Anderson — For fans planning to attend any of the Indianapolis Colts training camp practices, which begin Sunday at Anderson University, make sure you grab a roster. These aren’t the same old Colts anymore. Far from it. With players set to report Saturday for the start of preseason workouts — players must check in by 2 p.m. — fans are going to be able to watch how the beginning stages of how a National Football League team is flipped. Coming off a disastrous 2-14 season in 2011, there’s been a major shift in the makeup of the franchise.
Chief Operating Officer/President Bill Polian, Vice-President/General Manager Chris Polian, and Head Coach Jim Caldwell were all fired. Most of the team’s assistant coaches under Caldwell are gone.
The roster also took a huge hit as such long-time stalwarts as QB Peyton Manning, C Jeff Saturday, RB Joseph Addai, TE Dallas Clark, LB Gary Brackett, S Melvin Bullitt, WR Pierre Garçon, OT/OG Ryan Diem and WR Anthony Gonzalez have all been released, cut, waived, not re-signed or retired. Indianapolis now has a new general manager (Ryan Grigson), a new head coach (Chuck Pagano), new offensive and defensive coordinators (Bruce Arians and Greg Manusky), and a new starting quarterback (2012 No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck).
And with Arians and Manusky running things on both sides of the ball, there are new offensive and defensive systems and terminologies to learn and master in a relatively short amount of time. It helps that there are some valuable veterans returning such as WRs Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie, DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, and S Antoine Bethea.
Offensively, the Colts will want to stress the run much more than they did under previous coordinators Tom Moore and Clyde Christensen. And defensively, Indianapolis is moving toward a hybrid 3-4 alignment and away from the 4-3 Cover 2 setup that the team has been using since 2002. Indy hasn’t run a 3-4 defense since 1992.