Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Reggie Wayne can’t wait to get back on the football field. In other news, water is wet.
Today was the final day of the mandatory three day mini-camp for the Colts. Players will take off for short vacations before getting ready to start training camp on July 27th.
Wayne was finally made available to the media today.
“I felt like I kind of left them (the Colts’ offense) hanging a bit last year. I want to be back out there with my teammates, guys that do anything possible to go out there and play,” Wayne said. “I’m geeked about showing people what I can do at 35.”
Coach Chuck Pagano believes that Wayne will return to his old self as well, because Wayne said so.
“He just told me he will,” Pagano said. “That’s all I needed. Knowing him long enough, that’s all I needed to hear. I mean, you look at him, he looks phenomenal. You guys probably haven’t seen him work out and run, but he looks great. Again, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t ready. The only reason that he might not get reps early will be because of me if we decided to hold him back.”
Wayne has had a heck of a career in a Colts uniform.
“Do I have to prove anything else?” Wayne said. “It’s been 13 years. I have a resume. I can email it, mail it, whatever you want. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody. I know what I can do; the guys in the room know what I can do. But I want to show the first-timers what I can do, the ones who call me ‘Mr. Wayne’ and say they played with me on Madden, I’ve got to show those guys.
“I’m excited, man. I feel great. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be ready in July.”
Draft Picks Showing Promise
Rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief came in to relieve an injured Hakeem Nicks, who will be fine, and did not disappoint. On Wednesday he got extended reps with the first team offense and made a number of impressive catches. He was consistently beating his man and reportedly made a nice catch in the red zone under double coverage (although this might say a lot more about the Colts defense).
Offensive guard Jack Mewhort was taking snaps with the first team offense as well, albeit in the left guard spot for Donald Thomas who is still recovering from injuries last season. He’s even seen a few snaps at center. Mewhort could lost his starting spot to Thomas once he’s cleared for play, but at the very least its sounding like he’ll be a solid backup and gives the team depth in case anyone in the middle is injured.
Outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome has also been impressive. Robert Mathis called him a pure pass rusher and he’s been seeing snaps on the strong side as well as on the defensive line. Newsome could be a rotational option while Mathis is serving out his suspension.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is determined to get better this season.
Its a testament to the skills of Andrew Luck that the Colts were able to move the ball consistently last season. Few young quarterbacks are able to make a successful transition between coordinators like Luck had to between Bruce Arians and Hamilton. Continuity goes a long way towards a players development and the Colts now have the benefit of merely tweaking a scheme instead of overhauling it.
“Considering all the circumstances we had to deal with last year, we feel like we were still efficient,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t beat ourselves. That’s a testament to our players buying in and sticking to the process. We didn’t turn the ball over a ton in the regular season and we didn’t have a lot of penalties and those lack-of-focus mistakes that can contribute to your team not having success.”
It helps that the Colts will get a few key players back from injury as well. Thomas helps the interior protection, tight end Dwayne Allen is poised for a huge year, and Wayne will still bring his reliable hands on third down. That doesn’t even include running backs Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw who will battle with Trent Richardson for snaps.
The offense will have to be awfully sharp, especially to start out the season, because this defense is full of huge question marks. Losing Mathis for four games will have a much bigger impact than you might think.
Pagano has a book coming out on Tuesday, “Sidelined: Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance,” about his fight with cancer in 2012.
For me, this is a must read book. Pagano served as a huge inspiration for his team and for the community during his battle with leukemia.
On Monday, he’ll be making the rounds at ESPN. Pagano will appear on all the radio programs and on Sports Center at 9:30AM.