- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter
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Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive. The teams had different levels of media availability. But as best we can, we’ll review the primary players and themes out of those camps today. Next up, the Indianapolis Colts.
Six of seven draft picks were already signed as minicamp started, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. The only exception was first-round outside linebacker Bjoern Werner. The new CBA means negotiations on these deals are relatively simple. It's got to be nice for the club to get things over with.
Chuck Pagano saw just what he expected from Werner: “He’s got great first-step explosion. You see him running around here doing some things, things we saw on tape. Up close and personal now, it’s even more impressive.” Chappell’s story.
From George Bremer of the (Anderson) Herald Bulletin: “One thing that might stand out initially for many fans is Werner’s stance. When he lines up tight to the line of scrimmage as a defensive end in four-man fronts, he eschews the three-point stance favored by many NFL pass rushers in favor of a four-point stance with both hands in the ground.”
Third-round guard Hugh Thornton endured the murder of his mother and his sister when he was a child, asleep in another room in the family’s Jamaican home, says Chappell. Thornton is a guy plenty of people will be rooting for considering his background.
“(Jeremy) Kelley played a full season with the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Canadian Football League and about half a season with the Arena Football League’s Utah Blaze. Now the receiver is the latest minor leaguer the Colts are giving a chance, says Bremer.
The final play of rookie minicamp mimicked the last-play scenario of the Colts' 2012 victory over Detroit -- and the Colts kids found a way to score a winning touchdown, again. Chappell runs through it.
The Colts’ ability to hit on so many productive rookies in 2012 and add several veteran free agents this offseason should mean they’re less reliant on newcomers in '13. "That doesn’t mean to say some of these guys that we drafted or any of the tryout guys or college free agents can’t come in and contribute in some capacity, especially on special teams," Pagano said. "With what we did in free agency, there’s not that many holes to fill. That’s means you’re getting closer from a roster standpoint and team standpoint to where you want to be."
New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and new special teams coordinator Tom McMahon got a chance for some important on-field work just like the rookies, says Tom James of the Tribune-Star.
Three players with local ties -- Michael Josifovski, Nick Driskill, Jordan Bright -- were among the 13 who were at minicamp on a tryout basis, says Chappell.
Day by day:
Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive.