WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

July 24, 2018 at 1:10 am.

–Since the end of spring workouts, the Colts made some changes in the team’s football operations staff. Ed Dodds is now the assistant general manager with Brian Decker named as Indianapolis’ director of player development. Jon Shaw, meanwhile, has been elevated to be the Colts’ assistant director of pro scouting and Anthony Coughlan is the new college scouting director.

–Players are scheduled to report to training camp on July 25 with the first practice scheduled for July 26. Daily practice times will vary. There will be three night workouts (July 29, August 3 and August 14), beginning at 7 p.m.

–The Colts will conduct joint training camp workouts with the Baltimore Ravens on August 17 and August 18 at Grand Park prior to the Monday night preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 20.

–Indianapolis plans to be a bit more physical during training camp than in past years.

“There will be a couple of days where we’ll have some live periods. The whole practice won’t be live, but we’ll have two, possibly three days where we have a few live periods in practice,” Reich said.

–It looks like safety Clayton Geathers, who missed most of last season with a neck issue that required surgery, is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. How much practice time he gets early remains to be seen.

“Yeah, we’re optimistic that he’ll be good to go,” the Colts coach said.

–Second year safety Malik Hooker, meanwhile, got off to a strong start as a rookie in 2017 but a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Hooker is expected back for this season, but no timetable has been announced.

–Reich hasn’t made a decision on whether the Colts will keep two or three quarterbacks on the regular-season roster. Jacoby Brissett started most of the team’s games a year ago after coming to Indianapolis in a late preseason trade with New England.

“I think that’s hard to do,” the Colts coach said. “But Chris (Ballard) and I will sit down (at the end of training camp) and think about it. But not anticipating that.”

–First round draft pick Quenton Nelson appears to be as good as advertised. The former Notre Dame guard has impressed just about everybody who has watched him during the Colts post-draft workouts.

“You can see the instincts. You can see (when) we’re pulling and hence run some of our gap scheme runs where he’s pulling,” Reich praised. “One of the things (prior to the draft) everybody said, ‘This guy is the best pulling guard ever.’ You can see that, man. It just shows up all over the tape.

“I think (spring work) has been good for him. I think he’s had a couple of vets like (Matt) Slauson really kind of take him under their wing a little bit. Even though he’s a great prospect and we’re really excited about him, he doesn’t have all the answers yet and there is a process of learning.”

–Rookie wide receiver Deon Cain caught Reich’s eye during post-draft workouts.

“I’ve seen play-making ability. I’ve seen really good body control, good speed, good route-runner,” the coach said. “Like with a lot of young guys, and really probably all the young receivers, you just need to kind of fight for the consistency to do it every play.

“But I really commend Deon. He’s come in here and handled his business well and taken coaching well and really gotten better over the last couple of months.”

TOP THREE GOALS IN CAMP

Stay healthy. Injuries have hit the Colts hard in recent training camps. Head coach Frank Reich is cautiously optimistic that Indianapolis can avoid the injury bug this year. “That’s what we’re hoping and optimistic for because (the season is) a long grind. You need every player. So we need to evaluate everybody working together. Training camp obviously will be a good time for that,” he said.

–Get Luck ready to return. After missing a full season of practice and playing, getting quarterback Andrew Luck back to the form that he displayed before his shoulder injury is paramount. Physically, Luck looks the part. Now it’s just a matter of getting back into the routine of practice and preparing to play in a game again. “The course is charted and the plan is set,” Reich said. “I know him. I know he’s going to stick to the plan and get it done.”

–Prepare the defense for a new scheme. While Indianapolis is going back to a familiar 4-3 Cover 2 alignment, it won’t be a carbon copy of the scheme that was in place during Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell’s tenures as head coach. There will be plenty of tweaks put in place by first-year defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. “I believe we have a good understanding of where we are with the players in terms of their learning level, in terms of their physical level (and) in terms of their athletic ability,” Eberflus said. “We are looking at who complements who and who can play the positions.”

TOP SUMMER BATTLE

–Right guard. Matt Slauson was added as a veteran free agent from the Chargers in the offseason and will add some much needed size and nastiness to a young offensive line. Slauson would appear to be the starter at right guard heading into camp. But rookie draft pick Braden Smith was the second guard taken by Indianapolis in the draft in April behind top pick Quenton Nelson and is very highly thought of by Colts front-office officials. Slauson and Smith are expected to fight it out for the job long term.

 

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

SCARBROUGH'S TAKE

College Fans, Beware The Man in the Bottle.