WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Indianapolis Colts are preparing for a new season–and we have it all covered with Blue Zone Live!
Chris Widlic hosted Wednesday’s episode. He was joined by Colts.com writer Andrew Walker and Colts linebacker Anthony Walker.
Andrew Walker said he’s impressed with the defense so far. With Jabaal Sheard out, he’s liked what he’s seen from Tyquan Lewis and Al-Quadin Muhammad. Denico Autry has been dominant “every single day of camp,” he said.
He believes rookies will make significant contributions this year, with E.J. Speed flashing potential as well as Rock Ya-Sin, who snagged another interception during Wednesday’s practice.
With so many starters returning and a good rookie class developing, the Colts.com writer said there will be a lot of competition for spots.
On the offensive side of things, Walker has liked what he’s seen from Parris Campbell, who’s currently hobbled with a hamstring injury. The running game has looked solid, especially since players were able to put on the pads.
The team ran some first-and-goal at the one drills. He said fans should watch for Jonathan Williams in the running game while Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack have been solid in camp so far.
The conversation turned to quarterback Andrew Luck, who will miss the rest of practice this week with a calf injury. Luck will also sit out the team’s first preseason game.
“It’s hard not to say there’s some concern because of how yesterday unfolded,” Andrew Walker said. “You have a day off, and then you might expect him to be on in pads, and then he wasn’t. They addressed it, talked about how it was a lingering calf thing.
“I think the good news is, and the more frustrating news maybe, is it’s a muscle thing. It’s not a bone where you put it in a cast and it heals eventually. And it’s not something that requires surgery so you can say here’s your timeline when you’ll get back. It’s a muscle thing, you know, it’s just coming up on him, a very lingering type thing.”
The Colts.com writer said it’s imperative to get Luck back for training camp and preseason games so he can develop a rapport with new targets Parris Campbell and Devin Funchess.
Linebacker Anthony Walker can empathize with Luck. The third-year pro missed camp last year and felt like it really set him back during the regular season. He said he was eventually able to bounce back despite the steep learning curve.
Healthy for camp this year, he said the experience serves to build camaraderie with his teammates and helps players concentrate on the fundamentals.
Foremost on the linebacker’s mind: making sure the defense gets its due. He said the offense is as good as advertised, but it’s all people talk about. He doesn’t want the “D” to be overshadowed.
“We feel like we have a chip on our shoulder again. We don’t get the respect that we deserve, and that’s fine. We’ve got to come out here and earn it every day,” he said. “It’s an ‘earn it’ league. You’ve gotta earn it every day. You’ve gotta earn it on the practice field. Earn it in the preseason games and when the first game comes around, we have to be ready to go.”
Walker said the difference is “night and day” between year 1 and year 2 in the defense. Since players are in the defensive system for the second year, they know what they’re doing and are more certain in their assignments.
“It’s definitely a lot faster,” he said.
After his playing days are over, Walker is looking toward the front office. He wants to be an executive like Colts GM Chris Ballard.
Here’s a look at the Colts’ 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