Believe it or not, the Colts have a game this week. Today they held their final public practice prior to the preseason game this Thursday night against the New York Jets, and it was a light and easy day as the team prepared for their first game action of the season.
Today's notebook will be shorter, as there wasn't a whole lot we could tell from practice today, but there is still (hopefully) some good stuff in it, so let's dive in:
- Not practicing today was Andrew Jackson, Xavier Nixon, Kelvin Sheppard, and Josh McNary (all of whom I don't expect to play Thursday) and also Ahmad Bradshaw, who was getting the day off for rest. Da'Rick Rogers and Hakeem Nicks were back practicing today after both missing practice yesterday.
- Today's work was in shells and at three-quarters speed. During special teams work, some coaches even "yelled" at players to "slow down" because they were going "three-quarter." There was pretty much no point in the practice that was full speed today but was much more of a walkthrough. Trust me, I've been to both the closed walkthroughs in the morning and the open practices in the afternoon before, and today's practice more resembled a walkthrough as the team tried to get ready for Thursday. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, it's just an observation.
- Special teams coordinator Tom McMahon is always very loud and vocal during the special teams portion of practice, displaying a lot of energy. He gets into it, but more than that he's good at making sure players know what they're doing and instructing them if they need to do something differently. It's impossible to miss him at any practice, but I've been impressed with him teaching his players.
- The funniest moment of the day came when Vontae Davis ran through the tackling bag. The other defenders were all doing it and, as is typical for the defense, the players got very into cheering one another on. When Davis ran through he had a nice hit, but then the bag swung back and knocked Davis flat on his back. It drew a lot of laughs from his teammates and also from those fans who happened to be watching.
- A very cool part of watching training camp every day is seeing the progression of the timing between quarterbacks and wide receivers. I've especially noticed this with Andrew Luck and Donte Moncrief - their timing has improved a lot. Luck also has that great ability to anticipate the receiver's cuts and breaks and deliver the ball to them coming out of their breaks, no matter if it's Reggie Wayne or a bottom of the barrel guy like Josh Lenz - the timing isn't always entirely there, but Luck's anticipation is, and it's far ahead of Matt Hasselbeck and Chandler Harnish.
- Today was the first day I actually saw Reggie Wayne catching passes from a quarterback not named Andrew Luck in team drills. It doesn't mean much, but I found it interesting. He's usually very picky about only catching passes from Luck, it seems.
- Trent Richardson received a lot of cheers from the fans today for a few nice runs, but it was impossible to tell anything today from the run game. It's hard anyways in camp, but today they were in shells with no contact and sometimes against the second or third team defenses. Richardson has looked better this camp, but the loud cheers for him today were funny - because they really didn't tell us anything at all.
- Don't be surprised if the Colts try a reverse Thursday night, especially with the second team offense. Not saying they will, but they've been practicing it some.
- We also saw a new wrinkle from the Colts today - Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne were playing safety. Of course, they were just the scout team safeties while the third team offense got extensive work, but Luck still took control out there, at one point even adamantly telling Khaled Holmes (playing outside linebacker) what he was supposed to do. I know neither Luck nor Reggie were in their usual positions, but that versatility has to help their chances to make the roster, I'd think [yes, that's sarcasm people].
- The third team offense and defense got a lot of work today, and that makes sense given the fact that they need to be ready to play a game this Thursday too.
- The play of the day came when Sergio Brown jumped a Matt Hasselbeck pass and took it back for a long pick-six. Cory Redding, Robert Mathis, Bjoern Werner, and other defensive players ran all the way with Brown yelling and cheering him on.
- Weslye Saunders made a heck of a catch on a fade route over LaRon Landry to come down with the score, and for added emphasis he threw the ball back at Landry.
- Adam Vinatieri had a nice day today, going 7-for-7 in special teams drills with a long of 58 and then going 2-for-2 in team drills with a 52 and a 53 yarder.
- The Colts return to Anderson for a public practice on Saturday at the normal time, 1:50 - 4:25. On Thursday at 7:00, they will face the New York Jets on the road for their first preseason game.