With Colts, 90-player roster basically set before training camp
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Several thousand fans got a glimpse of the latest edition of the Indianapolis Colts during an open practice Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
What they saw then likely is what they’ll see when the team reports to Anderson University July 26 for the start of training camp.
To the point, other than minor shuffling at the bottom of the 90-player roster, don’t expect any significant additions.
General manager Ryan Grigson, coach Chuck Pagano and the personnel staff always are looking for someone–anyone–who would represent an upgrade at any position, but “we’re in a different kind of climate right now fiscally and how we’re doing things with this roster and even from our owner’s viewpoint on it,” Grigson said.
“We’re going to look and see if anyone comes on the (waiver) wire, someone maybe that coach and I feel can help us. But they also have to meet certain parameters like age and money.”
The Colts are approximately $16 million under the NFL’s salary cap, although a portion of that undoubtedly has been set aside to account for Andrew Luck’s extension. They still have enough wiggle room to add a veteran who won’t command anything resembling a sizable contract at this point of the offseason.
However, barring unforeseen talent becoming available, the time apparently has passed for acquiring someone to come in and compete for serious playing time.
One of the Colts’ better free-agent acquisitions occurred June 16, 2014. It was a few days before the mandatory minicamp and help was needed at safety. Grigson dialed up Mike Adams, who was working out at his New Jersey home and waiting for a team to show an interest.
Along with being available, Adams was affordable. He signed a one-year, $955,000 contract.
Better late than never.
Adams, 35, has appeared in the past two Pro Bowls and settled in as a defensive cornerstone. He’s generated 13 takeaways, including five interceptions each season. The last Colt with at least five interceptions in consecutive seasons? Eugene Daniel in 1984-85.
But the team signed Adams prior to minicamp, which gave him at least cursory knowledge of the defense. When training camp rolled around, he was better able to function.
Signing someone now, with the offseason work finished, would make it difficult for that player to get up to speed.
“If you do it during the summer,” Grigson said, “that guy has got to be ramped up pretty quick and it’s going to have to be when we get to Anderson. There’s going to be a learning curve there.
“It’s got to be the right person, the right guy, but we’ll look at everyone.”
A critical look at the roster reveals areas of concern in terms of proven depth: wide receiver, tight end, safety.
Yet Grigson expressed having confidence in the makeup of the roster.
“Yeah, I really do, and I think we’re all on the same page about that,” he said. “We really feel good about (it).”
What’s important, though, is not allowing the evaluation process to be skewed during the offseason. Pads and contact are prohibited. It’s not real football. That begins in late July.
“That’s why we are not going to pigeonhole anybody or get too high or too low on anybody,” Pagano said. “We just came in here with the idea that we had a plan as far as an installation schedule as far as what we wanted to get done from a football standpoint, situational standpoint, how much we wanted to throw at them.
“Once training camp starts I think we all know that’s where the real evaluations start to come when we start playing preseason games.”
Grigson said he always keeps his enthusiasm in check because “when the pads come on, a lot of times it does this (flipping his hand over). Things will flop and the guys that haven’t been showing up so to speak in the shorts, they show up when they are putting their face on people.
“We’re far from accomplished. We’re far from it. We’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of unrealized potential and growth out there. It’s going to be up to those players to reach their ceilings because we’ve given them all the resources.”