INDIANAPOLIS – One would understand if a bit complacency started to creep in.
Hell, Quenton Nelson has had as good of a start to an NFL career as anyone could ask for from an individual standpoint.
Two years. Two first-team All-Pro selections.
Good thing for the Colts that the word ‘complacent’ is not in Nelson’s vocabulary.
That played into Chris Ballard firmly believing that taking a guard, and not just any guard, No. 6 overall was worth it back in 2018.
“You don’t become a guy like Quenton Nelson without this burning desire to get better all the time,” second-year offensive line coach Chris Strausser says.
“Since the day I walked in the building, and I know he was saying it before I got here, but he has this tremendous desire to be the best that’s ever played. When you have that mindset, you are always in the mode of when you go out onto the football field of, ‘Hey, what can I get better at?’”
The stories of Nelson’s extreme craving to improve his game are hilarious.
You have had Nelson yelling at Chris Ballard during practice, not pleased with the type of competition he was facing on the scout team.
You’ve had Nelson firing off texts to Ballard on who should have replaced former offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo (who was fired after Nelson’s rookie season in 2018, with Strausser getting hired).
Each offseason, Strausser sits down individually with his offensive linemen to go over that player’s film from the previous year.
One would think the session with Nelson, who has had a Hall of Fame start to his career, might be shorter than most.
“He’s so driven. He doesn’t want that to be short,” Strausser says. “He wants me to critique every little thing with him.
“I’ve heard stories over the years when Peyton (Manning) was here and what he said to Jim Caldwell, when he was the quarterbacks coach, ‘Coach me like I’m an 8th grader. Assume I know nothing. Coach me every single play.’ That’s really what Quenton’s mindset is. He wants to be coached on every little detail and have discussion about it.”
From Year One to Year Two, Nelson wanted to become even more focused on his fundamentals, and not fall back on his sheer strength to occasionally bail him out.
Strausser isn’t going to reveal what the two discovered from last year’s film, but rest assured work will be put in from No. 56.
“With our craft being what it is, it ends up being the same things time and time again,” Strausser says of the focus on technique for his offensive line group. “I also think that mindset of not getting bored with the mundane is important and is one of the things that makes Quenton so good in terms of wanting to improve.”