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Colts’ Pagano explains value of OTAs


The Sports Xchange

INDIANAPOLIS — So just how much can be accomplished by NFL teams during OTAs?

For Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, the work done on the practice field and in the classrooms is more about getting everybody on the same page.

“We’ve had an excellent offseason. It’s gone really fast. But I think we’ve maximized every single second and every single day that we’ve had,” Pagano said Wednesday after the Colts’ ninth OTA workout wrapped up.

“The guys have done a great job. We’ve seen a lot of progress on both sides of the ball and special teams. Again, I think we’re further ahead at this point (of OTAs) than at any point that we’ve been together. So, knock on wood, we’ve got to stay healthy and the guys have to keep working. I think we’re taking this thing one day at a time and we’ll see what happens from there.”

In terms of on-field work, Indianapolis has concentrated more on the mental than the physical. And that’s for good reason. Due to CBA rules, teams are limited in what they can do in terms of practice.

“From a physical standpoint, (we can accomplish) very little other than getting their wind and running around,” Pagano explained. “They’re in helmets and shorts. But we’re going to find out a lot about the guys in training camp time when they get the pads on and actually, you know, play real football.

“From a mental standpoint, alignment, assignment, technique, communication, install. We threw everything at them. Old guys, new guys. We wanted to see how much would stick. By the time we get to training camp, it will be the fourth time this year that they’ve had install.”

Working on the little things has been at the top of Indianapolis’ list of priorities.

“We’ve put a premium on fundamentals and technique during our offseason program. Penalties. The little things, like taking care of the football. And taking away the football on defense. I think that’s where we try to make the most hay,” Pagano said.

Pagano added that the biggest plus to OTAs is getting the team’s rookies, younger players and veteran acquisitions up to speed with how the Colts do things in the locker room and how practices are conducted.

“From a mental standpoint, the young guys have been awesome,” Pagano said. “They’re the first ones (at the workouts). They’re football junkies.”

Running back Frank Gore, cornerback Vontae Davis and safety Michael Adams have seen limited action in recent OTA workouts. Pagano, though, isn’t concerned.

“(OTAs) are voluntary,” he said, smiling. “Let’s make sure we’re all clear on that.”

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