By TOM JAMES CNHI News Service
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — The location may have changed, but training camp continues on for the Indianapolis Colts.
With the Anderson University portion of camp wrapping up a three-week run last Friday, the Colts are spending the final days of the preseason schedule working out at the team’s own Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
There are two exhibition games remaining for Indianapolis, a home matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Lucas Oil Stadium and a road trip to Cincinnati the following Thursday.
During an extended team meeting with his players Tuesday morning, Colts coach Chuck Pagano stressed the importance of staying in a training camp state-of-mind for the duration of the preseason.
“It feels like home and everybody’s ready to get [to the] in-season routine. And even though we’re treating this week like that, we’re still at camp,” Pagano repeated. “As I just told [the players], it may look like West 56th [Street], but treat it like you’re still at Anderson.
“We’re still in training camp mode. This is no time to get complacent. We took a big step this past weekend [with a 20-12 pre-season win over the New York Giants]. We certainly don’t want to take a step backwards. So we’re still in training camp mode. And that’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”
According to quarterback Andrew Luck, the coach’s message got through loud and clear.
“We’re still in that training camp mentality. We’re still trying to grind as much as we can during the day. And, honestly, we are focused on the Browns. We’re trying to make this as much game like it would be during the season,” Luck said.
“In my mind it’s like a dry run [for the regular season]. OK, here, let’s do it now and maybe we can improve it before Week 1.”
Since Saturday night’s matchup with the Browns will be the third preseason game, look for Indianapolis’ offensive and defensive starters to get maximum playing time.
“Normally, what you’d like to do is play a half, go in, make your adjustments and come out and play a series in that third quarter. Again, depending on how many plays we play is to be determined, how we handle that situation. We always take it case-by-case,” Pagano explained.
“If we got a veteran guy that is over a number that we’ve deemed from a play-count standpoint before the half, then we likely get a guy out. A guy like [defensive end] Cory [Redding], a guy like [wide receiver] Reggie [Wayne] those type of guys that have got enough snaps under their belt. Typically, go in [at halftime], make your adjustments, come out, play a series in the third quarter and start to make substitutions from there.”
A few veteran players who have battled injuries during training camp — such as inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) and strong safety LaRon Landry (knee) — might see their first playing time of the preseason.
Another veteran free agent pickup, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, is not expected to suit up, although that decision could change later this week.
“In a perfect world, that’d be great. But [Bradshaw] is a veteran. He is a pro. He understands what it takes to be ready once the season opener hits on [Sept. 8 against Oakland]. If we get that, that’s a bonus. If not, I’m not worried about it,” Pagano said.