Colts notebook: ‘Dog days’ of training camp ain’t what it used to be
ANDERSON, Ind. – First, it was Chuck Pagano setting the scene as the Indianapolis Colts prepared for another workout at Anderson University.
“It’s the dog days of training camp,’’ he said. “It is what it is. It’s not for the meek and it’s not for the timid.’’
It was Aug. 1. The players were heading into week 2. And their fifth practice.
Wednesday morning, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino read from the same script.
“We’re in the dog days of training camp in some regards,’’ he said.
A few hours later, the Colts would sweat through their 10th training camp session, one shortened by about an hour by heavy rain.
Safety Mike Adams smiled when asked about “dog days” and the “grind of camp’’ and everyone being eager for training camp to break Thursday.
Memories of his rookie season remains fresh. It was 2004 and Adams was an undrafted rookie out of Delaware with the San Francisco 49ers. They held camp in Santa Clara. It was toasty.
The Colts’ latest summer in Madison County consisted of 11 practices and, in accordance with the labor agreement, zero traditional two-a-days. Their two-a-days involved a walkthrough in the morning followed by a regular practice in the afternoon.
So, things have changed?
“Hell yeah,’’ Adams said. “There would’ve been more (practices) back then. A lot of the young guys don’t realize when we tell them they have it good and they’re lucky. ‘You guys are complaining now, but you couldn’t play back then.’
“It was full pads in the morning, then we would eat and have meetings and then you would have full pads in the afternoon. We are hitting and it is hot.
“Those are dog days. It was a real grind. I don’t miss those days by any means. I just wonder sometimes if some of the young guys could go back then and see and realize that.’’
The Colts reported to Anderson July 26, a week earlier than normal because they were in the since-cancelled Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game.
When they were in the 1996 Hall of Fame Game against the New Orleans Saints on July 27, players reported to Anderson the first week of July.
So much has changed – eased, if you will – with the new labor agreement that limits time on the practice field and sessions in full pads. Player safety is paramount.
Adams is 35 and in his 13th season. He doesn’t necessarily mind the new approach.
“The new CBA put a couple of more years on me,’’ he said. “The practices are easier. There isn’t that much wear and tear and not much banging and hitting.’’
Even so, the grueling camps of years past served a purpose.
“I think it made me tougher,’’ said Adams, who has been selected for the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons with the Colts. “I think it made me embrace it more and embrace the league and how hard it is to stay and be here.
“It definitely made me cherish every moment I got and now I cherish it, but I’m glad it is easier now because I’m older now.’’
Wednesday afternoon’s session was shortened by a thunderstorm that roared through campus. Heavy rain forced practice to be completed indoors.
Players are scheduled for a final workout at Anderson University Thursday morning at 8:30. Like previous practices, it is open to the public.
After traveling to Buffalo for what now represents their preseason opener Saturday, the Colts will complete their preseason work at their Indianapolis headquarters.
At least during the preseason, all players are created equal. Never mind quarterback Andrew Luck is due a guaranteed 2016 base salary of $12 million as part of his six-year, $140 million contract and third-stinger Stephen Morris has a non-guaranteed base of $525,000.
Under the labor agreement, all veteran are paid $1,800 each week during the preseason. First-year players are paid $1,000 weekly.
A player does not start drawing on his ’16 contract until the first week of the regular season.
Linebacker Amarlo Herrera, a 2015 sixth-round draft pick, was waived while running back Abou Toure was waived-injured. If Toure clears waivers, he will revert to the team’s injured reserve list.