WESTFIELD, Ind. — To borrow an analogy from Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts are at the base of the mountain.
The climb to the top begins now.
The Colts today officially kick off training camp — and the 2019 season — with their first practice at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., where a young, talented squad will begin the process of building steam heading into their Week 1 road matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
We all know the Colts’ story heading into this camp; under a first-year head coach in Reich, the team last season got off to a 1-5 start before rallying to win nine of its final 10 regular season games and earn a postseason berth for the first time in four seasons. The Colts then went on the road and dominated their AFC South Division rivals Houston Texans, 21-7, in the Wild Card Round before bowing out in the Divisional Round to the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs.
With a majority of the team’s starters returning from last year’s team, as well as a couple key free agent additions and a talented 10-man 2019 NFL Draft class, expectations are high for the Colts — both internally and externally. And general manager Chris Ballard is encouraging his team to embrace those high hopes.
But it’s also important to remember: 2018 is over. The restart button was pushed months ago.
“Expectations are good. It’s not a bad thing,” Ballard told reporters on Wednesday. “But I think, as you visit with our players and watch our players work, look, every year is a new year. It is. I’ve talked about this a lot: I don’t want us to be, and Frank (Reich) doesn’t either, a momentum team. We don’t want to play off of momentum. I just think that burns you in the long run. We want to continue to work to get better.”
So with that, here’s a comprehensive preview of what to be on the lookout for as the Colts kickoff training camp today in Westfield: