The Indianapolis Colts held their eighth training camp practice on Sunday, and this time the weather permitted practice to be held outdoors.
Both Andrew Thomison and Luke Schultheis were in attendance for training camp on Sunday. Here’s what stood out most on Day 8 of Colts training camp:
- Anthony Richardson has strong performance running first-team offense:
Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson impressed in a big way on Sunday as he took all of the starting reps after working with the team’s second offense the previous practice. Richardson was extremely impressive all afternoon and had perhaps his strongest camp performance overall, completing 5-of-8 throws that included three touchdowns to tight end Kylen Granson, wide receiver Alec Pierce and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. The 40-yard touchdown throw from Richardson to Pierce was the highlight play of the day.
Richardson completed his passes to wide receiver Alec Pierce (twice), tight end Kylen Granson, running back Evan Hull and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. Richardson, who has continued to improve quite well throughout camp, also showcased his dual-threat abilities with several scrambles for fairly big gains.
- Linebacker Shaq Leonard continues work with first-team defense:
Speaking of positive progression, that’s what we’re continuing to see from linebacker Shaq Leonard. Once again, Leonard was a big-time participant in practice, taking a ton of reps during all periods (11-on-11, 7-on-7, etc.). In the 7-on-7 period, Leonard had a near-interception of Anthony Richardson and wasn’t pleased when he dropped it. Colts head coach Shane Steichen did say after practice that Leonard is on a pitch count.
As camp has gone on, Leonard has continued to impress, not only with the amount of work he continues to see, but with how he looks when he’s practicing. Leonard’s positive signs of progression are certainly noteworthy, and his increased level of activity during each practice is something worth monitoring throughout the remainder of camp.
- Wideouts Alec Pierce and Mike Strachan continue to impress:
Wide receivers Alec Pierce and Mike Strachan have continued to turn heads at camp. On Sunday, Strachan and Pierce each made impressive plays, highlighting their big-play potential at different times. Pierce, as mentioned earlier, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from rookie Anthony Richardson, and Strachan continues to win 1-on-1 matchups using his big 6’5” frame.
Strachan is entering Year 3 and is making a solid case for one of the Colts’ final wide receiver roster spots. Pierce, meanwhile, is heading into Year 2 and is hoping to take that next jump for Indianapolis’ wide receiving corps. So far, both are continuing to make strides throughout camp.
- Rookie cornerbacks flash with earned reps:
The Colts decided to take a younger approach with their secondary for the 2023 season. At cornerback, Indianapolis has one of the youngest units in the NFL. Several young players at the cornerback spots have continued to take advantage of opportunities given as camp has gone on.
Rookie JuJu Brents practiced for a second consecutive day and made a few different plays as well. Brents had a nice tackle against rookie running back Evan Hull and broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Ashton Dulin. It’s a small sample size, sure, but Brents has flashed for a second day in a row, which is exactly what you want to see if you’re Indianapolis.
The same thing can be said for rookie seventh-round pick Jaylon Jones, who’s had his fair share of impressive plays throughout camp. On Sunday, Jones had two key pass breakups and continues to stand out positively. Late-round pick or not, what Jones has shown throughout camp is impressive, and the Colts may have found themselves a hidden gem in their seventh-round rookie.