The relationship goes both ways, coaches getting to know players and players getting to know coaches.
That has been the theme of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts as virtually a new coaching staff has been paired with a ton of new faces in the locker room.
Over the course of the offseason, the Colts brought in three former Baltimore Ravens who are some of the few Colts players that had previous ties to head coach Chuck Pagano.
Safety Tom Zbikowski had Pagano as a position coach from 2008-2010, and a defensive coordinator in 2011.
He says although Pagano is in a different role this season and has more to deal with, he still sees the same guy.
“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive backs coach, as a defensive coordinator. He’s a players’ coach.” Zbikowski said.
“It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Building off that ‘players’ coach’ mentality, it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the top or bottom of the depth chart, Pagano is determined to get to know each and every one of his players.
“(Coach) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said of Pagano. “From the guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”
Former Ravens Brandon McKinney and Cory Redding have joined Zbikowski as new Colts.
For the 10-year veteran in Redding, taking a role as a leader in helping his new teammates get to know their new coach is nothing new to him.
Redding spent last season playing under Pagano’s defense and hasn’t seen a bit of change from his new head coach.
“Same guy, same mentality. The approach he’s having with us as a head coach is the exact same approach he took the year he was a defensive coordinator with the Ravens. Straight up, tell it like it is,” Redding said.
The three new defenders are helping their teammates learn a new hybrid 3-4 system that at times might seem a bit foreign.
Helping their new teammates with the X’s and O’s part of the scheme is one thing, but Redding wants to make it clear he is here for all teammates in helping to them get to know their coach on a personal level.
“The guys can react in a certain way, but to have all three voices in the locker room to let the guys know why Chuck said what he said, why Chuck is doing some of the things that he’s doing that kind of eases the guys’ minds,” Redding said.
“Then they’re like ‘OK, we’ll trust the system, we’ll trust you guys, because you have been there, you understand and you all know him, so we’re going to go ahead and trust him.’ And that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room who have been there before us. They’re willing to accept change. Change is great and this one will be great. So as long as everybody gets on board it will be fine.”
Tags: brandon mckinney, chuck pagano, cory redding, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
It wasn’t your typical move for new Colts safety Tom Zbikowski.
After playing his first four NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Zbikowski followed a system he knew, a coach he was familiar with, and now has an opportunity to see his role expand with a new organization.
“Now that I’ve gotten to know the organization from top to bottom the, I’m very happy with the decision, because they care about their Colts here and they care about succeeding,” Zbikowski said.
Zbikowski is one of three former Ravens defenders who came over to the Colts during the offseason allowing for a bit of familiarity between some of the current players learning a new defense.
Although he feels as though he’s a veteran in this defensive system, Zbikowski said the leadership role tends to gravitate to him in a locker room filled with guys looking and wanting to lead.
“I grew up in this system, the philosophy of practice, how we approach things, and to be honest the players in this organization they’ve been successful for a long time and there’s a reason for that,” Zbikowski said.
“They draft high character guys that are willing to work and love football. It’s pretty easy to be a leader. I feel like pretty much everyone on this team has some sort of a leadership role.”
In his four seasons with Baltimore, Zbikowski has started 14 games and now is expected to play a much larger role with the Colts defense.
His relationship with Pagano extends back to Zbikowski’s first day in the league. Zbikowski played under Pagano as a position coach during his first three seasons and had him as his defensive coordinator last year.
“He’s still just as personable as he was as a defensive back coach, as a defensive coordinator, (and he) really gets to know all of his players,” Zbikowski said. “The guys that came from other teams, that was one thing that was brought up on that (other players) might not have had conversations with their other head coach.”
“He’s a player’s coach. It’s still going to be intense. It’s all about fundamentals, sound football, and playing hard. It’s personal to him and that’s the way it should be.”
Tags: chuck pagano, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
COLTS CAMP NOTEBOOK
Intro: Sunday, July 29 is the first day of practice for the Colts at Anderson University. The 2011 training camp will run in Anderson until August 17.
ANDERSON – Another training camp has officially begun for the Indianapolis Colts with the first two-a-days of 2012 in the book.
After a morning walk-through, the Colts picked up the pace in their two-hour afternoon in front of a crowd of about 3,000 people at Anderson University.
Head coach Chuck Pagano addressed the media following the morning walk-through and was pleased with how his team handled the ‘between the ears’ side of football.
