INDIANAPOLIS – Normally, they’d be on the practice field right now.
The first full-padded practice would be coming in just a couple of days.
The first preseason game would be two weeks away.
Some joint practices with opposing teams would probably be in store, as well.
But, as we know, 2020 is not normal.
Training camp in 2020 is a mix of the spring offseason program, with what a normal camp would look like, sans preseason games.
After a week of strength and conditioning starting Monday (August 3-11), the Colts will then have a handful of days of working in helmets, but no pads (August 12-16).
Beginning on August 17th, the full pads can be put on, with teams allowed to have 14 full-padded practices before rosters are cut down to 53 on September 5th (an off day every 7th day during this span).
It’ll take a while, but once the Colts get to this part of camp, all signs point to them bringing the physicality.
Frank Reich use the phrase ‘healthy tension’ when addressing the need to have some physical parts of camp.
“I really trust our guys to come in and are in shape and be ready to go,” Reich says. “So, in one regard we have the mindset of we’re pushing forward. We have a schedule. There is a ramp up built in the schedule. My mindset is when we are in a period, when we are in a phase, you’re taking the reins off and you’re going hard. You’re being physical, you’re playing hard, you’re playing fast. Everything in the schedule is built to protect them from overdoing it. I feel confident about that. So, our job will be to push, understanding the schedule is built the way it is and then we will adapt as needed as we go.”
For Reich, that includes a couple of times heading down to Lucas Oil Stadium for work. Whether fans would be allowed in the stadium to watch those practices (fans cannot attend practices at the team’s complex this year) remains to be seen.
“We will try to make those practices as game-like as we can as well,” Reich said.
Seeing a team have actual live, to the ground, tackling sessions in camp, is very rare in today’s NFL.
But does the lack of preseason games in 2020 mean more teams, including the Colts, will have no other choice but to install a couple of those periods as they try to get a truer evaluation on their roster, along with preparing frontline guys for Week 1 on September 13th?
Sounds like it.
“We’ve had some pretty lively sessions anyway, but we’ll probably have two or three occasions when we really get after it,” Chris Ballard says. “We have to play. We have to get our team ready for the season. You’re going to see some more physical practices in spurts just so we can get ourselves ready to go and to be able to evaluate.
“You have to evaluate the game and our players going full speed. So yes, we will have a few more of those.”