ANDERSON – Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne made a habit the last few years of conducting his media interviews only on Fridays. He always proves to be worth the wait.
Wayne kicked off 2012 season by talking to the media during training camp Friday at Anderson University. Here are some of the highlights of his question-and-answer session:
Fans showing him love
“It's cool. I guess they figured I was going to jump ship. I love these fans. It's part of the fuel that keeps me going. They've always opened their arms up to me since Day One. I can't help but open my arms to them. I guess I'm getting some of the Peyton Manning fans come over to me. It's cool.”
The overhaul of the roster
“It's weird. I'm still trying to learn some of these guys' names, along with the playbook. It's definitely a weird feeling. Just the schedule, everything's 360, everything's changed."
Being a veteran leader
“It doesn't matter with me. My intensity is going to stay the same, I'm not going to change. Even when Peyton was here, I was still being vocal when I needed to be vocal. ..I've been that guy even when I wasn't that guy.”
Catching extra passes after practice
“Reps in practice are cut to a minimum because they have so many guys they have to get looks at. The ones (starters) only go so long. I'm only getting so many balls. Between walk-through and practice, I like to catch 150 balls. It's a chance to keep my hands used to feeling that football.”
Comparing Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning
“It's hard for me to answer that question. Andrew's going to be good, he's going to be real good. He's real smart, he knows what's going on around him. He understands concepts, understands terminology, he understands it all. I can't compare the two. That wouldn't be fair.
“…I wasn't here when Peyton came in as a rookie in '98, so I'm not sure what kind of ball he threw then. I do tell you Andrew throws a nice, strong ball, a nice strong spiral. I think they both have their pros and cons if I had to match them up right now.”
Summer work with Luck in Miami
“It helped a lot. We did a lot of talking in between things, just to get a feel for each other. I'd run a route and tell him what I'm used to seeing, what I'm used to happening with this particular coverage. He'd tell me what he thinks. It was a lot more words than just throwing.
“We were out there in the rain and I was ready to go in and he said, 'Hey, we might have a couple of rain games.' That's the type of guy he is. I really felt it was real useful.”
Mentoring young receivers
“As I'm telling them, I'm a rookie all over again, too, dealing with offensive terminology and philosophy. Guys think because I'm the older guy, I can grasp it easier. It keeps me on my toes.
“We've got some young receivers who want to learn, guys taking great notes, heavy notes. I'm a big note-taker. When I see them taking notes, I know they want to get better. …It's going to be exciting. I like where we're headed."
Young receivers' speed and size
“It makes me want to pick up my speed a little bit. It makes it all fun. I try to see who's the Mike Wallace of this offense. Guys are just out here acting like the Olympics, running as fast as they could.”
“They're all Smurfs. I thought once they put on pads, they'd get bigger, but they're still Smurfs. Not only are they Smurfs, but when they get the ball, they're dangerous with it.”
Establishing a rapport with Luck
“It takes time. It's not easy. It's not master's (degree) hard, but it's not kindergarten easy, either. We're taking it day by day to build that relationship, build that trust, as well as other receivers, linemen, running backs, tight ends.”
Knowing Chuck Pagano from Miami days
“He's toned it down, totally. This is a different Chuck Pagano than the college guy, but at the same time he's still fun. He still loves the game, still loves to teach and gets a kick out of guys improving and getting better every day.”
Outside opinions of Colts' roster
“People say 'depleted,' I say younger, hungrier. I don't know. I love the teams of the past, but we know once we sign those contracts, anything can happen. I wanted to be here to help build this foundation and get the Colts back to the old winning days.”