The Colts put in a full day in pads, the first time since the end of the 2004 season that the players were moving and hitting with gear on.
"It's always a little slower and a little sloppier the first day you have pads on, but then they get back in the swing of things," Tony Dungy said. "As a coach, you'd always like to see things perfect and it never quite is that first day of pads, but they'll get used to them."
Two undrafted rookies won't be working with the team at Terre Haute as they were waived on the first day of camp -- T Lou Lombardo and DB Jerome Dennis.
The big news of day one was that Mike Doss was working with the third-string safeties along with rookie Matt Giordano. Joe Jefferson and Bob Sanders were the starters with the Colts trying to give backups Waine Bacon and Gerome Sapp work with the second team to prepare them for preseason action.
"We've got to get Mike a lot of work," Dungy said, "and he's going to get a lot of playing time in the preseason, but we obviously have to get somebody ready for those first two weeks. Joseph is working there, and he's doing well."
DE Dwight Freeney had expected to be ready for action by the opening of training camp after offseason shoulder surgery, but is considered day-to-day after team doctors advised him to wait. In any case, Freeney expects to be out on the practice field soon.
"Yeah, I flunked," Freeney said. "But it's all good. I think it's more about protecting it than anything."
"It's nothing really physical, but with pads you might get hit or land the wrong way."
Freeney, offensive lineman Dylan Gandy (foot), defensive lineman Josh Williams (groin), defensive backs Von Hutchins (foot surgery) and Brandon Lynch (ankle), and linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (sports hernia) – were placed on the PUP list. The status during training camp doesn't impact their ability to play during the regular season.
With Williams sidelined, Larry Tripplett paired up with Montae Reagor on the first-team defense. They were flanked by Raheem Brock and rookie Jonathan Welsh.
Ryan Lilja worked with the first team at guard since Dylan Gandy was sitting out. Gandy was expected to be practicing with the starters.
WR Brandon Stokley opened camp with his goals for 2005 crystal clear.
"My goals are just to improve on last year and, basically, every game, just try to get better. And win more games," said Stokley. "Personally, I don't feel like I have to improve. I just want the team to improve and get to the Super Bowl. That's my main goal over anything personal this year."
Two other defensive ends are only practicing once a day following offseason knee surgery -- Robert Mathis sat out morning practice while Josh Thomas sat out the afternoon session.
Cornerback Marlin Jackson is starting where he left off in summer school workouts, practicing with the second team. Nick Harper and Donald Strickland worked with the first team on Thursday.
The two big plays of the day by the defense came compliments of Nick Harper who picked off a pass and ran 50 yards for a touchdown, and DT Larry Tripplett who recovered a fumble and rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown.
Edgerrin James was guarded when asked about whether he would make the trip to Tokyo to the team.
"I'm not going to discuss that," James said. "There's really nothing to talk about. We'll see what happens."
But he wasn't shy about opening up about his displeasure about his contract situation in light of the team's other stars getting longterm deals in recent years.
"After everything I've done, what more can you ask for? What more can you do? You come, you play, you fight back from an injury. You do everything you can possibly do and it's still not good enough. There's nothing you can really say because as soon as you say something, you're going to get blasted."
Despite that attitude, he's ready to give the team his best effort in 2005.
"One thing about me is I try to make the best of any situation. There are a lot of things I probably don't agree with, but I ain't going to walk around with it on my face."
Dominic Rhodes was involved in two big plays during the day -- a 25-yard catch and a long run around the right side of the line.
As expected, Gary Brackett worked with the first-team at middle linebacker flanked by David Thornton and Cato June. Thornton's return is a happy note since he missed the entire Colts mini-camp and summer school workouts recovering from a groin problem. With the return of Rob Morris, it appears the Colts will take another look at Kendyll Pope as Thornton's backup on the strongside. That's not good news for Thomas Houchin who saw plenty of action during summer school at that position.
The starting tight ends were Dallas Clark and Ben Hartsock when the Colts lined up in their two-tight end formations. TE Ben Utecht was held out of morning action, but got on the field for the afternoon sessions.
For a report from one of our fans who was in Terre Haute on Thursday, don't miss the post by TheLawnWrangler in our ColtPower Fan Forum.
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