So, what did we learn and what burning questions were answered on the first day? Really, not many. What we did see were very encouraging signs that certain players are healthy and should contribute the way they are expected to contribute in 2008. The health of Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney is probably the most important factor heading into the regular season. If they are healthy, the Colts are the best team in the AFC. If not, it's wide open.
Yesterday, we read reports that Marvin was running pain free; his routes and cuts were crisp; he caught everything thrown at him, and the crowd responded with cheers. We also read that Freeney is running, and in conditioning drills he is spinning and moving with quickness. Again, all good signs.
The other nugget of interest is how impressed the press was with Jim Sorgi, who directed the Colts offense in practice with precision.
In his first practice working at the Colts No. 1 quarterback, Jim Sorgi looked pretty efficient and smooth at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
He didn't miss on eight throws in the seven-on-seven period late in an unpadded practice, usually a good time to gauge a quarterback's comfort level and crispness. Tony Dungy smiled and nodded when he talked about Sorgi's precision.
Maybe Peyton's knee surgery is a blessing in disguise. Yeah, I know. I said the same thing about Marvin's knee last year, but it too may have been a blessing. It allowed Reggie Wayne to grow and gave time to potentially good players like Aromashodu. This year, coaches and fans will finally get to see if Jim Sorgi is worth a damn. This is a tremendous opportunity for Sorgi, who is largely dismissed by the NFL community as "just Peyton's backup." If he can go out there this pre-season and show he has the stuff needed to play in the big leagues, it could pay off for him in terms of a new contract.
However, if Sorgi stumbles, the Colts made solid moves to solidify the back-up QB position. Quinn Gray displayed a strong arm yesterday, with several darts thrown to receivers like the emerging Roy Hall. And then there is BBQ (Big Beautiful Quarterback): The immortal Jared Lorenzen. I can tell that Jared is going to be a source of fun for us throughout the pre-season. Unlike previous years, the exhibition games this season will be manned by experienced veteran QBs who have played for good football teams. Quinn Gray was 3-1 as a starter last year for the Jaguars, and Jared almost took Giants Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning's job from him last season.
Because so many players are on the PUP, Dungy lightened the workout load a bit, having players in shorts on the first day. As camp continues, and the days get hotter, the full pads will come out. I can only imagine what Jared Lorenzen will think then. It would be cool if the weighed him pre and post camp. We could call it the Lorenze-meter.