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2013 Colts Training Camp Report: Camp Recap

Stampede Blue will cover every Colts training camp practice with daily notes from its own writers as well as other members in the media.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Well, training camp 2013 is now over. The Colts now take their practices to their West 56th Street complex in Indianapolis, closed to the public (and often to the media too).

But in these few weeks of camp, we have gotten a good and close look at the 2013 Indianapolis Colts and I have several thoughts about the team. Some will be turned into articles, some will be analyzed further through games, and some will be listed right here. As we have done every day of camp so far, I will have notes from the entire camp of what impressed me, what didn't, what the team needs to work on, what to expect, etc.

  • Let's just start with the fact that Andrew Luck is good. Really good. He's got the timing down remarkably well with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, and the timing with the others is coming along. His leadership was really on display this camp as well. Also regarding quarterbacks, Matt Hasselbeck is a very good backup quarterback. He still has a lot left to offer. And Chandler Harnish? Well, I think he'll end up on the practice squad. Actually, no, I'm very sure that he will end up on the practice squad. He had a really bad camp. He's just not accurate enough.
  • Lanear Sampson might be (should be) the next player cut to create a roster opening. Man, did he have a bad camp. He just can't seem to find the ball when it's in the air and doesn't always catch it when he does.
  • T.Y. Hilton, another receiver, might have been the star of camp, however. He caught everything thrown to him, showed his tremendous speed, and got a ton of playing time. Hilton was incredibly impressive in camp.
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey actually didn't have as bad of a camp as it may have sounded with all the drops, but the drops definitely overshadowed the good stuff. But most days, he caught almost everything and had a solid camp. He's about the player I thought he was when the Colts signed him - a quick, fast wide receiver with bad hands. And he showed that in camp.
  • Josh Chapman is awesome. Enough said. The highlight came when he was double teamed and pushed the double team into two other linemen, taking out four of them on one play. #Chapnado didn't get as many opportunities in camp as some may have liked, but it may just have been to protect the offensive linemen and their self esteem.
  • It's a shame, but the rookie linemen (Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes) missed the whole camp with injuries. I don't know when they will be back, but it's too bad that they weren't participating in camp, because with Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele, the spots on the interior of the line could very well have been won by the rookies in camp. Now, however, they probably won't win those spots for a while.
  • Justin Hickman had a really good camp, but he was lost for the year in the first preseason game. That's too bad as well.
  • Josh McNary impressed me at linebacker in camp, but he was injured right before the first preseason game and missed this whole week of practice too. If he doesn't get healthy, his good camp will go to waste and he won't make the team, because preseason games are where the roster is made, not camp.
  • Since everyone wants to know about how Bjoern Werner has been doing, I thought I'd address that here. It's hard to tell how defensive players do in camp and even harder to tell about linemen, but I am iffy on whether I thought Werner had a bad camp or just a decent camp. Here's the thing: it seems like he got blocked by one lineman way to much and way too easily. Werner had multiple times where he came off the line too low and was taken to the ground by the lineman. When he was going against Anthony Castonzo (who had a good camp), he often times looked way overmatched. Again, it's hard to tell and he has been slowed by injury recently, which is absolutely my guess for why he wasn't as impressive lately. I think that we will see him continue to improve a lot, but I think it is an absolutely fair question to ask where the pass rush comes from this year. Because in the first preseason game, there wasn't any pass rush.
  • It's really hard to analyze the defense and linemen in camp. Here's an example from yesterday's camp recap on why it's hard to judge defenses: "Want to know why training camp is often times hard to analyze? It's because we often can't get an accurate picture. Let me give you an example. Today there was a play where Stanley Havili sneaked out of the backfield into the left flat, Luck rolled right and spun and threw a sort of jump pass across the field to Havili, who then took it the remaining few yards into the end zone. But here's the thing: that pass is likely not complete in a game setting. Vontae Davis would either have jumped it and taken it back for a score the other way or would have nailed Havili right as he was catching it, likely forcing an incompletion. But today, with the team in shells and it being his own team, Davis couldn't really do anything but try to touch Havili down. Often times, training camp analysis needs to be looked at through that perspective too - would that actually have happened if this was live?"
  • Both Justice Cunningam and Dominique Jones had good camps. I just don't know if both of them can make the roster with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener both guaranteed to. But both of them impressed me.
  • Speaking of Allen, I think he will absolutely be ready by week one. He may be ready for the third preseason game even, but I don't think it's worth it to play him then unless he's 100%. He looks fine and today was even out of a boot. He was jumping around catching passes and having fun yesterday, and I think that he is just fine. Now it's just waiting until he's game-ready.
  • Adam Vinatieri has still got it. He's still got quite a leg and he's still very accurate.
  • It's clear just from watching practice that Robert Mathis and Cory Redding are the life and leaders of this defense. They're always having fun, doing crazy stuff, and are the ones getting the defense fired up.
  • My two favorite drills from camp was the trash can drill and the pass rush drill. On the trash can drill, the quarterbacks would try to get the football into the trash can a little ways away. It was always fun to watch and a fun competition. In the pass rush drill, one defender would line up against an offensive lineman and would just rush. It was fun to see who won. The two highlights from that? One was Josh Chapman getting double teamed in the drill and the other was Robert Mathis' ridiculous double-spin move on Anthony Castonzo, which you can watch online here (skip to about the 2 minute mark). Trust me, you won't regret watching it.
  • I hate the fade route. And the Colts run it a lot, too. I explained my feelings towards it in today's camp recap: "Ok, so many people have asked me why I don't like the fade route. Here's why - it doesn't work often. I wish I had the numbers on how many fades actually were caught for touchdowns, but I can't imagine it's that high of a percentage. Especially in camp this year, it was very low. It takes a very special quarterback with pinpoint accuracy to hit a fade route. Peyton Manning was a good fade thrower. Andrew Luck struggles throwing the fade, it seems - and so do the Colts' other two quarterbacks. And the problem is, the Colts try to run it a lot. Some media guys remarked this morning that the goal line fade is the play that sets up the field goal, and for this team (and many others), that's true. I just don't like that play at all, and the Colts seemingly do."
  • Andrew Luck's neckbeard is gone. That's a positive from camp, I think.
  • Pep Hamilton is a very, very impressive guy. I've heard a lot of people saying that he could be a head coach soon, and I absolutely agree after being around him and his offense this week. He is very impressive and has what you would want in a head coach: he's smart, a smooth talker, a calming presence on the field, a teacher, and a lot more too. He is really impressive and those that say he might be a head coach soon are absolutely right. I give him 3-5 years.
  • I'm a big Chuck Pagano fan, too. He's a great guy, has a great personality, his players love him, and he's a great coach. He spent a lot of time working with the defense coaching them but also spent enough time overseeing everything, including offense and special teams. He's extremely happy just to be out here coaching and is really healthy. Good for him, and it's really, really hard not to like him, especially after being around him.
Well, that's my quick reaction to what really stood out from training camp. I know I'll think of more things as time goes on, so be following along with this site and follow me on twitter (@coltsfanwilson) to hear more thoughts and insights on the Colts.