Sudden change. Football coaches used the term all the time.
Most times, the phrase refers to when the offensive unit turns the ball over with a fumble or interception during a game and the defense has to come in to stem the tide. But for the Indianapolis Colts, coach Chuck Pagano has mentioned it when talking about recent last minute changes to the team’s training camp practice plans.
Through the first week and a half of workouts at Anderson University, three morning walkthrough sessions have been moved from the school’s primary stadium facility indoors due to inclement weather. Two afternoon workouts have also been affected by rain. Those numbers include both practices on Thursday.
AU’s grass practice fields proved to be too soggy after overnight and early morning thunderstorms rolled through central Indiana, forcing Colts officials to literally pick up and move the afternoon workout back to the team’s home West 56th Street indoor complex.
Indianapolis players, coaches and support staff were bused to the facility following a morning walkthrough in the schools’ Kardatzke Wellness Center. That’s been the site of the previous on-campus indoor practices. They headed back to Anderson late Thursday afternoon and are scheduled to have both practices there today (9:30 a.m. and 1:50 p.m.).
“It’s another ‘sudden change’ situation. We all kept up all night with the storms that were rolled through. It was raining pretty hard up there and the [practice] fields were saturated. We got the weather report from [head athletic trainer] Dave [Hammer] and those guys and they tracked it. They said there would be another storm coming through [Thursday afternoon] and we couldn’t afford, with such a young team, we had to get the work in,” Pagano explained.
“I didn’t want to get stuck up there [Anderson] and have the rain coming down and lightning and things like that and then have to go in the gym. We needed to work [Thursday]. Now we’ll start to back off a little bit and get their legs back and get fresh for Sunday [first preseason game against St. Louis at Lucas Oil Stadium].”
As it stands now, even if storms were to re-appear today, the Colts will try and get both workouts completed in Anderson.
“We were going to back off a little bit anyway, so [Thursday was] the important day to finish up in preparation before the Sunday game against the Rams,” the Colts coach explained.
“So if we got to go [indoors Friday], we’ll go in. We want to take the pads off. We can get done what we need to get done from a mental standpoint. So we won’t be back [at the West 56th complex].”
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n A record, of sorts — Ironically, while the state and region have suffered through one of the worst droughts in recent memory, more training camp practices have been affected by rainy weather this year than in the previous 14 camps combined.
Heading into today’s workouts, five total practices have been moved to other areas or locations. That record could be broken as more storms are forecast for today.
n Injury report — Nose tackle Cory Redding suffered an arm injury late in Thursday afternoon’s practice. He did not return.
“He did a little something to his elbow, so they pulled him out there at the end. I’m waiting to hear. When we get back up to Anderson, the doctors will look at him and Dave [Hammer] will look at him. Then I’ll know more after we get back up there,” Pagano said.
Wide receivers Donnie Avery and Jarred Fayson, along with cornerback Chris Rucker, missed Thursday’s practice.
n The longshots — Most Colts fans knows about veteran receivers Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. They’re getting to know most of the newcomers too, such as rookie draft picks T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, as well as five-year veteran Avery.
But there are a couple of other young receivers who have caught the attention of the team’s coaches.
Second-year player Kris Adams, who played at Texas-El Paso, and undrafted rookie Jabin Sambrano continue to make the most of their opportunities.
Adams (6-foot-3, 194-pounds) was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Chicago last year. He has since spent time on the Bears, Rams, and Vikings practice squads before being signed by Indianapolis in early June.
Sambrano, meanwhile, was added to the Colts’ roster in late April after finishing his collegiate career at Montana.
Both have impressed in different ways. Adams is big, athletic (40-inch vertical leap) and fast (4.4 40-yard dash). The 5-11, 175-pound Sambrano is more of a possession receiver with good hands who is sneaky fast and can catch the ball in a crowd.
They’ve made tough catches during camp — reporters still talk about Adams’ one-handed, behind the back reception and a leaping end zone grab on passes from rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish. He gives Indianapolis a legitmate big deep threat if he can make the final regular-season roster.
Sambrano meshed with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck during the Colts’ organized team activity practices. He suffered a minor injury during the first week of training camp but has rebounded this week.
