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INDIANAPOLIS – Each day, 1070 The Fan will bring you a full camp notebook covering a variety of tidbits from Colts Training Camp at Grand Park in Westfield.
Thursday was the 16th practice for the Colts at Grand Park, with the team having 18 total practices in Westfield this camp.
Here is what was learned from the 16th day of practice:
-Andrew Luck had another efficient practice session on Thursday, with an emphasis throwing the ball down the field. Head here for an update on Luck’s afternoon practice.
-Even though the Colts had their mandatory off day on Wednesday, they kept things lighter and shorter at Thursday’s practice. The team did not practice in full pads for just the 6th time this camp. Practice lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.
-Competition is alive and well at right tackle and cornerback. Let’s start with right tackle. Veteran Austin Howard is getting another look. Howard was back with the starting unit on Thursday after dipping a bit on the depth chart over the past week. Last year, Howard started 16 games for the Ravens. But he’s clearly struggled at Training Camp. From a pure resume standpoint, Howard should be the starter at right tackle. Rookie Braden Smith went back to being a second-team right guard after he had started the three previous practices out at RT.
-You better had a quick pen taking notes to monitor the substitutions at cornerback on Thursday. The Colts had 3 separate periods of starters against starters (two 11-on-11 sessions, one 7-on-7 session). The starters at corner, with the defense playing nickel every time, went like this: 1st session: Pierre Desir, Nate Hairston, Kenny Moore (nickel); 2nd session: Quincy Wilson, Chris Milton, D.J. White (nickel); 3rd session: Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore (nickel). Good luck predicting how this competition shakes out.
-Rookie defensive end Kemoko Turay returned to practice on Thursday for the first time in about a week and a half. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said on Thursday that the Colts need for Turay and Tyquan Lewis to get healthy before they can settle on a definite pass rush group in 2018.
-Terrific day for local product Krishawn Hogan with a couple of impressive catches in the red zone. At 6-3 and 222 pounds, Hogan is the sort of body type the Colts would love to complement their smaller wideouts atop the depth chart. Everyone take a deep breath before reading this sentence…but Hogan reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald when watching how he carries his weight, catches the ball, combined with his body and hair. Now, we know Hogan isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. But he has that Fitzgerald-type of look to me when seeking out a player to describe running/playing style wise. Again, no one overreact to that comment. I’m just offering some picture for how Hogan operates as a player. He looks healthy to me and the Colts like him: “Big and strong, catches the ball very well,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni says of Hogan. “Physical blocker. And tough. Toughness is a key.”
-Outside of Hogan, I’m having a tough time deciding how I would fill out the wideout depth chart. It’s why I think it is vital the Colts have Jacoby Brissett work with the likes of Hogan, Reece Fountain, K.J. Brent, Kasen Williams, Zach Pascal, etc. during Monday’s preseason game. You need a proper evaluation of those guys and if you wait until Brad Kaaya and Phillip Walker get in the game, those evaluations are going to be different given the level of play at that point.
-Matt Eberflus had an interesting comment about how the Colts handled the return of safeties Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker: “When they came back, we re-set the whole defense and started from first day install and re-did all the walk throughs again just for those guys. It was good for our younger guys to go through that again. It was good to re-set everything. Both of them have done a good job of learning the system.”
-Eberflus said it’s important for these two to get some playing reps together in the preseason. The coordinator said that goes for the entire defense, in trying to narrow down the players competing for starting jobs as well. “We’ve had a lot of different matchups as you guys have seen in terms of units playing with each other. We need to get that solidified so guys can start communicating, knowing each other and trusting each other as they go forward.”
-Nyheim Hines has had a nice bounce back week after struggling to field punts in last Thursday’s preseason opener. “It wasn’t that great,” Hines says about his rookie debut. “I kind of got over it. It was my first game jitters.” Given Hines’ strong mental makeup, seeing him perform well on Monday night wouldn’t be a surprise.
-Defensive end Tarell Basham has fallen out of the starting lineup. Why? Matt Eberflus wouldn’t expand too much other than saying the coach and player had a conversation about that on Thursday morning. It sounds like there are improvements needed in both the pass rush, run defense areas for Basham.
-Veteran Margus Hunt has received a good amount of starting run out at defensive end as of late. Hunt was mainly a reserve defensive tackle earlier in the offseason. But now he’s seeing plenty of starting action lately.
-Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard moves so well in space. He’s all over the field in 7-on-7 drills.
-Undrafted free agent George Odum had a pick of Jacoby Brissett on Thursday. Odum and Skai Moore are probably the two most likely undrafted free agents to make the 53-man roster.
-One of the better days of camp from Chester Rogers. That’s needed with no real threat for the top three receiver spots.
-One more offensive line note, the Colts made a change at left tackle on Thursday with veteran J’Marcus Webb starting over there. Le’Raven Clark had been the starter at left tackle the previous three practices. The Colts are searching for a quality backup behind Anthony Castonzo.
-The following players also missed Thursday’s practice: OT-Anthony Castonzo (right hamstring), TE-Eric Ebron (ankle), OT-Denzelle Good (hamstring), DL-Anthony Johnson (back), DL-Tyquan Lewis (right foot), RB-Marlon Mack (left hamstring), DT-Rakeem Nunez-Roches (abdominal), RB-Branden Oliver (right hamstring), RB-Robert Turbin (ankle), LB-Anthony Walker (groin), WR-James Wright (knee).
-The Colts opened up practice on Thursday with a little Aretha Franklin ‘Respect’ over the sound system. Nice tribute to the Queen of Soul, who passed away early on Thursday.
-Thursday was the last day of Colts vs. Colts at Grand Park. They will practice during the afternoon again Friday and Saturday, with the Baltimore Ravens in town for joint practices.
UPCOMING CAMP SCHEDULE
Fri., August 17 (Joint practices with Ravens)
Practice: 1:30-3:30 PM
Sat., August 18 (Joint practices with Ravens)
Practice: 1:30-3:30 PM