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FANS got their first look at Andrew Luck this week, and the good news is, there was no bad news.
Not just on the Luck front, but on all fronts.
It was all good.
So good, in fact, that a beaming Chuck Pagano declared the Indianapolis Colts’ three-day minicamp, which concluded Thursday afternoon, an unqualified success.
“We got a ton accomplished, and I think we are ready for training camp,” the first-year head coach said. “It is amazing, because they all bought in. They bought into the system. They put the time in, and they put the work in.
“So what we have seen from the process, working the process, has been amazing. Leading into training camp, obviously, we are pleased with where we’re at.”
Fans seem pleased, too. About 7,500 showed up for Wednesday’s practice in Lucas Oil Stadium, where they were treated to a passing show by Luck.
Looking Peyton Manning-like, the No. 1 overall draft pick completed 26 of 37 passes, including a touchdown to Austin Collie, and gave fans hope that he can be Peyton Manning-like in no time at all.
It was all good at minicamp.
“Excellent. It was a great camp,” new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “It was good to have (Luck) back with everybody and watching him grow with his teammates — getting used to the snap count, throwing balls, the whole nine yards.
“I thought we got a lot better the last couple days.”
“I’ve gotten more practice reps, and that is great. I learned a lot, that’s for sure,” said Luck, who rejoined the team Tuesday after finishing his degree work at Stanford. “I will continue to try to build that foundation of understanding the offense and getting reps, so I think these were a great three days.”
By all outward appearances, they were. Luck was sharp. Teammates were impressed. Coaches are pumped, and fans seem to like what they saw.
It was all good.
The only question is, will minicamp be the feel-good high-water mark for a team that likely will contend, again, for the No. 1 draft pick?
It’s one thing to smile in June. It’s another to do it September.
That’s when we’ll know how the city truly feels about the Colts, whose regular-season lineup — with few notable exceptions — will be unrecognizable. Which won’t matter, if the team entertains. It doesn’t have to win every game, but it does have to be something slightly better than the embarrassment that started 0-13 last year.
And there’s the rub.
For better or for worse, the Colts are rebuilding from the basement up. They are not equipped to improve on last year’s three wins. They are positioned to win less. Their Pro Bowl roster is gutted. They have a rookie head coach, a rookie general manager and a rookie quarterback.
Smiling in September? If the Colts, or more importantly, fans, are doing that in September, it’s because all of the above will have overachieved on a historic scale. Not beyond the realm of possibility, but hardly a realistic expectation.
Which is not to suggest the Colts are taking an ill-advised approach. The Peyton Manning era is over, so they had to start over. Luckily, Luck was there. They couldn’t ask for a better foundation.
What they need to ask now for is patience. Lots of it. We’ll know by October how much fans have.
Simply count the smiles, or the frowns, in Lucas Oil Stadium. Or worse still, the blackouts.
But for now, all is good.
Everyone is still 0-0 after minicamp.
“It is a kids’ game, but the stakes are high, and we are all judged by one thing, and one thing only, and that is winning and losing,” Pagano said. “But they are having fun, they are enjoying each other, they are enjoying being out here and spending time together.
“We’ve got a great locker room, the chemistry is great, and that is a testament to our coaches, these players and our veteran leadership.”
It’s all good.
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