Re-post from ColtFreaks. Before I begin: Colts waived CB Thad Turner and signed CB Marcus McCauley (formerly of Vikings, Lions.) It's one of my observations (wondering who the hell big #42 was), but just thought it might be worth noting for interested readers.
That said, CTRL + V:
Hit up camp tonight. Beautiful night for football, I'm sure the players appreciated it as much as the fans. Again, these are just observations from a single practice. Take them in that context.
- Have to start with this rant before I get into observations: I am very dissatisfied with Anderson University as a training camp site so far. I bit my tongue the last time around because it was a small field practice and I didn't figure they'd made a huge investment in that area, but tonight was different. I found the facilities unable to accommodate the large crowd and staff members utterly useless. One staff member directed us toward a set of bleachers on the opposite end of the field that were reserved for "special pass carriers." He did not mention that this was exclusive seating and thus made us walk around the field for nothing. Once we figured out this mistake, we were more or less berated by another staff member for attempting to go into those bleachers. It was a giant cluster**** and Anderson U seemed completely unprepared for the crowd and unable to handle them. I cannot believe they did not bring in more bleachers for this event, or rotate the small field bleachers a whole 180 degrees. Just terrible handling overall.
- Also, there was a lot of "special pass" action going on. Special passes in bleachers, on the field, in lawn chairs behind the fence in the endzone. It almost seemed like practice was catered toward these people. I wondered who they were: family of players/coaches? Members of a charity organization? Or simply the highest bidders? Whoever they were, they definitely got the VIP view of things.
- On to practice itself, noticed that Anthony Gonzalez was still out, though without a calf wrap and just standing around catching passes. Doesn't look hurt, just limited in action. Clint Session was also still out, though like Gonzo was in uniform (not shells) and hanging out with his position-mates. In other injury news, I noticed Terrail Lambert in a walking boot, if anyone particularly cares about that.
- Most interesting moment of practice: Phillip Wheeler laid out Reggie Wayne in an 11-on-11 drill. Wayne immediately got back up, attempted to throw the ball at Wheeler and shoved him. Wheeler didn't back down and shoved Wayne back. Teammates had to break it up, but the crowd cheered. Nice to see some fire from both of these guys. Wonder if Reggie wished he was holding out after he felt that hit.
- I mostly watched the following drills: WR endzone route drills, QB/HB checkdown/screen pass drills, OL cap drills (green, yellow, red for first level of defense, second level and fringe defenders/DBs.) I didn't see a lot of defensive drills, so I can't tell you much about the LBs and DL. However, I can say...
- Deshea Townsend looked good again. Stood out in the 1-on-1 DB vs WR endzone route drills. Really glues himself well to the receiver and knocks away passes. Jacob Lacey also looked pretty solid in this drill. Jerraud Powers got taken to school by Wayne so bad that he pulled the whole "oh, my shoes aren't on tight enough" trick. I wouldn't make anything out of that, of course; Powers might be the best CB on the team.
- As far as receivers, Brandon James looked markedly improved from the last time I saw him. He only had one drop of note, caught the rest and even managed to haul in a nice TD catch in the corner of the endzone. Dudley Guice, however, continued to drop passes and looks like a sure bet to be seeking employment elsewhere come September. To his credit, he probably did reel in the prettiest catch of the night - a one-handed scoop - but overall I just don't think Guice has the consistency that Manning requires at the position. Sam Giguere, who is normally a consistent receiver, had an off day and dropped quite a few passes. Those days happen.
- On the other hand, Pierre Garcon and Taj Smith looked excellent. Garcon caught everything and Smith had one drop I can remember but hauled in some difficult passes.
- Don't stab me, but I didn't think Peyton Manning looked particularly sharp tonight. He was frustrated with himself on a couple of throws and threw a pretty ugly pick to Bob Sanders during an 11-on-11 goal line offense drill. Practices like these make you realize how much you take advantage of the fact that the guy is usually money every time.
- As far as other QBs: Curtis Painter looked like the worst tonight, made some simply awful throws without any pressure being applied. The crowd seemed to notice this and groan on quite a few occasions. Tom Brandsteter, I thought, looked impressive. He has nice zip on the ball, but a little too much at times; he overthrew a few receivers. That said, he could be interested to watch this preseason. I liked his passes; they were nice and crisp.
- Jacques McClendon was back and running with the OL, but this time at guard with Jamey Richard at center. Again, you hate to make too much of one practice, but this indicates to me that Richard is the most likely emergency replacement for the injured Jeff Saturday whereas McClendon is more of a long-term replacement plan if he pans out.
- Along with Saturday and Charlie Johnson, Adam Terry sat out tonight's practice with some kind of wrap on his right leg. He's been plagued by injuries his entire career and you can't figure that bodes well for him. With those guys out, Tony Ugoh obviously got a lot of time with the starters. It's impossible to say how anyone looked given the fact that they basically just performed walkthroughs so that the line could get its timing down in terms of when to initiate certain blocks on certain running plays. Unless you were a coach, the best you could do was note personnel.
- At returner, the usual suspects. Brandon James and Blair White held PR duties, though B. James was the clear frontrunner at the position. Ray Fisher and Devin Moore joined James in the competition for KR duties, and even Jamie Silva managed to get back there, though I can't imagine he has any chance in hell at beating out James, Fisher or Moore, despite what EA Sports' inept programmers might think.
- I saw a large DB wearing #42 and, despite my obsessive Colts knowledge, had no idea who this was. Turns out it's Marcus McCauley, who you might remember played extensively with the Vikings as a rookie and trailed off since. At 6-1, he looks huge next to the other corners.
- Mitch King played FB again, though did nothing to stand out. That he's playing FB over Brody Eldridge, though, must indicate that coaches like his potential at the position. Or that they view Eldridge as strictly a TE prospect.
- Overall, the Colts seemed to really emphasize run-blocking tonight. Lots of run blocking drills, scrimmages and walkthroughs. Looks like they're working hard and fast to get that makeshift line together. I don't get the sense that they have a ton of confidence in this line (who would?), but you can't say they aren't making them practice.