Blue Zone Live: Latest from Colts Camp, interview with Malik Hooker

WESTFIELD, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts are preparing for a new season--and we have it all covered with Blue Zone Live!

Chris Hagan hosted Thursday's show. Zak Keefer of The Athletic joined the program--he’s a familiar face to Indianapolis viewers, having previously appeared on Colts Camp Live broadcasts as a writer with the IndyStar. Hagan also talked to third-year safety Malik Hooker.

Hagan and Keefer discussed Andrew Luck’s calf injury, with Keefer saying “there’s absolutely cause for concern” with the injury. He still feels Luck will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

“It’s just a stubborn injury and I’m sure the Colts will be happy to get through this,” Keefer said.

Hagan said Luck admitted much of this situation is mental, with Keefer saying Luck will be the one to decide when he’ll return.

On the practice field, Keefer said defense has won camp so far. While T.Y. Hilton has looked great, the offense hasn’t been impressive.

On the defensive side, he’s been impressed with Darius Leonard, who somehow looks even faster this year, along with rookie Rock Ya-Sin.

He believes the Colts have added a lot of depth to the roster, meaning competition for spots will be intense. He also said the Colts have added speed on defense, which will be essential when they face top-tier quarterbacks during the regular season.

Back to offense, Keefer is looking forward to seeing the development of wide receiver Deon Cain, who missed his rookie season due to an ACL tear.

“He’s going to be rusty. He’s going to take some time—I don’t think he’s going to be 100 percent until October or November,” Keefer said. “But this is a guy who can play.”

Cain suffered the injury in the team’s first preseason game last year after starring in training camp. He has tremendous playmaking ability and is expected to be part of a deep well of wide receivers.

Unlike last year, when the receiver position was wide open, making the roster in 2019 will be much more challenging, Keefer believes, pointing to Cain’s return, the signing of free agent Devin Funchess and the drafting of Parris Campbell.

Hagan also welcomed safety Malik Hooker to the program. He entered training camp healthy, which he said will give him a head start.

Like Anthony Walker said during Wednesday’s show, Hooker said being in the same defensive system for the second year is beneficial. He also believes the Colts have the pieces to make it work.

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of game changers and playmakers on this defense,” Hooker said. “Obviously, you know the year Darius Leonard had last year. He’s a big part of this defense, and [it’s] not just him, it’s a lot of people who play major [roles] in this defense.”

Hooker said this year will “be fun to watch” now that players have more experience in the defensive system.

“I feel like this is the year where we’re going to be a scary defense,” he said.

Hagan also had some fun with Hooker during the show, sharing a poll that ranked fans from Hooker’s alma mater, (the) Ohio State University, among the most annoying in college football. The Buckeyes were No. 2 in the poll.

“They’re not annoying because they’re cheering for winning,” Hooker said. “Ohio State wins and who doesn’t like cheering for winning?

“I feel like it’s just jealously. I feel like other fans, their team’s not winning consistently,” he added.

He loves training camp at Westfield.

“I love it. I enjoy it,” he said. “You’re not going to play this game forever. You’ve got to embrace it, love it while it’s going on.

It's hard to believe, but the Colts play their first preseason game next week! Here’s a look at the preseason schedule. All preseason games will be broadcast on FOX59 and FOX59.com (Indianapolis market only).

  • Aug. 8 at Buffalo
  • Aug. 17 vs. Browns
  • Aug. 24 vs. Bears
  • Aug. 29 at Bengals

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