TERRE HAUTE —
The location may have changed, but training camp continues on for the Indianapolis Colts.
With the Anderson University portion of camp wrapping up a three-week run last Friday, the Colts are spending the final days of the preseason schedule working out at the team’s own Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
There are two exhibition games remaining for Indianapolis — a home matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday (7 p.m.) at Lucas Oil Stadium and a road trip to Cincinnati next Thursday.
During an extended team meeting with his players Tuesday morning, Colts coach Chuck Pagano stressed the importance of staying in a training-camp state of mind for the duration of the preseason.
“It feels like home and everybody’s ready to get [to the] in-season routine. And even though we’re treating this week like that, we’re still at camp,” Pagano repeated. “As I just told [the players], it may look like West 56th [Street], but treat it like you’re still at Anderson.
“We’re still in training-cap mode. This is no time to get complacent. We took a big step this past weekend [with a 20-12 preseason win over the New York Giants]. We certainly don’t want to take a step backwards. So we’re still in training-camp mode. And that’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”
According to quarterback Andrew Luck, the coach’s message got through loud and clear.
“We’re still in that training-camp mentality. We’re still trying to grind as much as we can during the day. And, honestly, we are focused on the Browns. We’re trying to make this as much of a game like it would be during the season,” Luck said.
“In my mind it’s like a dry run [for the regular season]. OK, here, let’s do it now and maybe we can improve it before week one.”
• Getting ready for Cleveland — Since Saturday night’s matchup with the Browns will be the third preseason game, look for Indianapolis’ offensive and defensive starters to get maximum playing time.
“Normally, what you’d like to do is play a half, go in, make your adjustments and come out and play a series in that third quarter. Again, depending on how many plays we play is to be determined, how we handle that situation. We always take it case-by-case,” Pagano explained.
“If we got a veteran guy that is over a number that we’ve deemed from a play-count standpoint before the half, then we likely get a guy out. A guy like [defensive end] Cory [Redding], a guy like [wide receiver] Reggie [Wayne] those type of guys that have got enough snaps under their belt. Typically, go in [at halftime], make your adjustments, come out, play a series in the third quarter and start to make substitutions from there.”
A few veteran players who have battled injuries during training camp — such as inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) and strong safety LaRon Landry (knee) — might see their first playing time of the preseason. Another veteran free-agent pickup, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, is not expected to suit up, although that decision could change later this week.
“In a perfect world, that’d be great. But [Bradshaw] is a veteran. He is a pro. He understands what it takes to be ready once the season opener hits [Sept. 8 against Oakland]. If we get that, that’s a bonus. If not, I’m not worried about it,” the Colts’ coach said.
• More game-planning — With the starters expected to play more against the Browns, there will be more of a regular-season approach with game offensive and defensive gameplans. NFL teams usually do not fully game-plan during their first two preseason games.
“We try to treat this one, the third preseason game, as a normal in-season game week. So [Tuesday], yeah, [we treated] like a normal Wednesday. [Today] will be like a normal Thursday and [Thursday] will be like a Friday,” Pagano explained.
“So [we] try to indoctrinate them, put a little bit of a gameplan that’s not as extensive as it will be for our opener against Oakland. But we will study some tape and get the guys used to the process.”
• Injury report — Tight end Dwayne Allen (foot), rookie offensive guard Hugh Thornton (ankle), rookie outside linebacker Daniel Adongo (bicep), wide receiver Griff Whalen (groin), defensive end Fili Moala (knee), Bradshaw (foot) and Angerer all practiced Tuesday.
Wide receiver LaVon Brazill did not participate. Brazill, who will miss the first four regular-season games due to violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policies, sat out with his right foot in a walking boot. The extent and type of injury was not immediately known.
Also missing the workout were safety Joe Lefeged (calf), inside linebacker Josh McNary (hamstring), rookie nose tackle Montori Hughes (stinger), outside linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (shoulder), cornerback Teddy Williams (quad), Landry and Fleener (knee).
“Fleener is the same. He’s day-to-day. Dwayne Allen, we’ll start to work him back into practice this week. We’ll monitor his reps. Lawrence Sidbury, again, he’s going to get a second opinion. We’ll know more on him either later in the week or early next week,” Pagano said.
“More than likely doubtful for this game, probably won’t play. And then Fili [Moala], we took off of [the physically unable to perform list] and we’re going to start to work him in. Don’t anticipate, unless something drastic changes, him playing this week. But good to have him back off PUP and work him back in the mix.”
The Colts’ coach added that he does not plan on rushing Bradshaw back too soon before the regular-season opener with Oakland. He was in full pads for the first time since signing with the team this past spring.
“We’ll monitor it and make sure we take care of him as far as reps go. But we’re going to get him in there, get him through some individual [work],” he said. “Then we’ll pick a period here, pick a period there to get him a couple of reps in each of those deals. We’re going to ease him into it.”
• Roster moves — With Brazill sidelined, Indianapolis signed former Arena League wide receiver/defensive back Maurice Williams on Monday night.
Williams (6-1, 195) played for Cleveland and Orlando in the AFL. He played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh.
• Roster cuts coming up — The first of two mandated roster cuts will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Teams are currently carrying 90 players during training camp. That number must be trimmed to 75 by Tuesday.
A final roster cut from 75 to the regular-season limit of 53 will come the following Aug. 31.
“It’s going to be tough. Just getting to 75 is tougher this year. Obviously getting to 53 after the Cincinnati ballgame is going to be tough,” Pagano voiced.
“We’ve got a lot of guys taking full advantage of their opportunities. We’re deeper at every position. We wanted to create competition. This is what we wanted as far as the roster goes. It’s going to be a much tougher task this time around.”