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INDIANAPOLIS – The full pads were back on the Colts on Sunday afternoon for their 9th practice of camp at Grand Park.
It was the 5th full-padded session of camp for the Colts, with a big day from T.Y. Hilton leading to plenty of cheers from the packed stands.
Here are some other tidbits from Sunday’s ninth practice of Training Camp:
- In case we needed a reminder, T.Y. Hilton offered one on Sunday in showing why he was the best player on the practice field. Whether it was Hilton again getting behind the final line of defense for a 70-yard touchdown from Jacoby Brissett, or locating a ball near the red zone for another touchdown, No. 13 looked like the perennial Pro Bowler that he is. Even Chris Ballard offered a little slap on the backside of Hilton after the second TD on the afternoon. Colts fans should absolutely not take Hilton for granted and his consistent, elite production.
- Another promising day for Reece Fountain on the practice field. The offense began practice backed up against its own goal line. But Fountain got them out of there with a pair of deep sideline grabs. We have now seen Fountain string some days together of consistency, which is vital for him trying to climb up a steep depth chart. Fountain still needs to clean up the mental part of the game (he had a pre-snap issue on Sunday, which displeased Nick Sirianni), but he’s bounced back from a difficult first week of camp. “He’s doing better,” receivers coach Kevin Patullo said of Fountain after Sunday’s practice. “They are all kind of up and down from day-to-day, depending on the workload and what they are asked to do. When it’s his opportunity to make a play, he’s done a pretty good job. For the most part, he’s been where he’s supposed to be and he’s just got to continue to get used to playing. A lot of it for him is he wasn’t on the game field much last year but he was in meeting rooms, so he’s just got get out there, react and do it.” Fountain admits he had a very humbling rookie season and it’s still going to be difficult for him to make this team, but better days for No. 10 have occurred as of late.
- As we are now 9 practices into camp, Chester Rogers looks to be the surest punt returner the Colts have in 2019. Parris Campbell has missed 5 straight days of practice, didn’t look comfortable at PR earlier in camp and has no history of handling punt returns. Zach Pascal dropped a pair of punts on Sunday. And Nyheim Hines still looks just a bit hesitant when it’s his turn to field punts. Ball security, ball security, ball security—that’s the No. 1 thing when it comes to punt returns. Unless something changes this month, I’d expect Rogers to handle those duties again in 2019.
- One position I think we need to start monitoring as a group that could see some free agent attention this month is running back. With Spencer Ware gone, that opens up a 53-man roster spot. You still have Jordan Wilkins behind Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. We saw Jonathan Williams get banged up a bit on Sunday, and he could very well make the team as a 4th runner. But this is a group that doesn’t have a ton of depth right now and it could be a position that sees a waiver wire claim at the end of the preseason.
- No Darius Leonard (back spasms) on Sunday meant the Colts shifted their linebackers around a lot. You had a starting base trio of Bobby Okereke, Anthony Walker and E.J. Speed, with Matthew Adams next in line. It will be interesting to watch how the Colts handle Walker’s reps in the preseason, with him looking to be in a starting competition battle.
- We talked with assistant coaches after Sunday’s practice. Howard Mudd was explaining how he wants the offensive line to set-up a pocket in the shape of a satellite dish, with a firm interior being the most important part of the pocket. Mudd wants for his quarterbacks to be able to have ample room to step up.
- One thing to note as we get into the second half of Training Camp (9 of 16 practices are complete). We are reaching the end of that 7-to-10 day timeframe Chris Ballard put out there at the start of camp for guys to be eased back into camp, with soft tissue injuries typically rising in the early stages of practice. Through 9 practices, the Colts have had 7 ‘starters’ participate in every single session: Marlon Mack, Mark Glowinski, Quenton Nelson, Anthony Walker, Quincy Wilson, Pierre Desir, Malik Hooker.
- A couple of dates to note: We are 5 weeks away from the regular season opener (September 8th at Chargers. We are less than 4 weeks away from the final roster cut down to 53 guys (August 31st). And we are 5 days away from the preseason opener (Thursday, August 8th at Buffalo).
- Frank Reich has made it clear that they want Nyheim Hines as their third-down running back in 2019. For Hines, he’s talked about becoming a more explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands, something that was lacking for this team last season.
- Here were the Colts who did not practice on Sunday: DE-Jabaal Sheard (sore knee, has missed 8 straight practices), WR-Parris Campbell (has missed 5 straight practices), WR-Penny Hart, QB-Andrew Luck (calf/ankle, has missed 5 straight practices), TE-Ross Travis (hamstring), DE-Ben Banogu (hamstring, has missed 4 straight practices), TE-Jack Doyle (oblique, has missed 4 straight practices), C-Ryan Kelly (shoulder, has missed 3 straight practices), LB-Darius Leonard (back spasm). These guys were ‘maintenance’ days on Sunday: S-Clayton Geathers, DE-Justin Houston, DT-Denico Autry, CB-Kenny Moore. Backup center Josh Andrews had to be helped off the field late in practice. Wide receiver Devin Funchess limped off during the final 7-on-7 period after practice.
- The Colts will now have two more afternoon practices (Monday and Tuesday) before heading to Buffalo for their preseason opener. When the Colts return from Buffalo, they will have 5 practices left this camp, including the 2 joint sessions with the Browns.
REMAINING COLTS CAMP SCHEDULE
Monday, August 5: Practice from 2:00-3:40 PM
Tuesday, August 6: Practice from 2:00-4:15 PM
Wednesday, August 7: Off day
Thursday, August 8: Preseason game at Buffalo
Friday, August 9: Off day
Saturday, August 10: Practice from 9:00-10:40 AM
Sunday, August 11: Practice from 9:00-11:15 AM
Monday, August 12: Practice from 9:00-11:15 AM
Tuesday, August 13: Off day
Wednesday, August 14: Joint practices with Browns from 4:00-6:10 PM
Thursday, August 15: Joint practices with Browns from 4:00-6:00 PM
Friday, August 16: Break camp
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