Chuck Pagano admits he’s ‘scared to death’ about injuries in training camp

By Jesse Reed

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has long shied away from letting his players tackle one another during training camp. So is it any big surprise that the Colts have been awful defensively in recent years?

On this topic, a Colts fan asked ESPN’s Mike Wells if the no-tackling policy will continue heading into training camp this year. Wells indicates things might finally be changing, especially considering how poorly the defense tackled during the season last year and that there were injuries in camp.

Furthermore, Pagano himself has indicated things may be different this time around, despite admitting he’s “scared to death” of injuries.

“You’re always scared to death, but at the same time if you don’t tackle, it’s hard to get good at tackling,” Pagano said. “We do, obviously, a lot of what we call ‘thud.’ It’s first contact, it’s wrap up, and you try to stay off the ground as much as you can and take care of each other.”

Pagano said the Colts will continue to have discussions about hitting. But based on what new general manager Chris Ballad has said about this there may not be a lot that needs to be discussed.

“This will be a physical camp for us,” Ballard told Colts.com. “We’ve got a young football team and you need to spar. I think we will have a physical camp and I think you need to. It helps get your body ready. I think a lot of the problems we have is that we don’t hit enough. You’re always worried about injuries, but this is football and it’s a physical game.”

The Colts ranked No. 30 in the NFL last year in total defense. They weren’t the most talented group defensively, but tackling isn’t something that’s purely talent-based. It’s about technique and desire. If the Colts don’t practice tackling in training camp, then they’ll stink when the games take place, too.

Injuries occur in training camp all too often even when players aren’t being touched at all. Being scared of injuries is a poor excuse to not practice tackling. Hopefully for the sake of their fans, the Colts will finally start hitting in practices so they can perform well when it matters most.