2018 #ColtsCamp Notebook, Day 13: Tight Ends Shine As Colts Drill End-Of-Game Situations

Sunday, Aug. 12, was the 13th practice day of the 2018 training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. What were some takeaways from the session?

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WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 13 of the Indianapolis Colts' 2018 training camp practices at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.

Here were some top takeaways from the day's session:

OFFENSE

— After a light corrections session on Saturday, the Colts got back into full pads for Sunday's practice. It was a picture-perfect morning in Westfield — unless you're one of those people who believe "football weather" should include chilly temps and either rain or snow. Don't worry — those days will be here before you know it.

— Andrew Luck was back and throwing on Sunday after taking a scheduled day off on Saturday. He completed 22-of-33 passes with three touchdowns total in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work. His touchdowns were thrown to Ryan Grant, Jack Doyle and another one to Grant in a last-second heave from 12 yards out, trailing 29-24 with 14.9 seconds left in the half/game. On that pass, Luck (who is sporting a brand new mustache) was trying to connect with T.Y. Hilton near the front of the end zone, but he was covered up with three defense backs — Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore II and Ronald Martin — all in the area. The pass bounced off Hilton's hands and conveniently ricocheted right into the waiting hands of Grant, who was uncovered behind him in the end zone.

— Luck also added a rushing score from five yards out. He dropped back and scanned the defense and didn't like what he saw, and then took off for the front right corner of the end zone. You can usually take quarterback runs with a grain of salt during practice because defensive players cannot contact them, but it was probably a legit touchdown this time around.

— After Marlon Mack (hamstring) and Robert Turbin (ankle) suffered injuries during Thursday's preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, the Colts have been left with just three healthy running backs (Josh Ferguson has missed most of camp with a hamstring injury, too) for the time being. But don't tell that to running backs coach Tom Rathman, who isn't letting up on those who are available. The running backs were seen doing a drill on Sunday in which they were driving their inside shoulder low into a tackling dummy in the process of diving to the ground — over and over. The three healthy backs (Nyheim Hines, Christine Michael and Jordan Wilkins) were also used in heavy rotation with the various offensive sets throughout the rest of practice. Mack and Turbin remain week-to-week, while head coach Frank Reich said Ferguson could make his return to the practice field sometime this week.

— With backup center Deyshawn Bond in the concussion protocol, the Colts had to get creative a little bit last week, putting Mark Glowinski — traditionally a guard — in at center for several reps, including during Thursday's Seahawks game. On Sunday, the team was trying a couple other options: Le'Raven Clark and Matt Slauson joined Ryan Kelly and Joe Haeg in quarterback-center drills early in practice, and then when Kelly went out towards the end of practice with muscle cramps, Slauson took over at center for the first-team. The veteran Slauson, who has been the starting right guard, has plenty of starting NFL experience at center, too, so it's always nice to have that sort of option if you're in a pinch.

— Speaking of the offensive line, the first unit we saw on Sunday included Clark (left tackle), Quenton Nelson (left guard), Kelly (center), Slauson (right guard) and Braden Smith (right tackle). A second line seen: J'Marcus Webb (left tackle), Jeremy Vujnovich (left guard), Haeg (center), Glowinski (right guard) and Austin Howard (right tackle). The Colts also used a different combination that had Clark (left tackle), Vujnovich (left guard), Haeg (center), Nick Callender (right guard) and Howard (right tackle), with Smith lined up to the right of Howard in as part of the team's "big" package.

— When Kelly went down late in practice, the Colts used an offensive line that consisted of Clark (left tackle), Nelson (left guard), Slauson (center), Smith (right guard) and Howard (right tackle). Versatility is really the name of the game for these Indy offensive linemen.

— The tight ends showed up in a big way on Sunday, catching big pass after big pass. Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope and Ross Travis each logged major plays on the day, with Swoope making plays all over the field — one from Luck down the right sideline, one from Brad Kaaya in traffic where he had to jump and come down with the pass in heavy traffic, one from Brissett, and then another big catch during 7-on-7 work from Kaaya.

