INDIANAPOLIS – We are a little more than a week done with the Colts 2022 training camp.
With 6 practices complete at Grand Park, and 11 more to go in Westfield, there are some early takeaways leading into next Saturday’s preseason opener.
Here are 10 things learned about the Colts after a week-plus of camp.
1. Starting Battles
We are still not at the halfway point of the Colts time in Grand Park, but we do have some early leaders in starting competition.
Those leaders would include Matt Pryor at left tackle and Danny Pinter at right guard and Brandon Facyson as the third cornerback.
Now, at strong safety, we’ve seen some recent changes. Rookie Nick Cross took the early starting reps as veteran Rodney McLeod still worked back from his off-season knee surgery. In the past week though, McLeod (who has 123 career starts) has seen more run with the starters.
This battle will be watched closely the rest of August
2. Matt Ryan’s Tempo
Particularly early in the Colts time at Grand Park, Frank Reich was blown away by the tempo at which Matt Ryan had the starting offense practicing.
The Colts believe this will give the offense a mentality of dictating to the opponent, something they didn’t have last season.
Will Ryan’s desire for more camp tempo lead to some extra no-huddle game plans this fall?
3. Preseason Playing Time Watch
The Colts have discussed multiple different ways in altering their pre-season approach.
Pushing the start to camp practices back to Noon this year was done in an effort to try and sync up the circadian rhythms of players to the frequent 1:00 kick times during the season.
Another aspect to is changing up how much playing time starters get during the 3-game preseason slate.
This is something Chris Ballard has discussed with Frank Reich and we will see the Colts answer on that beginning next Saturday, when the Colts open up their 2022 preseason in Buffalo.
4. Ashton Dulin Securing A Spot On Offense
A little more than a week into training camp, I think you could safety put four names atop the rest at the wide receiver position.
That would be Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce/Parris Campbell (in some order) and Ashton Dulin.
And this is not just Dulin securing a spot due to his noted special teams history.
The Colts are adamant that Dulin can and will help this team offensively this season. Given the nature of the receiver depth chart, the Colts really need for Dulin to be a reliable pass catching option.
5. Undrafted Linebackers Showing Out
If I had to guess, I would say at least one undrafted linebacker makes the 53-man roster.
The quartet to choose from: JoJo Domann (Nebraska), Forrest Rhyne (Villanova), Sterling Weatherford (Miami Ohio), James Skalski (Clemson).
With Matthew Adams and Jordan Glasgow no longer with the Colts, there’s special teams roles open at the linebacker position.
Each of these guys have flashed at different parts of camp.
6. Veteran Wideout Watch
Earlier this week, Chris Ballard joined the Kevin & Query Show and shared that the Colts will get through this week and again evaluate if they need to add a veteran wideout.
Ballard said the wideouts the Colts are looking into have plenty of NFL experience.
While there’s been some nice moments from a few of the wideouts this camp, it’s still hard to say what’s been seen completely quiets the concern there is with such an unproven group.
7. Couple Rookies Emerging
Right now, I’d put Alec Pierce and/or Nick Cross as the two rookies likely to see the most playing time in 2022.
Jelani Woods is rotating in frequently at tight end, but has yet to truly establish himself.
Bernhard Raimann continues to run with the second unit, playing left tackle with that group.
As far as Day 3 picks, Drew Ogletree has had a few nice moments as he tries to push towards some fringe tight end playing time.
8. Get Ready For 28 And 21 Together
It would not surprise me, if the Colts most dominant personnel grouping in 2022 has both Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines on the field together.
Since January, the Colts have not shied away from mentioning the need to use Hines more.
That’s been seen, in some creative ways, at Grand Park.
Good things happened last year when Taylor and Hines were on the field together. And the Colts are going to expand on that usage in 2022.
9. Physicality Rising?
Through 6 practices at Grand Park, the Colts have put full pads on twice.
Will we see the full-padded days rise in the coming weeks or lessen a bit with preseason games beginning next weekend?
This is tough balance that everyone around the NFL faces in camp—how physical do you be to get ready for Week 1, yet try to stay as healthy as possible?
10. Quiet On The Injury Front
I can’t recall a Colts training camp, where the team is this healthy following the first six practices.
Yes, the return of Shaquille Leonard doesn’t sound like it’s happening soon.
But he’s really the only starter to have missed a day of practice so far.
The Colts have had their entire offensive line intact for camp, and that’s been important for a group welcoming in two new starters up front.
So far, so good in the injury department.