The Indianapolis Colts looked as though they had a lengthy rebuild on their hands following the 2011 season, but the addition of Andrew Luck, among other changes, turned the Colts into an 11-5 team in 2012 with a playoff-level performance. With a team seemingly prepped to be a major competitor in the AFC, the Colts will enter training camp with much higher expectations than the season prior.
Luck didn't have the statistics to best Robert Griffin III for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, but it's easy to make the argument that he was more valuable to his team, as Luck threw 627 passes compared to just 393 for Griffin III. With a 76.5 passer rating as a rookie, there's certainly room for Luck to grow, but that could be a scary thought for teams that were victims of seven game-winning drives at the hands of Luck in 2012.
The Colts are evidently confident in their team too, as general manager Ryan Grigson made some aggressive moves to upgrade the roster. The moves in free agency show a lot of confidence in the development of Luck, but are also risky in that they used much of the team's available room under the salary cap.
While the Colts earned 11 wins during the 2012 season, there were no illusions that the team was one playing at a Super Bowl level. With the 18th most points scored and the 21st most points allowed, the Colts had several problems to fix during the 2013 offseason and Grigson's solution to many was to fill the holes with free agent additions.
After allowing Luck to be sacked 41 times in 2012, the Colts gave Gosder Cherilus a five-year, $34 million deal to replace Winston Justice on the right side of the offensive line. The Colts also gave big money to several defensive free agents that should immediately start on a team that gave up the seventh-most yards in 2012.
While a three-year, $15 million deal given to former Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler was applauded by many, a four-year deal worth $24 million for safety LaRon Landry raised eyebrows and a four-year, $16-million deal for pass rusher Erik Walden was one of the more surprising moves of the entire free agency period.
On paper, the Colts look like a much more complete team in 2013 with upgrades at several starting positions, but as has been proven in the past, free agent acquisitions can have the tendency to stunt a team's progress. The pay-off of the risky moves of Grigson will be hugely important for the team's success in 2013.
Training camp location and schedule
The Colts will host 15 public practices this year at Anderson University, with all but one held in the afternoon as one will be held at night on Tuesday, August 6. Anderson University in Anderson, Ind. is about 50 miles away from Lucas Oil Stadium. Players will report for the first day of camp on Saturday, July 27.
Practices will be open to the public free of charge, although Anderson University will charge a parking fee for campus visitors. Parking information for the training camp is available on the Anderson University website.
The Colts held training camps at the university for their first 15 seasons after making the move from Baltimore, but stopped after the 1998 season. The team returned to Anderson University in 2010 and will hold their fourth consecutive training camp there before resuming football operations at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Here's the Colts' full training camp schedule, via SB Nation blog Stampede Blue:
Sunday, July 28
Monday, July 29
Tuesday, July 30
Wednesday, July 31
Thursday, August 1
Friday, August 2
Saturday, August 3
Players' Day Off
Sunday, August 4
Monday, August 5
Tuesday, August 6
Wednesday, August 7
Players' Day Off
Thursday, August 8
Friday, August 9
Saturday, August 10
Practice not open to the public
Sunday, August 11
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (1:30 p.m.)
Monday, August 12
Players' Day Off
Tuesday, August 13
Wednesday, August 14
Thursday, August 15
Friday, August 16
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
A look at the biggest battles facing the Colts heading into training camp.
Defensive tackle - The Colts won't have many battles for starting spots, as they seemingly filled them during free agency; however, 2012 fifth-round pick Josh Chapman might have a chance to earn a starting role. After missing all of his rookie year with a knee injury, Chapman has returned healthy and will have to hold off veteran tackle Aubrayo Franklin for the starting nose tackle spot. A reserve nose tackle for the Chargers in 2012, Franklin has been a solid rotational player, but could challenge Chapman for a starting spot.
Running back - The Colts are seemingly set at the top of the depth chart with new addition, Ahmad Bradshaw, presumably starting ahead of second-year back Vick Ballard. After that, there is an interesting battle between Donald Brown, Delone Carter and seventh-round pick Kerwynn Williams for the final spot(s) on the roster at running back. Davin Meggett and Dan Moore will also look to factor into the crowded battle for spots on the 53-man roster in the backfield.
Offensive line - With the exception of offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, the Colts were not very good along the entire offensive line. The addition of Cherilus would seem to shore up the right tackle spot, but the interior line will be one to watch in training camp. After signing Donald Thomas in free agency and drafting Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes in the middle rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Colts have some new competition along the interior and need to see an upgrade to protect Luck in 2013.
Cornerback - Vontae Davis and Greg Toler are the obvious starters for the Colts at cornerback in 2013 with Darius Butler primed to continue his role as a slot corner. In a league where passing has been increasingly emphasized, the team will have to rely on more than three cornerbacks often and the final spots at the position are wide open. Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy will look to hold spots on the roster and hold off a number of young players, including undrafted rookies Sheldon Price and Allen Chapman.