— Ebron had an impressive play on the final play of 7-on-7s on a crossing route across the middle, snagging the ball out of the air with one hand and then bringing it into his body.

— The Colts, as previously mentioned, did a lot of no-huddle and end-of-half/end-of-game drill work on Sunday. The defense was a little jumpy, apparently, and Luck took advantage, drawing them offsides twice during one 11-on-11 session — including the very first play. Right before the last-second heave that ended in a touchdown to Grant, the Colts were working with about five to 10 seconds left on the clock, and had to get into field goal range and stop the clock. On both of these scenarios, Luck found Hines for a screen pass to the right and the running back sped to the sideline to stop the clock with one (or fewer) second left. On both of these occasions, Adam Vinatieri came on and drilled the field goal.

— Brissett and Chester Rogers hooked up for a nice play during a late 11-on-11 drill, as Brissett threaded the needle on a pass right between cornerback D.J. White and safety George Odum to find Rogers for a 30 to 35-yard gain along the right side of the field.

— The Colts' pass catchers on Saturday simply didn't have their best day. On Sunday, they came out sharp in an early 1-on-1 drill, making catches on seven straight sequences, and winning the drill, 12-7, overall. Matchups and victors ("victor" meaning a catch was made, or it wasn't): Hilton defeated Kenny Moore II; Grant defeated Wilson; Doyle defeated Darius Leonard; Rogers defeated Nate Hairston; K.J. Brent defeated Pierre Desir; Ebron defeated Leonard; Kasen Williams defeated Lashard Durr; White defeated Zach Pascal; Moore II defeated Krishawn Hogan; Seantavius Jones defeated Henre' Toliver; Hairston defeated Hilton; Wilson defeated Grant; Rogers defeated Robert Jackson; T.J. Green defeated Ebron; Reece Fountain defeated Durr; Desir defeated Brent; Steve Ishmael defeated Moore II; White defeated Grant; and Travis defeated Matthias Farley.

— And last, but certainly not least, the results from a quarterback accuracy drill, which Brissett, Phillip Walker and Kaaya were doing during a special teams period in the middle of practice (Luck was doing conditioning work during this time). I'm calling it "Around The World," and the Colts' equipment staff set up four progression nets at various spots across the field, and the QBs were working on their initial reads and then firing a ball at the target, trying to fit it into a small square net, which requires some serious accuracy. Walker won the drill overall, hitting 3-of-4 targets the first round, no targets the second round and 2-of-4 targets the third round (5-of-12 overall). Brissett hit one target each round (3-for-12 overall). Kaaya hit two targets the first round and none the second round, and didn't throw for a third round because the QBs were needed elsewhere by that time (so, 2-for-8 overall).

(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)

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DEFENSE

— There were quite a few substitutions for the defense today, including the first, second and third teams. There weren't often as set of lineups as we typically see.

— Today's first-team defense: Margus Hunt (DE), Al Woods (DT), Denico Autry (DT), Jabaal Sheard (DE), Zaire Franklin (MIKE), Darius Leonard (WILL), Najee Goode (SAM), Pierre Desir (CB), Nate Hairston (CB), Kenny Moore II (CB/N), Malik Hooker (S), Clayton Geathers (S) — this is for base defense and nickel. Hooker and Geathers continue to see increased live reps with the rest of their defense. It was actually the first time both safeties have participated in live situations with pads on.

— We also saw John Simon (DE), Tarell Basham (DE), Grover Stewart (DT), Hassan Ridgeway (DT), Skai Moore (LB), Quincy Wilson (CB), D.J. White (CB), Robert Jackson (CB), Henre' Toliver (CB/N), Matthias Farley (S) and T.J. Green (S) get reps with the first unit. Moore II was often the team's dime linebacker.

— With the pads back on, it was another physical practice with plenty of hitting. The defense was able to keep the offense's run game in check for the most part. The running backs were able to get some small gains between the tackles, but the defense had them covered on outside runs.

