According to 2nd-year cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (via Sirius XM NFL Radio with host Alex Marvez), the Indianapolis Colts are among the NFL teams using technological devices to monitor their players’ workouts away from team headquarters during the offseason program—which so far has been conducted virtually:
Interesting: CB Rock Ya-Sin told @viccarucci & me on @SiriusXMNFL the @Colts are using tech devices to monitor workouts away from team HQ during their offseason program. I'm sure other teams are, too. Rock said IND S Khari Willis & he push each other as virtual workout partners— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) May 2, 2020
It makes sense for the Colts and other teams to hold their players accountable and to ensure they’re putting the necessary work in this offseason—especially with bonuses tied to some of the players actually participating in offseason workouts.
Regarding the Colts virtual offseason program being a new change, Ya-Sin said:
“Well, it’s definitely different,” noted Ya-Sin. “We are on Zoom, but I feel like watching film with our coaches. That isn’t much different. Not being around my teammates, that’s a little different. Because watching film with our coaches, we’re in the meeting room watching film. We’re doing the same thing, so it’s not very different. But being around our teammates, being able to workout with teammates, build that camaraderie. Seeing guys sweat next to you. . . . We have to lift by ourselves. It’s a secluded gym at home by ourselves instead of being at the team facility which is a little tough. It’s definitely tough, but we have to do what we have to do right now to stay in shape and stay ready.”
“I feel like it’s more on you definitely,” Ya-Sin added. “There’s nobody there to push you. There’s no one telling you to do extra reps or things like that, but a lot of our workouts and runs are logged into a computer. They have heart rate monitors. You can look at the data and see how many reps guys did as far as runs and conditioning. How long they ran. How hard they ran. So you’re still being held accountable by your teammates.”
However, he’s happy to have other teammates like starting safety Khari Willis, who can help motivate one other to bring out their best and maximize remote practice habits:
“Like for instance, Khari Willis, me and Khari have a pretty good relationship. We were both rookies last year. We just kind of clicked and bonded a lot. He played safety. I played corner. We watched film together a lot. We worked out a lot together in the offseason, so it was funny because like he does his runs in the morning on Tuesdays, I do mine in the evening on Tuesdays, he would do his runs and ask me to send his graphs and data over to show me how hard he had worked and how many reps he had done, and I am going and trying to beat that when I go run on Tuesday evening. So we’re still able to hold each other accountable, which is good, but it’s still not the same as being in the (team) facility with all 90 guys working and grinding together.”
He believes that the Colts nine rookie draft picks, and ten undrafted rookie free agent signings could face a bit of an initial learning curve with the virtual workout shift—and that already having a season under his belt for offseason training has helped him:
“It probably would’ve been pretty hard (as a rookie) because #1, you probably would’ve never used Zoom before, and then you have these heart rate monitors, and you’ve never used those before. And then they turn you through these workouts where it just has the name of the workout, let’s say ‘Barbell Press’ or ‘Single Leg Stability Ball’, ‘Hamstring Curl’ . . . you’re like what is that. For me, because I’ve been in the offseason workout program last year, I know what these workouts are. I know how many reps, how many sets. I know what it looks like to do them, but for a guy that’s coming in right now and not knowing or (having) any prior knowledge, I think it would be pretty tough.”
That being said, even second-year pros like Ya-Sin and veterans are facing challenges in their ongoing training regimens:
“Yeah, definitely, I feel like because of training, gyms are closed. I mean so you can’t just go into a gym. Maybe at a specific time. You can’t go into a park and run or to a field and run except for a specific time. Let’s say me and Khari did that together in the morning, the park that I run at. I can’t run there anymore. It’s too crowded. There’s too many people. So I have to run in the evenings. So it definitely is harder.”
“Then again, getting guys on a Zoom call or FaceTime is also hard as a large group because people are out in Cali (California). For instance, like (linebacker) Bobby Okereke, he called me the other day. He called me and we were just talking and catching up or whatever, and it was funny because he called me at like 11 or 12 o’clock my time, but it was 8 or 9 his time. He called me casually, and I’m like, I’m about to go to bed, bro. So it definitely is hard to communicate with a large group of people. It’s hard. It’s challenging, but we just have to keep fighting and try to communicate as much as possible until we’re back at our facilities.”
The Colts began their virtual offseason program in mid-April, but it can run until May 15th.
Per Colts.com’s Andrew Walker, NFL teams will have six weeks of offseason program remaining after mid-May. However, whether it continues to be virtual or in-person at each team’s respective headquarters remains to be seen—as the situation remains entirely fluid.
Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to hear young players like Ya-Sin and safety Khari Willis putting in the necessary work and time in to get better—not that a lot of these Colts really needed the extra motivation of being monitored in the first place.