The 2013 Colts training camp is officially underway now that the team's first day of practice is complete. The team opened camp with a padless practice and emphasized passing drills. To no surprise, the players directly involved in them were the ones who stood out.
Here's my thoughts after watching the afternoon practice.
- Griff Whalen came into training camp with a ton of hype behind him, and he only picked up more steam today. He ran comeback routes, post routes, go routes and fade routes, and I didn't see him drop a single pass in any of them. Some of the passes were slightly off target, and he always managed to bring them in anyway. He made a few great catches during offense-only drills, like a 40-yard one-handed TD grab, and then kept it going into 11-on-11 drills. But here's what I like best about Whalen: He makes every catch look routine and easy, even when it's not. Great start for him.
- Rookie guard Hugh Thornton was in a boot today and did not practice. NT Brandon McKinney didn't practice either. TE Dwayne Allen briefly left the field for treatment on his foot, per Tom James, but he later returned. Doesn't seem like something to worry about.
- Ryan Grigson said expects LB Josh McNary to join the team at training camp on Tuesday.
- The starting offensive line was, from left to right, Anthony Castonzo - Donald Thomas - Samson Satele - Mike McGlynn - Gosder Cherilus. It'll be interesting to see what happens to McGlynn once Thornton returns.
- You can't tell much of anything about front seven defenders in padless practices, but you can at least learn about lineups and plays. For instance, rookie OLB Bjoern Werner was heavily involved in drills with the first-team defense. He played exclusively from the left side whenever he was in and always had his hands down in a four-point stance, pushing Robert Mathis to the right side in a stand-up role. When Erik Walden replaced Werner on the field, Mathis moved back to the left while Walden took over on the right.
- One play near the end of practice featured a four-man D-line from left to right of Walden - Werner - Ricky Jean-Francois - Drake Nevis. Since these were almost all passing drills, the nose tackles were MIA for most of the day. This could be a sign of things to come with how the Colts play passing downs to kickstart their pass rush.
- Donald Brown and Vick Ballard split reps with the first-team offense at running back. Not much to note between those two, aside from a beautiful pass by Chandler Harnish to Ballard on a wheel route down the sideline. The play went for about 40 yards.
- Speaking of QB play, Andrew Luck was pretty up-and-down throughout the practice. I didn't chart his pass numbers (trying to get a good look at everyone), but Craig Kelley of the Colts was nice enough to do it instead.
Luck 22 of 34 for two scores and one pick in first practice. Cassius Vaughn's int TD the play of day. Monday @ 1:50 is next practice.— Craig Kelley (@CraigKColts) July 28, 2013
- Fleener and Allen both had good practices. Allen looked flawless in passing drills, showing his athleticism all over the field, and Fleener only had one drop that I counted. Granted, it was in tough coverage. Both players frequently lined up in the slot.
- Whalen and LaVon Brazill primarily were the second-team receivers. Nathan Palmer also got some time with the 1s and 2s and made some pretty impressive plays, getting behind Vontae Davis deep on one route.
- Kavell Conner and Kelvin Sheppard rotated as the starting linebacker next to Jerrell Freeman.
- FB Stanley Havili was mixed in with the starting offense occasionally. To no surprise, the fullback job looks like his to lose.
- Undrafted WR Rodrick Rumble had a rocky practice. He dropped multiple passes and looked uncomfortable most of the time.
- 6'6 WR Jeremy Kelley looks like he belongs with the tight ends. He's got tremendous size. But he also was catching the ball well, so I can only be happy about his practice today
- As cliche as it now sounds, Reggie Wayne was Reggie Wayne. He's still one incredible player.