by Kent Sterling
There was a different vibe a Colts Camp today. Nothing like a 24-point hammering by an expansion team-esque Buffalo Bills to get a full roster serious about football. The fun of last week was replaced by serious work.
- Second year tight end Coby Fleener watched from the sidelines with his sleeves rolled up to avoid the farmer’s tan that all football players are gifted with during camp because of concussion symptoms suffered during Sunday’s game.
- Rookie defensive end Bjoern Werner got his first action of camp, and appeared to be damn excited about it.
- Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey did not to dispel worries about his hands.
- Pat Angerer was cleared to practice, but he came out after the work had started and then worked on the side.
- There was some focused work on special teams with an emphasis on maintaining lane integrity. That may have happened multiple times in earlier workout without my notice, but after Sunday’s collapse on special teams, it was not lost on anyone that special teams work was an important part of practice.
- The best part of the day came after the scheduled workout when Reggie Wayne took balls fired from the machine. He caught pass after pass left-handed just above his shoe tops, and I thought this is a football version of watching Ted Williams take batting practice.
- There are players who impress each workout. I have really liked the way third year Ben Ijalana has moved. He’s only worked with the third unit and against the third unit defense, but he looks quick and strong. Whether he would look that way against the ones – who knows?
- Running back Kerwynn Williams has looked quick, sure, and has been very good as a receiver out of the backfield. I’ve caught myself saying over and over again, “Who in the hell in #49? He’s huge!” He’s Caesar Rayford, a 6’7″, 267 lbs. rookie linebacker out of Washington, and he towers over the others linebackers.
There was a lot of talk about the tweet from Jim Irsay that called out the performance of the team he owns, “Many starters played briefly or were nursing little injuries,but it was a crap performance,my apologies/My commanders got n earful from me!”
The tweet was ill-considered as an attempt to try to commiserate with fans who felt cheated by a 24-point loss to a bad team. Colts fans know better than most that the preseason is meaningless by virtue of the complete disconnect between preseason failure from 2005-2010 when the Colts went a dreadful 4-22, and the regular season success represented by a 75-21 record.
Season ticket prices, which mandate the inclusion of two preseason games, are one of the reasons for fan dissatisfaction with a meaningless loss where the first team guys for the Bills exposed the third stringers of the Colts. My advice would be for season ticket holders to view the preseason as free while accepting a 20% up charge in regular season prices.
Massive justifications are my specialty, but I would suggest that Irsay not play the fanbase he worked so hard to build as saps. Apologies ring hollow from the guy who happily counts the money generated by a “crap performance” while simultaneously offering platitudes.
I’ve always been a fan of Irsay’s. He’s a quirky guy, but compared to many of the men who make incredible amounts of cash through their franchises, he’s a gem. His use of social media is both fun and generous, but pretending to share frustration with fans while stuffing wads of their cash into his pockets is disingenuous.
If being serious is a good thing, and a step in the right direction, the Colts should be more ready to go Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Giants.