All offseason we’ve heard coaches and players rave about how Holmes has progressed from his rookie season.
Physically, Holmes does look different from his 2013 self but he’s also acting a bit differently too.
Last Tuesday, the Colts minicamp practice wrapped up outdoors and the media headed to the team’s indoor facility to hear Chuck Pagano recap Day One.
Not far behind Pagano was Holmes, along with undrafted centers Jonotthan Harrison and FN Lutz. The trio drilled together, practicing snaps, after the group had just spent a couple of hours taking part in the first minicamp practice of 2014.
Words turned into action.
“He looks like a different guy from appearance to the way he’s approaching it. All of a sudden you have hope. You kind of see you have to a chance to play,” Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen says of Holmes.
“The biggest thing you see is the guy who respond when they see an opening, a little crack that they’re involved. He just looks like a veteran guy, instead of a Southern Cal rookie camp. He’s really been impressive. I’ve been pleasantly shocked at the big jump he’s made.
Christensen, a 12-year veteran with the Colts coaching staff, believes Holmes is getting about 300 percent more reps this offseason, not to mention those coming with the first team offense.
For nearly a decade, Christensen watched the pair of Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday work in ideal harmony to establish the core for one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.
What a center provides an offense should not be taken for granted, according to Christensen.
“You are a captain of that five-man unit up front,” Christensen says when speaking about the center spot.
“If you come in as a right guard you worry about your position. You worry about you. You don’t have to open your mouth. You can just concentrate. (Holmes) has to give the calls or else we are paralyzed in there.”
Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert has watched Holmes operate out of the middle of his unit for the better part of the last month and a half.
Gilbert goes back to a talk he had with Holmes back in January, when the second-year pro realized the possibility that was on the horizon.
“When he left here, he came back and you could tell that he was determined to be the guy and he did it physically,” Gilbert says. “Mentally has never been an issue. He’s a sharp kid. He’s a confident kid and he takes coaching. He listens and is a great kid out there on the field to work with.
“He had a phenomenal offseason.”