Editor's note: The following is a writeup from our good friend Sam Krauter (Mr. Indianapolis Colts), who visited camp Wednesday night. Kudos to him on a job very well done, and keep an eye out for pictures and videos coming later tonight.
8/10/11 – Colts Spring Training Camp - Anderson, IN
I was able to finally make it up to Anderson to see my first Indianapolis Colts practice of training camp, and it did not disappoint.
The first thing I couldn’t help but notice was the enormous turnout of fan support. Early estimates projected around nine thousand to be there, but if you were to ask me I’d say there was probably closer to ten thousand eager Colts fans anxiously watching practice, snapping pictures, sampling some of the local fare (I chowed down on an A-1 Bacon Cheeseburger) and shouting “Peyton, Reggie, Dwight!!! Over Here!!!”
The Colts did a great job of harboring an extremely family-friendly atmosphere, complete with rock-climbing walls, inflatable moonwalks and fun houses, ice cream and frozen custard stands, and live music. Oh yeah, and the Colts were practicing too.
When I finally found a little breathing room around the backside of the practice field (did I mention how jam-packed the stands were?), I saw the wide receivers beginning their warm-up drills: little out-routes, running ladders and listening to Manning no doubt explain exactly where to be and when to be there. I was able to get a few pictures of Garcon, Collie, Gonzo and a couple other WRs in between drills, and I am happy to report that everyone looked to be running smoothly, catching everything thrown their way, and doing so with no indication at all of lingering effects from last year’s injury woes.
The same is true for Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai, both of whom spent the better part of last year either on the IR or missing significant time due to injury.
Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri were putting some good time with the punting and field goal units, respectively. AV was money, and he knocked in a few 50+ yarders with plenty of leg to spare. I didn’t see if Patty Mac was kicking any FGs today (around that time my face was buried in the deliciosity of my A-1 bacon burger – priorities folks), but I was able to see him get off some of his pre-Broad Ripple Canal, booming Rugby-Style punts.
After his FG drills, Vinatieri was on the sidelines signing autographs and taking pictures with some of the younger Colts fans in attendance – I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, but it just goes to show what a great guy AV is.
As I continued to work my way clockwise around the perimeter of the practice field, I finally spotted Manning on the sidelines chatting it up with Bill Polian. Aside from giving the WRs some directions and occasionally jogging out to the field to point something out, he was a spectator for this practice. Honestly, that’s fine with me as long as his rehab doesn’t have any setbacks and he remains on schedule for Week 1. Just a few more quick hits:
- Drake Nevis is the real deal. He’s flying in the backfield before the ball gets to the QB on a lot of plays, and on others he is being double and triple-teamed. Keep an eye on #94 this season, because I think he is going to be great.
- From what I saw of the Castonzo and Ijalana, it still looks like they’ve got a ways to go. They’re going up against a couple of the best in the league with Freeney and Mathis, so it’s good that they can see and play against that kind of speed. But they still need to tighten those screws a ton or this O-Line might be looking at another dicey year. Linkenbach was getting a lot of 1st team reps at LT, and so far it looks like he’s the starter there, not Castonzo.
- Jerry Hughes is playing very well in camp so far. He’s getting off the line and around the edge quickly, and it looks like he may have turned that corner. Hopefully that’s more a product of his development rather that our O-Line’s ineptitude.
- Delone Carter looks great. He bounced a few runs outside, pounded in a TD in goal-line sets, and, most importantly to me, didn’t go down at first contact. He’s so compact and keeps those legs churning. Another solid camp performer.
- Curtis Painter was running the first team offense, and he held up pretty well. Had zip on his passes and his accuracy has definitely improved. Nate Davis & Dan Orlovsky split time in with the 2nd team offense, and definitely looked shaky. I got video of a couple of these series where Orlovsky short-armed one throw, then Davis came in and offensive line had a false start and then Nate proceeded to fumbled the next snap. Really ugly series for the Manning-less offense.
- As for the Colts coming back from injuries: Clark, Addai, Collie, Bullitt, Powers, Conner, and Gonzo were all padded up and participating in this practice. If this team avoids the injury bug, we will win the division going away. And that is a fact.