INDIANAPOLIS – It’s definitely time for an off day.
After four straight practices, the Colts will take their first mandatory off day of camp on Sunday.
What was learned from the Colts first afternoon practice of camp on Saturday?
- First, on the Carson Wentz injured foot front, Matt Eberflus (who filled in for Frank Reich media duties after practice) shared this: “There’s no timetable right now. We don’t have any new information. When we get that information, we will give it to you.”
- It was a shaky start to Saturday’s practice for Jacob Eason. He finished better though, completing 8-of-15 passes in team work. Eason was picked off twice on Saturday, despite the Colts being down 4 of their top 5 cornerbacks. One was a catchable ball to Jonathan Taylor, but Eason did lead the running back into some traffic, which caused a deflected ball that E.J. Speed came down with. Ball placement has been an issue with Eason. To end practice, Eason did have a nice red-zone session, throwing a couple of nice TD balls to Mo Alie-Cox and Michael Pittman. The arm strength is evident with Eason, but his decisive decision making and accuracy remain question marks. Eason took all the starting reps for the second straight day, completing balls to Mo Alie-Cox 3x, Jack Doyle 2x, Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal. It should be noted that Eason is not only getting his first true starting reps in the NFL, but he doesn’t have a ton of experience throwing to the likes of T.Y. Hilton or Jack Doyle.
- Simply, this is an incredible opportunity for Eason. He is likely to get extremely valuable starting reps this camp. If things go well, the Colts could roll with him until Wentz returns. If things go really well…who knows. Yes, that probably seems like a long shot, but Eason must embrace this chance as his opportunity to entrench himself as a legit starting quarterback in the NFL. As you’d expect, we’ve seen quite a bit of ups and downs from his start to camp. Eason points to consistency as his biggest area of focus right now.
- Bobby Okereke has had a really nice start to camp. With his defensive coordinator liking the eye discipline from Okereke this camp, the new starting MIKE linebacker had another INT on Saturday. Okereke stepped in front of a ball intended for Kylen Granson and picked off Jacob Eason for a second straight day.
- Eric Fisher continues to do field work off to the side during practice. Fisher is in a three-point stance at times and coming out of that to engage with a blocking dummy, while also doing some high knee jogging, among other things.
- It was always thought that the Colts would make an immediate QB move and that was the case just before Saturday’s practice. The team signed veteran Brett Hundley, who has made stops in Green Bay, Seattle and Arizona. Hundley, 28, has started 9 games (3-6 record) in his career. All 9 of his starts came in 2017 with Green Bay. Hundley has completed 59.1% of his passes, tossing 9 TDs and 13 INTs. He has averaged 6.7 yards per rush in his career. Hundley was a 5th round pick out of UCLA in 2015. An interesting note from Hundley, he was actually contacted by the Colts prior to Carson Wentz’s injury, and was planning to fly out to Grand Park before the news to QB1.
- At the minimum, this Hundley signing gives the Colts a veteran arm to throw into a room filled with 3 (healthy) guys who have never even put on an NFL jersey in a game. That’s needed in camp and the preseason. Remember, the current available group of QBs for the Colts is ‘meh,’ at best. That pool should become a bit more attractive as August rolls around, teams start to get a better picture of their own quarterback situations and then part ways with various QBs. This situation for the Colts reminds me of 2017, when the Colts had Scott Tolzien lead the offense throughout camp, yet still traded for Jacoby Brissett at the end of the preseason. Brissett went on to start in Week 2, and every other game the rest of the season. This Hundley signing to me is no direct indication of him being a starting and/or backup option for September. It gives the Colts a veteran, with experience and athleticism, who could fill a variety of rolls, depending on how the Wentz situation evolves. Until the Colts make an aggressive move involving a draft pick or significant financial commitment at quarterback, the thought should be there that Wentz’s entire 2021 season is not in jeopardy.
- Matt Eberflus likes what the pass rush has shown these last two days, but also cautions that the full pads have yet to be put on. Grover Stewart and Kemoko Turay had ‘sacks’ and Eberflus liked what Kwity Paye has brought in the pressure department, too. “We look at it with a grain of salt because it’s the first four days and there’s been no pads,” the defensive coordinator says. “I’ve made that mistake myself, ‘Man, they are really doing good, and they are, you see the athletic ability and the bend in the 1-on-1 pass rush.’ Kwity you can see his athletic ability, turning the corner, taking the inside move when it’s there, and there’s no doubt those guys are really good at that. (Turay), too. Kemo showed up today. You saw his athleticism. He seems to be back to almost 100 percent. So we are excited about that. Then once we get the pads on we are going to have to almost re-set. Because when guys get the pads on, (the offensive line) can protect better, they can run block better and it’s more of a real thing. So we will have to re-evaluate that coming up.”
- Even though the full pads have yet to be put on, Jonathan Taylor looks like a guy ready to break out in 2021. Taylor ripped off a couple of big runs on Saturday.
- Brett Hundley did not take any 11-on-11 reps at Saturday’s practice. He threw in individual drills. It was Jalen Morton getting the second team work before rookie Sam Ehlinger.
- Couple of notes from the 1-on-1 portion of practice: Jack Doyle left Khari Willis in the dust for a TD. Julian Blackmon made a nice INT in the back of the end zone. Michael Pittman won a very competitive rep against Rock Ya-Sin. Mike Strachan continues to win his battles. Dezmon Patmon also used his frame to win a battle.
- The healthiest/most consistent starting unit so far in camp? The 4-man defensive line group of Tyquan Lewis and Kwity Paye at the defensive end spots, and DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart at defensive tackle.
- With the Colts down 4 cornerbacks at Saturday’s practice, it was Anthony Chesley getting some action with the starting unit. Chesley had a nice pass deflection on a ball intended for T.Y. Hilton in teamwork.
- Monday is expected to mark the return of Frank Reich and the team should be in full pads for the first time this camp.
- Couple of names that stood out to me on Saturday, in front of the best crowd of camp, for various reasons: DE-Ben Banogu, DE-Damontre Moore, LB-Bobby Okereke, CB-Andre Chachre, TE-Mo Alie-Cox.
- The Colts will have their first off day from camp on Sunday. See the schedule below.
Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Saturday practice: RB-Nyheim Hines (hip), CB-Kenny Moore (hip), S-Shawn Davis (hamstring), LB-Darius Leonard (ankle), C-Ryan Kelly (elbow), QB-Carson Wentz (foot), WR-J.J. Nelson (groin), DT-Taylor Stallworth (hamstring), CB-Marvell Tell (groin). Leonard was not wearing a boot while watching Saturday’s practice. Just a reminder that OT-Eric Fisher (physically unable to perform list) and DE-Dayo Odeyingbo (non-football injury list) remain sidelined. On the COVID-19 list: OT-Julie’n Davenport, DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, CB-Xavier Rhodes, CB-T.J. Carrie. Frank Reich remains absent due to his positive COVID-19 test last week.
Weekly Camp Schedule
-Sunday: Off day
-Monday: 10:00-11:30 Practice
-Tuesday: 10:00-11:45 Practice
-Wednesday: 10:00-11:45 Practice
-Thursday: Off day
-Friday: 10:00-11:30 Practice
-Saturday: 10:00-11:30 Practice
-Sunday: 10:00-11:45 Practice