|National Football League|
Weather forces Colts to adapt to new environment
By MICHAEL MAROT
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) The Indianapolis Colts have spent training camp adapting to a whole new environment.
Thursday's twist was a real surprise.
Heavy morning rain and a forecast calling for more severe weather in the afternoon prompted coach Chuck Pagano to move his morning walkthrough inside Anderson University's gym and then load his team onto two busses for a 30-mile trip back to the team complex, where the Colts were to hold a 2 1/2-hour afternoon workout.
The reason was simple.
"We were going to back off it a little anyway (Friday), so today was the important day to finish up preparation," Pagano said, referring to Sunday's preseason opener against St. Louis (No. 28 in the AP Pro32).
It's been an unusual camp for the Colts (No. 32).
One of the league's most stable teams over the last decade is now getting acclimated to a new coaching staff, a new general manager and new teammates as players continue to learn new offensive and defensive systems.
Now, after a drought-stricken summer in Indy, the suddenly wet weather has forced Indianapolis to become increasingly flexible with its practice schedules.
Indy has now moved five practices in 10 days indoors.
It could happen again Friday, with more rain in the forecast in Anderson, though Pagano is not planning another impromptu bus trip to Indy's headquarters.
"We wanted to take the pads off (Friday)," Pagano said. "We can get done what we need to get done from a mental standpoint (in Anderson), so we won't be back (in Indy)."
This is certainly not what the Colts envisioned, but they don't have a choice.
"It's all about adjustments and being able to overcome any type of adverse situation," running back Mewelde Moore said. "Right now we are just going to go out there and we're going to continue to work on what we need to do and get better."
With nearly three dozen rookies and first-year players and almost two-thirds of the 90-man roster new to the Colts, Pagano is trying to get every second of practice time allowed by the league's collective bargaining agreement. Thursday's practice started late and ended late, too.
But moving indoors has been a rarity for the Colts over the past decade when the weather mostly cooperated.
At the final camp practice in 2006, then-coach Tony Dungy even told his players to stay on the field as light, steady rain fell at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. Afterward, Dungy explained he wanted the team to be ready to face the elements. As it turned out, the Colts did have to play in the rain - in their Super Bowl victory over the Chicago Bears.
Longtime ex-Colts have said it was the only time the team practiced in the rain.
Pagano wasn't willing to make the same call after more than one inch of rain fell overnight in Anderson, though.
"It's a little odd," cornerback Brandon King said. "I've never been back to Indy for practice during camp. We're going to make the best of it, though. They always make sure we get all our work in."
Notes: New DE Cory Redding, a key cog in Pagano's defense, injured one of his elbows during practice. Pagano did not say how severe the injury was, and Redding sat out the rest of the afternoon. Pagano said Redding will be examined later Thursday when the Colts return to Anderson. ... WR Austin Collie said he plans to watch Peyton Manning's debut with the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Collie said he was "happy" that Manning decided to continue playing. ... Rookie WR LaVon Brazill is expected to return kicks and punts against the Rams. Brazill said he has lots of experience with returning punts, not so much on kickoffs. ... The Colts announced they would partner with Ivy Tech to select a high school scholar-athlete of the week. Fans can nominate players and will be able to vote for their favorite on colts.com.
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Updated August 9, 2012