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INDIANAPOLISThe chippiness ramped up in Friday’s second joint practice between the Colts and Panthers.

After focusing on the offense during Thursday’s practice, I watched the defense work against Sam Darnold and company on Friday.

Here are the takeaways from the second joint practice of camp:

  • It was a mixed bag for the starting defense on Friday, with the unit working without DeForest Buckner, Tyquan Lewis and Kwity Paye. Let’s start with the good: the run defense had a strong start and Sam Darnold completed just 50 percent of his passes (8-of-16). The bad: the run defense really struggled, no matter the unit out there, for the rest of practice, and Rock Ya-Sin had a rough day in coverage. Still considering the health of the Carolina skill group, and the Colts without 3 of 4 defensive line starters on Friday, the Indy D had a solid day. The defensive highlight was CB-Isaiah Rodgers toe-tapping near the sideline for an interception, against former Colt QB-Philip (now P.J.) Walker.

 

  • For the offensive notes (it sounded like a pretty consistent day for Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason), check out Brendan King’s notes on the site.

 

  • These Colts kickers just don’t miss. Rodrigo Blankenship and Eddy Pineiro were a perfect 5-of-5 on Friday, connecting from 33, 40, 40, 47 and 53 yards. They are now a flawless 15-of-15 in kicking at Grand Park. If this holds, how does Hot Rod not retain his job?

 

  • Xavier Rhodes and Kenny Moore were really, really good in 1-on-1 reps. This occurred in the red zone, with those two more than holding their own in man coverage, against Carolina’s D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.

 

  • It’s hard to keep track of all the Colts involved in the extracurriculars post-whistle on Sunday. The names include Jordan Wilkins, Michael Pittman, Jonathan Taylor, Xavier Rhodes, Marvell Tell, Kemoko Turay.

 

  • The Panthers had some issues in blocking Ben Banogu in 1-on-1s. Banogu flashed with a tackle for loss during an 11-on-11 period.

 

  • Looking ahead to Sunday’s preseason opener, don’t expect many starters for either team. The Panthers won’t start Sam Darnold, per head coach Matt Rhule. The Colts will start Jacob Eason, but will sit a ‘fair amount’ of their own starters. The plan is for Eason to play a quarter to a quarter and a half. Then Sam Ehlinger will come into the game. In the Week Two meeting against Minnesota next Saturday, that script will flip with Ehlinger starting and Eason then subbing in for the rookie. Reich did say he wants his starters to play in the 2nd preseason game, and likely the 3rd preseason game, too.

 

  • What does Frank Reich want to see from his young quarterbacks on Sunday? “Move the sticks. Make the play in situational football that we need to make to extend a drive. Finish a drive. And then make good decisions. Be a good decision maker. We think we have a good football team. So if one of those guys is our starting quarterback Week 1, they don’t have to be a superstar. We want to see them go out, play good football, trust the teammates around them, trust the running game, make the plays in the play-action game and then on third down and in the red zone—where you have to be right—be right.”

 

  • The Indy defense has definitely been the most consistent unit this camp (compared to the offense). Frank Reich has loved what he’s seen, particularly from the back end: “I really think the strength of our defense is up front, the depth that we have on the D-line,” Reich began. “Chris (Ballard) and I have talked all offseason about getting depth right there. We know we have the playmakers at linebacker. And then our secondary, I think is playing at a different level right now than I’ve seen. I really think they are ready to take the next step as a secondary. Some of that is going to come because I think we are going to rush the passer even better than we have. I think we will take a step there, as well.”

 

  • Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has been at Colts camp, rocking some blue and white, the last two days. Pederson, who was fired by the Eagles back in January, is a close friend of Frank Reich. The two did some reminiscing on Friday, taking a 30-minute walk on The Monon, along with some chatter about the future for Pederson. “I think the world of him,” Reich said of Pederson. “It was good for me to have a chance to thank him. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. He’s a phenomenal coach and an even better person.” Pederson is stopping at various NFL camps this offseason.

 

  • Guys that stood out at Friday’s practice: CB-Kenny Moore, DE-Ben Banogu, CB-Xavier Rhodes, DL-Isaac Rochell.

 

  • Just a reminder, the initial roster cut comes next Tuesday. That’s from 90 guys to 85, with 5 more being cut the following Tuesday (August 24th) and then the big one down to 53 (August 31st).

 

  • The Colts will return to camp on Tuesday, following their preseason opener against the Panthers on Sunday.

 

Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Friday’s practice: C-Ryan Kelly (elbow), QB-Carson Wentz (foot), DT-Taylor Stallworth (hamstring), LG-Quenton Nelson (foot), LB-Jordan Glasgow (back), TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), TE-Noah Togiai, LB-Skai Moore, WR-Ashton Dulin, S-Julian Blackmon (knee), DE-Kwity Paye (ankle), DT-DeForest Buckner (foot) RB-Nyheim Hines (leg), C-Danny Pinter (foot, on crutches), LB-E.J. Speed (knee), DL-Tyquan Lewis (shoulder). Frank Reich said the Colts are being extra cautious with Buckner. Hines said his injury is not serious. Julian Blackmon (knee) was back to practice. Nelson was again wearing a boot on his injured right foot

 

Weekly Camp Schedule

-Saturday: Off day

-Sunday: Preseason game vs. Panthers (1:00 PM)

-Monday: Off day

-Tuesday: 10:00-11:30 Practice

-Wednesday: 10:00-11:30 Practice

-Thursday: 10:00-11:30 Practice

-Friday: Off day

-Saturday: Preseason game at Vikings (8:00 PM)