The Herald Bulletin

August 2, 2013

Colts Notebook: 'Sudden change' good for players


The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — There were three benefits to the decision to move Friday's scheduled afternoon practice to an early morning session.

The Indianapolis Colts were able to avoid a forecast for afternoon rain (which didn't materialize during the scheduled workout time), and coaches and players were able to get a little bit of a headstart on their first day off of training camp.

But, perhaps most importantly to head coach Chuck Pagano, it gave the players a look at the type of unforeseen shifts they are surely going to encounter throughout the season.

"I know we had a little sudden change," he said. "That was great for everyone in our organization, especially our players, threw a little curveball at them. ... It's always good to have a change up, and we had a good practice."

Friday's session completed the first week of training camp, with two weeks left before the team returns to its Indianapolis training facility.

The Colts saved some of the hardest work of the week for last. Friday's practice was devoted to red zone and goal-line work, which is the only time during training camp that Indianapolis practices live tackling.

Pagano was pleased with the results of the week overall.

"I thought we made a lot of progress this week," he said. "It's been a tough, tough week."

High praise for DHB

Darrius Heyward-Bey really started to come on mid-week and had his best practice of training camp Thursday. He finished the week with three solid days after struggling at the start of practice.

Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said he sees immense potential in DHB.

"I tell him every day I wish I had his body type," Wayne said. "He can be in that elite group of big receivers, the Andre Johnsons, the Calvin Johnsons, guys like that. But he's growing. He's getting better and better each week. He can be a freak of nature. He really can be."

Injury report

Offensive guard Joe Reitz suffered the only notable injury of Friday's practice. The Hamilton Southeastern grad incurred a "stinger," according to Pagano, and could miss "a couple days."

Other players who did not practice in the morning session were outside linebacker Daniel Adongo, inside linebacker Mario Harvey, cornerback Greg Toler, wide receiver LaVon Brazill, safety Sergio Brown and center Khaled Holmes.

Offensive guard Hugh Thornton sat out for the fifth straight day, but he is no longer wearing a boot on his injured foot.

Another rookie on the rise

Tight end Justice Cunningham had a solid morning practice.

The rookie out of South Carolina made two catches with the first unit and had a leaping reception to steal a ball away from a linebacker working with third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish.

"He's coming along," Pagano said. "He's making progress every day. He's doing a great job of picking things up mentally, and he's applying it and bringing it out to the practice field and doing a great job."