Yesterday, the Colts wrapped up their ten week offseason program by concluding their mandatory mini-camp. That means that the players are now off until training camp begins on July 29 - which means that there will be a six week break in which the players aren’t working out as a team.
Before the Colts left yesterday to go their separate ways, head coach Chuck Pagano addressed his team and urged them to keep working and to be smart.
"You can’t put this down. You can’t put your playbook down,” Pagano said, according to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder. “You can’t stop running. You can’t stop lifting. You can’t stop [working] on your craft and then expect to show up to training camp and get in shape. The way the rules are now, it isn’t like it used to be where you’re away for six weeks and you had [two-a-days] every day. Guys could show up and get in shape… You can’t do that now. So, keep studying, keep training, keep running, keep lifting and stick with your routine. There’s 24 hours in a day and you get in a lot of stuff. You have to be accountable to your family, the horse shoe and your teammates. You have to sacrifice. You have to make great decisions. We can’t afford to lose anybody during this time.”
This six week period is the one true dead period of the NFL calendar year, and it can be a scary one for coaches and team personnel. With the season on the horizon, the offseason program in the past, and no structured team activities, it can be easy for a player to get into trouble or to neglect his workout routine. So coaches are always imploring players to be responsible during this period, and the good news is that most of them are.
Though there aren’t organized team activities, the players still have their playbooks that they can study and they still know what workouts to do. They have what they need to keep working, to stay in shape, and better master the playbook, and now it’s up to them to take advantage of that. Players also balance that with spending time with family, however, as it’s important to prioritize that now before the craziness of the season begins.
Pagano also made a good point about how players can’t count on getting back in shape as quickly anymore, since there’s less true time on the field in training camp now. Before, a player might have been able to get back in shape quicker than they are now, which just makes working out during this period even more important.
Training camp will be here before we know it, but for the Colts players they now get six weeks of summer break before that. It can be a tremendous time for them of getting valuable family time, but they also have to make sure that they’re smart, responsible, and staying in shape.