The NFL lockout nixed any chance second-round draft choice Ben Ijalana had to learn the ropes of being a pro football player before Colts training camp. But he’s proving to be a quick study.
“My mindset is to acquire as much knowledge that I can learn from any veteran and try not to make any mistakes,” Ijalana said. “I play O-Line, if nobody says my name, I did good. I’m just looking to do my part, hopefully right away.”
The anonymity that Ijalana and other offensive linemen seek won’t be easy to come by with quarterback Peyton Manning recovering from neck surgery.
“It’s like Day 1 or Day 2, I feel like we’re doing good,” Ijalana said. “There’s still things to work on. We’ve got some things to work on.”
A pleasant surprise for the rookie is the lack of hazing from veterans.
“The team unity; it’s a veteran-led group,” Ijalana said. “You enter the NFL and like watch your back. But everybody watches out for everyone. It’s a good team to be on.”
Six Colts sit out
A half-dozen players sat out Tuesday’s activities to rest injuries. Wide receiver Taj Smith, defensive tackle DeMario Pressley and guard Mike Pollack were all sidelined with hamstring issues.
Defensive back Kevin Thomas rested due to a quad injury. Tight end Brody Eldrige sat out because of an ailing knee. And defensive tackle Fili Moala got the day off because of a foot injury.
DeVan offers advice
Now in his third season, guard Kyle DeVan had some sage words for some of the newest additions to the team.
“I’m sure they’re extra wide-eyed this year being that yesterday was the first time they had ever put on a Colts helmet, but I was in their shoes a few years ago and the biggest thing is not to make the same mistake twice and more importantly don’t make it a third time,” DeVan said. “If you can do that and you can process our offense, you can find a spot on this team. That’s the biggest thing I learned when I got here. ‘Well, I messed up this time.’ But when I got that same look or same play I tried not to mess it up again.”
Vinatieri worried about wins, not records
Adam Vinatieri has had his fair share of big moments kicking field goals in the NFL. At 38, the 16-year veteran owns eight NFL kicking-records and is primed to add more to his résumé.
With a new three-year contract, records are not what he’s focused on for the 2011 season.
“At this point, no. For me, the only record that matters is wins and losses and playoffs and that kind of stuff,” Vinatieri said. “I’ve always said that what I’ve done is I evaluate the year and see what I can approve on and what I can do better. I suppose at the end of my career I can turn around and look at it and say ‘Hmm, that was pretty cool.’ But as of right now, I don’t really pay attention to stats and records and all that. ”
AFC South title a goal
The Indianapolis Colts have won the AFC South division title seven of the nine years it has existed.
Colts guard Jamey Richard realizes the importance of taking the right approach to win another division crown.
“There are big goals and little goals, and the important thing is you have to do the little things to obtain the bigger goals,” Richard said. “It is important to worry about taking baby steps and do the little things first like worrying about game by game. The big things will take care of themselves.”