INDIANAPOLIS – Attendance is now required for the Indianapolis Colts in their spring offseason program.
Wednesday was the 8th of 9 OTA/minicamp sessions for the Colts, meaning they do line up offense vs. defense out on the practice field.
This is Phase Three of the offseason program, meaning teams can hold 11-on-11 drills for the first time this offseason. No ‘live contact’ is allowed, and the physicality is expected to be pretty limited in the spring. Full pads are not to be worn.
OTAs (voluntary): May 24-26, June 1-3
Minicamp (mandatory): June 7-9
On Wednesday, the Colts worked outside in a session of more than 90 minutes. The Colts were in helmets, again going full speed in their 7-on-7 work, before toning it back to a walk-through pace in the 11-on-11 portions of practice.
With the conclusion to this week’s minicamp on Thursday, veterans will head their separate ways for a summer break. Rookies will remain in town for one more week of on-field work. The 90-man roster will then reconvene in late July for training camp at Grand Park.
What did we learn from the Colts second minicamp session of 2022?
- After getting hurt early in Tuesday’s practice, Kenny Moore II sat out Wednesday as a precautionary matter. Moore II met the media on Wednesday, talking about his contract situation for the first time this spring. Moore II didn’t get too deep into the ‘business’ issues, but he made it clear that he feels the ‘slot/nickel’ label on him doesn’t tell his complete impact. Honestly, Moore II could have campaigned harder for himself on Wednesday, had he wanted, but he also didn’t say he’ll definitely be on the field for the start of training camp. If Moore II misses any days of camp at Grand Park, he would be fined $50,000. Even though Moore II wasn’t demonstrative with his public stance on things Wednesday, it’s clear there’s some disconnect between his camp and the Colts. We will see if that gets resolved, and if it needs to, during summer break. Moore II still has 2 years left on a contract extension handed out by Chris Ballard in the 2019 offseason.
- When you looked at the running backs going through positional drills on Wednesday, there was no sign of Jonathan Taylor or Nyheim Hines. Taylor is out due to a precautionary injury. Hines was actually going through different positional drills, over with the wideouts. The Colts coaching staff, with input from running backs coach Scottie Montgomery and wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne, decided to get Hines some positional work at wideout this spring to aid his route running and receiver footwork. Remember, Hines does have some wideout experience from his college days at N.C. State. From Frank Reich’s words to these actions, it’s clear the Colts want Hines to get ample looks as a split-out receiver in 2022.
- Speaking of Hines, him and Matt Ryan hooked up for the offensive highlight of the day. It was Hines split out wide against new corner Brandon Facyson. With a pump fake from Ryan, Facyson clearly thought Hines was running a shorter route you typically see from backs. But Hines sold the fake brilliantly and then took off down the sideline. Ryan threw a perfect ball that Hines caught in stride for the huge chunk play. This play is exactly the challenge the Colts hope Hines can offer from his versatile role. What shows you more of Hines’ unique value is this play came just after he had returned from the adjacent practice field for a few punt return reps.
- It wasn’t all bad for Facyson. He had a great pass breakup to start the full-speed 7-on-7 drills. And Isaiah Rodgers had his every-day pass deflection, knocking away a deep ball intended for rookie Alec Pierce.
- There was a multi-play sequence in which you saw hooting and hollering from the offense and then the defense. The offense cheering came from Matt Ryan throwing a beautiful ball over the middle to Michael Pittman, who pulled down the contested ball. A few plays later though, it was new cornerback Stephon Gilmore picking off Ryan. It was a poor decision by Ryan, with Gilmore in perfect position, playing underneath Dezmon Patmon. All in all, Wednesday was another sound day of accuracy and ball placement by Ryan. This has been the trend in the four open media viewings this spring.
- It’s been interesting to see Danny Pinter get a good amount of 11-on-11 reps at center, with Ryan Kelly sliding over to right guard in those situations. Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady made it clear after Wednesday’s practice that Pinter remains the 2nd center, and this is a ‘just in case’ sort of move. Having said that, this is still something we haven’t seen in years past. I can’t recall many, if any, times where Kelly has taken so many reps at guard, instead of his normal center role.
- This goes without saying, but the Colts are going to miss Jack Doyle’s dependability. Led by Kylen Granson, Colts tight ends battled some drops on Wednesday.
- One player who is missing some valuable reps this spring is second-year wideout Mike Strachan. While Dezmon Patmon is getting routine first-team run, fellow big man Strachan is watching from the sideline due to an apparent injury. Remember, this week is an important evaluation for the wideout group and if the Colts deem it necessary to make an outside the building move there before camp.
- Another thing to note on Kenny Moore II and his duties in the Gus Bradley defense. Bradley stressed all the roles that Moore II can handle from that slot/inside position—playing man, playing zone, blitzing, helping in the run game, etc. Yes, things will be slightly different for Moore II in a new defense, but he’s still going to be asked to “wear a lot of hats” along with lining up outside, when the Colts are in their base personnel (2 cornerbacks on the field).
- In the first mandatory part of the offseason, the Colts have one absence not injury related. That would be S-Khari Willis. Frank Reich said Willis’ absence is for a personal matter, and is excused, and the head coach remains in constant communication with the 4th year safety. Some other guys that were not participating on Wednesday, apparently due to injury, included: RB-Jonathan Taylor (precautionary), CB-Kenny Moore II, LB-Darius Leonard, DL-Tyquan Lewis, OL-Dennis Kelly, WR-Mike Strachan, CB-Tony Brown, WR-Mike Strachan, RB-CJ Verdell, LB-Jordan Glasgow, CB-Alex Myres.