May 4, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws a pass during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Tonight I had the chance to attend the Colts' first night practice of training camp this year. Anderson University announced a crowd of around 5,000 fans in attendance, the largest crowd of the year for a practice. It was a great opportunity to see these new Colts live and to see the attitude of Colts' fans (which was very good, by the way). I tweeted throughout the practice some thoughts, but here is a bulleted list of notes and observations I had from practice tonight:
Ok, let me start with Andrew Luck. This was the first time I got to see Luck in person. Luck didn't start great, but as practice went on he really started to throw well. Early on he sailed a few passes, but as it went on he got much more accurate. He had some great throws, but the most impressive thing about Andrew Luck was his presence on the field and command of the offense. He was really commanding the quarterback drills and the offense as well. Honestly, he does remind me of Peyton Manning. I know that comparison will be incredibly overused, but he really did. I will have a more in-depth piece on Luck tomorrow. Check back then. But for now, I was really impressed with Luck tonight.
Early on in practice, during the special teams segment, the punt returners were T.Y. Hilton and Quan Cosby. On the Colts' depth chart released yesterday, LaVon Brazillwas listed as the first team returner, but during the punt team work Brazill was with the receivers. I expect Hilton to be returning by the time the regular season starts.
It's a small change, but liked seeing the specialists (kickers and punters) working on the practice field at kicking instead of just standing around (or acting as ball carriers) during position drills. Again, a small thing, but I love it.
Chuck Pagano takes a real hands-on approach to coaching. Was working specifically with different players and positions tonight (defensive, I may add). Pagano brings an added energy to this team, and is a players' coach, as we have heard before.
Joe Reitz was working withthe first team offensive line tonight at left guard. It's not the first time this week, but he is listed as second stringer on depth chart. I fully expect Reitz to be starting week one.
I can remember quite a few times where Luck would have been sacked had it been a game. Unfortunately couldn't see where specifically the pressure came from where I was sitting, but it seemed to come from the interior of the line most often.
Two of those would-be sacks came courtesy of inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. The more I read and hear about him, the more I get excited about his potential. Was really impressive tonight. Will have a write up on him later this week, and it will be really interesting to watch him in live game action. If impressive in preseason games, I could really see him supplanting Kavell Conner as starting inside linebacker alongside Pat Angerer.
For those that have asked about the offense: it features alot of motion. Seemed to run two tight ends frequently, but would send them in motion. Coby Fleener usually either stayed on line or in the slot, while Dwayne Allen usually stayed on the line or as an H-back. It is also strange seeing Reggie Wayne go in motion, as he did tonight.
Luck hit Kris Adams on a deep ball for a touchdown. Again, I think Luck could be pretty good at the deep ball this year. Also, Kris Adams had a great leaping one handed grab for a score from Chandler Harnish. He followed that up the very next play with a touchdown on a 10 or so yard post route.
In my opinion, the play of the night was an absolutely perfect pass from Luck to Austin Collie. About a 30 yard pass to the right side of the end zone for a score. Antonio Johnson probably would have had a sack on Luck had it been live game action, however.
A humorous play came when Reggie Wayne was flagged for an offensive pass interference call in the end zone. Not happy with the call, Reggie picked up the official'syellow penalty flag and threw it further away. For what its worth, it did look like the right call.
Reggie Wayne seemed in a good mood tonight. Bouncing around alot, full of energy, good as always at wideout. Also seemed to be trash talking with Jerraud Powers quite a bit, all in good nature of course. Also took some time to talk with some younger players after mistakes.
For those wondering, Drew Stanton is firmly entrenched at the number two quarterback spot. Took pretty much every snap that Luck didn't. He has a strong arm, but one of his strong armed throws ended in an interception. He threw a bullet right to Brandon King. Don't really know who he intended to throw to.
Running back thoughts: hard to judge this position unless there is full out hitting, but still will share some thoughts nonetheless. Vick Ballard was impressive - he seems like a hard, tough runner who carries the ball well and give good effort. Mewelde Moore saw quite a bit of action in the backfield tonight, and he was especially used in passing situations. He made a few catches out of the backfield. Donald Brownwas once again, insignificant. Will have a post on him as well later this week, but from what I saw tonight he didn't always seem to be giving much effort. Alot of standing around from Brown. Wasn't a big night for the run game, however.
Near the end of practice, during the two minute drill, the offense went for it on 4th-and-1 from the 5 yard line. A fade to Collie was broken up on a nice play by Jerraud Powers, who looked pretty good tonight.
Tonight's practice was entertaining and a good chance to see the Colts in action, if only for a practice. The Colts are off Wednesday before returning to the practice field on Thursday.
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