INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ second training camp at Grand Park will begin July 25 the team announced Wednesday.
The Colts will hold 16 open practices in Westfield before breaking camp Aug. 16.
The highlight of the session will come Aug. 14 and 15 when the Cleveland Browns participate in joint practices ahead of their preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Aug. 17.
The players will have off days on July 29, Aug. 2, Aug. 7, Aug. 9 and Aug. 13.
It’s an important camp for Indianapolis which is trying to take the next step into the NFL’s elite after a 10-6 record and wild-card playoff victory in 2018.
One of general manager Chris Ballard’s primary goals has been to increase the depth on this roster, and he feels as though he’s finally making headway.
A draft focused on adding speed and athleticism to the defense has shown promise during spring workouts. The greatest focus was at linebacker, where three rookies were added — Ben Banogu, Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed.
That position along with cornerback, where Rock Ya-Sin also was drafted in the second round, figure to provide the most competition.
And that’s what training camp is all about.
“We are just trying to create as much competition as we can at each position, we really are,” head coach Frank Reich said during last week’s mini-camp. “It will play itself out. And sure there are guys who are established that are leading in those positions, and they have earned that right. But we have a lot of practices to go. We are always going to play the best guys.
“Everybody on the team wants that, and in this league we all know that. Chris has done an amazing job of continuing to build the roster and make this thing really competitive. Everyone here knows it’s going to be harder to make this team this year than it was last year. That’s a good thing for us.”
Half of the open practices will begin at 2 p.m. Six others will begin at 9 a.m. And the two practices with the Browns will begin at 4 p.m.
Thirteen practice days carry some sort of theme, ranging from kids day to the annual BBQ Bash.
All practices are free to the public, but tickets must be downloaded at Colts.com.
Indianapolis returns 21 of 22 starters from last season on paper, but those positions aren’t necessarily set in stone.
“We love the guys that are returning, everyone of them,” Reich said. “But (change) is the nature of this business. We all accept that coming into it, and we know it.”