Colts focus on fine-tuning |
By BARATO BRITT
Training camp ‘07 is officially in the books, but plenty of work remains for the Indianapolis Colts.
Following their 27-24 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears in a Super Bowl “rematch,” the defending champs are moving closer to regular season mode. The searing heat, two-a-days and dorm rooms will now be replaced by game preparation and fine-tuning.
If up to Colts head coach Tony Dungy, training camp may be a bit longer than 21 days. Still, the coach says his team is beginning to show signs they’re ready to defend their title.
“I think we’ve done a good job of getting our foundation laid,” the coach said. “From here on out you’re really preparing for games, but what we’re going to rely on down the road is the foundation, the base that we’ve laid, the fundamentals that we’ve gotten in the first three weeks, and it’s been good.”
As the team has shown the past several seasons, preseason scores are about as useful as a four-dollar bill. The Colts have dropped 10 of the last 11 preseason contests, and are as yet winless this year.
Of course, the team would have enjoyed a better homecoming outcome, playing their first home game since the AFC Championship last year. But for Dungy and staff, their primary concern is firmly on evaluating the team’s depth and gauging progress over a compact preseason schedule. Presently, Dungy said, there is still much room for progress.
“We saw a lot of good things, but not enough good things,” he said following the Monday night loss. “We saw some improvement by individuals that we were looking for, but obviously we have some work to do and we’re happy we have two games left to get those bugs worked out.”
With three preseason games in an 11-day span, the Colts have little time remaining to find a regular season groove. However the compact schedule may actually prove a bonus as the team also gets a jump on the regular season, in a Thursday, Sept. 6 kickoff versus the New Orleans Saints.
In the meantime, the Colts have another shot to impress home faithful before the regular season Saturday, when the Detroit Lions will visit the RCA Dome. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The team concludes its preseason against their I-74 rival Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium Aug. 31.