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Colts Notebook: Coordinators Recap Offseason Program

On Wednesday, new Colts coordinators Nick Sirianni (offense) and Matt Eberflus (defense) shared their thoughts on what they’ve learned this spring.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Day Two of minicamp for the Colts saw the coordinators meet the media.

First-time coordinators Nick Sirianni (offense) and Matt Eberflus (defense) have been busy installing systems with some serious change on each side of the ball.

Here are takeaways from the second day of minicamp:

  • Andrew Luck’s activity was increased on Wednesday. He threw the ball with more velocity and the length of his throws extended to 20-to-25 yards. It looked like Luck even threw The Duke on a couple of occasions during some routes vs. air session, which involved moving targets of wideouts and tight ends.
  • It’s been 7 years since John Simon put his hand in the ground as a full-time defensive end. Simon is doing that as he moves to a 4-3 defensive end. In the spring, Simon has hardly seen any starting reps. With a crowded defensive end group, Simon is competing more so for a roster spot, than a starting position, at this point in the offseason.
  • T.Y. Hilton is not planning to throw with Andrew Luck during the 6-week break between minicamp and Training Camp. Now, things could change, but Hilton said he isn’t worried about being on the same rapport with Luck, despite all the missed time away for No. 12. Luck is allowed to throw with teammates during summer vacation, but that must occur away from the team facility.
  • Speaking of Hilton, don’t think the Colts are going to shy away from using the deep ball to their Pro Bowl wideout this season. Listen to this from offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni: “As you emphasize the quicker throws, the deeper ones come. If you look at Frank and I’s past together, our teams have been high in completion percentage, but they’ve also been high in plus 20-yard gains. Those plays will still come.” Sirianni has been impressed by the Colts’ most consistent playmaker over the last half dozen years. “T.Y. Hilton is hungry to learn and obsessed with getting better. I guess I assume he had it because he’s always on top of the stat sheet but being around him, he has that. He has that toughness.”
  • The Colts love Nyheim Hines. Sirianni did a nice job of explaining what Hines can do for the Colts. “It’s hard to understand defensively in my mind how you are going to play him. He reminds me of a Dexter McCluster (who Sirianni was with in Kansas City) type. Teams didn’t know what he was each week. Is he playing wide receiver? Is he playing running back? What is he? How do I defend him? All of a sudden you’re on the offensive and they’re on the defensive. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
  • Last week Frank Reich liked the consistency of Deon Cain. This week Sirianni touched on more of the physical attributes of Cain: “Deon is built like you want a wide receiver to be built. He runs how you want a wide receiver to run. What’s impressive about him is he can really get out of breaks. To me, that’s what separates really good receivers in this league. He can separate at the top, which combined with the other two things I said, can really make him a person that we think can develop.”
  • Defensively, coordinator Matt Eberflus said the Colts won’t be fully tackling to the ground during camp. That ‘striking’ evaluation will come in preseason games.
  • Eberflus did acknowledge the issue with valuable defenders being sidelined this spring. Guys like Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Darius Leonard and even Quincy Wilson have all missed either the entire spring or a huge bulk of time. “I think every rep is important so to diminish that would be disrespectful to the game and I think to the players that are in there,” Eberflus says. “To miss walk through or team reps this time of year is very critical. We will get those guys caught to speed the best we can.”
  • The new defensive coordinator acknowledged how wide open the linebacker core is in 2018. Well, one of the consistent starters this spring went down in Wednesday’s practice. Anthony Walker was carted off just past the midway point of practice. It remains to be seen what exactly Walker injured but he was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off.
  • Among the normal absentees this spring (Hooker, Geathers, Erik Swoope), we didn’t see T.Y. Hilton, Nyheim Hines and Chester Rogers practicing on Wednesday.

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