INDIANAPOLIS – During the most important and critical stretch of the season, Colts fans are getting nearly an hour’s worth of weekly unique content on their favorite football team.
And that’s something 31 other fan bases aren’t getting this time of year.
The Colts are four episodes into their Hard Knocks series, and shows will continue through the end of the season, including any potential playoff run.
Here are some takeaways after 4 episodes of Hard Knocks:
- Chris Ballard preaches the desire to build a team of high character talent. And these episodes give you a peak into the numerous Colts players that are high character individuals. This might mean little to the crowd that only cares about wins and losses, but I think it helps explain why the Colts believe they are drafting players who have the self-drive necessary to reach one’s ceiling.
- The audio from the team meetings leading directly to certain events in that upcoming game is always cool to see. Obviously, this is heavily edited, and you don’t get the other 99 percent of comments that either do or don’t come to fruition. But it still is a glimpse into what team/position meetings are like at the NFL level. It helps paint a picture for fans of what Monday-Saturday are like for NFL players. Only about 5-6 hours are actually spent practicing each week, so there’s a whole lot to be seen away from the practice field. I think the peek into positional meeting rooms gives fans an idea of how much time these players spend with their position groups/position coaches on a daily basis.
- It’s pretty crazy seeing all the babies/young kids (particularly girls!) as children of Colts players. For a guy like Carson Wentz, that has to be helpful in creating conversations with new teammates, especially the dads along the offensive line. We saw in Episode 1 why Wentz and Frank Reich have such a strong, and unique, bond. Their closeness is very, very real. If the Colts had a different head coach than Reich, and Chris Ballard was still the GM, I don’t see Wentz being the team’s QB in 2021.
- The Darius Leonard you are seeing mic’d up is the self-motivated, incredibly wired individual that we’ve seen over the years. Whether it’s an open locker room session with the media, or a quiet indoor practice on a rainy day at Training Camp, you are going to feel Leonard’s energy right away. Watching Leonard in Hard Knocks is a reminder of Colts area scout Jamie Moore witnessing a fully engaged and revved up Leonard at a 6:00 AM practice at South Carolina State. The Colts have loved the energy level Leonard has brought daily since the scouting process.
- Seeing Quenton Nelson go up to Frank Reich pleading for some run calls in the game against Tampa Bay is no surprise. Nelson has never been afraid to give his two cents to Chris Ballard or Reich on a variety of topics. Just because he’s a player that is still on his rookie contract, Nelson is the furthest thing from reserved in holding his opinion back with the key decision makers.
- One of the scenes I’ve enjoyed the most so far has been Darius Leonard reacting to Tom Brady following The Maniac’s punch out forced fumble against the Bucs. After these plays, Leonard is usually going crazy celebrating, talking smack to whoever comes near him. But when Leonard saw Brady, he got a bit awestruck and couldn’t muster his normal antics. It was a refreshing reminder that these guys are human, and not every single team/opponent is treated exactly the same.
- Frank Reich’s daughters texting their dad “who do we cheer for?” in regard to the Colts playoffs needs is something every fan of a playoff-type team can relate to. Looking that up is something on my own checklist each week, especially this time of year.
- Outside of the occasional need to blur a dry erase board in the background, it sounds like the Colts have not asked Hard Knocks to remove much footage out of the episodes they get to view before it airs to the masses on Wednesday nights at 10:00.
- We will continue to see more and more ‘at-home’ features on various Colts players. While the diehard football fans might want more meeting room/football centric footage, this is the part of Hard Knocks that players appreciate and is important to draw in the casual fan. Personally, I enjoy seeing a little bit of home life for these players living in our community.
- I’m in awe of the cinematography you see on a weekly basis from Hard Knocks. By NFL standards, the Colts do not have anywhere near the most up-to-date team facility, but it’s hard to know that by the shots you see from the camera/production crew. Selfishly, as someone from the Indy area, it’s cool to see so many pictures of the city getting in front of a national audience each week. The transitions from scene to scene is also so smooth and really impressively done.
- Is there anything better than Jim Irsay’s “We Will Rock You” rendition? The Colts have an owner who LOVES the game of football and this franchise.