INDIANAPOLIS –.The busiest week of Colts training camp began on Monday with more news, on and off the field.
Monday’s practice was also the most physical we’ve seen so far, with the Colts donning shoulder pads for the 75 minute-morning session.
Here are some takeaways from Day 4 of Colts training camp:
- The never-ending Colts news cycle began about 90 minutes before Monday’s practice started. That was when the Colts released this statement: “Anthony Richardson had a procedure on his nose yesterday to correct his nasal septum. He will miss practice today and depending on how he feels we expect him to return tomorrow.” Shane Steichen added this on Richardson after Monday’s fourth practice: “Anthony had a little procedure done on his nose just so he can breathe better,” the head coach said. “We had to get it done. (Sunday) was the off day and we got it done. He should be back tomorrow, and if he’s not he will be back the next day (Thursday). It’s nothing serious.” It is unknown why this procedure wasn’t done before camp started, in the 6-week summer vacation after the team’s minicamp. So, on Monday, Gardner Minshew got all the starting reps with Richardson watching from behind drills.
- Richardson missing any practice time is noteworthy, especially as you project an outlook for him trying to play early in the season. This week is a critical in one in seeing if we see any separation from either quarterback in the reps. And now Richardson is further behind on starting reps, which could grow if he misses Tuesday’s practice. Remember, we are just 6 practices away from the first preseason game. Through 4 camp practices, Minshew has 42 starting reps, compared to 21 for Richardson.
- Minshew was 6-of-7 on the day, with only 1 of those completions to a receiver. Minshew completed his passes to Zack Moss (3), Deon Jackson, Drew Ogletree and Michael Pittman. It was a good amount of underneath passing game from the starting offense. Through 4 practices, Minshew is 30-of-38 (78.9%). For comparison’s, Richardson is 14-of-22 (63%).
- With Richardson out, the Colts had just 2 quarterbacks practicing. Sam Ehilnger got extended run as he is in line to be the 3rd QB this year. Ehlinger had a decent day, flashing his patented ability to extend a play, when he found Ethan Fernea down the field for a touchdown.
- Until Jim Irsay and/or Chris Ballard meet the media again, which isn’t expected anytime soon, Shane Steichen is the voice of the organization. So, Jonathan Taylor questions get thrown to the new Colts head coach. Steichen was asked on Monday if he’s planning to have Jonathan Taylor play for the Colts in 2023: “Right now, he’s on this football team,” the head coach said. “And when the medical staff clears him, he should be out here.” Taylor was present again at Monday’s practice. Seemingly, this saga will continue to play on until Taylor is removed from the physically unable to perform list. His stay on it will be at a full week starting Tuesday.
- Speaking of Taylor, current RB1 Zack Moss left practice early on Monday, visibly frustrated after injuring his right arm following an 11-on-11 rep. The athletic training staff looked at Moss for a few minutes before the 3rd-year running back left the practice field without his helmet for further examination. NFL Network reported that Moss will miss 6 weeks with a broken arm. Taking Taylor out of the equation, these are the RBs on the Colts roster: Moss, Deon Jackson, Evan Hull (rookie), Jake Funk, Zavier Scott (rookie). If Moss is going to miss a huge chunk of time, and Taylor doesn’t practice soon, don’t the Colts have to sign another running back? Jackson has 2 starts but averaged just 2.4 yards per carry in those games. Funk has two career carries. Scott is a converted wide receiver as an undrafted free agent.
- After 3 straight practices of taking part in team drills, Shaquille Leonard scaled things back a tad on Monday. Leonard didn’t take part in those 11-on-11 sessions on Monday, but he did participate . Shane Stiechen said this is all part of the plan with Leonard. “He’s looked great,” Steichen said of Leonard. “We just want to do it the right way. We just want to be smart with him.”
- With rookie cornerbacks JuJu Brents (hamstring) and Darius Rush (shoulder) continuing to be sidelined, a common name is showing up in both reps and production. That’s Darrell Baker Jr. heading into his second NFL season. Baker was first an undrafted free agent of the Cardinals in 2022. Baker joined the Colts practice squad in September. He played 31 special teams snaps and 0 defensive snaps in his rookie season. Right now, Baker is the 3rd cornerback, having a spot in the valuable nickel package. Baker brings length to the cornerback position and Shane Steichen is a big fan of his speed, too. Baker made several plays at the moment of truth on Monday to force incompletions.
- Rookie tight end Will Mallory (foot) made his camp debut in coming off the physically unable to perform list on Monday. Mallory impressed the staff back at the rookie minicamp, but a foot injury has sidelined him since.
- Monday brought shoulder pads on for the Colts and the physicality definitely picked up. With that, it was a nice morning session for the defense, particularly the defensive line.
- Here is how the starting offense looked on Monday: QB-Gardner Minshew, RB-Zack Moss, WR-Michael Pittman Jr., WR-Alec Pierce, TE-Kylen Granson, TE-Mo Alie-Cox, LT-Bernhard Raimann, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Will Fries, RT, Braden Smith.
- Here is how the starting defense looked on Monday: DE-Dayo Odeyingbo, DT-Grover Stewart, DT-DeForest Buckner, DE-Kwity Paye, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Grant Stuard, LB-E.J. Speed, CB-Kenny Moore, CB-Dallis Flowers, S-Rodney Thomas II, S-Nick Cross.
- Guys that stood out at Monday’s practice: CB-Darrell Baker Jr., LB-E.J. Speed, WR-Mike Strachan, RB-Evan Hull.
Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Monday’s practice: S-Julian Blackmon (hamstring), CB-JuJu Brents (hamstring), DE-Samson Ebukam (hamstring), CB-Darrius Rush (shoulder), OT-Jake Witt (hip). Running back Zack Moss left practice early with an arm injury. Jelani Woods’ day ended after individual drills, as athletic trainers were seen stretching him out. Woods missed a chunk of the spring with a hamstring injury. The following players remain on the PUP or non-football injury list: RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), DL-Tyquan Lewis (knee).
2023 Colts Training Camp Schedule
-8/1 (Tuesday): 10:00-11:30 AM practice
-8/3 (Thursday): 9:00-10:45 AM practice
-8/5 (Saturday): 6:00-7:30 PM practice
-8/6 (Sunday): 2:00-3:45 PM practice
-8/8 (Tuesday): 9:00-10:30 AM practice
-8/10 (Thursday): 10:00-11:00 AM practice
-8/12 (Saturday): 1st preseason game at Buffalo (1:00)
-8/15 (Tuesday): 9:00-10:00 AM practice
-8/16 (Wednesday joint practices with Bears): 6:00-8:00 PM practice, SOLD OUT
-8/17 (Thursday joint practices with Bears): 6:00-8:00 PM practice, SOLD OUT
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