5 Biggest Takeaways from the Indianapolis Colts' First Week of Camp
A week of NFL training camp has passed, and that means we have something to work with.
Some semblance of the way things are.
Some hope of the way things could be.
In the case of the Indianapolis Colts, there are more than a few questions left unanswered. But we have a little.
Just a nibble.
Colts fans should want to know how camp is going down. With so much uncertainty going into the 2012 season, training camp is one of the most noteworthy events of the year for the team.
It's also the first glimpse of the future.
Here's what we know after the first week.
Andrew Luck Is on the Right Track
Andrew Luck is supposed to be the real deal. So far, so good.
He's earned praise from teammates all around, citing everything from arm strength to intelligence.
Reggie Wayne said this of the rookie (Michael Marot, Yahoo Sports):
Andrew's going to be good. He's going to be really good,'' Wayne said. ''He's really smart. He knows what's going on around him. He understands the concept; he understands the terminology. He understands it all.
But despite the high praise he's received from both the team and the media, Luck has managed to stay humble.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Luck responded to the praise (NFL.com):
It's always very nice when two guys of such high caliber (Dungy and Vinatieri) say those things, but I feel like a scrub rookie every day, so far," Luck said.
The future is bright.
The Secondary Is Who We Thought They Were
As much as we want to clap our hands and sing Andrew Luck's praises, it's not that simple.
He's torching our defense.
Our defense is giving up 75 percent completions to the least experienced starter in the NFL.
This is the same defense that gave up a league-high 71.2 percent completions in 2011.
While certain aspects of the defense seem to be coming along—Luck was sacked three times on Sunday—the coverage has been absurdly bad.
After Jerraud Powers, there just isn't anybody else even remotely capable of sticking to a man.
The Colts will almost certainly take a look at just about every corner around the league that gets cut in the coming weeks.
Colts Pass-Catchers Are Underrated
3,739 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 57 percent completion rate. Those are Peyton Manning's rookie passing numbers.
If training camp even slightly resembles the upcoming NFL season, Andrew Luck could easily eclipse all of those statistics.
But he's going to need help from Reggie Wayne and company.
So far, he's getting it.
Sixth-round pick LaVon Brazill has looked sharp in practice and could see a solid workload in his rookie season. T.Y. Hilton has all the makings of an elite slot receiver and has looked the part in camp.
Most encouragingly, Luck and Austin Collie have developed a strong chemistry that makes Collie the absolute favorite as the second starting receiver.
Donnie Avery has looked strong, too. He suffered a bit of a knock on Sunday afternoon, but it's not thought to be a serious injury.
Delone Carter Has Looked Solid
After a lackluster rookie season, Delone Carter has looked very strong during the first week of training camp.
He excelled in goal line work, tallying three touchdowns in three attempts on Sunday.
He also showed great improvement in his pass-protection abilities, further pushing assumed starter Donald Brown for carries.
And while Carter has been raising eyebrows, word on Brown has been mum.
Judging running backs during training camp falls somewhere between difficult and impossible, but you'd like to hear something about Brown looking ready to go.
With every play being prematurely blown dead, it's not fair to say whether Brown would be succeeding or not with his attempts. It's also safe to say that his performance will rely heavily on that of the offensive line.
In the meantime, we know that Carter looks good.
The Team Is Making Progress
The main thing to take away from the last week is that the team is better now than they were before. Still, the Colts have a long way to go before we see them fighting for another Super Bowl.
It took Peyton Manning six years to win his first playoff game, after all.
Is this the same team that Manning took over in 1998? Don't be silly.
They're much worse.
So while it's nice to look at individual parts of the team, the reality is that all we can hope for is progress. If the team gets better every day, they've accomplished their immediate goal.
Stay patient. NFL teams aren't fixed overnight.
The coaching staff has done a superb job of coaching up the team to this point—particularly the defenders switching to new positions. But it's only been a week.
Here's to week two.