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INDIANAPOLISIt was the lightest and shortest practice since the full pads came on the Colts.

And that was for a specific reason on Sunday, with Monday’s practice at Lucas Oil Stadium having an ‘intense’ feel to it, per Frank Reich. The head coach added that the Colts will be pumping in some crowd noise (around 80 decibels) for the longer practice coming Monday.

The Colts did not wear full pads on Sunday and practiced for about an hour, as they continue preparation for their season opener coming in just three weeks.

What were some of my takeaways from Sunday’s practice?

-Easily one of the standouts on Sunday was tight end Mo Alie-Cox. The 6-5, 267-pounder came off the physically unable to perform list on Friday as he’s been eased back into practice. On Sunday, Alie-Cox pulled down a deep ball by climbing the ladder—looking like the former VCU rebounding force. Following Sunday’s practice, Frank Reich did not hold back in explaining what Alie-Cox means to the Colts offense. Reich says the third-year tight end is ‘so instrumental’ to the Colts, calling him a dominating physical presence. Reich has been more than pleased with the significant improvements in Alie-Cox’s route running. Remember, the Colts did not draft a tight end and it took a month into free agency before they made a move at that spot, too (with Eric Ebron now in Pittsburgh). What this team thinks of Alie-Cox and his continued growth is clearly a major reason why. Even with Trey Burton here, expect Alie-Cox to still play a noteworthy role on game days.

-Sunday was the first practice the media has seen with OT-Braden Smith (foot) participating. Smith had missed the first 5 practices (all in full pads). Frank Reich commented after practice that seeing who will occupy the reserve offensive tackle spots remains an ongoing battle. Le’Raven Clark took the first-team reps at right tackle when Smith was sidelined.

-Running back Nyheim Hines had a busy day catching balls from Philip Rivers. That made sense with the Colts down their top two wideouts and top two tight ends on Sunday.

-Thought Jacoby Brissett had a pretty solid day on Sunday with the second team. He had several on-target completions down the field to a variety of pass catchers. Putting aside the amount of money Brissett is making in 2020 ($21 million cap hit), he is a very quality backup quarterback and has to be one of the better ones in the NFL.

-The rookies had some trouble hanging onto the ball on Sunday with both Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor dropping balls. For Pittman, this is unusual, given the Colts previous praise of his ‘strong hands.’ For Taylor, he was hardly used as a receiving threat out of the backfield at Wisconsin, so this is a bit a new to him. On a positive rookie note, WR-Dezmon Patmon made a very nice grab on a deep ball from Jacoby Brissett.

-After a quieter first few days, I noticed DE-Ben Banogu getting in pass coverage on Sunday and knocking down a pass intended for RB-Nyheim Hines.

-One roster cut down note to keep in mind (roster cuts come September 5th), Frank Reich did say on Sunday that seeing the Colts favor guys who have proven themselves in some prior game capacity is a fair assessment, with no preseason games here in 2020. Now, Reich stressed that the Colts will create opportunities for the unproven guys to make a statement, but still actual game film some guys can point to is gold in a year like this.

-When the Colts get on the practice field Monday they will be less than three weeks away from the regular season opener (September 13th at Jacksonville). We have yet to see Kemoko Turay (ankle) practice in 2020, as he remains on the physically unable to perform list. One would think if Turay is going to be ready for a playing role by Week One, he will need to start practicing in the coming week or so.

-Speaking of defensive line injuries, DT-Sheldon Day (knee) has missed all of the full-padded work so far. If healthy, Day figured to find a roster spot as a rotational defensive tackle in his home town. But his absence could jeopardize his spot on the 53-man roster.

-One thing we’ve learned to see from a Matt Eberflus defense is him using multiple safeties in various packages throughout a game. That was a reason why veteran safety Tavon Wilson joined the Colts at the start of camp. Wilson has played in more than 100 career games and might just be the No. 3 safety on the roster right now. That means seeing a decent amount of action behind Malik Hooker and Khari Willis. The Colts love the veteran professionalism Wilson brings.

-The throwing reps continue to be pretty scarce for Jacob Eason. We’ve seen Chad Kelly more often get the first look with the third-team offense during various 11-on-11 sessions.

-On Sunday morning, the Colts made a couple of roster moves: signing CB-Andre Chachere and C-Joey Hunt. They placed OT-Andrew Donnal on the injured reserve list and waived-injured TE-Ian Bunting, who was having a nice camp.

-Couple of names that stood out to me on Sunday for various reasons: WR-Artavis Scott, QB-Jacoby Brissettt, WR-Dezmon Patmon, TE-Farrod Green, DE-Ben Bangou.

-The Colts will have two practices at Lucas Oil Stadium this coming week (Monday and Saturday).

Injury Report: Kemoko Turay remains 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 Sunday included: CB-Kenny Moore (groin) OT-Chaz Green, CB-Isaiah Rodgers (left foot/leg), WR-Marcus Johnson, WR-Chad Williams (sleeve on left foot), DL-Sheldon Day (knee), TE-Jack Doyle (neck), S-George Odum, RB-Jordan Wilkins, WR-T.Y. Hilton (rest), WR-Parris Campbell (rest), FB-Roosevelt Nix, LS-Luke Rhodes, DE-Justin Houston (rest), DT-Taylor Stallworth, TE-Trey Burton (rest). 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. Moore is starting to do some on-field, change of direction, rehab work. He was originally supposed to miss ‘at least a week’ after getting hurt on August 17th.

 

Weekly Camp Schedule

-Monday: 1:00-3:30 Practice (at Lucas Oil Stadium)

-Tuesday: Off

-Wednesday: Morning Practice

-Thursday: Morning Practice

-Friday: Morning Practice

-Saturday: Lucas Oil Practice