The Indianapolis Colts took the practice field for their third day of training camp practice today, and it was their first in full pads. It was quite an eventful practice too, as after about a half hour of practice the field was cleared due to lightning.
The Colts then moved inside for a while, and though it initially appeared as if they weren’t going to be returning outside (because that was the first update from the Colts), the team reconsidered after the storm passed and wound up returning to the field - albeit with no fans in attendance after the long delay.
The practice picked up with team drills, and the first practice in pads gave us a better chance to see the Colts’ roster and how several players performed. The defense definitely won the day today, and here’s our camp notebook from day three.
- Pass rush drill. One of my favorite drills when the pads are on is the pass rush drill the Colts do. They line up five offensive linemen, but only one of them will be going on the play. A defensive player is lined up opposite of him, and the two then face off. This provides a lot of intensity and intrigue and gives us a better idea of the pass rush and the offensive line. One of the best reps of the day belonged to rookie center Ryan Kelly before the rain delay, as he faced off against starting nose tackle David Parry and completely stonewalled him right off the snap. Later in practice the Colts ran the same drill again, and both Ron Thompson and T.Y. McGill (“Touchdown T.Y.” after his pick-six yesterday) had several nice plays. On another play, David Parry destroyed Austin Blythe as he quickly got right past him. Erik Walden also had a very nice rush where he blew by Joe Reitz along the right side, and Denzelle Good did a good job against Kendall Langford on another rep. During the earlier session, a couple of other plays besides the Kelly one stood out: Le’Raven Clark owned Sterling Bailey, and Jack Mewhort did the same to Arthur Jones (after which there was some talking until they were separated).
- Scott Tolzien’s day. Andrew Luck wasn’t bad today by any means, but Scott Tolzien was better (though that’s because he was going against the second team secondary, which looked like swiss cheese at times). Tolzien made several nice throws on the day, but perhaps his best one was when he was rolling to his left when, on the run, he hit Quan Bray in stride on a crossing route. Another very nice throw was when he hit Josh Boyce on a sideline route right out of his break. The toughest part of Tolzien’s day? When Trevor Bates hit him for a sack - but apparantly didn’t get the memo that you’re not supposed to actually hit the quarterback in camp.
- Don’t forget about T.Y. (Hilton). With all of the talk about T.Y. McGill, don’t forget about T.Y. Hilton. The Colts’ top wideout made several plays today and had a good practice; my friend George Bremer of the Anderson Herald Bulletin had Hilton with five catches, which was nearly half of Luck’s completions (12). Hilton is the guy who always can find a spot in the defense where he’s open, and he’s really far ahead of any other receiver in camp so far when it comes to timing with Andrew Luck. Clearly, Hilton is a major factor in the offense and will continue to be.
- Undrafted wideouts step up. A couple of the Colts’ younger wide receivers stepped up today to make some nice plays. Marcus Leak made two really outstanding receptions, both of which were deep passes across the middle. On one Tolzien placed the ball right where it needed to be and Leak caught it in stride with a defender right behind him, and on another Leak had to make a little more of a stretch to grab it - and he did (after which Luck, who was on the sidelines, yelled “yeah!” really loud). Chester Rogers also made a beautiful catch down the right sideline (which was greeted with a “yeah Chester!” yell from Luck too).
- Lineup notes. There are a couple of lineup notes to mention as well. Early in practice, Darius Butler was getting work with the first team at safety - ahead of Winston Guy, who was practicing. Chuck Pagano mentioned the other day that Butler is getting reps at safety due to injury and in case injury happens later on, so with Clayton Geathers and T.J. Green both out we can’t read too much into it. But Butler definitely has been getting some work at safety, including some time with the ones today ahead of Guy. Secondly, Jack Doyle has been getting a very big workload with the first team. That doesn’t neccessarily mean there’s been a ton of two tight end formations, but it’s clear that the Colts are working Doyle in with the ones as well (which is a good thing, considering questions about Dwayne Allen’s durability). Thirdly, I continue to believe that Hugh Thornton is the frontrunner at right guard, as he’s taking what seems to be the overwhelming majority of the reps until he’s limited. Again, the Colts are bringing him back slowly from injury and have him on a pitch count, so it seems like Thornton is with the ones until that pitch count is reached - at which point the team begins shuffling. And fourth, the Colts are running three wide receiver sets as basically their base offense in training camp, as a high percentage of their snaps are with three receivers. One formation we’ve seen them use multiple times is to have Donte Moncrief out wide on the left side of the formation and then Phillip Dorsett out wide on the right side, with T.Y. Hilton in the slot on the right side. That’s a lineup that could cause defenses a lot of trouble.
- Injury update. As you can tell, I didn’t lead this article with the injury update unlike in the past days, which is a good sign in itself. With that said, however, there still are a couple of situations worth watching. T.J. Green, Clayton Geathers, Darion Griswold, Henry Anderson, and Curt Maggitt were all not practicing, but all of those were expected. The new addition today was Earl Okine, and we have received no update on what’s wrong with him (though I’ll add that there was nothing that appeared to be wrong by just looking at him). Okine didn’t practice today, and then Brian Tyms walked to the trainer’s tent and was treated there. It appeared the trainers were wrapping his ribs in the tent, though we’ve received no update yet. The good news on the injury front: both Pat McAfee (illness) and Sio Moore (toe) were back at work today, as expected.
- Off day Saturday. The Colts won’t take the practice field again until Sunday, as they have a player’s day off on Saturday. They will be back in their normal routine on Sunday, with the 1:55 practice being open to the public.