In an article profiling third-year wide receiver Sam Giguere, our good friend John Oehser was able to get a pretty interesting quote from Giguere on what abilities head coach Jim Caldwell values the most [emphasis mine]:
Giguere, after drawing praise from Colts officials throughout his first season and from then first-year Head Coach Jim Caldwell during 2009 OTAs, sustained an injury last off-season. He missed much of training camp, and was released shortly before the season before being re-signed to the practice squad.
"Coach says the most important ability is availability," Giguere said. "My focus is just to be able to stay on the field. My leg feels great this year and I feel like I'm in great shape, too. It's just a matter of knowing what to do on the field and executing it."
Nothing too terribly revealing in the quote, except that Caldwell seems to value a player's health, and his ability to stay consistently healthy, over pretty much anything else. Speed, strength, toughness, endurance, quickness, and intelligence are all fine, but if you cannot stay healthy (aka, "available") Caldwell seems to have little use for you.
Do you hear that Bob Sanders? Anthony Gonzalez? Adam Vinatieri?
For Sam Giguere, this should be a bit of a wake-up call. Despite lots of potential, he's battled injures since joining the team and those injuries have held him back. Right now, he's likely 5th (at best) on the wideout depth chart heading into training camp. Giguere has wisely worked this off-season to make his game more versatile by honing his special teams skills.
"It's really, really important," Giguere said. "It's a priority for me. I want to return kicks this year, so I've been working on that, catching kickoffs and working on my own a little bit. Every time we have a special teams period, I try to focus on the task at hand and get better and better if I need to."
Giguere said if he has a theme entering 2010 training camp, that's it – and not just on special teams. He said he feels as if he improved steadily throughout his tenure with the club, but said just because that's true doesn't mean there aren't ways to continue his development. Much of his first two off-seasons was spent learning how to transition from Canadian college football to the NFL, and with that process basically complete, he said now is the time to turn his newfound comfort into a contributing role.
If Giguere impresses in pre-season returning kicks, he will most certainly lock up a roster spot. Peyton Manning likes him, and offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has always been one to grill Giguere with the hope of making him better.
2010 is a make-or-break year for the Canadian player out of Sherbrooke. The Colts are loaded at wide receiver, and if Giguere does not stand out from the rest of the back in training camp, he could get cut again; only this time for good.