Colts bonding in OTA acclimation process

The eight-week routine of offseason training activities in Indy brings together a focused team looking to build chemistry.

Quarterback Andrew Luck spoke of being part of an elite offense and specifically cutting down on turnovers and improving red-zone efficiency.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson as well as position counterparts T.Y. Hilton and Duron Carter admitted there’s a lot of pass-catching talent in their meeting room.

Outside linebacker Trent Cole and inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson sounded eager to push themselves even if it’s late April and the eight-week routine of offseason training activities could be considered mundane by other veterans.

The Indianapolis Colts are back to work at their Northwest side training facility. New teammates such as Johnson, Cole and running back Frank Gore are getting acclimated with their new surroundings while others focus on the familiar routine, as Hilton says, of “just trying to get better.”

Luck enjoys the process.

“There is a routine,” the three-time Pro Bowl passer said during Wednesday’s first OTA locker-room media availability. “I think different is the faces, the new relationships you build. It’s fun. It’s fun to get back with the guys in the building. You have workouts, throwing and then the meetings. Then this truly is sort of the first official step on this journey. It’s a long process and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Colts learned their schedule the night before — they open the regular season at Buffalo on Sept. 13 — but that’s a long way off. OTAs are more about building chemistry and working on the basic building blocks for a new team.

Gore, the San Francisco 49ers’ all-time leading rusher, said his new surroundings are about what he expected.

“They’ve got a great group of guys here,” he said. “The quarterback’s a great leader. I think as long as we’re together and keep following our quarterback, we’ll be fine.”

Carter, son of Hall of Famer Cris Carter, had a simple perspective on how he’ll fit in with a deep group of receivers.

“Get in where I fit in,” the former Canadian Football League star said with a smile.

Luck passed for a career-high 40 touchdowns last season. Carter knows that, and suggested that number could climb to 50 this season. His job is to get as many of those as possible.

Jackson liked the turnout for the voluntary workouts. He joked around with locker neighbor Hugh Thornton about being back together again.

“Guys are excited. Guys are excited to be back,” the 10th-year pro said. “Where we left off was a bad taste in our mouths. Nothing’s changed. We’re still talking same goals, same mindset. We’ve had some great additions, some veteran, proven guys. We’re looking to pick up where we left off.”

That bad taste was a 45-7 AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots last January in Foxborough, Mass. Players understand the expectations are high, it’s Super Bowl or bust like every other team, but recent success points to these guys being serious contenders.

As Luck reminded, there’s a lot of work to do before anyone should be talking about the Super Bowl.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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