WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 4 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:
— In his first throwing performance with full pads, quarterback Andrew Luck was 19-for-22 passing with two touchdowns — one each to tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. Both were from about six yards out. Ebron had another one taken away. It was an odd situation because the end zones were moved 10 yards up after wide receiver Chester Rogers had suffered a scary fall earlier in the session in the back of one of the end zones. On the touchdown to Ebron that did count, it was down the right side near the back of the end zone. Ebron had to jump up and adjust himself in front of the defender. The one that didn't count was very similar, but was on the left side.
— Luck's passes had a good amount of zip on them, and he appears to be able to make every throw on the field. Short, intermediate, deep — he's thrown them all. And to all zones of the field. Luck is even throwing accurate passes while rolling out of the pocket.
— The size of the Colts' receivers was very evident during end zone passing drills. The quarterbacks would be lined up from about the six-yard line and were throwing posts and corner routes, giving the receivers challenging throws that had them testing their length.
— Rogers' route running was in excellent shape during one-on-one drills, pitting receivers and tight ends against defensive backs. That was even after Rogers got shaken up just about 10 minutes prior after slipping outside of the end zone.
— This isn't necessarily a clear view of the depth chart all the way through, but in quarterback-center exchange drills, Ryan Kelly snapped to Luck, Joe Haeg snapped to Jacoby Brissett, Deyshawn Bond snapped to Phillip Walker and Mark Glowinski snapped to Brad Kaaya. For the most part, the Colts have only used Kelly and Haeg at center during scrimmages.
— The first-team offensive line appeared to be: Mewhort (LT), Quenton Nelson (LG), Kelly (C), Matt Slauson (RG) and Denzelle Good (RT).
— Le'Raven Clark (LT) and Braden Smith (RG) even got occasional reps with the first-unit offensive line.
— Deon Cain, K.J. Brent and James Wright got occasional snaps with the first unit at receiver, as did Mo Alie-Cox and Ross Travis at tight end.
— We saw three tight ends used at once with the first team on occasion; Doyle, Ebron and Erik Swoope being the three.
— We saw our first vintage Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton performance of camp, as the pair hooked up on a couple of deep gains. One was a corner route to the left sideline for about 25 yards. The other was deep down the left hash about 35-40 yards on play-action. Luck drew the safety out of the frame and uncorked it to Hilton.
— There continues to be no clear front-runner at running back, as they all continue to rotate through each unit.
— Considering how physical practice was tonight, the running backs looked pretty good. Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin and Jordan Wilkins all looked very effective. Mack continued his effort in getting physical as a runner, and his surgically-repaired left shoulder has not looked to hamper him one bit. Wilkins in particular contributed well as a pass catcher and showed patience by following his blocks.
— We continue to see rookie running back Nyheim Hines used all over the field. He got a couple of jet sweeps tonight after seeing some reverses in earlier practices. Hines also received some punt returns.
— Cain continued his hot camp by scoring two touchdowns tonight, both from Brissett. Both scores were from about six yards out. On the first play, Cain made a defender miss and strolled into the end zone. The second one, he leaped up over the defender and snatched it. His body control throughout these first several practices has certainly been special.
— Speaking of Brissett, he looks pretty good. We're all paying attention to Luck at quarterback, so it's easy to miss the progress that Brissett has made. Tonight, he threw three red zone touchdowns (two to Cain and another to Ross Travis) and ran in for another. They were all from about six yards. The ball on the touchdown to Travis looked like it came out of a rifle. The strong throws means some occasional overthrows, but he has been in sync with his pass-catchers.
— Because of how out in the open Cain has been, many people ask about fellow rookie receiver Reece Fountain. He has had a pretty routine camp to this point. Tonight, he caught a nice 15-yard in route on a beautiful ball from Kaaya.
— On the second play of 11-on-11s, Turbin took a handoff and lowered his shoulder into safety Matthias Farley, who rolled back onto the ground. It was one of the bigger hits I've seen at Colts Camp in the last few years.
— The Colts offensive line has stressed nastiness and toughness, and it showed tonight. At one point, a defender took a rough shot on Hines and Slauson was having no part of it. Tempers flared after that and it caused a large commotion. Slauson had another play shortly after where defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway came in low and Slauson threw him to the ground. Safety T.J. Green and Nelson also got into it a bit later after a screen play.
— Especially early on in the 11-on-11s, the team was very physical. There was a lot of pad-popping and being as rough as they could. There were even some actual tackles.
— Smith and Clark both had false starts on the line and were replaced in the lineup, showing some accountability on the coaches' part.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus really seems to enjoy one linebacker drill in particular that gives the players a chance to work a lot of different techniques in a matter of a few seconds. It starts with a LB lined up against a sled; the player must utilize strong hands and burst to lift the sled upwards, and then rip out. Then they have to shed a low block in the form of a pad before immediately making a form tackle on a final dummy.
