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INDIANAPOLIS – Each month during the season, the Colts have their assistant coaches available to the media.
That took place on Thursday, and I was able to catch up with just about every assistant who is coaching a 2019 draft pick. (Linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi, with Bobby Okereke and E.J. Speed, was the only coach I couldn’t get).
What did the assistants have to say about their 2019 draftees after three weeks in the NFL?
-Cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon on what has impressed him about Ya-Sin: “His competitiveness. He’s a tireless worker, does all the little things right. He practices how we want him to practice. He’s smart. But, more than anything, he’s ultra-competitive.”
-On where Ya-Sin needs to progress: “He just needs to play. He’s doing a good job right now. He needs to see certain things. Everything is kind of new to him, playing within our system. It’s just fine-tuning technique in all our calls, just the little nuances of playing different receivers and different coverages, knowing how to make his job easier and win more (at the point of attack). He’s making jumps every week, getting better and better. The sky is the limit for him.”
-Defensive line coach Mike Phair on what has impressed him about Banogu: “Ben is doing a nice job. He’s developing and is just understanding how to play the position. We’ve moved him around a little bit, which has been really good. And it’s hard sometimes, at first, when you are going through it. Now, he’s starting to figure out and he’s got to do it in practice. And that’s what he’s doing now. He’s practicing (well) and you just see him developing every day.”
-On where Banogu needs to progress: “Just reps. That’s what all those guys need. Practice reps, just getting better. Individual reps, all that stuff. To me, reps that is what helps you develop.”
-Wide receivers coach Kevin Patullo on what has impressed him about Campbell: “His football intelligence is impressive. The other game, with all those injuries, he was able to play three spots. For a rookie, that’s really difficult to do. So that was really impressive to see him do that, step in there, know all three spots and execute. That’s really hard to do, especially because he missed some time (in August). That’s been a surprise to me, a good, positive thing.”
-On where Campbell needs to progress: “Just the experience in playing. It’s still new to him. When you think about it, he missed most of the preseason, so the other day was really his fourth preseason game, so I think it’s just the experience of continuing to play and then he’ll just grow from there.”
-Safeties coach Alan Williams on what has impressed him about Willis: “Steadiness. Intelligence. Work ethic. Quick twitch, instincts and strike, which we covet in our system. And just the ability to be the same guy every day. And he has been since he’s stepped on campus. He reminds me a lot of Antoine Bethea (who Williams coached in Indy), different skillset, but in terms of the mentality, temperament and how professional they are. They came in right away with good study habits and just ready to be coached.”
-On where Willis has developed: “I think he plays faster than he even did at Michigan State. At Michigan State, he played a lot of nickel, played inside the box a lot. He played fast, but one of the things that I think in our system, you get to take a shot. We tell them, ‘You are never out there alone. You are out there with 11 other guys, so don’t feel like you have to be alone. So, ‘Hey, go take your shot.’ He’s improved on that a lot. I think at Michigan State it was a lot of, ‘Hey, run to the ball, kind of break down.’ Now, he’s shooting the gun, and it shows up on tape, with him playing super-fast.”
-Cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon on what has impressed him about Tell: “He’s doing good. He’s coming on. He’s champing at the bit. If he keeps practicing the way he needs to practice, I’m sure he’ll get in at some point.”
-On why the Colts believe Tell can play corner: “I worked him out at USC before the draft, worked him out as a corner and we believe he has the skills to play corner in this league. Quickness, instincts and strike. And he’s got length and cover ability.”