By TOM JAMES
TERRE HAUTE TRIBUNE-STAR
It’s anybody’s guess as to when inside linebacker Pat Angerer will be able to return to a full practice regimen with the Indianapolis Colts.
Angerer has undergone a pair of surgical procedures on his right foot, one during the preseason last year and one during the offseason. He was initially injured in the Colts’ preseason opener with St. Louis last summer and was sidelined for the first five games last season.
And when he did return, Angerer was severely limited physically in what he could do. A second surgery was warranted earlier this year, which led to him being sidelined for the organized team activity practices last spring and being placed on the Colts’ physically unable to perform list for the start of training camp.
Now there are questions as to whether Angerer might have another injury issue to worry about. He was spotted at various times over the past week with ice bags wrapped around his right knee.
The Colts haven’t announced any updates on the linebacker’s foot injury or said anything about problems with the knee. Angerer has been tight-lipped as well.
Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, however, remains upbeat about the former Iowa standout’s chances of returning to the practice field sooner rather than later.
“He is in a great place right now. He’s better then he has ever been from a mental standpoint. That’s the hardest thing. You have an injury and then you come back and think you are 100 percent and something else happens, you start to get obviously frustrated and from a confidence level and all those things,” Pagano explained.
“But Pat is in a great place and feels really good about where he is at. Again, we are not going to push him [to return] until we know he is 100 percent. He is working his tail off with [team rehab specialist] Erin [Barill] and [head athletic trainer] Dave [Hammer]. The trainers [are working with Angerer] on the side, doing his rehab and going through position-specific drills. It’s just a matter of time before Pat gets back. He has had to deal with a lot and that’s never easy. So I feel good about that.”
Werner coming along
Indianapolis’ 2013 first-round draft pick, outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, continues to make progress.
Werner is currently the primary backup as the Colts’ rush outside linebacker, playing behind veteran Robert Mathis.
There had been some thought as to whether the team’s defensive coaching staff might try to cross train the former Florida State standout and have him also get work at strong side linebacker. He would end up playing behind free agent acquisition Erik Walden if that were to happen.
Pagano, though, says no. At least not for now.
“Right now the plan is just leave him at Rush, leave him behind Robert for the time being. We’re taxing him pretty good once we get to our third-down sub package and we’re giving him a lot there. Right now just we’re going to leave him there and let him grow from there,” the Colts coach said.
Overall, the Colts are happy with the way Werner is coming along.
“He’s got a long way to go, as we know, going from a guy that played with his hand in the dirt and very rarely stood up to a stand-up outside linebacker [while at Florida State]. We know that. We did it with two guys that played with their hand in the dirt for a long, long time last year [former Colts defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and Mathis],” Pagano voiced.
“The transition is never easy but Bjoern’s a smart guy. We said back in the offseason program, OTAs and minicamp, he adapted pretty quickly. But just the technical things, the fundamental things, he’s doing well but he’s got work to do.”
Offensive line meshing
Indianapolis will have at least two new starters on the offensive line this season, with Donald Thomas take over at left guard and Gosder Cherlis getting the nod at right offensive tackle. Both were veteran free agent additions, from New England and Detroit respectively.
Thomas and Cherilis will team with center Samson Satele, right offensive guard Mike McGlynn and left offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo. A pair of rookies, center Khaled Holmes and Hugh Thornton, will also push for playing time once they return from ankle injuries
“I’m pleased with where they’re at. Again, we got a long ways to go. It’s early. We’re only one week into camp. But I’m very pleased. The guys that we brought in stepped right in from day one. It was basically a seamless transition because of the type of players they are, the type of people they are. They fit right in the locker room,” Pagano said.
“They fit inside that O-line meeting room. So that makes the transition pretty easy for everybody else, coaches and players alike. I’m pleased where they’re at collectively as a group. It’s a great room. They all get along. They’re working extremely hard at their craft. I think with the first line and the depth we have right now, I feel really good where we’re at with that group. They’re going to do nothing but get better.”
Correcting the mistakes
With the first week of training camp now behind them and the team’s first preseason game set for this Sunday against Buffalo (1:30 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium), the Colts coaching staff are all about cleaning up practice errors.
“We just don’t want repeat offenders. Whatever mistakes that they’ve made, there’s going to be mistakes made. But what you’d like to do is ‘OK, come in, watch the tape, clean up the mistakes and then move forward.’ So, especially for young guys, it’s difficult because we’re adding another installation [of the team’s offensive and defensive systems],” Pagano said.
“We’ll continue to install this week, every day. Every night when we have our meetings, we’re installing things. So we’re trying to eliminate the repeat offenders. We want to get something cleaned up so we can move on. If we have to come back and fix the same thing over and over and over again -- whether it be a position play or a unit, a coverage, a run, a pass play, a protection, whatever that is -- we’re not going to be able to make the strides that we need to make.”
Bradshaw gets work
Former New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw saw a brief bit of work with the first-team offense during Sunday morning’s walkthrough.
Bradshaw is on the Colts’ physically unable to perform list after undergoing foot surgery in late January. He signed with Indianapolis on June 11 after he was waived by the Giants but has yet to see any extensive practice time with the team.
A two-time 1,000-yard rusher during his six seasons with New York, Bradshaw isn’t expected to be activated from the PUP list any time soon. He took a couple of handoffs from quarterback Andrew Luck.
“No. Just getting the mental reps,” Pagano said about the running back’s abbreviated practice appearance.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a veteran free agent signed this past spring, was sidelined early during Sunday’s afternoon practice.
Heyward-Bey suffered a sprained left knee after apparently colliding with strong safety LaRon Landry. No word on how long the speedy receiver will be sidelined.
Also, rookie fullback Dan Moore incurred a right shoulder AC joint sprain. No word on when he will return.
Cornerback Greg Toler, safety Sergio Brown, outside linebacker Daniel Adongo, offensive guard Joe Reitz, Holmes and Thornton all remain sidelined with injuries.
“They’re all, like I always say, they’re all trending in the right direction. Right now, I’m not counting on anybody that’s been out. If we do get somebody back, then it’s a bonus,” the Colts coach said.
Stats of the day
The Colts had 53 drop backs (pass attempts plus sacks) and 31 running plays during Sunday afternoon’s practice.
Also, Luck completed 20-of-31 passes with a touchdown to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. He was intercepted by cornerback Cassius Vaughn, his third of training camp.
Former Colts on hand
Several former Indianapolis players took part in a youth football clinic Sunday. The clinic, which attracted nearly 150 youngsters, was conducted in conjunction with USA Football.
Among the ex-Colts on hand were Gary Brackett, Roosevelt Potts, Mark Hermann, Danny Kight, Bill Brooks, Stan Eisenhooth, Gary Padjen, Chuckie Nwokorie, Darvell Hoffman, Geneo Riley and Mike Prior. Prior is the team’s youth football coordinator.
Pagano likes having former players around his practices.
“Love it, love it, it’s our history. They laid a foundation, all those guys. And their blood, sweat, and tears over the years, they’re Colts history. I told our players, I mentioned that we’ve got 10, 12 former Colts greats that are here, spending the day with us,” he pointed out.
“[I told them] to make sure you take a minute when you have time after practice to go up and introduce yourself. Some of these guys obviously played with them and know them already. But we would all be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of getting to know these guys. They were out at walkthrough [Sunday morning] and they’re [did] something with USA Football. We can’t have those guys around enough. They’ve got so much to share if guys are willing to listen. So we really encourage it.”