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NFL: MAY 25 Indianapolis Colts OTA

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS.Unlike the first open OTA session of the spring, Friday’s viewing for the media saw veteran Gardner Minshew handle all of the starting reps in 11-on-11 work.

The Colts are in the second of three weeks of OTAs, with 10 different sessions. Friday was the 6th OTA of the spring.

These are voluntary sessions, although attendance is extremely high. It’s the first time this spring that the Colts can practice in 11-on-11 periods with coaches on the field. Full pads are not allowed though.

Just a reminder, the media gets to watch 1 OTA session each week, but will be able to watch the entire 3-day minicamp coming up June 13-15.

Here are some takeaways from the Colts second open OTA session of the spring:

  • Under the repeated statement of the media gets to watch one OTA session per week this time of year, it was Gardner Minshew taking all of the starting reps in the 11-on-11 work on Friday. That gave Minshew 8 plays with the starters, while Anthony Richardson got 12 plays of work, all with the second unit. Minshew had a solid afternoon going 4-or-6, with a Malik Turner drop. He found Ashton Dulin for a deep connection during the first 11-on-11 period. Richardson was 7-of-9, leading the second-unit into field goal range during a 2-minute drill to end practice. Both QBs did struggle a bit during the 7-on-7 period, with Richardson going just 2-of-5, including several errant incompletions.


  • As far as the reps debate, Shane Steichen didn’t make much of it after practice. Due to the uncertain nature of who will start Week 1, this will always be monitored at every open practice this offseason. The Colts will have their final open OTA session of the spring next Wednesday. All three minicamp practices (June 13-15) will be open to the media.


  • Again, for me, it’s not a surprise we’ve yet to see Shaquille Leonard practicing this spring. This is a guy who has had two back surgeries in the 12 months. Given that, and Leonard admitting things were rushed in his return last offseason, it makes sense to hold off on his practice debut in 2023 until training camp. Of course, that’ll once again be a huge storyline at Grand Park. Leonard is observing practice from the sidelines right now.


  • The Colts will have a twist to training camp this year, with two different joint sessions, one here at Grand Park with the Bears, and then the following week with the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Colts certainly have direct coaching connections with both the Bears and Eagles, and both teams are on the preseason schedule in Weeks 2 and 3. The Colts will host the Bears for their second preseason game on August 19th, with the likelihood for the Chicago joint sessions at Grand Park coming August 16th and 17th. Then, following that lone home preseason game with the Bears, the Colts will head to Philadelphia for one joint session on August 22nd, before taking the Eagles on in their preseason finale (August 24th). That’s a Thursday night game, with just a 5-day break from the Bears game. With this plan, it’s possible the Colts could have an earlier end to training camp this year at Grand Park (somewhere in the August 18th range). Steichen said having two separate joint sessions in August is something they did when he was on the staff in Philadelphia. An official training camp schedule should be announced later in June.


  • Rigoberto Sanchez met the media on Friday as he continues his right (kicking leg) Achilles rehab. Sanchez said he is doing some punting, but has not participated in the two open OTA sessions this spring. Sanchez said he is grateful the torn Achilles, which occurred when the Colts entire team ran sprints to end practice at training camp last August, occurred on his kicking leg, and not his plant leg, which bares more of the weight when he’s punting/kicking off.


  • With veteran safety Rodney McLeod no longer in Indy, Julian Blackmon is getting the starting strong safety reps this spring, alongside Rodney Thomas II. Second-year safety Nick Cross has been with the reserves, when the media has been watching the two open OTA practices. It’s a new role for Blackmon, who is also in a contract year, but one he sounds like he’s enjoying playing closer to the line of scrimmage, which he did a bit last year filling in for nickel, when Kenny Moore was out.


  • Another nice afternoon for Kylen Granson, who is getting a lot of tight end work as the Colts are down 3 bodies there for the second straight week of OTAs.


  • For those curious on the undrafted free agent crowd, Maine product Zavier Scott is showing off his versatility during these practices. Scott (6-1, 219) has been working with both the running backs and receivers this spring, which is something he did do at Maine. For the Colts, it’s not typical to see guys offensive guys getting reps at those two spots.


  • Among the Colts watching on Friday: P-Rigoberto Sanchez (Achilles), WR-Josh Downs (knee), WR-Michael Pittman (hip), RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), CB-Isaiah Rodgers Sr., LB-Shaquille Leonard (back), DE-Rashod Berry, TE-Jelani Woods (hamstring), TE-Drew Ogletree (knee), TE-Will Mallory (foot), CB-JuJu Brents (wrist), CB-Darius Rush (hamstring). OT-Braden Smith did return to practice on Friday, but wasn’t taking part in the team periods.


  • With the names above sitting out, the Colts starting offense on Friday was: QB-Gardner Minshew, RB-Zack Moss, TE-Kylen Granson, WR-Ashton Dulin, WR-Alec Pierce, WR-Isaiah McKenzie, LT-Bernhard Raimann, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Will Fries, RT-Blake Freeland. The starting defense: DE-Kwity Paye, DE-Samson Ebukam, DT-DeForest Buckner, DT-Grover Stewart, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-E.J. Speed, CB-Darrell Baker Jr., CB-Kenny Moore, CB-Dallis Flowers, S-Julian Blackmon, S-Rodney Thomas.


  • As we get into June, keep an eye on some veteran free agent signings by NFL teams. The Colts actually made one on Wednesday with veteran defensive end Genard Avery (8.5 sacks and 106 tackles in 62 career games), who started 12 games with the Eagles in 2021, when Shane Steichen was on Philly’s staff. Over the last decade, the Colts have found some contributors in the month of June, like Mike Adams in 2014, Zach Pascal in 2018 and even Ifeadi Odenigbo last year.


  • The Colts will have their 4 final OTAs next week. Then the team will have a mandatory 3-day minicamp, June 13-15, to conclude their 9-week spring offseason program.

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