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NFL: JUN 04 Indianapolis Colts Minicamp

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INDIANAPOLIS The Colts are on the brink of wrapping up their spring offseason program.

Wednesday brought Day 2 of a 3-day minicamp, with one more practice scheduled for Thursday morning.

Here are some takeaways from Wednesday’s minicamp session:

  • For the first time in our four spring viewings at the Colts, Anthony Richardson didn’t take all the starting reps. It was Joe Flacco running with the first unit for multiple periods during Wednesday’s second minicamp practice. Richardson only took about half of his normal starting workload, going 1-of-3 in his lone 11-on-11 period. Prior to the spring period, the Colts said there would be no restrictions on the workload for Richardson, unless he complained of pain in his right shoulder. He did receive some medical attention on Wednesday, which was also the case during Tuesday’s practice. The next media availability for Shane Steichen is Thursday, so any additional updates will come then. Richardson appeared to be getting his back stretched out during Tuesday’s practice, but that did not stop him from taking all the starting reps. Richardson started Wednesday’s practice like normal, taking the lead quarterback role during individual drills. But at various points after that he was seen stretching out his right arm, amidst the scaled back role he had. Richardson stayed out at practice throughout Wednesday’s entire session, coaching up some of the skill guys during a late two-minute drill led by Flacco.


  • While the Colts didn’t plan for any limited days for Richardson this spring, the young quarterback did say this a couple of weeks ago on his shoulder: “Every day’s different for me,” Richardson said after his 2nd OTA session. “Some days I feel amazing and then some days I wake up, I’m like, ‘Dang, my shoulder’s a little achy.’ But every day I work and whenever I finish rehab or I’m in the weight room lifting and it’s like, ‘Okay, I’m back,’ because I remember a few months ago I couldn’t even lift my arm up, so it’s like, every day I’m working, I’m back in the meeting rooms. I’m back in there, lifting, pressing, doing whatever. I’m back.” We will see on Thursday if Richardson will take part in the final day of the spring offseason program.


  • One of the major NFL storylines right now is the eye-popping money wide receivers are getting. Michael Pittman Jr. has done very well for himself in signing a 3-year extension back in March, at $70 million ($46 million guaranteed). MPJ was adamant on Wednesday he has “no regrets” over singing early in the offseason, after receiving the franchise tag, instead of waiting to see some of these other league-wide, extremely lucrative extensions play out. “For me, I got to a place where I was comfortable,” the fourth year-wideout said on Wednesday. “I thought the structure was good and we felt it was a good time to do the deal. I don’t look at other guys and kick myself. I don’t care that much. I signed it and even if guys are getting more, I think what I’m getting is a decent amount of money.” One angle that Pittman Jr. pointed out that is different with his contract compared to many other wideouts is the length. Instead of a 4 or 5-year extension, MPJ’s is for just 3 years, with his eyes already set on a possible third contract after Year 2 of his deal (following the 2025 season): “I have the benefit of in 2 years, probably making something happen again.” That is certainly an advantage Pittman Jr. has and something the Colts will have to consider as Anthony Richardson’s rookie contract starts to rise, reaching it’s end (the Colts have a 5th year team option for Richardson for 2027).


  • It was a lot of contract related questions from Pittman Jr. on Wednesday, with him offering up this poster board comment: “I’m trying to figure out a way to say this without being ungrateful,” Pittman Jr. began. “Obviously, I’m grateful for everything that I have, but I’m not motivated by money. That doesn’t make me feel like I’ve made it, or I got it. I actually think that’s the death of guys careers when they get comfortable with stuff like that. Obviously, it’s very nice to have, but it’s not the motivation when it comes to football.” It is “national respect” that Pittman that is what he is looking for as further motivation.


  • Day 3 draft pick Anthony Gould stood out on Wednesday with multiple deep ball catches from Joe Flacco. It almost was a trio of such plays from Gould, but he dropped a third opportunity on a perfectly thrown ball from the veteran quarterback. The offensive role for Gould will be interesting to watch, as he is thought to be mainly a returner in the NFL. One has to think Shane Steichen will dial up a couple of Gould chances offensively though.


  • Outside of the Gould deep receptions, the defense certainly was the better unit on Wednesday. It was checkdown central for the passing offense, capped by a Nick Cross interception to end practice.


  • Gus Bradley is focused on three items when looking for a starting free safety next to Julian Blackmon. That would be a strong communication, someone who can cover a lot of ground a strong tackler in space. For now, Nick Cross has been the main guy taking those starting reps. Cross has started just 4 games in 2 NFL seasons, after the Colts traded back into Round 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft to take the young safety. The Colts have had Cross bounce around between strong and free safety in prior years, with the team now having him focus on that free safety spot. Again, the season-ending injury to Daniel Scott (Achilles) only stresses more of the importance of Blackmon staying healthy and Cross cementing himself as a starter.


  • As offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter accurately said on Wednesday, the spring offseason program can also be described as a “passing camp.” That’s a reference to no full pads being allowed until the end of the first week of training camp. So that makes it difficult to project out the run game or guys in the trenches. With that setup, Laiatu Latu will have plenty of eyes on him when full pads get put on at Grand Park. In the spring, Latu hasn’t been a starter (which was expected), but that shouldn’t diminish the type of pass rush role he needs to have for the Colts in 2024.


  • On the AD Mitchell front, a couple of notable Colts pointed out some other observations from the rookie. Jim Bob Cooter said Texas wideouts usually have a good grasp of NFL concepts given Steve Sarkisian’s time coaching at this level. Michael Pittman Jr. later said on Tuesday that he has even learned some things from Mitchell in route running and setting defensive backs up. MPJ added he would describe Mitchell as a football junkie.


  • The Colts are in the midst of finalizing off-season plans for a training session at a spot, to be determined. This occurred last year with Michael Pittman Jr. spearheading a lot of that. MPJ, Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor and Mo Alie-Cox are part of the group that will make those plans. And Pittman Jr. said he expects to take part in that work, after missing the final two weeks of the spring offseason program due to a banged knee.


  • Among the Colts not practicing on Wednesday, the list included: WR-Michael Pittman Jr. (knee), WR-Alec Pierce (undisclosed), WR-Ashton Dulin (knee), RT-Braden Smith (knee), CB-Ameer Speed, CB-Chris Lammons. Indy native S-Michael Tutsie left practice early with an apparent leg injury after going down on a non-contact individual drill.


  • We will get one more look at the Colts this spring, with a final minicamp practice on Thursday. Then it’s time for summer vacation before training camp likely stars around July 24.

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