AFC South: Bjorn Werner

INDIANAPOLIS -- The final significant days of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts (outside of when commissioner Roger Goodell disciplines owner Jim Irsay) starts Tuesday at the team's facility when they begin the first of three days of mandatory minicamp before breaking up for the final time prior to reporting for training camp July 23.

Let's take a look at several things to pay attention to during the camp:

[+] EnlargeTrent Richardson
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsThe competition at running back, including Trent Richardson, won't be decided in this week's mandatory minicamp.
Offensive line battle: You can go ahead and put Khaled Holmes down as the starting center, but with Donald Thomas (quad, bicep) still working his way back, the starting guard positions could end up taking some time. Hugh Thornton, who took Thomas's spot after he was injured last season, has been working with the first team at right guard during organized team activities. Lance Louis had been working with the first team at left guard, but rookie Jack Mewhort, the Colts' second-round pick, moved ahead of him last week. The competition will intensify during training camp.

Running back competition: Just like the battle for the starting guard position, we won't get full competition for the starting running back position because Vick Ballard (knee) isn't expected to take part, as he's still working his way back from ACL surgery. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, the other two primary candidates, both wore red non-contact jerseys during OTAs. So this is another competition that won't pick up until training camp. All three players will get playing time, but keep in mind that coach Chuck Pagano said earlier in the offseason they want a workhorse in the backfield.

Landry sighting: Safety LaRon Landry has been the most significant healthy player missing during OTAs. It's not required for players to attend OTAs and Landry prefers to work out on his own during the offseason. But it still would have been good if he would have popped in for some of the workouts because of the need for improvement for the defense, the transition from a seasoned veteran in Antoine Bethea to possibly Delano Howell, who lacks significant experience, and Landry simply didn't have a great first season with the Colts. The offense, as long as Andrew Luck is the quarterback, will be fine. He's shown he can be effective even without good blocking. The same can't be said about a defense that finished 20th in the league last season.

The Bjoern factor: The fact linebacker Robert Mathis (suspension) won't be with the Colts the first four games of the season has definitely sunk in. Now it's up to second-year player Bjoern Werner, who gets the first shot to start in Mathis's absence, to prove he was worth the Colts selecting him in the first round after an inconsistent rookie season. "This year it's just knowing the defense and to feel comfortable in the defense," Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "Now it's just his ability to get to the passer, which it's kind of you want him to do that in these OTAs, but he's never really going to get there because you don't have the pads on. But he's been doing a great job at least from the calls and signals and getting everything lined up and knowing exactly what he's supposed to do. It's a great situation for him."

Can Adams help: The Colts signed veteran safety Mike Adams over the weekend to take Corey Lynch's spot on the roster after placing him on injured reserve. Howell is leading the race to start, but Adams has started 73 games in his career. The question about Adams is: Does he have enough left in his 33-year-old body to help the Colts and possibly supplant Howell as the starting safety alongside Landry?

Who won't be there: Barring a sudden change of events, here are the players -- not including those on injured reserve -- you won't see taking part in minicamp. Receiver Reggie Wayne (knee), Ballard (knee) and Thomas (quad, bicep).

Colts rookie minicamp review

May, 13, 2013
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.

Contract status:

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.

The first-rounder:

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.”

Compelling story:

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.

Big finish:

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."

First work:

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.

Local ties:

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:

Craig Kelley of the team’s website followed camp day-by-day: Day One, Day Two, Day Three.