INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts returned to Grand Park on Tuesday for their final week of training camp.
It was an 8th camp session in full pads for the Colts, as they had a few wrinkles to the more than 90-minute practice.
Here is what was learned at Tuesday’s 14th practice of camp:
- Matt Ryan finished Tuesday afternoon 8-of-10 with completions to the following guys: Michael Pittman (4), Parris Campbell (2), Alec Pierce (1), Jonathan Taylor (1). Unlike most of camp, the Colts stayed away from ‘starters vs. starters’ during the team periods on Tuesday, drilling heavy on end of game situations. Campbell did have one drop. Jelani Woods had a clear mental mistake/drop from Nick Foles, which displeased several guys on the offense. Through 14 practices, Ryan is 117-of-167 in the full teamwork. Ryan’s completed his passes to the following guys: Michael Pittman (39), Kylen Granson (14), Mo Alie-Cox (14), Jonathan Taylor (13), Nyheim Hines (10), Parris Campbell (10), Alec Pierce (6), Ashton Dulin (5), Drew Ogletree (3), Jelani Woods (1), Dezmon Patmon (1), Keke Coutee (1).
- We will start with potentially terrible news for the season outlook of punter Rigoberto Sanchez. To conclude Tuesday’s practice, Sanchez went down while running sprints with the rest of the team. The Colts later announced that Sanchez suffered an Achilles injury and further testing will come on Wednesday. If Sanchez is done for the season, the Colts will be without an upper echelon punter, need to find a new holder and kickoff specialist. It’s a blow, particularly for a team undergoing several changes with core special teams guys on coverage units. It is going to greatly alter the win total for the 2022 Colts? It’s hard to say that. For what it’s worth, Sanchez has missed 2 career games. In those 2 games, the Colts won 2 road games, averaging 35 points in those 2 victories, winning them by a combined 23 points.
- To be honest, I was surprised kicker Jake Verity didn’t get cut on Tuesday (see more below). Well, Verity’s time on the Colts roster appears to be waning, even if Frank Reich isn’t going to say that publicly. In Tuesday’s practice, Verity and Rodrigo Blankenship got several chances to kick, and do it from long distances. Hot Rod was 3-of-4, with makes from 38, 55 and 56 yards (the miss was from 53 yards). Verity went just 1-of-4, with his lone make from 56 yards, and misses, in both directions, from 38, 55, 55. Verity’s supposed strength—an accurate long leg—has not been seen in camp. While the ball definitely pops off Verity’s leg more than Blankenship, the reliability between the uprights has not been there. Verity also missed an extra point in the preseason opener. We will see if something changes next week during roster cuts/waiver wire plucking. But, for now, this looks like a second straight camp kicking battle win for Blankenship.
- In Sam Ehlinger watch, the teams reps were very limited for him on Tuesday. Matt Ryan and Nick Foles took virtually all of the 11-on-11 reps as the Colts returned to practice at Grand Park. As I pointed out in my latest roster cut down, I think the Colts have room for Ehlinger on the 53-man roster right now.
- Tuesday was practice No. 14 of 16 at Grand Park and the Colts continue to have their starting offensive line available in each and every practice. On Tuesday, offensive line coach decided to change some things up during a team period. That had Danny Pinter sliding back to the second team, where he lined up at center (Pinter is the backup center). Matt Pryor flipped over to right tackle with the starters, which had Braden Smith moving inside to right guard. With Pryor at right tackle, it moved rookie Bernard Raimann into the starting lineup at left tackle. It marked the first time we’ve seen Raimann as a starting left tackle in camp.
- Here was Frank Reich comments on Tuesday when asked if it’s possible that Shaquille Leonard remains on the physical unable to perform list to start the season (which means Leonard would miss at least 4 games): “Chris (Ballard) and I have not had that exact conversation yet. Based on the fact that he’s not out here yet (practicing), I guess you would have to say that’s a possibility. But I’m not assuming that that’s the case. From our standpoint, we really want to get him back out here, when he’s clear. But even if he’s not ready to play, get him out there (practicing). And you can’t get out there and if you’re on PUP. You can’t participate in anything. So we want to get Shaquille participating, so at some point, even if he’s not ready to play, we have to get him off PUP and get him taking reps, even if it takes however many weeks it’s going to take to get him ready.” From the sound of that, the time is shrinking on Leonard getting off the PUP list, exposed to practicing for the first time since January and then being cleared for game action. Leonard was again watching Tuesday’s practice, jogging out to the practice fields about 30 minutes into practice. Including this week, three weeks of practice remain until the regular season opens on September 11th.
- Just look at the receptions numbers above, Michael Pittman is a dominant force in the receiving game this camp. He looks poised for a huge 3rd NFL season, which will go a long way towards slotting his market value for that second contract (Pittman is signed through 2023). Pittman and Matt Ryan have a clear chemistry and trust. The question for Pittman carrying this into the regular season will have a lot to do with how much opposing defenses try to take away the clear-cut No. 1 pass game option for the Colts.
- A few guys returned to practice on Tuesday, who could definitely impact the back end of roster cuts coming next Tuesday. Previous injured guys who returned to action were: DT-Chris Williams, DT-R.J. McIntosh, WR-Keke Coutee, LB-JoJo Domann. At different times over the past month, each of these 4 guys have been names I could see on the 53-man roster. Their returns come at very important times for their own roster status, and for the Colts trying to solidify some depth spots at a few up in the air position groups.
- Some roster bubble guys that look to be involved in trying to find special teams roles, if they make the roster: LB-Forrest Rhyne, S-Trevor Denbow, RB-D’Vonte Price, CB-Tony Brown.
- Here is how the starting offense looked on Tuesday: QB-Matt Ryan, RB-Jonathan Taylor, RB-Nyheim Hines, WR-Michael Pittman, WR-Alec Pierce, TE-Mo Alie-Cox, LT-Matt Pryor, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Danny Pinter, RT-Braden Smith.
- Here is how the starting defense looked on Tuesday: DE-Yannick Ngakoue, DT-Grover Stewart, DT-DeForest Buckner, DE-Kwity Paye, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Bobby Okereke, CB-Kenny Moore, CB-Stephon Gilmore, CB-Brandon Facyson, S-Julian Blackmon, S-Rodney McLeod.
- The Colts made additional roster cuts on Tuesday, so their roster is now at the mandated number of 80 (with S-Marcel Dabo being the international exemption, making a roster of 81). The Colts parted ways with the following guys this week: RB-C.J. Verdell, OL-Alex Mollette, WR-D.J. Montgomery, DT-Caeveon Patton. So, for the final 81 guys, just 2 practices and 1 preseason game remain until the final cut to 53 guys coming next Tuesday at 4:00 PM eastern.
- Guys that stood out at Tuesday’s practice for a variety of reasons: RB-Deon Jackson, DT-Grover Stewart, WR-Ashton Dulin, S-Trevor Denbow, LB-Sterling Weatherford, DE-Ifeadi Odeingbo, RB-D’Vonte Price.
Injury Report: The following players remain on the PUP or non-football injury list: LB-Shaquille Leonard (back/ankle). The following players also did not practice on Tuesday: OT-Dennis Kelly (knee), CB-Isaiah Rodgers (concussion), LB-Brandon King (hamstring), S-Will Redmond (undisclosed), DE-Kameron Cline (concussion).
Weekly Camp Schedule
-Wednesday: 12:00 – 1:45 Practice
-Thursday: 10:00 – 11:20 Final camp practice
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