moore was brought in initially because he was familiar with former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' system. But with Arians now in Arizona, Moore is expected to be allowed to explore other options.
LB Jamaal Westerman did a nice job as a backup late in the season. For the right price, Westerman might be brought back to help bolster the Colts' outside linebacking depth.
(not tendered offers)
LB A.J. Edds (not tendered as RFA) incurred a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year. He saw some playing time two years ago before suffering a season-ending concussion. A local kid who grew up just outside Indianapolis, he might be brought back if the price is right.
G Hugh Thornton (3/86); 4 yrs, terms unknown.
C/G Khaled Holmes (4/121): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
NT Montori Hughes (5/139): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
S John Boyett (6/192): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
RB Kerwynn Williams (7/230): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
TE Justice Cunningham (7/254): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
CB Darius Butler: UFA; terms 2 yrs, unknown.
CB Josh Gordy: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
OG Jeff Linkenbach: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation); $1.323M/1 yr.
P Pat McAfee: FFA; $2.977/1 yr.
DE Fili Moala: Potential UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
G Joe Reitz: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
NT Martin Tevaseu: ERFA; $555,000/1 yr.
CB Cassius Vaughn (RFA; tendered at $1.323M with no compensation); $1.323M/1 yr.
T Gosder Cherilus: UFA Colts; $35M/5 yrs, $10M SB/$16.5M guaranteed.
NT Aubrayo Franklin: UFA Chargers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
QB Matt Hasselbeck: FA Titans; $8M/2 yrs.
FB Stanley Havilui (trade Eagles).
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: FA Raiders; $3M/1 yr, $1.5M guaranteed.
DT Ricky Jean Francois: UFA 49ers; $22M/4 yrs, $8.5M guaranteed/$6.5M fully guaranteed.
S LaRon Landry: UFA Jets; $24M/4 yrs, $14M guaranteed.
LB Kelvin Sheppard (trade Bills).
LB Lawrence Sidbury: UFA Falcons; terms unknown.
G Donald Thomas: UFA Patriots; $14M/4 yrs, $1M SB.
CB Greg Toler: UFA Cardinals; $14.25M/3 yrs, $5M guaranteed.
LB Erik Walden: UFA Packers; $16M/4 yrs, $8M guaranteed.
WR Donnie Avery: UFA Chiefs; $8.55M/3 yrs, $2.25M SB/$2.55M guaranteed.
LB Moise Fokou: UFA Titans; $2.8M/2 yrs.
LB Dwight Freeney: UFA Chargers; $8.75M/2 yrs, $3.25M SB/$4/75M guaranteed.
DE Clifton Geathers (traded Eagles).
LB Jerry Hughes (traded Bills).
NT Antonio Johnson: UFA Titans; terms unknown.
RB/KR Deji Karim: Not tendered as RFA/Texans; terms unknown.
G Seth Olsen: Not tendered as RFA/Vikings; terms unknown.
CB Jerraud Powers: UFA Cardinals; $3M SB.
C A.Q. Shipley (traded Ravens).
QB Drew Stanton: UFA Cardinals; $8.2M/3 yrs, $3M guaranteed.