INDIANAPOLIS – The rhythm of training camp in full pads has reached its first off day for the Indianapolis Colts.
After three straight days in full pads, the Colts will now have an off day on Thursday before four straight sessions Friday-Monday.
What were some of my takeaways from the Wednesday’s third practice in full pads?
-Had Philip Rivers going roughly 14-of-18 on Wednesday (33-of-46 for camp) with 1 interception. We saw a couple of drops from Colts pass catchers, with Rivers not taking many shots down the field. The one deep ball Rivers did attempt was picked off by safety George Odum. It was a ball intended for Parris Campbell and Odum was there stride for stride. This is part of the risk/reward that Rivers is going to take chances on. Just because he threw 20 interceptions last season, Rivers stressed after practice that he will not be playing scared and hesitant with his risk taking.
-One thing that easily stands out after watching Philip Rivers work is how quickly he gets through his progressions. He is not a guy that hangs onto reads for very long, rapidly scanning the field.
-Wednesday’s practice ended with the starting offense ‘beating’ the starting defense on three straight third-down conversions (from around 6-7 yards). Punishment for the defense was that unit having to run sideline-to-sideline to end practice. This is a more competitive session that Reich knows is important without preseason games.
-Nyheim Hines should be the favorite at punt returner. That spot was aided on Wednesday by Parris Campbell muffing a couple of balls during an extended punt period. Campbell’s rough day included a drop on a pass from Philip Rivers, too, which would have been a gain of at least 20 yards. Frank Reich did say that the Colts are putting a bigger emphasis on special teams this camp, because of not having preseason games, where those live reps are very valuable.
-Malik Hooker met the media after Wednesday’s practice, his first time chatting to the media this offseason. Hooker said all the right things about his offseason, in which the Colts did not pick up his 5th year rookie option and seeing the team draft a safety in Round Three. The 4th year safety said it was a ‘motivational call’ to him, knowing he needs more consistency in his game. Hooker said in an ideal world he would have a great season and re-sign in Indianapolis. In 2020, Hooker is looking for a little more ball production, be the quarterback of the secondary in lining guys up and continue to make some plays closer to the line of scrimmage. Frank Reich did have some nice things to say about Hooker’s start to camp.
-One wideout name to mention as someone who could round out the group on the 53-man roster is Chad Williams, a former third-round pick who spent most of last year on the Indy practice squad. Williams had a really solid day on Wednesday and is benefitting from no Marcus Johnson (undisclosed injury) so far.
-After Wednesday’s practice, I asked Frank Reich if he’s still exploring the idea of having Jacoby Brissett on the field for around 5-to-7 plays each game. Reich said he is still discussing such a package with Nick Sirianni, and has spoken briefly to Brissett about it. The head coach did acknowledge that it would be a ‘big step’ to actually use this in a game, something that he has never done (and no team he has been part of has done). What the Saints have done with Taysom Hill is intriguing to Reich, but he knows that Brissett doesn’t over the same exact skillset.
-I know a few weeks back defensive line coach Brian Baker said only 2 of the 4 defensive line starting jobs were secure (DT-DeForest Buckner and DE-Justin Houston), but DT-Grover Stewart is going to be a starter. The brawler continues to be a strong presence at the bigger defensive tackle spot and is always a handful for Ryan Kelly and the interior guys during 1-on-1 reps.
-Speaking of the defensive line, Indy native Sheldon Day (knee) has yet to take part in full-padded practices. This has given more run to the likes of Tyquan Lewis and rookie Rob Windsor in the interior. Lewis, and the physical shape that he is in, is catching the eye of Frank Reich, too: “He’s looked exceptionally good.”
-The kickers did not kick in 11-on-11 settings on Wednesday, but both met the media after practice. Frank Reich said the two young kickers approach things differently. Reich called Chase McLaughlin a ‘cool customer’ who goes with the flow, while rookie Rodrigo Blankenship is much more of a detail oriented guy with his kicking plan.
-Couple of names that stood out to me on Wednesday, for various reasons: WR-Chad Williams, DT-Tyquan Lewis, DT-Taylor Stallworth, S-George Odum, TE-Ian Bunting.
-The Colts will have two practices at Lucas Oil Stadium next week (Monday and Saturday). Unfortunately, no fans will be allowed (media is allowed). Frank Reich has mentioned these practices will have a ‘game-like’ feel.
Injury Report: Kemoko Turay and Mo Alie-Cox remain on the physically unable to perform list. Julian Blackmon is on the non-football injury list. Other guys who did not appear to be practicing on Wednesday included: TE-Jack Doyle, DT-DeForest Buckner, CB-Kenny Moore (groin) OT-Chaz Green, OT-Braden Smith (foot), CB-Isaiah Rodgers (boot on left foot), OT-Brandon Hitner, WR-Marcus Johnson and DL-Sheldon Day (knee). Moore will be out at least a week after straining his groin, Reich said. Moore was visibly frustrated on Monday when he suffered the injury, tossing his helmet on the ground as he headed towards the bench. Reich did not have a definite update on when Turay would make his practice debut in 2020, other than to say he’s making good progress. Reich said Day is ‘going to take a little time to heal’ as the Indy native has not participated in any of the full-padded practices so far. Smith is doing some on-field work off to the side, but has still yet to put the full pads on.
Weekly Camp Schedule
-Friday: 10:00-11:45 Practice
-Saturday: 10:00-12:00 Practice
-Sunday: 10:00-11:30 Practice
-Monday: 1:00-3:30 Practice (at Lucas Oil Stadium)