INDIANAPOLIS – It is the closest thing we’ll get to see the Colts in some practice setting until training camp this summer.
On Thursday, the Colts opened up their individual practice session to members of the media in what was the first look at Frank Reich’s 2021 team.
Just to reiterate, this two-week in-person/on-field work for the Colts is not a normal practice setting. Drills are limited to players in their respective positions or within their offensive/defensive units. There’s no helmets, no full pads, no offense vs. defense even, no 1-on-1 drills.
Still, it is guys ramping up tempo near full speed and you walk away from the practice field with plenty of thoughts.
What did we learn from the Colts on Thursday?
- Yes, Carson Wentz is back to work this week after missing some time due to an illness. We’ve come used to noticing the size of Colts quarterbacks in past years, and Wentz continues to fit that at 6-5 and 237 pounds. But what really stands out about Wentz is the combination of his ability to move, and then a pretty effortless motion in getting the ball down the field. Physically, Wentz is nearly as big as Philip Rivers, but it’s the movement rolling out of the pocket and arm strength of Wentz that you really notice, particularly in a routes vs. air practice.
- Rocking that new No. 1 jersey, Parris Campbell definitely looks 100 percent, as he said he was during Wednesday’s media session. When you see Campbell go through drills with the other wideouts, you forget how different his speed and size is compared to the rest of the group. You don’t have a lot of 4.31 40-yard dash guys, who also stand 6-0 and 208 pounds.
- Rookie Dayo Odeyingbo (6-5, 276) is observing practice as his Achilles rehab continues, but it doesn’t take long to notice him. Chris Ballard has compared Odeyingbo’s build a lot to DeForest Buckner (6-7, 295). The major similarity between the two is their wingspan. Frame wise, Odeyingbo is a little bit thicker, whereas Buckner probably carries his weight more like a bigger tight end. Still, Odeyingbo is in incredible shape from a body fat standpoint and will likely be a DE on early downs before sliding inside, whereas Buckner is primarily in the interior at defensive tackle.
- When you have a wideout group that includes Michael Pittman (6-4, 223), Dezmon Patmon (6-4, 225) and Mike Strachan (6-5, 224), those are some body types that could be suiting up for the Indiana Pacers. After years of searching for bigger bodied wideouts, the Colts certainly have those frames in the receiver room.
- The three Colts who opted out for the 2020 season are back this year and were participating on Thursday: CB-Marvell Tell, S-Rolan Milligan, LB-Skai Moore. It’s Tell who should have an opportunity to challenge for some playing time after he showed some promise in his rookie season in 2019. Tell was a 5th round pick in ’19 and made a position switch from safety to corner. Seeing him on the practice field on Thursday was a reminder of how much height and length he brings to the cornerback position.
- Rookie Kwity Paye was working with the defensive line on Thursday rotating in with Tyquan Lewis and Ben Banogu out at defensive end. All of the Colts draft picks were participating on Thursday besides Odeyingbo.
- Some names that were returning punts on Thursday: WR-Parris Campbell, CB-Isaiah Rodgers, WR-DeMichael Harris, WR-J.J. Nelson, and WR-Tyler Vaughns.
- Thursday’s practice for the offense was mostly red zone/goal line install. For the defense, the unit never came together as a full 11-man unit. They did do a ton of tempo drills, trying to simulate and replicate what game days will look like. You could feel the Matt Eberflus’ emphasis of running to the ball throughout every single unit, particularly the defensive line.
- Participation and attendance for the Colts is very high in this voluntary part of the offseason. Here were some names of Colts either not at Thursday’s practice or not participating: DE-Kemoko Turay, S-George Odum, DE-Dayo Odeyingbo, OT-Eric Fisher, CB-Xavier Rhodes, RB-Nyheim Hines, DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, LB-Jordan Glasgow.
- Remember, Turay is coming off a surgery that he had earlier in 2021 to clean up a chip in his ankle. Turay has a small brace on his lower right ankle, which is an injury he first dislocated and fractured in October 2019.
- The Colts will have one more week of in-person/on-field work this spring before taking an 8-week break until training camp. The media will have one more practice viewing next week, which will be the last look at the Colts until their 2021 camp, which is likely to take place at Grand Park in Westfield.
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