One feeling strikes the heart of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano when looking at his current 90-man roster: amazement.
10) Enter: Darrius Heyward-Bey
For the former Oakland Raiders wide receiver, the only thing wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey plans on leaving during these series of OTAs sessions is a solid impression. You'd imagine his 6-foot-2, 216 pound-frame naturally does the job.
The recently acquired speedster accomplished the hard part, receiving kudos from Andrew Luck for his real knack for football. Luck believes DHB will be a phenomenal force in their rotation of fast route runners.
Which is great news for him: because when one narrates his past life, the phrase “solid foundation” is unused like an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. In four seasons, DHB caught passes from six different quarterbacks, three different head coaches and four offensive coordinators. Yikes.
We wish the Marylander nothing but the best of Luck as he enters his fifth season.
9) Young Receivers Shine
Excited sophomore LaVon Brazill recognizes the grave value of the Colts OTAs.
In the team’s fifth OTA session, first and second year receivers were granted the opportunity to rejuvenate their roster statuses. With veterans Darrius Heyward-Bey and Reggie Wayne not participating, the newly-signs and returning freshmen practiced with the first unit. Per Kevin Bowen of Colts.com, T.Y. Hilton “highlighted the afternoon” and although “the offense is still a learning process for Brazill…he has shown flashes with some impressive catches over the past month.”
We’re dying to watch how former Stanford OC Pep Hamilton will implement the principles he used with the Cardinals and alum – receiver Griff Whalen, quarterback Luck and tight end Coby Fleener – in this new attack that he’s installing on offense.
8) 1-2 Punch in the Offensive Backfield
Running backs coach David Walker thinks that the Colts have a good 1-2 punch behind Andrew Luck, according to Sports Exchange of The Chicago Tribune. Walker is also aware that Vick Ballard was the lone constant over the course of 16 games. Ballard starred as a rookie sharing the load with fifth-year Donald Brown. Identical was the statistic of Yards per Carry with 3.9 for both backs, however, Brown (108) rushed for half the total of Ballard’s attempts (211). Running back Delone Carter and rookie Kerwynn Williams are expected to battle for the third spot.
7) Bjoern Werner: Not a Question of Can or Can’t
“Everything we thought he was,” said Pagano, “…he’s just a natural.”
Indianapolis Colts’ top pick from Germany Bjoern Werner is proving his worth faster than his 4.83 second forty yard dash. The flexible athlete flexed his attributes like his natural bend to dip and contort his body to get under or around blocks, impressing his coaching staff. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal writes, “It’s a lot to ask Werner to excel while changing positions, but the 2013 Colts could use an instant-impact defender.”
General Manager Ryan Grigson enjoyed his productive first draft selections last year and Colts fans should expect a similar experience.
6) Matt Hasselbeck Taking Baby Steps
The seasoned veteran quarterback with 80 starting wins and three Pro Bowl nominations, Matt Hasselbeck left Andrew Luck and Chandler Harnish awestruck during OTAs. Quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said of Hasselbeck, “There’s a guy, same thing, that after many years, you’d dread these practices. He might be the most excited, comes in excited every day and has some fun and keeps the place loose. He’s been terrific.”
5) Defensive Impressions
Defensive backs coach Mike Gillhamer praised new cornerback Greg Toler for some of the impressive plays that he made during the earlier segments of OTAs. The 28-year-old former Arizona Cardinal was compared to the likes of a cheetah for his powerful ability to spring. Yes, a cheetah. The fresh fifth-year veteran, without question, will be a huge help to Antonie Bethea and a secondary that ranked 21st overall in 2012.
4) Gaps and a Balanced Offense
Braces are unnecessary for these gaps. Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert is in charge of this vault that protects Luck after spending 2012 as an assistant offensive line coach. Colts fan - to feed your curiosities (curiosity only kills cats), the Colts offensive line coach says he will implement a variety of schemes.
Gilbert clarified the situation, stating that the Colts have everything from gap schemes to zone schemes, to man schemes. How they’ll go about choosing which scheme to utilize will change on a weekly basis with the purpose of creating mismatches (as far as their flexibility allows).
3) The Voice: Cory Redding Style
No, unfortunately, the 6-foot-2 defensive end won’t be singing in front a panel of judges. Usher or Blake Shelton on The Voice won’t be in attendance. He will, however, serve as the vocal leader of the Colts defense this upcoming season. Coach Pagano’s trust in Redding’s work ethic, enthusiasm and motivational skills were few of the reasons why Pagano phoned the defensive lineman and asked him to follow him to Indianapolis. Redding says he’s a natural leader and his head coach adds, “He’s all hat, all cattle.”
2) Veteran-Ship Excites Coach Pagano
This list brings a smile to head coach Chuck Pagano’s face: safety LaRon Landry (NYJ), offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (DET), outside linebacker Erik Walden (GB), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (SF), nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (SD), cornerback Greg Toler (AZ), offensive guard Donald Thomas (NE), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (TEN), wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (OAK) and outside linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (ATL).
1) Kicker Adam Vinatieri’s Career is One Year Younger than My Brother
…And Mostar is 19. Congratulations to the three-time Super Bowl champion, not many players reach that milestone. Oh – which reminds me – I’d like to take this time to thank Vinatieri for making me cry in 2005. After his field goal attempt split the uprights against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, I … nevermind.