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'Football starts today': Pads go on Tuesday at Colts camp

The Indianapolis Colts are back at work for Week 2 of training camp at Grand Park in Westfield, and the helmets and pads went on.

WESTFIELD, Ind. — The Indianapolis Colts are back at work for Week 2 of training camp at Grand Park in Westfield, and the helmets and pads went on.

(NOTE: The video in the player above is this a Locked On Sports report on the Colts' goal of winning the AFC South.)

There was some hitting going on Tuesday. You could hear the guys playing football today.

Quarterback Matt Ryan had his first team practice in pads with the Colts. 

"Football starts today," Ryan said. "The work we've done up until this point is really important, but, you know, it changes. It changes a little bit when you get into your pads. You gotta adjust to that, you gotta get used to that. You gotta let things slow down for everybody, you know, take a deep breath, relax and go play."

Ryan is still getting acclimated to his new team, which was evident as the defense held the upper hand during most of Tuesday's red zone drills.

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While the 2016 league MVP wasn't around for Indy's embarrassing 26-11 playoff-eliminating loss in January, he understands.

In 2017, Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons returned to training camp answering similar questions as they tried to rebound from an epic Super Bowl collapse against New England. Atlanta has won only one postseason game since blowing the 28-3 lead.

"First day in pads, really fun to get in those pads on and play some football," said head coach Frank Reich. "Guys responded well. I thought the work was good, it was clean. It was competitive. That's what we're looking for." 

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Much of the focus Tuesday was in the red zone. We saw a couple of nice passes from Ryan to Michael Pittman Jr. and the rookie receiver Alec Pierce.

Though Indy has missed Shaquille Leonard's energy on the field, while he remains on the physically unable to perform list following back surgery in June, there were plenty of exciting plays Tuesday.

Whether it was Gilmore blanketing rookie receiver Alec Pierce near the sideline, linebacker Bobby Okereke breaking up a pass or Taylor making a cut that impressed Ryan, the large crowd helped create a different atmosphere from last week when the Colts first reported to the Grand Park complex in suburban Indianapolis.

“This is football, football is played in pads and you have to really focus on run-fits, tackling and all those sorts of things matter,” new safety Rodney McLeod said. “It was very competitive and that's what you want to see.”

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