Indianapolis Colts

Camp changes, Ryan’s tempo aimed at combatting Colts slow starts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Gone are the early morning training camp drills of years past. The Colts are combatting an epidemic of slow starts, in part by practicing later.

“We tweaked the schedule in a way that I think was really smart. You’re always looking for ways to get better,” Colts head coach, Frank Reich said. “Without going into all the details of it, it’s not necessarily easier. We still get everything we need to get, but just kind of get the guys a little bit more rest, start a little bit later in the day, so that when we practice we can be at high speed and high functioning and high execution.”

“I think it’s taking care of our bodies. Just being able to be pros and stick to our routines. Having fresh legs every day is probably the biggest thing,” receiver Ashton Dulin said. “Then, knowing taking that off time to our advantage. Whether that is taking care of our bodies or doing a little extra film where need be. Just helps in the long run.”

The later practices might be helping establish that game day routine, but it’s new quarterback Matt Ryan who’s been the biggest factor, making sure this team isn’t plagued by the slow starts that haunted last season. The speed that Ryan commands as quarterback has been a breath of fresh air.

“I mean, it’s unbelievable. It should be noticeable to you guys too, but like we have the exact same amount of plays and two days in a row – we have never practiced that fast,” Reich said.

“Whenever he breaks a huddle, he’s hurry up, get to the line, get to the line,” offensive lineman Matt Pryor said. “Obviously to have a dominant offense, you want the offense getting to the line quick cause then the defenses are like, ‘We’ve got to hurry up,’ and maybe that’ll throw them off a little bit. Yeah, he really turns up the field.”

“It’s a mentality, it’s a confidence. It’s a we’ve got to get up and play. We are dictating the tempo from the huddle to the ball and we are going,” Reich said.

“We have these big, long-term goals of where we want to go and how we want to play, starting fast and doing all of those things. The way you get there is you hyperfocus on the details,” Ryan said. “We talk about being a team where everything matters. So, how you go about that every day is hyperfocus on little things It’s watching that every day and trying to hammer that out every day and being as detailed as we can. Trying to match that intensity with the playbook too, of knowing it inside and out as well as you can and making sure we’re all on the same page.”

The Colts are nursing a eight-year streak of Week 1 losses. This year’s opener at Houston could be the time to change that.