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NFL Camp Preview: Richardson seeks redemption with Colts

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 20 2014 11:48:17 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 20 2014 11:48:46 AM CDT

INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Indianapolis Colts have their first training camp practice July 24 at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., Trent Richardson hopes to prove he is not the poster child for the NFL's recent trend away from using high draft picks on running backs.

The former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns was part of an unusual early-season trade last year in what seemed to be a steal at the time for the Colts, who gave up only a single draft pick for the player taken No. 3 overall in the 2012 draft.

But Richardson averaged only 2.9 yards per carry and admitted he had a difficult time learning the Colts' offense in the middle of a season.

He hopes, as does the Indianapolis front office and coaching staff, that a full offseason with the team, including OTAs and training camp, will allow for a more productive 2014 season.

"I feel way more fluid, even with the timing," Richardson said recently. "When I had to step in (last season) and start when (running back) Ahmad (Bradshaw went down, it was hard. I didn't have the chance to learn."

One of the most curious issues for the Colts concerns owner Jim Irsay. He has yet to receive any disciplinary action from commissioner Roger Goodell stemming from his March DUI arrest, and there is a possibility that he never will.

Meanwhile, back on the field, quarterback Andrew Luck came away from the Colts' OTAs and mandatory minicamp satisfied with what was accomplished. But there's always room to get better.

"(There's) a limited amount of work time as a team in the offseason," Luck said. "It is minicamp. There's a little extra energy, vigor, in there, whatever that is.

"Consistency. Consistency in practice, consistency in games. We've shown that we can do some good things and we've shown that we look like imbeciles sometimes out there. Obviously each year is completely different than the next or the previous. But if we can consistently play well, that would be good."

Luck also praised the team's young group of receivers, including Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen and rookie Donte Moncrief.

"Obviously everybody knows about T.Y. (Hilton) and Reg (Wayne) and Hakeem (Nicks), but Da'Rick and Griff have all been incredibly consistent in the way they perform and what they do," Luck said.

"They did a great job stepping up at big moments last year. Some big, big catches, plays, blocks, stuff you don't see sitting in the stands. It's always fun playing with those guys."

Wide receiver Reggie Wayne declared himself ready to go after missing the back half of the 2013 season with a torn ACL. Wayne has been watching the Colts during OTAs and minicamp from the sidelines, although there have been times when he has thought about sneaking on to the field for a few plays or drills.

Wayne has been fully cleared by team doctors. Coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson have both said that they would be shocked if he is not ready for the start of training camp next month.

The receiver, though, can't wait to get started again.

"I feel better than I did the last time I talked to you guys," Wayne said. "I feel as healthy as I have since 2002. Maybe last year was a blessing. It gave me some time to get fully healthy.

"It's been bittersweet (watching practices). But I know my time's coming. I'm champing at the bit. I'm that Chevy in the garage. Open the garage door, I'm out."

Pagano, though, joked that he might try to keep Wayne back a bit when training camp starts.

"I might have to bring boxing gloves to training camp though for me and Chuck to use. We're going to lace them up," Wayne joked, but added one serious comment.

"I want to be there for my teammates. I kind of left them hanging a bit last year (when he got hurt)."

Guard Jack Mewhort, the Colts' second-round draft pick last month, worked with the No. 1 offense at left guard for most of the team's OTAs and minicamp. He also saw work at center and has college experience at offensive tackle as well. He might see work at those positions once training camp starts.

"The whole thing is going to play itself out," Pagano said. "We've worked (Mewhort at left guard). We've worked him at center. We might even dabble with him a little bit of tackle."

There is some concern on the interior of the offensive line.

With the Colts not re-signing Mike McGlynn and Donald Thomas coming back from a torn biceps and a quad injury, it remains up for grabs as to who will be starting at the left- and right-guard spots.

Besides Thomas, if fully recovered from his injuries, there is second-year returnee Hugh Thornton, Mewhort and former Chicago Bears starter Lance Louis.

At center, second-year man Khaled Holmes had only a dozen snaps last season as a rookie with Indianapolis. Now with the decision to release two-year starter Samson Satele and not re-sign McGlynn, Holmes will go into the 2014 season as the team's top option at the center position.

The depth includes a pair of undrafted rookies -- former Florida center Jonathan Harrison and a local product in ex-Indiana State center FN Lutz III. Guard Hugh Thornton could move in to play the position if needed and another guard, Donald Thomas (who is recovering from injuries suffered early last season), has limited experience at center.

Meanwhile, cornerback Qua Cox, an undrafted rookie from Jackson State made a quick impression on the coaching staff this spring. The 6-foot, 185-pound native of Tuskegee, Ala., intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown in the team's rookie minicamp. He played well when given the opportunity during OTAs. On a team needing to improve its depth at the cornerback position, Cox has a real chance to make the Colts' 53-man roster if he continues to perform at that level.

Here is a snapshot of the Colts as they head into training camp:

--QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Andrew Luck. Backups -- Matt Hasselbeck, Chandler Harnish.

--RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Trent Richardson. Backups -- Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw, FB Mario Harvey, FB Stanley Havili, Dan Herron, Chris Rainey, Zurlon Tipton, FB Cameron White.

--TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Coby Fleener. Backups -- Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle, Weslye Saunders, Erik Swoope.

--WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks. Backups -- Ryan Lankford, Josh Lenz, Donte Moncrief, Greg Moore, Da'Rick Rogers, Eric Thomas, Tony Washington, Griff Whalen.

--OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Donald Thomas, C Khaled Holmes, RG Hugh Thornton, RT Gosder Cherilus. Backups - T Jack Bruckner, C Jonotthan Harrison, T Ulrick John, G Lance Louis, C FN Lutz, G/T Jack Mewhort, T Xavier Nixon, G Joe Reitz, G Josh Walker.

--DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Cory Redding, NT Josh Chapman, DT Ricky Jean Francois. Backups - E Gannon Conway, E Tyler Hover, T Montori Hughes, E Arthur Jones, NT Zach Kerr, NT Brandon McKinney, E Nnamdi Obukwelu, T Jeris Pendleton.

--LINEBACKERS: Starters - SLB Erik Walden, SILB D'Qwell Jackson, WILB Jerrell Freeman, WLB Robert Mathis. Backups -- OLB Daniel Adongo, ILB Andrew Jackson, OLB Cam Johnson, ILB Josh McNary, Aaron Morgan, ILB Henoc Muamba, OLB Jonathan Newsome, ILB Kelvin Sheppard, OLB Andy Studebaker, OLB Bjoern Werner.

--DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Greg Toler, S Delano Howell, S LaRon Landry, RCB Vontae Davis. Backups - CB Johnny Adams, S Mike Adams, S Colt Anderson, S Sergio Brown, CB Marcus Burley, CB Brandon Burton, CB Darius Butler, CB Qua Cox, CB Josh Gordy, CB Kameron Jackson, S Dewey McDonald, CB Sheldon Price, CB Louchiez Purifoy, S David Sims.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: K Adam Vinateri, P Pat McAfee, LS Matt Overton, PR Griff Whalen, KOR Donte Moncrief, K Cody Parkey.

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