Yesterday, starting at 2pm EST, the Colts Organization held their Fan Appreciation/Open Mini-Camp at Lucas Oil Stadium. It's one of the coolest things they've started to do in this new era and something I hope becomes an annual thing from this point on.
It was a very productive practice for a lot of people, and especially for the Stanford Alums
Griff Whalen really impressed me yesterday. He had a sweet touchdown grab and I think his best moment came when he wrestled a ball from Toler on a deep pass to the endzone. He also was hanging out near my part of the stands, I was in the first row and he was talking to us quite a bit, he's really funny guy. Someone who also looked really good was Coby Fleener. He had some sweet receptions (no drops from what I saw) and from what I can remember one TD grab. It looks like Pep really is going to feature the TEs as redzone threats in this new offense, duely noted for fantasy.
The defense is playing really hard as well. There was one play where Luck threw into double coverage to TY Hilton, and the safety and corner (didn't see who they were), really put a "hit" on TY that was probably a little much for a no-pads practice. It was fine though, the jumbo screen showed all three laughing about the matter when they went to reset.
Like the reports from Indy beat writers and our own Stampede Blue bloggers, Greg Toler continues to impress in the offseason. His best moment of the day came when Luck threw to his check-down receiver, overthrew him quite a bit, and Toler made an impressive interception low to the ground that would have been a pick six. Actually, the defensive lines were practicing on that side of the field, and they stopped, cheered and let him run it in for a TD, fun moment. Something I also noticed that was interesting, Greg Toler was lining up against Reggie and Vontae was lining up against DHB.
Speaking of Vontae, he's really come out and looks like he's giving his 100% all the time. I remember watching Hard Knocks last year and I questioned his motor. It looks like he's "grown up", and his full attention is on practice and getting better. A very exiting thing to see.
Due to getting in an accident last year, I wasn't able to go to Training Camp, the first time in several years. So this was the first time I got to see how a lot of the players Pagano personally brought in were in practice. You can tell these guys have some discipline. The most impressive by far was Cory Redding, who chased down any receiver or running back farther than anyone else, and always was going for a forced fumble. It's just the little things like that that show you what it takes to be on that next level.
DHB showed his speed and YAC ability, and I'm exited to have him. One dig I do have on him however is he still does that thing where he hops in the air a bit when catching the ball, even if it's right in his numbers. This is something I think the coaches would want to iron out in camp, but who knows, maybe it's not that big of a deal (I would think it would be something to work on).
Vick Ballard was great as usual, but I was also impressed by Kerwynn Williams' speed. He should be a great return man, and situational back (he took a few reps with the starting team). Something I also took out of this practice with the RBs was that Brown is here to stay. He took half of the 1st team reps and I couldn't find Carter out there at all.
Rookie Bjoern Werner looked pretty sweet out there. His 4-point stance looks AWESOME! He took most of his reps with the 2nd team (Walden was on the 1st team, but he didn't look that bad), but when he was in with the 1st team he looked great. He actually had a sack on Luck, that is if it was a real scrimmage.
I won't say anything about Luck, because he looked damn near perfect, besides the occasional over throw and one pick that came from Greg Toler.
Lastly, after watching the practice, the unit I feel most comfortable about (besides offense of course) is the secondary. Landry and Bethea were all over the place! The corners were physical and played great man coverage all day, I think we'll have a top 10 secondary this year.
Well folks, the Monster is built. However, that Monster can always improve, get some epic gear n' shit. Right now though, he's just waiting in his cave, sharpening his claws and building that muscle. The NFL isn't prepared.