The Colts returned to the practice field after practicing in Macholtz Stadium yesterday, and they returned to afternoon practice after having a night practice yesterday. Everything was back to normal - we were on the practice field, the Colts were just in shoulder pads and helmets, and there were plenty of Colts not practicing. Everything was normal for the Colts today.
Something abnormal, however, was that the defense clearly won the day. The unit has been having a good camp overall, but they put together an especially good effort today. Let's dive into the camp notebook to see why that was:
- Firstly, who wasn't practicing, you ask? Well, it might just be easier to list who was practicing! Here's the list of players who I saw missing practice (and there might have been others, too): Cory Redding (don't worry, just rest), Reggie Wayne (again, just rest after a big night last night), Gosder Cherilus (again, I'm assuming rest), Jerrell Freeman (I'm hoping rest), Davin Meggett, Xavier Nixon, Cam Johnson, Josh Lenz, Josh McNary, Vontae Davis, and LaRon Landry - plus Stanley Havili of course, who's on the PUP. That's 11 guys (12 if you count Havili). That's too many. Regarding Davis and Landry, I think it's fair to be concerned. They've had well over a month to rehab their injuries, much of it with time away from football. Ryan Grigson said at mandatory minicamp that they would both be ready for training camp - and now, we just had the eighth practice and they've yet to take part in one session. When you think about them missing the first week and a half of camp, that's one thing. When you consider that they had those injuries a month before camp even started and they're still not out there, then it gives reason for concern. Obviously, they weren't placed on the PUP so it's not that bad, but it's fair to wonder when they'll practice. Hopefully soon (tomorrow), though with an off day Sunday they might just wait until Monday if they're ready to go. Either way, I hope they come back soon, but I'm not going to blame you for starting to get concerned.
- Of course, there's always the flip side to injuries, and that is those players who were injured who are back. Today we saw the return of Loucheiz Purifoy, T.Y. Hilton, Sergio Brown, and Ahmad Bradshaw - at least some of those guys were out because of rest yesterday, but it's nice for them to get back anyway.
- There was one notable in-practice injury, and that occurred to rookie inside linebacker Andrew Jackson. Early on, during the special teams drills, Jackson went down and in the middle of the drill the trainers were working on him. Chuck Pagano then came over after a while to check on how Jackson was doing (and keep in mind the drill was still going on around them), and then the trainers helped Jackson off the field, as the linebacker wasn't putting any weight on his leg. I'm not sure what the latest is on him yet, but I'll keep you posted.
- Jack Mewhort once again took some reps snapping to the quarterbacks at the beginning of practice, and then the real encouraging thing was that he took all of the first team reps with the offensive line today. I wrote earlier about how this needed to happen, and for at least today, it did.
- I've noticed that in the drills where the running backs and quarterbacks work on short passes, the running backs drop too many of those passes (considering there's no defense... or even offense, really). And it's not just one person, either.
- Newly signed linebacker Jonathon Sharpe has yet to impress. In fact, he's been bad and hasn't gotten a ton of reps, either.
- Dan Herron had a nice day of practice today and also did a good job returning kicks. I have to make this clear, though, because so many have asked about Trent Richardson - it's really hard to tell how a running back really is doing in camp when teams aren't really hitting much. Richardson looks better than last year, but we won't really know much until we see him in game(s).
- Greg Toler had a very good day today, building on an impressive camp. He had a nice pass breakup on a pass that Hakeem Nicks should have caught but that Toler knocked away. He also had the highlight of the day, when he made a good catch at the goal line on a pick of Andrew Luck and took it back 100 yards the other way for a touchdown.
- The second team offensive line is bad. I mean, BAD. It's often hard to tell about a line or a lineman in camp, too, but the second team offensive line is clearly not good. Today, that group was Ulrick John at left tackle, Josh Walker at left guard, Jonotthan Harrison at center, Lance Louis at right guard, and Matt Hall at right tackle. Now, keep in mind that Jack Mewhort is now working with the first team, Xavier Nixon has missed practice the past few days, and that Joe Reitz was working as the first team right tackle today with Cherilus sitting out - but that line today was bad, and the depth along the line doesn't appear to be great. I feel for Matt Hasselbeck (and especially Chandler Harnish) having to go out and play a game (four, actually!) behind the unit.
- Josh Gordy had a nice day today too, with an especially nice pass breakup - though one that drew a pass interference flag. Chuck Pagano and Cory Redding didn't care, though - they were pumped up after the play. They loved the play from Gordy, who has also been having a nice little camp.
- Getting in on the action, Darius Butler had a couple of nice passes broken up, including a great diving deflection on a pass intended for T.Y. Hilton. Also, safety Mike Adams also broke up a pass, intended for Da'Rick Rogers (who seems to have a lot of passes intended for him broken up - more so than the other receivers. Maybe it's nothing, and I'm not sure what to make of it quite yet, but it's just an observation).
- Arthur Jones had a nice pass batted at the line of scrimmage on one of Andrew Luck's passes. The defensive line has had a lot of those this camp, and hopefully they can extend that to the season.
- Ryan Lankford made a great diving catch along the sideline to move the second team offense into field goal range in the two minute drill, and Cody Parkey (who had a rough day overall) made a 58-yarder.
- Also in the two-minute drill, Andrew Luck found Hakeem Nicks for a wide open 35-yard touchdown deep after Sergio Brown and Darius Butler had a miscommunication about the coverage. On the next drive, Luck drove the offense quickly down the field, slicing the defense apart before Toler had his pick-six.
- The Colts were practicing the prevent defense today (more like helping the offense practice how to play against it) and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was on the field telling his defense what to do. The offense was all set and Andrew Luck was in the shotgun, and Luck yelled out, "Ok now, Greg?" Manusky laughed and jogged off the field, and the offense then proceeded to run their plays.
- Even when he's not practicing, Cory Redding just makes practices fun, bringing a lighthearted and fun atmosphere to it. It's awesome.
- The star of the day (for me) might have been Daniel Adongo, though the defense as a whole looked good. Adongo had two would-be sacks (because, remember, he can't hit the QB) and looked good rushing the passer. He was playing with the second team defense today at outside linebacker, and the pressure he got was significant. Also, in a blocking drill the team was doing today (where a linebacker/lineman goes against an offensive lineman), Adongo looked good, most notably embarrassing Joe Reitz as Adongo just flew by him. Adongo also played on the kick return unit today (though not as a returner). He was blocking for the returners. Along those same lines, I think perhaps the reason Adongo has worked some at catching kicks the past two days is because if it's a shorter kickoff (even by 5-10 yards), there's a real chance it could come to him if he's going to be playing where he was today. But either way, I've loved what I've been seeing out of Adongo as a defensive player and he has been playing on both the kick coverage and kick return units. I think there's a good chance he makes the team, because his athleticism and speed is clear, his improvement is exciting, and he could really help the team on special teams too. He still needs to impress, but so far, I've been pleased with what I've seen.
- The Colts return to the practice field tomorrow at 1:50 before an off day Sunday.