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Friday, July 27, 2012
Camp storylines: Indianapolis Colts

By Paul Kuharsky

The Colts open training camp Sunday. Here are four primary storylines we will be monitoring.

Andrew Luck: The rookie quarterback is the cornerstone for the rebuild, and while the team doesn’t want him to feel like it’s all on his shoulders, the franchise needs him to be a long-term star. The progress he’s able to make from the start of camp to the end will offer us a lot of information about the potential pace of his development.

Chuck Pagano’s 3-4: The defensive front will be a hybrid as the changeover in personnel can’t happen all at once. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, long planted on the line as ends, will now often roam around as outside linebackers. How they transition and what the guys around them do will have a huge bearing on the defense. Do they have enough of the necessary ingredients.

The offensive line as tone-setters: The Colts patchworked as they added pieces who will help them be bigger and more physical than they were under the previous regime. Can a group that will likely include at least three new starters coalesce? Keeping Luck safe is priority one, and creating some room for backs who have not yet proven they can carry the load is also vital.

Two-tight set: The Colts have long been a three-wide team. But new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes to deploy two tight ends, and the team drafted Coby Fleener in the second round and Dwayne Allen in the third. They will be key guys as blockers and receivers, and Luck will need to rely on them a great deal as he drops back.