INDIANAPOLIS -- Temperatures reached well into the 80s during Wednesday's afternoon practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
But Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano isn't as interested in the physical demands being put on his young football team as he is in the players' mental acuity.
As the Colts reached the halfway point in organized team activities, Pagano said the best measure of players' progress is how much information is being retained. By design, the coaching staff is throwing as much at the team as possible during morning meetings and walkthroughs.
In the afternoon, its up to the players to show how much they've learned. With as many as 36 new faces on the roster, this teaching period is of utmost importance.
"From a standpoint of coming in and gelling in the locker room and learning the system from both sides of the ball between the free agents, draft choices and college free agents, everybody we've brought in here is doing a great job of picking up the information," Pagano said. "Coaches are doing an outstanding job of presenting the information to them. A bunch is sticking."
Pagano said participation in the voluntary OTAs has been outstanding. Some veterans have been excused from the workouts, but the players who have attended have been practicing with high energy.
Indianapolis has one more OTA practice this week and four next week before wrapping up offseason workouts with a mandatory mini-camp June 11-13.
It's hard to gauge the performance of a team wearing shorts and helmets, but Pagano likes what he's seen so far.
"We're making progress," he said. "Our goal is to come out here with the intention of getting better at something every day -- individually, as position groups, offense, defense, special teams, as a team. We feel like we're headed in the right direction."