Chuck Pagano: Everything is A-OK so far

Colts head coach says team has accomplished as much as it can during two months of offseason training activities.

No need to panic. The absences of Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore and cornerback Vontae Davis from Wednesday’s offseason training activities had nothing to do with injuries.

“Yeah, it’s voluntary,” head coach Chuck Pagano said of Gore. “He’s good. Let’s make sure we’re all clear on that.”

And Davis? He doesn’t have any injury issue?

“No, he’s good,” Pagano said. “It’s voluntary.”

Lest anyone forget, while players are “encouraged” to participate in OTA workouts, they aren’t mandatory, which is what next week’s veteran’s mini-camp will be.

Pagano said the team has accomplished its objective of installing the mental aspects of playing football the past two months. After mini-camp wraps up next Thursday, players are off until they report to Anderson University on Aug. 1 for training camp.

“We’ve had an excellent offseason to this point,” he said. “It’s winding down. It’s gone really fast. The eight weeks that you get, the nine weeks that you get, it goes really fast, but I think we’ve maximized every single minute, every single day that we’ve had an opportunity to work. The guys have done a great job, seeing progress on both sides of the ball and special teams. Again, I think we’re further ahead at this point than any point since we’ve been together. Knock on wood stay healthy, guys got to keep working, keep growing. We’re just taking this thing one day at a time, and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Pagano reiterated the OTA routine lays the groundwork for when the team puts on shoulder pads and boosts the intensity at training camp.

“You’re in helmets and shorts (now),” he said. “We’re going to find out about a lot of guys come training camp time when we get to put the pads on and actually play real football, if you will. From a mental standpoint, alignment, assignment, technique, communication, install, we threw everything at them. Young guys, old guys and we’re seeing how much sticks. By the time we get to training camp, it’ll be the fourth time they hear that install. I think from a strength and conditioning standpoint, you can make some ground up. From a communication standpoint, it’s good.

“Again, like I said, fundamentals and technique, we put a premium on fundamentals, technique and execution in this offseason program focusing on the little things. The penalties, two years ago we were really good, last year we weren’t good. We’re focusing on that. Taking care of the football, there’s nothing more important than the football. Ball security, taking the ball away on defense, I think that’s where we’ve tried to make the most hay. Find out about the young guys that we’ve brought in here, see how much they can grasp, how much they can learn and things like that.”

The Colts committed 105 penalties for 848 yards in 2014. The year before, they were flagged 66 times for 576 yards.

In terms of turnovers, the Colts had 31 last season, 16 interceptions and 15 lost fumbles. That’s more than double their league-low of 14 in 2013, 10 interceptions and four lost fumbles.

“Yeah, again, you’d like to come in and try to clean up as many things that you need to clean up from the 10 OTAs,” Pagano said. “You’d like to get through healthy No. 1, be very productive. You get three (mini-camp) practices, but you get a walk through in the a.m. and then you have a practice on Tuesday afternoon, a practice Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday night we’ll be at Lucas Oil, which will be great for our fans. The guys get excited about that. Just throw everything at them again and see how much has stuck. See how much retention there is and get ready for the offseason.

“You want to end on a great note. You want to be productive and again, you want to stay healthy and those type of things. Again, we’re going to find out once they come back and we get back together Aug. 1st in Anderson, exactly what type of team we’re going to have and what type of team we’re going to be.”

The Colts have been touted as Super Bowl contenders after three consecutive 11-win regular seasons, back-to-back AFC South titles, and reaching the AFC Championship Game last January.

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


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