I was joined today by several thousand other Colts fans, braving the 90+ degree heat. I started to sweat within 5 minutes of sitting down, so I can only imagine how it felt on the field. The players were not in full pads, but did have on shoulder pads and helmets, and it certainly wasn't full contact. They started with some positional drills, then started a fast-paced set of scenarios, pretty much hitting anything that could possibly happen in a game. They had Pat McAfee run around in the back of the end zone before taking a safety, punting after said safety, onside kicks, goal line, etc. They ended it with the "fire drill", where the field goal team ran onto the field, set up for a last second field goal, and McAfee drilled it, all in under 10 seconds. It was impressive.
Just as the scrimmage was about to get started, we started to hear random cheers coming from the opposite corner of the field. It was difficult to tell immediately what the cheering was for, until you saw the #18 jersey come sauntering into the stadium. The big cheer was delayed due to the National Anthem, but the crowd roared once it was over and he continued his walk onto the sidelines. Easily the loudest it got all day.
The scrimmage went about as well as expected, in that I only saw one injury, and that was on the last play of the scrimmage, with the offense trying to score to tie the game. Dan Orlovsky found Kole Heckendorf in the back of the end zone, but as he came down he lost the ball after a hit from David Caldwell. It looked like he injured his right foot, as his shoe was off when he got up. The Defense won the game 27-20, as both teams started with 14 each.
Some notes after the jump:
- We got to see both Curtis Painter and Orlovsky for extended periods of time. Both guys completed ~60% of their passes (best guess), and neither scored a TD on the day. Painter had several really nice throws to Austin Collie, on both corner routes and crossing routes. He also had some flops, throwing behind a couple guys, and overthrowing a ball or two. Orlovsky was a little more consistent, but it wasn't a standout performance. For clarity's sake, Orlovsky went with the #2 Offense (Gonzo and Collie ran with them some too) against the #1 Defense, and Painter ran with the #1 Offense against the #2 Defense.
- The biggest difference to me between the two QBs was their ability to throw the ball with pressure in their face. Orlovsky looked calm, going through progressions, stepping up when necessary, planting and making good throws consistently. Painter, on the other hand, always looked a little jittery, jumping on almost every pass. He did have his first pass batted down, so that might have caused him to think he needed to get his passes higher, but you can't get much on a throw when you jump straight up. He still completed the lion's share of his throws, but it's a concern.
- Running the ball was difficult, as the rules were pretty much two-hand touch, so there needed to be a giant hole for the backs to gain yards. However, Devin Moore broke off a 20 yard run in the second half, and barely got touched at that, and had run another 30 yards down the field before he was finally stopped. He had several other nice kickoff returns. If I had to name a standout player from the scrimmage, it'd be him. Other guys who got some work were Delone Carter, Javarris James, Chad Spann, and Darren Evans.
- The best play of the day started with newcomer LB Ernie Sims, who popped Moore on a dumpoff pass inside the 10 yard line. The ball was then tipped again by Justin Tryon, and scooped up by Melvin Bullitt, who ran it all the way back for a Touchdown. Sims let out a loud yell right after his hit, then helped escort Bullitt down the sideline.
- The Line play was also tough to judge, as the defensive guys had to let up once they got near either QB. They did get a couple sacks, one of which was by Eric Foster. It did look like Anthony Castonzo had the privilege of blocking Robert Mathis for most of the first half, and didn't look too bad. Tommie Harris also had a couple nice plays, including a pass knockdown. Jerry Hughes got the best of Ben Ijalana a couple of times as well.
- Some of the third team defenders got some playing time near the end of the scrimmage, but nobody really stood out to me. We also didn't see any other QB but Painter and Orlovsky. In fact, I didn't see Nate Davis at all, but didn't look for him after the initial position drills.
That's about it for now. Tomorrow I may write some non-football thoughts about Training Camp, as I should keep them separate from these notes.