For the first time since the 2015 season ended, the Indianapolis Colts are officially back to work.
Players have been working out during the offseason and coaches have been preparing, but it all officially starts today as the Colts begin their 2016 offseason workouts. Teams with new head coaches have already been permitted to start these workouts, but teams with returning head coaches - which, stunningly, includes the Colts - can now also return to work.
Today marks the beginning of phase one of the offseason program, which includes conditioning and weight training. In other words, this is simply a time for players to get in shape and to condition themselves both for the workouts ahead and, more importantly, the season ahead. It's not the most exciting time (it's just workouts, after all), but it does mark the beginning of the offseason program. This is also a time where injured players can rehab, which is something that shouldn't be overlooked either.
After two weeks of phase one, the team can then move into phase two, which includes on-field individual drills. Teams can conduct drills for individual players and positions, but no team drills (such as 7-on-7 or 11-on-11) are allowed. That goes on for three weeks, after which phase three is ushered in. During phase three, teams can hold ten days of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in which they can practice 7-on-7, 7-on-9, and 11-on-11. No contact is allowed, but this is as close to "real" football as you're going to get in the offseason workouts. Teams can also hold one mandatory veteran mini-camp during phase three, and for the Colts this will take place from June 7-9. There also will be a rookie mini-camp held at some point following the draft.
These workouts that begin today aren't mandatory and there's no requirement whatsoever for players to show up, but it does mark the first official day of workouts in the 2016 season and is when the Colts truly begin to put in the work toward building a successful football team. The work put in during the offseason should hopefully pay dividends in the regular season (and beyond), which makes these workouts valuable. It's not the most exciting thing in the world, but hey, Colts football is back (kind of)!