“This practice we’re not looking for intensity, we’re looking for the mental part of it, how much they can take from the meetings last night, the meetings this morning and then come out here and execute their assignments,” Pagano said. “So, intensity is not what we’re looking for the walk-through but the mental part of it was excellent.”
The Colts returned to the practice field at 1:50 p.m. and the offense had a very impressive afternoon in front of some familiar faces.
Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy took in practice Sunday afternoon with members of his family after Colts owner Jim Irsay invited him.
“It’s exciting to have Tony Dungy come out and I know I had asked Tony to come out and visit with Chuck. I think they had a great conversation last night. I think it’s a great chance for Tony to share his experience in Tampa and here,” Irsay said.
“Just going from assistant coach in the league to head coach and that connection and that experience, I know they had a good conversation. It’s nice to have Tony around just for a day and to see him at practice and that sort of thing.”
Dungy and Pagano sat down for a meeting on Saturday evening before the Super Bowl winning coach watched practiced from the sidelines on Sunday and then addressed the team on the field afterwards.
“It was fun to see the start of a new era. I got to talk to Jim Irsay for a little bit and he’s very excited. I watched practice and I can see why. I got to spend some time with Coach Pagano last night and he’s special. I can see why Irsay really, you know, hit it off with him,” Dungy said.
I got a chance to meet Andrew (Luck), watch him, see the decisions he’s making and just the command of the huddle and command of the field. They’re going to be in good hands for a long time. So it was fun to see. And then to be able to address the team and talk to them about, you know, what it means to play football here in Indiana, what it means to have these fans and what they can do to lay their own foundation. It was a pretty special afternoon for me.”
One of the highlights from the first few days at training camp was the success of the team’s conditioning test conducted on Saturday.
“I can tell you this, 11 years in the NFL we’ve had conditioning tests, you know, wherever I’ve been and we had 100 percent pass the test. So, I can’t tell you how I proud I am of these guys,” Pagano said.
You know, it goes back to the trust, loyalty, and respect thing basically our core values. You know, we trusted these guys, we let them go five to six weeks after an offseason and everything that we did, they all went home and they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
The atmosphere was very lively at the first day of practice and the players seem to be feeding off the message that Pagano is preaching to them.
With over half the roster participating in their first training camp in Anderson, the cohesion of turning 90 players into one team is beginning to take shape.
“Every year is different whether you are in the same organization or a different organization. But there is a lot of energy here right now. It’s exciting to be a part of this organization right now,” running back Donald Brown said. “Like I said there are a lot of new faces, but we are starting to become familiar with one another, more familiar with the systems and getting better each and every day.”
LB-A.J. Edds (knee)
The offense had a very successful first day at practice as quarterback Andrew Luck spread the wealth among many of his receivers on the afternoon. Wide receiver Austin Collie was a recipient of many of Luck’s passes and rookie wideout LaVon Brazill had a couple impressive catches. Defensively, cornerback Korey Lindsey had two interceptions, one thanks to a deflection by safety Tom Zbikowski.
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY
Running back Donald Brown on if the new energy being created is beneficial for him:
“It is. I mean it’s beneficial for everybody. You need energy. This is an emotional game. You need energy and excitement. It’s a great atmosphere here right now and each day we need to come out here and put our heads to the grindstone and keep working.
COACH PAGANO SAYS
On his excitement level at training camp:
“Everybody gets so excited about vacation time, you know, getting out of here. Players love to get away from us, we love to get away from them and go enjoy, you know, a little family time, reconnect if you will, but it only takes a couple of weeks and most wives are ready to get us back to work. This is a great experience for all of us. A great time for all of us, the enthusiasm, the energy, the excitement, you know, these guys like I said they really want to make amends for what happened last year and they’ve done all the right things to this point.”
NOTE OF THE DAY
Center Sampson Satele has changed jersey numbers to 64. Offensive tackle George Foster has changed jersey numbers to 66.
Who holds the Colts record for most career playoff points scored? (scroll to the bottom to find the answer)
The team will follow the same practice schedule they had on Sunday with the 1:50-4:00 p.m. practice being open to the public.
WHO’S COVERING THE COLTS
ESPN’s Bob Holtzman was at practice on Sunday. NFL Network also made their way to Anderson on Sunday to take in practice. Scott Hanson, host of the NFL Network show NFL RedZone, was at the afternoon practice.
