The first off day of camp, mandated by the CBA, is today for the Colts, and it's a nice break for the players (and the media). "I think that's the cool part about the NFL. There are planned days off," rookie lineman Jack Mewhort said yesterday. "You can kind of gather yourself, physically and mentally get right and get ready for the next stint of training camp."
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano also knows how important these days off can be. "Most of these guys have families and wives," Pagano said. "To get back and reunite with their kids and their wives and get away from football for a little bit, for 24 hours. Physically, obviously you're off your feet for 24 hours. Recharge, refresh. It's not three or four weeks like vacation, but it feels like it."
Of course, the Colts brass is still working trying to compile the best roster possible, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they're using their "off day" from practice to look especially at running back options. Either way, the players are off today and have a break from practice, but we've seen a lot from the team through the first week of camp. They have five practices under their belt, and here's some of what we've seen so far:
- Andrew Luck is good. The Colts quarterback has looked very good for much of camp, though he had an on and off day yesterday. For the most part, however, Luck has looked really good. I think that guy will turn out to be ok.
- T.Y. Hilton has continued to impress, even with those of us who have watched him so much. The most important thing that I've actually learned this week wasn't his on-field play, however, but rather the assurance that even with the plethora of receivers that the Colts have that Hilton will be a major, major factor in the offense.
- Reggie Wayne looks like Reggie Wayne. That's the most encouraging thing I could possibly tell you about how the 35-year old star is looking coming off of a torn ACL last year.
- Griff Whalen, for the second camp in a row, is one of the stars, catching everything thrown his way and featuring prominently in the drills and 11-on-11 work.
- Bjoern Werner has a strong case for being the star of the first week, as he's looked really good. His pass rush moves and burst seem to have developed well, and he's also been batting down passes at the line of scrimmage. He has looked good, and certainly we'll need to actually see it in games, but the early signs from camp have been very encouraging.
- Rookie Jonathan Newsome has also had a good camp so far, looking solid and developing as a pass rusher and most notably starring on Saturday in a pass rush drill. His progress is encouraging as well.
- The biggest news from the first week of camp was the worst news, and that was the news that Vick Ballard suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the season, and upon hearing the news former Colts offensive coordinator and interim head coach Bruce Arians (the current Cardinals head coach) cried. After that, the running back position suddenly looks like a big concern. Oh, and if you were wondering why the Colts had yet to place Ballard on IR, read this.
- Of course, injuries have been a big story in Colts camp so far, and in addition to Ballard the Colts have had several guys miss practice. Stanley Havili has still not practiced, as he's on the PUP list, and then Vontae Davis and LaRon Landry have yet to practice too. Trent Richardson practiced the first day but hasn't since. Jack Mewhort has missed time from practice, as has Josh Chapman and Josh McNary. I'm sure I'm missing some, too, and several guys have missed practice just simply for a day off.
- While this is a brief summary of some of the main points, you can check out my detailed practice notebooks from days one, two, and three, and then our practice recaps from days four and five. The Colts return to the practice field on Wednesday from 1:50 p.m. to 4:25 p.m., and I'll be in attendance at camp for the remainder of the week, so we'll see a return of the camp notebook.