Mini-Camp Report

This past weekend, ColtPower's John Cimasko attended the Colts mini-camp for their rookies. Here's his report on his first look at the newest Indianapolis Colts.

This weekend's Colts mini-camp was a light, non contact workout for the rookies.

Those of us in the media who were admitted to the sessions were not allowed to take notes as we observed practice. So I will do my best to recall what I saw out on West 56th Street on Saturday morning.

"Run and hit guys." Colts President Bill Polian is fond of those words in describing certain players, and while I did say that no contact was involved, it is evident that the prevailing theme in this year's draft -- carrying over into the signing of undrafted collegiate free agents -- was just that; players who run and hit.

After the first three rounds of last Saturday's NFL draft, head coach Tony Dungy stated that he felt as though their special teams had improved by thirty percent. That tells me that special teams are a concern. Actually, that tells me that a concerted effort is being made to improve this unit.

It's all about field position. I feel strongly about that. There's nothing worse than watching this football team score, and then seeing the ensuing kickoff returned to the fifty yard line. Yesterday I saw a number of players out there who have been brought in and will be given the opportunity to help prevent that from happening in 2005.

Athleticism also seems to be a key component of the new Colts. Watching both Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden, it was easy to see that these guys are quick, strong athletes. I don't think that either one of them is going to get much time to watch from the sidelines. Based on what I'm seeing and hearing, I believe that they were brought in to contribute immediately.

The players spent a large part of the morning working with their position coaches, and from our vantage point we were able to get a good look at the offensive line. Dylan Gandy worked a lot at center, and he has an impressive physique. I am anxious to see where he will fit in once the vets show up. It is always a treat watching o-line coach Howard Mudd work with his men.

It is also a treat to watch defensive line coach John Teerlink teach his players. At first glance, defensive end Jonathan Welsh bears a striking resemblance to former Cowboy and 49er Charles Haley. I only hope that he can perform at that level, or near it anyway. He is one rangy looking guy. "Sweet Pea" Burns seems very quick for his size, and I can't wait to see what he does in pads.

Matt Giordano and free agent linebacker Chris Laskowski look like two guys that can not wait to cover kickoffs and knock somebody into tomorrow. That's just a feeling that I get. They are clearly part of Polian's "run and hit guys" in this year's rookie class.

Linebacker Tyjaun Hagler is quick as advertised, covering a lot of territory in a short amount of time. He's another guy that fits Polian's description. The theme is readily apparent around the field as you watch these guys in action.

Running back Anthony Davis is stout, quick, and runs with a purpose. I can see a nice battle shaping up between him, free agent Marcus Williams, and incumbent James Mungro.

Second-year players were allowed to attend this camp if they had not played in a game last year. Ben Utecht, the tight end out of Minnesota was there and I believe that Utecht is going to be a nice addition to the offense. Speaking of tight ends, free agent Joey Hawkins stands out at 6'9". Stands out quite a bit.

This was a good chance for the rookies to get acclimated to what the NFL is all about; a chance for them to get a feel for practice, to get comfortable without the presence of the vets.

That all changes on May 20th when the full team reports for mini camp.

Email me at I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns.

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