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INDIANAPOLIS – Make Football Violent Again.
That was the message on John Simon’s shirt at Training Camp move-in day for the Colts.
Such a shirt had to send a smile across the faces of Chris Ballard and Frank Reich.
All offseason long, Ballard and Reich have been on the same page about how to rebuild the Colts—and instilling a culture of physicality and toughness.
Eventually, the talk had to be walked, and that’s happened at Grand Park.
The Colts have done that at Grand Park with 5 full-padded practices in their last 6 sessions on the field. In years past, the Colts might have had a handful of full-padded practices all of camp.
They will easily eclipse that in 2018.
“This is really the only way I think about how to do it,” Reich says of the Colts having a much more physical camp than prior years. “I thought about it as a player and as a coach. We’ve said from Day One when Chris and I sat down, you talk to the players. ‘What do we want this team to stand for?’ And it’s got to be about toughness. It’s our number one deal. It’s our number one deal in the guys we want on this team.
“I’ll take a less talented guy who is just a tough football player and I think in the long run that wins. You can’t just do that – you have to learn to do that every day.”
From live tackling periods at camp, to regular two-hour sessions wearing the gear that you put on every Sunday in the fall, the Colts have had their most physical camp in years.
Reich is taking complete advantage of wearing full pads this time of year.
The CBA requires teams to refrain from wearing full pads until practice No. 3 of camp.
Once that happened for the Colts, they’ve been in full pads in 5 of their last 6 practices.
That’s unlike anything we saw in the Chuck Pagano era.
Toughness was the basis of Reich’s first team meeting at Grand Park to the 2018 Colts.
Simon was out in the crowd on that move-in day wearing the shirt that described things so well.
“They want us to be violent and aggressive,” Simon says of the new changes to the Colts.
“Football is a lot of physicality and any time you get the pads on you want to definitely go try to be the most physical guy on the team and we’ve got a lot of guys like that. OTAs are great and all, but once you get the pads on and start playing real football you kind of figure out what’s what.”