— The defensive coaching staff is simply not letting the details slip away. In a defensive backs drill in which the player backpedals, makes a read and then charges forward to "intercept" a pass from a coach, defensive quality control coach David Overstreet II was shouting "All the way through the line!" to ensure that the players were finishing the drill strong, and not letting up early. It's the little things that first-year head coach Frank Reich has really stressed in his first few months on the job, and this is just one example of how the staff is addressing it.
— The Colts' base defense to start 11-on-11s was the same from previous days: Jabaal Sheard and John Simon at defensive end; Denico Autry and Al Woods at defensive tackle; Darius Leonard (WILL), Anthony Walker (MIKE) and Najee Goode (SAM) at linebacker; Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore II at cornerback; and Matthias Farley and T.J. Green at safety.
— Walker suffered what was later classified as a groin injury on a run play in 11-on-11s, and didn't return for the rest of practice. Seventh-round pick Zaire Franklin seemed to be his replacement at MIKE linebacker with the first-unit defense.
— Nate Hairston, who seemed to be lined up in his usual slot position in the nickel package, continued to get lots of snaps at outside cornerback, too. Quincy Wilson was the other primary cornerback used on the outside in nickel, while Moore was seen lined up inside at times, as well.
— Moore showed off some quality inside leverage against wide receiver Zach Pascal on a quick inside slant play. The second-year corner got in great position and knocked the ball to the grass before Pascal even had a chance to get a finger on it.
— Simon and Anthony Johnson each had huge jumps off the edge to stuff runs for big losses. Simon's came on a handoff to Robert Turbin, in which the defender was essentially left untouched off the snap. Johnson, meanwhile, just simply read the snap count perfectly and was past the opposing tackle before he even knew what happened; Christine Michael was the victim this time around.
— Several defensive linemen showed out during 1-on-1 leverage drills against the offensive linemen. Woods used a quick get-off and then power to get by center Ryan Kelly. Simon used a nifty dip move to get by Jack Mewhort at left tackle. Rakeem Nunez-Roches overpowered Joe Haeg on one snap, before Haeg got the best of Nunez-Roches on the next play. Tyquan Lewis simply bullrushed Mark Glowinski straight to the grass from the three-technique spot.
— Antonio Morrison had a couple nice plays out in coverage during 7-on-7 drills. On one play, quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw a seven-yard out route to the right side to tight end Darrell Daniels, and Morrison was right there to meet him, drilling him to the ground. Later on in the period, quarterback Phillip Walker threw a five-yard comeback route to tight end Ross Travis, and Morrison closed in a hurry and got his hand between Travis and the ball, bringing the tight end down in the process.
— Also in 7-on-7 work, rookie safety George Odum had a nice diving pass breakup on a six-yard pass attempt from quarterback Brad Kaaya intended for wide receiver Krishawn Hogan in the end zone. Rookie linebacker William Ossai also forced a fumble on fellow rookie wide receiver Steve Ishmael near the end of 7-on-7s; it appeared the defense recovered the fumble. The play was a 10-yard out attempt from Kaaya to Ishmael.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— The Colts had seven players working in as punt returners on Sunday: Deon Cain, Nyheim Hines, Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain, Ryan Grant, T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers. The simple takeaway? It seems like lots of guys are going to get opportunities during camp and the preseason to take this job and run with it.
— Speaking of punts, cornerback Chris Milton made a terrific play to down a Rigoberto Sanchez kick inside the five-yard line, despite the fact Milton slipped and fell to the ground and had to quickly recover to get his bearings and keep the ball out of the end zone.
— With Adam Vinatieri not kicking today, rookie Michael Badgley shined during a field goal drill. In all, he hit 4-of-5 kicks, including a final attempt from 62 yards that cleared the crossbar with plenty of room. Badgley converted attempts from 42, 40, 48 and 62 yards and missed a 57-yard attempt wide left.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— Those who did not participate from the start of Sunday's practice included tackle Tyreek Burwell, tackle Jared Machorro, running back Josh Ferguson and defensive end Chris McCain. It was a third straight missed day for McCain (ankle) and a second straight missed day for Machorro and Ferguson (injuries not yet disclosed). Burwell, meanwhile, suffered an injury early in Saturday's practice and didn't return.
— Those back on the field Sunday after missing practice on Saturday were guard/tackle Jack Mewhort and tight end Erik Swoope.
— Linebacker Anthony Walker suffered that aforementioned groin injury during an 11-on-11 period on Sunday and did not return to the field. The Colts now have their first off day of camp on Monday, so it's coming at the right time for several nicked up players.
REMAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Tuesday, July 31 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Wednesday, Aug. 1 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Thursday, Aug. 2 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Friday, Aug. 3 | Friday Night Lights | Colts City, 5:00 – 9:00 PM | Practice, 7:00 -9:15 PM
Sunday, Aug. 5 | Community Day | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Monday, Aug. 6 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Tuesday, Aug. 7 | Colts City, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Practice, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
Saturday, Aug. 11 | