The Indianapolis Colts this week wrapped up their offseason program with a three-day mandatory mini-camp, concluding their final team workouts until training camp. The past eight weeks have been occupied by workouts, so let’s take a look at three things we "learned.”
1. Injury updates
Probably the most significant thing that we can take away from mini-camp is the update we received on a number of injuries to several Colts players. There have been a number of guys who have dealt with injuries and have therefore missed the offseason work because of rehab, and we got an update on them this week.
Chuck Pagano expects guard Hugh Thornton back for the start of training camp:
“Just talking to our doctors, they feel good about his prognosis and his availability for the start of training camp. So I don’t anticipate Hugh not being available for the start of camp.”
Pagano also expects wide receiver Donte Moncrief back for the start of camp:
“Same thing [as Thornton]. He’s on track, but again we’ll defer to the doctors and let them make the final call on that. When they are 100 percent we’ll put them out there.”
Pagano expects cornerback D’Joun Smith back for camp as well, while acknowledging that Smith did have a setback in his recovery from a knee injury:
“Yeah, like some of the other guys he’s doing a nice job rehabbing the knee. Just had a little bit of a setback with him but fully expect him to be well and ready for the start of training camp.”
Defensive lineman Henry Anderson, who is recovering from a torn ACL, might not be ready for week one, according to owner Jim Irsay:
“Obviously we’re looking for Henry Anderson to come back and he’s been progressing from that injury. It may not be for Week 1, but we certainly hope it’s going to be early season. He was a big loss for us last year as you guys know.”
Punter Pat McAfee also revealed this week that he had a procedure done on his left knee this offseason to clean it up, as he told 1070 the Fan’s JMV on Monday.
"Well, I had surgery like six weeks ago, I think seven weeks ago, on my left knee. They cleaned it up. The first couple weeks of rehab were a little tough, but now I'm on the back end of it right now. I'm something at like 85, 90 percent right now, so by the time training camp comes around I'll be humming, 100 percent, and I can't wait for that day."
On Tuesday, McAfee completed his first full punting session of the offseason, further signifying that he’s on track to be ready by camp. While all of those injury updates were provided recently, the best and most positive injury update came throughout the entire offseason program...
2. Andrew Luck is back - and healthy
At this point, it seems like something we’ve known for a long time, but remember back to the beginning of the offseason program where there was legitimate concern from many about whether Luck truly was healthy or not. This was on the heels of a (questionable) offseason report that said the Colts were supposedly concerned about long-term effects of Luck’s shoulder injury, and then Luck created headlines by implying that he wasn’t 100% yet because he still had work to do. The Colts came out and definitively said that Luck wasn't still injured, but considering they weren't exactly truthful about the quarterback’s health last year, most fans weren't going to believe them until they actually saw it.
Well here’s the good news: after the offseason program, we can say that Andrew Luck is back and healthy. If you didn’t believe the Colts when they said it (which is understandable), you can believe actions: Luck wasn’t limited whatsoever during the offseason program. He took all of the normal reps the first-team, franchise quarterback is expected to take, and he looked good doing so. There are still people who want to see him actually play well in a game and move on from his 2015 struggles, and that will have to wait. But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the offseason program this year was that Andrew Luck is healthy and worked without limitations.
3. Offensive line still uncertain
One of the biggest questions that people had about the Colts entering the offseason program was about their offensive line - namely, who the starters would be. Anthony Castonzo is clearly the left tackle and Jack Mewhort is clearly the left guard, and Ryan Kelly became the obvious center once he was drafted as well. But what about right guard and right tackle? The answer right now is simply this: we don’t know.
We can begin to get an idea for the competition based on who was playing there during the offseason program, however. For pretty much the entirety of the program (at least the entirety of practices that we heard about), it was Jonotthan Harrison working with the first team at right guard and Joe Reitz at right tackle. Part of that was due to injuries: Hugh Thornton missed the offseason program as he rehabbed an injury, while Denzelle Good missed the first several weeks. Once Good returned, he slid in as the second-team right guard - an interesting move in positions for him (Harrison also is changing positions, from center to guard). Also worth noting is that rookie Joe Haeg was working at guard rather than tackle for the Colts, and during mini-camp he was the second-team left guard (fellow rookie Le’Raven Clark was the second-team right tackle and Austin Blythe the second-team center).
It seems as if the right guard position will really be where the battle takes place during training camp and preseason, then, as Reitz seems to be the presumptive favorite at right tackle. General manager Ryan Grigson even told 1070 the Fan’s Dan Dakich earlier this week that he wants Reitz to win the job. His comments also pointed to the idea that it will really be at right guard where the biggest competition takes place. Jonotthan Harrison, Denzelle Good, and maybe even Joe Haeg could compete, and that’s without even mentioning Hugh Thornton, who is expected to be back from injury by the start of camp.
In other words, after the offseason program we still don’t know what the starting offensive line will be, but it was never expected that we would know at this point either. Instead, we now have a better idea as to who will be competing at the spots, which should help promote smarter discussion and debate as we lead up to camp.