The weather in Anderson was mostly sunny with a high of 87 degrees. The low on Sunday was 66 degrees. The forecast for Monday calls for a 30 percent chance for an isolated shower with a high of 87 degrees.
Sunday’s Trivia Question: Who holds the Colts record for most career playoff points scored?
Answer: Adam Vinatieri has 70 career playoff points during his time with the Colts (2006-2011).
Tags: A.J. Edds, Adam Vinatieri, Andrew Luck, austin collie, Bob Holtzman, chuck pagano, donald brown, George Foster, Jim Irsay, Korey Lindsey, LaVon Brazill, sampson satele, Scott Hanson, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog
By Kevin Bowen, Colts.com
The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their ninth of 10 OTA’s Wednesday afternoon under another blue, sunny sky at the Indiana Farm Bureau Practice Facility.
As the OTA’s are coming to a close, the Colts will break for the summer following a week of mini-camp starting next Tuesday.
The Colts will then gather on July 28th as players will report to training camp in Anderson, Indiana before embarking on the 2012 season.
Coach Chuck Pagano called Wednesday’s practice ‘productive’ and knows that despite not being in full pads yet these OTA’s are very beneficial for the team’s development.
“They are digesting everything that we’re giving them, we are making progress and they are working the process,” Pagano said. “(I am) extremely pleased with where we are at.”
Wednesday’s two-hour practice began with some special teams work before the club broke up into positional groups.
A majority of the final hour of practice was spent working on offense versus defense and saw some spirited plays on both sides of the ball.
For the offense, wide receiver Austin Collie made a pair of difficult touchdown receptions in the corner of the endzone.
Rookie tight end Dwayne Allen had the highlight of the afternoon with a juggling touchdown catch that included a celebratory chest bump from offensive guard Mike McGlynn.
Defensively, linebacker Pat Angerer showed that he can be more than just one of the top tacklers in the NFL as he intercepted a pass intended for newly signed running back Deji Karim.
OTA’s will come to an end on Thursday for the Colts and after next week’s mini-camp players will look towards the end of July when the intensity is taken up a notch.
“Training camp, I think is going to be a big thing for us once we put the pads on because a lot of times once you start hitting, once you start really playing football that’s the best way to learn the system yourself,” safety Tom Zbikowski said.
Zbikowski is used to the new defensive system having been a part of the Baltimore Ravens defense for the past four years.
His knowledge has spread to another member of the secondary as veteran corner Jerraud Powers is trying to help his fellow corners learn a new system.
Even though the Colts are just in shorts and helmets right now, Powers knows that the value of OTA’s extends past the playing field and into the meeting rooms.
“Guys got a great idea of what this system is and what they’re supposed to do in it and how it’s supposed to function,” Powers said. “Once we get this little break that’s coming up in a week or two, when we get back to (training) camp it’s not a foreign language to anybody and we can just jump back into it.”
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE DAY
Cornerback Jerraud Powers on hopefully having rookie quarterback Andrew Luck at mini-camp next week:
“I can’t wait just to have him in, see what he’s about and see how he’s going to conduct this team. He’s the leader. He’s our quarterback, so he’s the one everybody is going to look up to and I’m pretty sure he’s going to do a good job doing it.”
COACH QUOTE OF THE DAY
Head coach Chuck Pagano on the team’s running back position:
“Right now, Donald (Brown) has been taking the lion’s share of the first-team reps. We are mixing in the other guys, with Darren (Evans) getting some reps, of course Delone (Carter) has been out, and getting the young guy, (Vick) Ballard, in there. So they have a rep count, a pitch count so to speak, and we are trying to balance (the reps) out.”
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS WAIVE OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JAKE KIRKPATRICK
The Indianapolis Colts waived offensive lineman Jake Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Colts on July 29, 2011. He was released following training camp. Indianapolis then re-signed Kirkpatrick as a free agent on March 8, 2012 prior to his release today.
Below is an updated 2012 offseason media schedule for the Indianapolis Colts.
Exact times of practices and media availabilities will be announced the week prior to all activities.
June 12 – 14: Veteran mini-camp
* Player availability each day
* Head Coach Chuck Pagano available on Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13
* Colts coordinators available on Thursday, June 14
Tags: austin collie, chuck pagano, dwayne allen, jerraud powers, mike mcglynn, mini-camp, ota, practice, tom zbikowski
Posted in Colts Blog