Colts Camp Notes: Heyward-Bey remains off the field

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ANDERSON – He was back on the field on Monday following a knee sprain on Sunday, but he was only there to watch.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey remained sidelined for Monday’s practice and didn’t participate in either the morning walk through or afternoon practice at Anderson University.

Afterwords the team said the injury is not believed to be serious but didn’t offer a timeline for his return.

Heyward-Bey, who was drafted seventh overall in the 2009 draft, comes to the Colts from Oakland where he made 42 catches for 608 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.

A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE

Just as it was so many seasons with No. 18 behind center, much of the focus in this Colts camp has been on No. 12 and the offensive side of the ball.

After all the squad has a new offensive coordinator and the play of Andrew Luck in his first season has made the unit one of the most talked about in the NFL.

But on the defensive side of the ball there are plenty of storylines as well. Replacing mainstay Dwight Freeney. New additions in LaRon Landry, Greg Toler, Erik Walden and others. Plus there’s improving on the not so impressive 26th overall ranking in total defense during the 2012 season.

All in all there is plenty on the plate for Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky as he enters his second season with the team.

“Last year was a little bit different because it was all new to everybody,” said Manusky when asked generally about the defensive unit so far. “For right now they’re feeling comfortable with the calls, comfortable with one another and they’re feeding off each other, which is great as a defense. So I think they’re comfortable with the calls, they kind of know it and they’re working together well.”

Manusky says the new players have done the same-and expect many of them to see playing time over this season. Landry has seen significant time on the first team as a safety with many of the others being cycled in during team activities the past week.

“They love the game. They love the passion of the game,” said Manusky of the new additions to the defense. “They go out there with a great attitude. And number one, they’re good football players and great people. So we’re excited that we get players like that. I feel comfortable with them. They feel comfortable with me and I trust them more than anything.”

ARMY STRONG ON THE FIELD

One of the most unique stories during training camp has been the journey of linebacker Josh McNary.

The former Army football player who held the school’s career record for sacks participated in his first week of NFL practice after spending two years in the service as a lieutenant.

After a week on the field Manusky has seen some rust from his time off the field yet indications that McNary’s best football may be ahead.

“I think coming out of the Army and not playing football for two years kind of hurt him a little bit, but from the standpoint of understanding the game, he’s a bright individual,” said Manusky of McNary. “He’s got some ability across the board. He can play in space and he can cover a little bit. I think it’s going to be a little bit of a process with Josh because of the learning curve right now.

“But the sky’s the limit for him because he has some good athletic ability and he showed some six-inch punch and strike which we like to see as coaches.”

HERE’S TO YOU, MR. PRESIDENT

Politics have made their way into Colts training camp in 2012-but don’t worry, it’s not all negative.

Earlier in camp receiver Reggie Wayne described Andrew Luck as “The President” of the team, signifying his ability to grab the leadership role of the Colts after just a single season.

“It’s obviously very kind when Reggie (Wayne) says something like that,” said Luck when asked about Wayne’s classification for him on the team. “I think year two as a quarterback, yeah, you are going to grow as a leader, hopefully, if you are on the right track.”

Luck’s 2012 would prove that true, considering the quarterback threw for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns in leading the Colts to a surprise 11-5 record along with a Wild Card playoff spot. With a full year under his belt, Luck isn’t afraid to speak up and use his leadership skills to get things done on offense.

Though he does have respect for the senior member of his team.

“I feel like if I have an opinion that needs to be heard, I’ll say it. I feel more free doing that but really in my mind Reggie is still what I view as the leader of our offense,” said Luck. “He’s the guy that’s been there in every situation, he knows what’s going on, he’s a great team player.

“He is the one I look up to as a leader. But it’s nice of him to say that.”