“A pleasant surprise,” is how Pagano refers to Adams. “He’s a big-play guy. You can’t coach 6-3. And you can’t coach 4.4.
“He’s going to give a ton of those [defensive backs] nightmares as we play through the preseason. So if he keeps working hard and stays in his playbook and keeps progressing, we might have something there.”
Sudden change. Football coaches used the term all the time.
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According to Andrew Luck, so far so good.
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A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.
Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.
“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.
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While this year’s class may not rival that group in terms of name recognition and flash, it may produce just as many major contributors once the 2013 season gets underway.
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As the 2013 NFL draft gets underway tonight at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Indianapolis Colts are continuing their wait-and-see stance in regard to the first-round pick.
The draft begins at 8 p.m. — televised by the NFL Network and ESPN — with the Kansas City Chiefs making the night’s first selection. Teams will have 10 minutes to make their decisions during the first round. Indianapolis will have the 24th overall pick in the first round.
There will be only one round tonight. The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with seven minutes allotted per pick in the second round and five minutes allowed in the third. The final four rounds are slated to begin at noon Saturday with four minutes between selections.
As it stands now, Indianapolis does not have a second-round pick. It was traded to Miami last fall in exchange for veteran cornerback Vontae Davis. But second-year general manager Ryan Grigson has nut ruled out the possibility of trading down from the first round if the Colts aren’t satisfied with the players available.
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Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin agreed to terms with the Colts on Tuesday evening and officially signed with the team Wednesday. Franklin (6-1, 315) is a 10-year NFL veteran with stops in Baltimore (2003-06), San Francisco (2007-10), New Orleans (2011) and San Diego (2012).
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While the Colts haven’t yet added that big-name wide receiver that team owner Jim Irsay hinted at in tweets over the weekend, Indianapolis has addressed one area on offense.
Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had agreed Monday night to be the Colts’ primary back-up to second-year starter Andrew Luck. He officially signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the team Tuesday morning.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Matt Hasselbeck,” general manager Ryan Grigson said in a prepared statement. “His body of work, intangibles, and extensive league experience speak for themselves. Those factors, plus his familiarity with our offensive scheme, will make him a great asset to our team and its vision as we move forward.”
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New York Jets safety LaRon Landry and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois both signed contracts with the Colts. Landry, a strong safety who appears to be a bigger version of former Indianapolis Pro Bowler Bob Sanders, and the versatile Jean-Francois are expected to make immediate impacts on the Colts’ defensive unit.
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That was especially true for the five veteran free agents who were added to the Colts’ roster Tuesday. Offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus (Detroit), cornerback Greg Toler (Arizona), outside linebacker Erik Walden (Green Bay), offensive guard Donald Thomas (New England) and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Atlanta) admitted as much Wednesday.
“I felt like this would be the best fit for me at this point in my career. I really liked what I saw was happening with the program here and the way things have taken shape. I feel like we have a really great team here and it’s on the rise. I really wanted to be a part of that,” Thomas said during a teleconference interview with the Colts’ media.
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The 14-year veteran center in the NFL put an official stamp on a career Thursday that began in Baltimore in 1998 and ended in Green Bay in 2012. But it was those 13 seasons in between — from 1999 to 2011 in which he played for Indianapolis — when Saturday earned his greatest rewards.
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McAfee, an unrestricted free agent who’s contract is due to expire March 12, was designated as the Colts’ franchise player Friday. The move allows Indianapolis extra time to work out a long-term deal for the team’s special-teams ace.
“He’s huge. He’s a major priority in free agency. Obviously, we’ve reached out and are working to get Pat re-signed,” Pagano said during the National Football Scouting Combine. “We saw what he did for us last year. He’s a great weapon, not only kickoffs and touchbacks.
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Back and ready to go.
That’s the attitude Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano is taking during the National Football Scouting Combine, which completed its second day of operations Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium. During a wide-ranging press conference at the combine, Pagano confirmed that he is back to a full work regimen after missing 12 games last fall as he battled a rare form of leukemia.
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The team will have the 24th overall pick in the first round, which is a double-edged sword. Indianapolis picks lower in the round due to a successful season. But the pool of available can’t-miss talent isn’t quite as plentiful as drafting earlier in the round.
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