Sudden change. Football coaches used the term all the time.
Most times, the phrase refers to when the offensive unit turns the ball over with a fumble or interception during a game and the defense has to come in to stem the tide. But for the Indianapolis Colts, coach Chuck Pagano has mentioned it when talking about recent last minute changes to the team’s training camp practice plans.
Through the first week and a half of workouts at Anderson University, three morning walkthrough sessions have been moved from the school’s primary stadium facility indoors due to inclement weather. Two afternoon workouts have also been affected by rain. Those numbers include both practices on Thursday.
AU’s grass practice fields proved to be too soggy after overnight and early morning thunderstorms rolled through central Indiana, forcing Colts officials to literally pick up and move the afternoon workout back to the team’s home West 56th Street indoor complex.
Indianapolis players, coaches and support staff were bused to the facility following a morning walkthrough in the schools’ Kardatzke Wellness Center. That’s been the site of the previous on-campus indoor practices. They headed back to Anderson late Thursday afternoon and are scheduled to have both practices there today (9:30 a.m. and 1:50 p.m.).
“It’s another ‘sudden change’ situation. We all kept up all night with the storms that were rolled through. It was raining pretty hard up there and the [practice] fields were saturated. We got the weather report from [head athletic trainer] Dave [Hammer] and those guys and they tracked it. They said there would be another storm coming through [Thursday afternoon] and we couldn’t afford, with such a young team, we had to get the work in,” Pagano explained.
“I didn’t want to get stuck up there [Anderson] and have the rain coming down and lightning and things like that and then have to go in the gym. We needed to work [Thursday]. Now we’ll start to back off a little bit and get their legs back and get fresh for Sunday [first preseason game against St. Louis at Lucas Oil Stadium].”
As it stands now, even if storms were to re-appear today, the Colts will try and get both workouts completed in Anderson.
“We were going to back off a little bit anyway, so [Thursday was] the important day to finish up in preparation before the Sunday game against the Rams,” the Colts coach explained.
“So if we got to go [indoors Friday], we’ll go in. We want to take the pads off. We can get done what we need to get done from a mental standpoint. So we won’t be back [at the West 56th complex].”
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n A record, of sorts — Ironically, while the state and region have suffered through one of the worst droughts in recent memory, more training camp practices have been affected by rainy weather this year than in the previous 14 camps combined.
Heading into today’s workouts, five total practices have been moved to other areas or locations. That record could be broken as more storms are forecast for today.
n Injury report — Nose tackle Cory Redding suffered an arm injury late in Thursday afternoon’s practice. He did not return.
“He did a little something to his elbow, so they pulled him out there at the end. I’m waiting to hear. When we get back up to Anderson, the doctors will look at him and Dave [Hammer] will look at him. Then I’ll know more after we get back up there,” Pagano said.
Wide receivers Donnie Avery and Jarred Fayson, along with cornerback Chris Rucker, missed Thursday’s practice.
n The longshots — Most Colts fans knows about veteran receivers Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. They’re getting to know most of the newcomers too, such as rookie draft picks T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill, as well as five-year veteran Avery.
But there are a couple of other young receivers who have caught the attention of the team’s coaches.
Second-year player Kris Adams, who played at Texas-El Paso, and undrafted rookie Jabin Sambrano continue to make the most of their opportunities.
Adams (6-foot-3, 194-pounds) was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Chicago last year. He has since spent time on the Bears, Rams, and Vikings practice squads before being signed by Indianapolis in early June.
Sambrano, meanwhile, was added to the Colts’ roster in late April after finishing his collegiate career at Montana.
Both have impressed in different ways. Adams is big, athletic (40-inch vertical leap) and fast (4.4 40-yard dash). The 5-11, 175-pound Sambrano is more of a possession receiver with good hands who is sneaky fast and can catch the ball in a crowd.
They’ve made tough catches during camp — reporters still talk about Adams’ one-handed, behind the back reception and a leaping end zone grab on passes from rookie quarterback Chandler Harnish. He gives Indianapolis a legitmate big deep threat if he can make the final regular-season roster.
Sambrano meshed with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck during the Colts’ organized team activity practices. He suffered a minor injury during the first week of training camp but has rebounded this week.
“A pleasant surprise,” is how Pagano refers to Adams. “He’s a big-play guy. You can’t coach 6-3. And you can’t coach 4.4.
“He’s going to give a ton of those [defensive backs] nightmares as we play through the preseason. So if he keeps working hard and stays in his playbook and keeps progressing, we might have something there.”