INDIANAPOLIS — It was a picture-perfect day in Indianapolis, with the governor, a former city mayor and other special guests on hand to watch the Indianapolis Colts officially wrap up the 2018 offseason workout program.
The Colts late Thursday morning held their third and final day of mandatory minicamp practices under clear blue skies at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, where Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and former Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard watched on as head coach Frank Reich’s bunch punched their tickets to about six weeks off before the start of training camp.
Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from Wednesday’s practice:
— It was an abbreviated practice day for the Colts, which is typical of many NFL teams across the league on the final day of the offseason workout program. The mood was light — though there was plenty of work done on the field in a relatively short amount of time — and we even saw defensive end Jabaal Sheard (No. 93) and defensive tackle Al Woods (No. 99) swap practice jerseys for the session.
— Participation-wise, those I didn’t see during the open media portion included quarterback Andrew Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver James Wright, safety Ronald Martin, cornerback D.J. White, running back Marlon Mack, safety Clayton Geathers, safety Malik Hooker, cornerback Channing Stribling, running back Nyheim Hines, linebacker Anthony Walker, linebacker Darius Leonard, guard Jeremy Vujnovich, center Deyshawn Bond, defensive end Chris McCain, wide receiver Chester Rogers, tight end Erik Swoope and defensive tackle/defensive end Tyquan Lewis.
— Walker, who was carted off the field during Wednesday’s practice, was seen watching on Thursday off to the side. Reich confirmed after Thursday’s session that Walker — who was working as the MIKE linebacker with the theoretical “first-team” defense — was tangled up in a run play and is now in the league’s concussion protocol.
— As for Luck, the quarterback had said earlier in the week he anticipated throwing at practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then being out on Thursday. Now he takes on the task of ramping up his throwing program the next six weeks, as he hopes to be ready to go and able to fully practice by the start of training camp July 26.
— After stretching, the Colts broke into routes against air in the red zone, where tight end Eric Ebron had two nonchalant one-handed touchdown grabs, one on a fade in the left corner of the end zone, and one on a slant in the middle of the field.
— We saw the Colts mix up their offensive line looks significantly on Thursday. For the most part, we’ve seen a “first-team” offensive line of Anthony Castonzo (left tackle), Quenton Nelson (left guard), Ryan Kelly (center), Matt Slauson (right guard) and Austin Howard (right tackle), but on Thursday, we saw at least four other lineups: Tyreek Burwell (left tackle), Nelson (left guard), Joe Haeg (center), Braden Smith (right guard) and Howard (right tackle); Castonzo (left tackle), Mark Glowinski (left guard), Kelly (center), Slauson (right guard) and Denzelle Good (right tackle); Le’Raven Clark (left tackle), Jack Mewhort (left guard), Burwell (center), Smith (right guard) and Haeg (right tackle); and then Clark (left tackle), Nelson (left guard), Glowinski (center), Smith (right guard) and Jared Machorro (right tackle).
— We’ve primarily seen Kelly and Haeg working in at center in recent practices, so this was a good opportunity for guys like Burwell and Glowinski to show off their versatility.
— On the first play of 11-on-11s, in a red zone drill, quarterback Jacoby Brissett found tight end Ross Travis for a touchdown. It was the start of a busy day for Travis — as well as for Brissett, who was high-fiving everyone in sight on Thursday.
— Continuing a theme from recent practices, Nate Hairston was seen working more as an outside corner on Thursday. Hairston had a nice rookie season as the Colts’ primary nickel cornerback, but is getting a chance to show what he can do lined up on the outside, as well.
— Continuing with the defense, I noticed how, on a short pass over the middle to tight end Mo Alie-Cox, every member of the Colts’ defense rushed over and, at the very least, touched the ball in Alie-Cox’s hand, even after the play was blown “dead.” This isn’t particularly special or unique, but it’s indicative of defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ mission of “see ball, get ball.”
— Staying in the red zone, running back Josh Ferguson has a violent cut to his left, using his vision to find the hole and explode past the line of scrimmage for what was probably about a 20-yard touchdown run. Brissett, accordingly, ran over to the back and celebrated the play.
— When the Colts got into 7-on-7 action, they let quarterbacks Brad Kaaya and Phillip Walker run the show. Walker had a touchdown pass to wide receiver Kayaune Ross during the session.
— Second-round pick Kemoko Turay was seen working his spin move on several occasions from his defensive end position on Thursday. On one such occasion, he appeared to beat Clark inside with the move, but the guard came in and helped just at the last second to make sure Turay didn’t get any closer to the quarterback.
— Wide receiver Seantavius Jones added a touchdown grab in the back of the end zone from inside the 10-yard line.
— Linebacker Zaire Franklin had a nice little rush to get a ton of pressure on the quarterback — and possibly even drawing a holding call — which earned praise from an amped-up Eberflus. The seventh-round pick out of Syracuse has been seen getting a little bit more run with the defense of late.
— The Colts’ offseason ended on a high note — at least for the offense — as Kaaya found Travis, once again, for a touchdown pass on the final play of Thursday’s practice.
— Next up? Training camp at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind. Check out the full practice schedule by clicking here.