The Colts are the midst of their bye week and that means the team’s assistant coaches were available to the media earlier this week.
Here are some tidbits from the assistant coaches as the Colts have finished the first two months of the 2013 season:
Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen:
The longest tenured Colts coach on the staff talks about what the team is losing in Reggie Wayne:
“Just the culture. He’s a big part of our culture and how we want to do things and how we compete and how we practice and all those things. I’m just trusting that he got us off to a start. He got the receiver room off to a good start and the passing game.
“The consistency factor, hopefully he’s communicated enough and other guys have to respond now and do the same thing. He has been that security blanket. All of a sudden, we’ve all had a kid and they have their, there’s a time when you got to take the security blanket away. There’s no more of that. We’re taking your favorite animal. You’re 13 now. You got to grow up and go. So it’s going to have to be the same thing. Some folks are going to have to step up. We have to keep the same level of consistency that he brought. He’s been big with those young receivers. T.Y. (Hilton) now, right? You see the effects of being in the room with Reggie (Wayne) and T.Y.’s game and how it’s stepped up and how consistent he’s become and that has to permeate through the whole unit and certainly the receiver room.”
Running Backs Coach David Walker
Coach Walker was a popular interview on Tuesday and he chatted about what he’s seen from Trent Richardson:
“A guy that’s working real hard to understand and learn the nuances of our offense. He’s doing a good job with that. It’s still a work in progress. Certain phases were quicker than others, but he’s making progress there. He’s obviously a guy that has the ability to make defenders miss tackles, he’s made a lot of missed tackles in his short time here, and he finishes runs. All the things when he was in Cleveland and throughout his college career that people see in him, those things have showed up and will continue to show up.”
Wide Receivers Coach Charlie Williams
Another popular coach talked about how his room is handling the loss of Reggie Wayne:
“It’s a very tough loss to lose a guy like Reggie and what he does and brings to our team both on the field and off the field. As Coach Pagano always talks about, the next man is up. Whoever that next man may be, we’ll get ready to go and do what we do, continue to win football games.”
“(Reggie’s) going to be a coach on the field just like as if he was playing. He knows what to look for and he can help these guys tremendously. He does it all the time when he’s on the field and when he’s out there playing he can help when we’re off the field in terms of when the defense is on the field. He’s going to be a tremendous help to us. He’s going to stay in the game.”
Defensive Line Coach Gary Emanuel
On rookie Montori Hughes and his progress:
“He’s just improving in all aspects of the game. He’s understanding playing at this level and what it takes consistently to play in there. The hardest part to play for a young guy is really defensive line because you have so many offensive linemen that have so much experience and they know all the tricks of the trade so it really puts you behind the eight ball a little bit. But he’s developing, he’s getting better. He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great size so we are looking forward to him continuing to get better.”
Linebackers Coach Jeff FitzGerald
The exuberant FitzGerald was asked about what Jerrell Freeman means to the Colts defense:
“Tremendous. He does a great job. We’ve given him more and more responsibility on the defense and he’s handled every bit of it. He doesn’t balk at it whatsoever. I think he enjoys having the extra responsibility that we put on him and he does a good job with it. I think he looks at it as a challenge. He’s hard on himself. He’s great to coach. We’re hard on him, but he’s probably ultimately the hardest guy on himself to get better.”
Secondary Coach Mike Gillhamer
On if Vontae Davis is the ideal cover corner:
“Yeah, I think Vontae sees himself that way but I think also we try to get across that he’s got to be a complete corner and he’s got to do the complete things, play off. Since he’s got here, we’ve really worked on his technique. A lot of times, I think what’s happened in Vontae’s past is that when things go bad, you revert back to old habits. You need something that you can go back to when things are going bad. That’s the thing that we try to get across to him is technique and staying intense and staying everything that way. He’s responded real well.”
Tags: Charlie Williams, Clyde Christensen, David Walker, Gary Emanuel, Jeff FitzGerald, Jerrell Freeman, Mike Gillhamer, Montori Hughes, Reggie Wayne, trent richardson, Vontae Davis
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Greg Toler laughed when he heard what animal his position coach, Mike Gillhamer, compared him to last week.
“A cheetah?” Toler said making sure he heard right.
Yes, he was correct.
Gillhamer called Toler a cheetah, thanks to the new cornerback’s aggressive nature when the ball is in the air and his striking ability.
What exactly does that mean to Toler?
“Honestly, coach Gilhamer gives me a lot of credit for playing high level football,” Toler said. “He said he likes my intensity so I think he just likes the way I finish plays, instincts.”
It’s only a matter of times when Colts fans see why Gillhamer is gushing over the presence of Toler on the outside of the Indianapolis secondary.
Numerous times during OTAs, Toler has forced pass breakups and benefits from having an abnormally long wingspan.
“I think it helps me out in my press,” Toler said of his long arms. “When I press I can be a little more patient because my arm length gives me more reaction time where as a shorter guy would have to lunge. I can actually keep my distance with my arms and still make plays on the ball.”
Toler might not have been the headliner of the Colts 2013 free agent class but thanks a strong offseason he has already established himself opposite Vontae Davis.
The Colts secondary has had pieces in and out over the past few years and after a few key additions, it appears the unit has a strong starting corps together for 2013.
That corps includes Toler and the 6-0, 192-pound cornerback is hungry for a season in which the Colts secondary can be counted on to force turnovers.
“In meetings, coach just tell us that as long as we play as a cohesive unit, one guy makes a play then everyone makes a play,” Toler said. “We are just trying to get the camaraderie going and just keep coming one day at a time and trying to get better.”
Tags: greg toler, Mike Gillhamer, Vontae Davis
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We are now 99 days away from the start of the 2013 NFL season with the Colts wrapping up OTAs over the next two weeks.
Last week the Colts assistant coaches were made available to the media and offered some great perspective into their position group.
Colts.com will take a closer look into these groups over the coming weeks and here is a preview of comments from the various defensive assistant coaches.
Defensive line coach Gary Emanuel spent much of the 2012 season learning new players names as injuries crippled his unit.
No need to worry though as reinforcement have arrived to Indianapolis and Emanuel talked about one of those new acquisitions in Ricky Jean Francois.
“Ricky Jean is a guy who brings experience. In the position he plays, he adds a lot of versatility. He’s played five-technique, three-technique, he’s played nose. Obviously, he played in the Super Bowl last year with a great team, so he brings a lot of experience, toughness and understanding of the defense.”
Linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald has seen a lot of change to both the outside and inside positions over the past few months.
His emotion is evident when he describes the possibilities that he has with his position group heading into 2013.
“I think overall we have a more complete group right now. We’ve got a lot of guys in the group that can do a lot of different things so there’s some overlap there. We’re cross-training some of the guys so that we can play them at different positions. We have the guys from last year that have a year of learning under our belt in our system and we have new guys coming in as veterans that have football knowledge coming and are aware of things we are teaching. They pick it up quicker because they’ve had it for a while. I’m really excited about it, I think we have a good group that can do a lot of different things. There’s going to be some flexibility and job exchanges and things of that nature because we can. We have the right type of guys.”
Defensive backs coach Mike Gillhamer is one of the most energetic position coaches on the entire Colts staff.
Gillhamer’s defensive backs have turned in some impressive plays in the early parts of OTAs with new cornerback Greg Toler being at the top of that list.
“We are really happy with Greg. He’s come in here with a great attitude. He’s so powerful. He reminds me of a big game cat, like a cheetah. He’s just so powerful, he can spring. His attitude has been awesome. He’s been everything that we’d hoped he be.”
Tags: Gary Emanuel, greg toler, Jeff FitzGerald, Mike Gillhamer, Ricky Jean-Francois
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