Coltsfanawalt checks in with this from Anderson yesterday:
My wife and I took our children on our annual trip to Colts Training Camp. This year we caught the afternoon practice on Friday the thirteenth of August. I was tweeting my observations before I came to the realization that no one who follows me on twitter cares about my Colts obsession, and no one who would care about training camp follows me on Twitter. One of those life moments where you question the sanity of your actions…
First things first. We didn’t enjoy the Anderson experience as well as Terre Haute. It started when we pulled into a lot advertising $5.00 parking next to CVS. After the undercarriage of my car scraped the ground alarmingly, the girl told us that it happens to many others as well. She then informed us that closer parking was full and that the price was actually $10.00 on that day. After paying it, we walked past the closer parking areas, which were also ten dollars, and they actually did have spaces available. I guess I’m the sucker that was spotted a mile away… After walking forever, we finally arrived at the field (and smoldered in the heat). We had a great view of some of the action as the units were scattered, but we were far from the defense and the offensive line areas at that time. Eventually, everyone came together and the experience was better. I will say that autographs seemed much harder to come by at Anderson. Again, we were missing Terre Haute. (Since this is not the point of this email, I’ll stop before telling how that the website for the university led our GPS to the wrong building, several miles away. And combined with the long walk, we missed nearly half an hour of practice. Oh wait, I just told you. Aargh!)
We watched Manning pass to the receivers when we arrived. Townsend was playing like a man on a mission. Broke up a great pass to Clark, tight coverage. He should give us some quality depth.
On Clark’s next pass play, he was guarded by someone in a red jersey wearing #41 (not Bethea). Clark made a great catch on the sideline near the endzone, and immediately we all cheered. However, his feet were tangled with the defender’s on the reception, and he came up limping. It happened right in front of us, and I immediately was concerned. He limped around a small area of that endzone for a few minutes, and he was trying to hide his displeasure. He acted like he wanted to throw the ball in frustration, but he refrained.
A trainer walked over to him, and together they slowly walked to the tents on the far sidelines. The whole way, Clark’s body language was showing that he was holding back the desire to vent some frustration over the injury, likely because of the spectators. It’s like he wanted to throw something, but he didn’t. After disappearing in the tent for awhile, he came out to the far sideline with his knee wrapped in some way. I didn’t see him leave eventually, but the word was that he rode off on a cart. I won’t relax about the situation until I see him in action, to be honest.
Gonzalez was not in active participation, but he was moving around quite well. He once got in front of a receiver to toughen up the receiver’s route. He was throwing the ball around. No sleeve. I never saw him run full speed, but nothing I saw alarmed me at the time. Other than the fact that it was his fourth practice in a row without participating… We never saw Garcon, either.
I’ll tell you who was impressive to watch – Brandon James! That kid could run routes, get separation, and catch tough passes. My son and I are now pulling for him to make the team. He’s short (5’7″ I believe), but he is good! Speaking of rookies who impressed, Devin Moore made a nice TD run in short yardage, running over a defender on the way. It was hard contact and downright sweet to see. I doubt he lasts on this deep team, but we’ll see.
Manning was all business. I had to cover my kids’ ears on a couple of occasions. This guy is serious about practice (insert Allen Iverson joke here). He was always coaching up the other QBs, RBs, and WRs. At one point, he was on the defensive side of the formation, barking out suggestions on each play. I could’ve sworn he was the OC at times.
Addai stood out among RBs in my view, as did Wayne among receivers. He and Powers were in warfare on some routes. Wayne won most it seemed. I loved the rivalry. They should both be special. Speaking of Powers, he committed PI on Tamme on one play. Blatant. Tamme got up and shot him a look. Funny.
Vinny made some long kicks. MacAfee was very impressive on punts!
Eldridge made a nice TD grab from Manning in the corner of the endzone. I think that #81 will be special for us. He did later drop an easy one though. Honey-Gijon ran a lazy route on one goal line scenario, annoying a serious Manning who was watching the whole thing. Later though, he caught a tough pass from Painter. It was a mixed bag with him.
I noticed a lot of practice time on the D-line, including first team defense, by Marlon Favorite and Ricardo Matthews. Our defense was impressive overall, especially the DBs, Lacey, Hayden and Powers. The defense showed some interesting formations for sure.
Let me end by mentioning that we stayed until the practice field had been long abandoned by all the players – except Manning. He was out there running sprints (and having a coach time him) while still wearing his helmet and carrying a football. He stretched forever after that. The guy takes it seriously, that’s for sure!
Overall, it was a worthwhile experience for Colts’ geeks like me. But I do miss Terre Haute.