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Colts Training Camp 2008: Morning practice notes for August 1

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MasterRWayne and I attended the 8:30am practice this morning in Terre Haute. Drove over from Indy early, and by the start of practice the bleachers were pretty full. By 9am, you had to stand. Amazing how many people attend camp these days. The following are observations and impressions MRW and I had on the practice. I'll be honest, it was very hard to judge the defensive linemen from our vantage point. So, notes on d line will be light. On everything else, we saw some very good and encouraging things. I'll say right off the bat, this is a better team than the one I saw in camp last season... and that's saying something because the team last year looked damn good.

  • Devin Aromashodu, TJ Rushing, Michael Coe, and Pierre Garcon were the players returning punts and kicks. Of them all, Aromashodu looked good fielding the tough punts (low around knees, off centered punts requiring readjustment, etc.). Rushing also looked good. Coe was horrible, slipping on one return. Garcon did not look comfortable.
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  • Colts spent much time on onside kick drills for both defensive and offensive purposes. Tony Dungy paid very close attention to this drill. K Adam Vinatieri looked good on the onside kicks; one bounce and ball was in play. Vinatieri looks in great shape and spent a lots of time running and fixing some technique stuff. 
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  • The QBs: Jim Sorgi was not sharp at all and Jarod Lorenzen flat out sucked. Of the three QBs, Quinn Gray looked the most sharp. MRW was very impressed with Gray, writing in his notes that Gray threw with confidence, good zip, and strong velocity. Gray's got a strong arm, and does well with the pump fakes.
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  • Gray hit Zac Herod on TE seam route in one drill for 20 yards. Good protection on the play.
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  • Of all the groups, the wide receivers look the best. This WR corps is excellent, vastly improved over last season's receivers I saw in camp. I spent a lot of time watching the WR drills. So, the next few observations will focus on the WRs.
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  • Garcon dropped 2 passes on the 4 cone drill. Receivers coach Clyde Christenson got on him for the drops.
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  • During the WR drills, Christenson yelled out that the hitch routes looked sloppy. Afterwards, during the QB-WR drill, the hitch routes were cleaned up by all the WRs and Christenson was pleased.
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  • We do not have enough great things to say about Roy Hall. It's like: Wow! Hall was very impressive. He had no drops and showed great speed. Roy has improved his routes, but some were still a little sloppy. On the 4 cone drill, Roy would get sloppy with the last cone, cutting in too tight. But, in general, this Roy Hall is very different than the one I saw last year. He's made a big leap.
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  • Aromashodu also looked very good in the WR drills. He did not mess up a single cones and caught everything.
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  • Seeing him first hand, I say with total and complete certainty that Marvin Harrison is fine. He looks no differnet than the last two training camps I saw him in. With him 100% healthy, and with all the other things I saw, the Colts have the best WR corps in football, easy.
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  • On the low throw drills, Marvin, Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Roy Hall, Samuel Giguere all caught the balls thrown at them. Other receivers missed them all.
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  • WR Courtney Roby runs good routes.
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  • Oh boy! you can tell Samuel Giguere is a rookie from French Canada. In drills, he went offsides twice. Christenson went nuts when Giguere did this, and it was funny to see Giguere get chewed out. Coach was all over him again today. On one drill, he didn't watch the ball and jumped, and Christenson went nearly ballistic, saying "Watch the ball! It's not friggin' hard!" In general, Giguere is raw, but he's got the goods. The coaches ride him hard, and I think it's because they see something.
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  • During the late practice scrimmage: Garcon made a nice sideline grab. Also, during drills, Christenson got on Garcon for not selling the post route.
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  • Anthony Gonzalez caught 6 passes in the scrimmage, playing all in slot. Gonzo looks the fastest, getting out of his breaks faster than Marvin, Reggie, or anyone.
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  • Ok, enough talking about the WRs. Now, we focus on other areas and players. Tim Jennings is indeed a better CB. He had a great break on ball in a scrimmage, nearly got a pick. Coaches were visibly happy with Jennings.
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  • LB Freddie Keiaho made a  great jumping INT of a Sorgi pass. However, that Sorgi throw was horrible. The second it left his hand, MRW went "Ohhhhh, that sucks."
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  • CB Keiwan Ratliff had great deflection in one scrimmage play, but the best play of the day belonged to SS Brandon Condren. "Battleship" Lorezen threw a horrible INT to Conden, who looks very fast. The pick was returned for a TD.
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  • Once again, TE Zac Herold had a nice catch in a scrimmage. Rookie TETom Santi was there with his knee wrapped.
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  • LBer Kyle Shotwell had good tip on a pass that almost caused INT.
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  • Gary Brackett not on the field this morning. Keiaho looked to play a little MLB
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  • Roy Hall needed his calf stretched after a tumble, but didn't miss rest of drills. LB Clint session has his foot in a boot.
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  • Colts worked on goal line packages for part of the morning. DT Darrell Reid is indeed the goal line FB along with rookie Mike Hart. I did not see Joeseph Addai much on goal line plays. Hart also ran as a HB out of the I formation with Reid as his FB. When Hart played FB, Dawson was the HB on short yardage and goal line.
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  • DE Jeff Charleston had nice push on goal line runs, getting into backfield to break up runs. On toss sweep runs, Reid was the lead blocker.
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  • In 2 TE goal line packages, Gijon Robinson was the second TE and caught many passes.
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  • I was surprised by Reid's hands catching passes out of play action. Reid also has good footwork. 
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  • Matt Giordano broke though on one goal line drill and made a play on Clifton Dawson.
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  • TE Jacob Tamme looked excellent. Reminds me of a rookie Dallas Clark. He runs excellent routes. On one play, he had a good fake block on a play action play, ran a great route, got open, and made the catch. He also had an excellent corner of endzone TD grab from Gray on a goal line drill.
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  • On one goal line run, Dominic Rhodes ran over his own lineman (Dan Federkeil) on his way to the endzone.
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  • After practice concluded, Giguere, Garcon, Ornea Jones, Roby, and Dawson all stayed after to work on receiving machine. Dawson was only RB to work on the drill. While they worked, Kenton Keith walked over to the standing crowd and signed autographs. That's a nice gesture by KK, but of all the players in camp HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THE RECEIVING MACHINE. Using the machine, Garcon practiced one handed grabs with no gloves, and caught all save one.

We'll have notes on the afternoon practice later this afternoon.