It felt like football weather today in Anderson for the second to last day of Colts training camp 2014. It was in the mid-to-low 60's with a strong breeze and slight rain, and you'd have thought it was October instead of the middle of August. The team was in full pads and it just felt like football all around.
It might be hard to believe, but today was the last afternoon practice of training camp. The Colts take to the practice field tomorrow morning from 10:20 - 12:30 (although it almost always ends way early) for the final practice of camp, after which they will break and head back to Indianapolis, where after a while they'll continue practice at their West 56th Street complex.
Training camp is almost over, but we've still got things to learn and figure out, so here's today's camp notebook:
- Linebacker Andrew Jackson, offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, linebacker Jerrell Freeman, linebacker Josh McNary, and safety Delano Howell didn't practice today. For D'Qwell Jackson and Hilton, it was just a rest day. Also, wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson, who suffered a concussion a few days ago, was doing limited work today in positional drills but was not in pads and was clearly limited. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw was again wearing a red jersey. Safety Sergio Brown left practice with a trainer, though we don't know yet why.
- Speaking of Nu'Keese Richardson, he's a really small guy, especially compared to the other receivers (and even more especially when he's not in pads), but he's also really quick. He still is raw and in no way am I saying that he should make the roster or even get much consideration, but his quickness is impressive.
- Working at kick returner early in practice were Dan Herron, Griff Whalen, Donte Moncrief, and Zurlon Tipton, while Nu'Keese Richardson watched. It was the first time that I've seen Tipton working with that unit, and I wonder how seriously they're considering him there. I think it's clear that Moncrief is the number one kick returner, but it's always good to get others practice, and Moncrief's spot isn't 100% secured yet either.
- With LaRon Landry back today, the first team defense saw both Mike Adams and Colt Anderson rotate at the other safety spot and get significant time.
- Da'Rick Rogers had another good day today, but perhaps his most notable play was a negative. He just completely burned Kameron Jackson by running straight by him, but Rogers flat out dropped the pass that would have been a touchdown. Rogers' wasn't happy about it, but again we saw the speed on display. Also, later in practice, the Colts ran a quick bubble screen to him and he made a couple of guys miss for a good gain. He is looking much better, he's getting more reps, and the Colts are using him the right way.
- LaRon Landry made a terrific diving breakup of a pass intended for Coby Fleener.
- Both Andy Studebaker and Kelvin Sheppard were getting some work with the first team defense with so many linebackers out.
- I like the play the Colts ran a couple of times today when they clear their receivers out and then throw a quick hitch route to Dwayne Allen. It worked well today and I imagine it would work well in games too.
- Dewey McDonald had a nice day today, even getting some work with the second team defense. He made a very good diving interception and also recorded a "sack."
- Loucheiz Purifoy continues to have a good camp, and today he had some nice coverage on the receivers and also had a "sack."
- Mike Adams and Josh Gordy also got interceptions, and Gordy's came against Andrew Luck. Gordy has impressed in camp and looks like he's firmly the number four corner (I think Purifoy is clearly the number five right now, too).
- It's just fun to watch Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne work. Their timing is pretty much perfect, and then Luck's skills coupled with Reggie's ability to make nice catches makes for a very fun combination to watch and a nearly impossible one to stop. Throw the age and the comeback from injury out the window (which Reggie does look great, by the way) - his timing with Andrew Luck will ensure that he's not fading away any time soon. He's going to be a major contributor this year.
- Adam Vinatieri has had a strong camp, and he continued that today. He was 7-of-8 with a long of 53, and his only miss came from 47 yards out when he hit the upright. Then in team drills, Vinatieri was 1-of-2, making from 48 yards out and missing from 43.
- Weslye Saunders made a very nice touchdown grab today, and he too has had an impressive camp, albeit quietly.
- Hakeem Nicks made a phenomenal touchdown catch. Loucheiz Purifoy had nice coverage, but Nicks adjusted his body to a position to get the ball and then made a nice one-handed grab to bring it down. It drew quite a bit of cheers from his teammates, and deservedly so.
- Griff Whalen made a terrific grab along the sidelines to get his feet in bounds and stop the clock, getting the Colts into field goal range with just a few seconds on the clock in a drill. Of course, that was the one that Vinatieri missed, but it was still a very nice catch from Griff, who was pretty involved in things today.