— In 1-on-1 drills pitting receivers/tight ends against defensive backs, there was a stretch of three straight reps where the DB had a pass breakup on the receiver — Moore II against Krishawn Hogan, Hairston against T.Y. Hilton and Wilson against Ryan Grant.

— During positional work, the defensive backs did a drill where they punched the ball out of a ball carrier's careless grasp. They did this approaching from the front and behind. The linebackers also had a drill where they worked on making difficult interceptions. This included catching "tipped" passes as well as turning around and catching a ball right away. Creating turnovers is a big emphasis of this defense.

— Simon had a good day today, showing some burst off the defense's left edge. He had a couple quality rushes where he dipped and bent around the corner. He also had a tipped pass. Running back Nyheim Hines ran in motion, and the screen pass was intended to go to him while still in motion, but Simon got his hand in the lane.

— Defensive end Chris McCain blew a play up near the defense's goal line, getting the inside track on left tackle Le'Raven Clark and stopping running back Jordan Wilkins alone in the backfield.

— One look the defense showed was in a dime package where they put Hooker and Green back at safety and had Geathers as one of the DBs lined up against a receiver on the line. Hooker and Green being the team's safeties with the most speed, this would be a good lineup to breakup passes downfield or get to pass-catchers in a hurry.

— The new guy makes a play: defensive end Ryan Delaire, who was acquired just yesterday, intercepted a Brad Kaaya pass near the end of practice. Kaaya floated one just a few yards downfield and Delaire was able to get his hands up and pull it down.

(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)

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SPECIAL TEAMS

— Kicker Adam Vinatieri was 10-for-11 on field goal attempts. His makes were from 29, 33, 36, 40, 43, 45, 50, 52, 55 and 56 yards. His only miss was from 62, hitting the crossbar. Vinatieri's last few kicks were during live two-minute drills where the kick team had to run onto the field and beat the clock. The scoreboard had a simulated score of 27-24 during those reps.

— Fielding punts today were Hines, Hilton, Grant and Chester Rogers. The coaches mixed it up today by hitting the players with pads right after they'd field the punts.

— The Colts seemed to work more on positional punts today, working all horizontal areas of the field rather than just right down the middle.

— Zaire Franklin caught special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone's eye on one punt. Franklin was blocking downfield and Ventrone followed along yelling, "Go, Zaire! Go, Zaire! Go, Zaire!" finishing with an "I like it, baby!"

— But the play of the entire practice came from Colts videographer Walter Lutz, who snagged a missile off the foot of Vinatieri high up in one of the team's scissor lifts behind the goal posts. It was a great display of cat-like reflexes from Lutz, who earned a loud — and well-earned — round of applause from the fans in the stands.

(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)

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INJURY UPDATE

— Those who did not participate in practice today: center Deyshawn Bond (concussion), tackle Tyreek Burwell (calf), tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), running back Josh Ferguson (hamstring), tackle/guard Denzelle Good (hamstring), defensive tackle/end Tyquan Lewis (foot), running back Marlon Mack (hamstring), cornerback Chris Milton (hip), defensive tackle Caraun Reid (hamstring), defensive end Kemoko Turay (knee), running back Robert Turbin (ankle), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin), and wide receiver James Wright (knee).

— The hamstring issue kept Reid out of Thursday's Seahawks game, too.

— Center Ryan Kelly and defensive end John Simon each missed parts of practice on Sunday with muscle cramps.

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REMAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

Sunday, Aug. 12 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM

Monday, Aug. 13 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM

Tuesday, Aug. 14 | Final Night Practice | Colts City, 5:00 – 9:00 PM | Practice, 6:00 – 8:15 PM

Thursday, Aug. 16 | Colts City, 12:00 – 4:00 PM | Practice, 1:30 – 3:15 PM

Friday, Aug. 17 | Colts City, 12:00 – 4:00 PM | Practice, 1:30 – 3:30 PM

Saturday, Aug. 18 | Bike to Camp Day, presented by Meijer | Colts City, 12:00 – 4:00 PM | Practice, 1:30 – 3:30 PM

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