INDIANAPOLIS –.Easily the coolest temperature day of Colts training camp came on Sunday, with the team heading back outdoors for their lone afternoon session of camp.
It was another day in full pads for the Colts as they head into a week with just two practices (Tuesday and Thursday), before the Saturday preseason opener in Buffalo.
Here are some takeaways from Day 8 of Colts training camp:
- “Heck of a day,” is how Shane Steichen described the performance of Anthony Richardson on Sunday afternoon. Richardson was 5-of-8, delivering his most downfield work as a starting quarterback. He threw impressive touchdowns to Alec Pierce and Kylen Granson, while showing off those reliable legs of his. The Pierce TD was probably Richardson’s best 11-on-11 throw of camp as the starter. Richardson completed his passes to Alec Pierce (2), Kylen Granson, Isaiah McKeznie and Evan Hull. The highlight for Richardson came in the final period of the day. Shane Steichen put the offense in the following situation: 46 seconds on the clock, 1 timeout, had to score a touchdown and connect on a two-point conversion, beginning the drive from just outside the red zone. It took Richardson and the starting offense two plays to get into the end zone, as the rookie delivered a nice corner route ball to Granson for the TD. And then Richardson ran in the two-point conversion for the strong ending to the day. Yes, the first-team defense was down 5 starters (3 in the secondary) on Sunday, but we still have yet to see Richardson produce like this, including a key NFL situation late in practice, at Grand Park.
- Gardner Minshew’s work on Sunday was with the second unit. He was 14-of-18, but could not end the day like Richardson. Minshew, with the offense under the same scenario of “down by 8 points” tossed one up at the end and it was E.J. Speed coming down with the sideline interception. Minshew did get much more vertical than normal with the ball during the 7-on-7 work from Sunday.
- Through 8 camp practices, Richardson has (unofficially) 83 starting reps and Minshew has 57 starting reps. Shane Steichen said on Sunday the Colts should decide on a starting QB for the preseason opener by mid-week. After this weekend’s work, does Richardson now have the slight lead on this battle, or is it still too early to read too much into those things? Through 8 practices, Minshew is 73-of-96 (76%) and Richardson is 41-of-67 (61%). These are unofficial numbers.
- Shaquille Leonard’s full-padded 11-on-11 work is on a pitch count, per Shane Steichen. Leonard was not happy with himself on Sunday when he dropped a would-be interception from Anthony Richardson during an 7-on-7 period. Leonard did leave practice briefly, grabbing at his groin area, but he later returned to action. With the Colts 5 weeks out from their from their regular season opener, Leonard has now done everything in camp (individual, 7-on-7, 11-on-11, no pads, full pads, etc). Imagine, back in June, saying Leonard would have that done in camp by August 6th? Now, it’s about ramping up the workload and continuing to knock of that rust.
- In your daily Jonathan Taylor update, No. 28 was once again present and watching on Sunday. He’s now missed all 8 practices of camp while on the physically unable to perform list. Shane Steichen offered no update when asked about Taylor after Sunday’s practice.
- Rookie JuJu Brents practiced again on Sunday, meaning he got back-to-back work in as he makes his training camp debut. The rookie corner who continues to impress the most is 7th round selection Jaylon Jones. Since the spring, Jones has a flashed a competitive spirit at the moment of truth, forcing a couple of incompletions on Sunday.
- Now that we are past the mid-way point of camp, you have several guys who have missed more than a week of practices, if not more action. Those would include the two PUP guys: RB-Jonathan Taylor, DL-Tyquan Lewis (knee). But you also have had extended absences for two expected defensive starters: S-Julian Blackmon (hamstring) and DE-Samson Ebukam.
- Why the reason for the flurry of tight end signings as of late? The Colts are currently without the following TEs: Jelani Woods (hamstring), Mo Alie-Cox (ankle), Will Mallory (hamstring). That has meant extended first-team work for Drew Ogletree, who is coming off a torn ACL last August.
- Again, expect creative usage for WR-Isaiah McKenzie. As someone in the media contingent pointed out, watching McKenzie this camp is similar to what the thought was in the previous regime utilizing Nyheim Hines.
- So, the Colts have two draft picks already on injured reserve, meaning they can’t play this season. It was 7th round pick OT-Jake Witt (hip), joining S-Daniel Scott (knee), who tore his ACL back in the spring. For Witt, it’s a big bummer in regards to his development. This is a guy who is coming from a non Division I school, so he could have really used a year, even if it was on the practice squad, to practice daily against NFL talent.
- Here is how the starting offense looked on Sunday: QB-Anthony Richardson, RB-Deon Jackson, WR-Michael Pittman Jr., WR-Alec Pierce, WR-Isaiah McKenzie, TE-Kylen Granson, LT-Bernhard Raimann, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Will Fries, RT, Braden Smith.
- Here is how the starting defense looked on Sunday: DE-Dayo Odeyingbo, DT-Grover Stewart, DT-McTelvin Agim, DE-Kwity Paye, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Grant Stuard, CB-Tony Brown, CB-Dallis Flowers, CB-Darrell Baker Jr., S-Trevor Denbow, S-Nick Cross.
- Guys that stood out at Sunday’s practice: CB-Jaylon Jones, WR-Isaiah McKenzie, QB-Anthony Richardson, WR-Josh Downs
Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Sunday’s practice: S-Julian Blackmon (hamstring), CB-Kenny Moore (ankle), DE-Samson Ebukam (hamstring), RB-Zack Moss (arm), TE-Jelani Woods (hamstring), TE-Mo Alie-Cox (ankle), LB-Liam Anderson (undisclosed), DT-DeForest Buckner (foot), TE-Will Mallory (hamstring). It looked like Rodney Thomas II was dealing with an ailment that kept him on the sideline Sunday (Shane Steichen said he needed to check with the trainers on what the issue was for Thomas. That meant a lot of starting work for Trevor Denbow, with Nick Cross bumping back to the free safety role. 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
-8/8 (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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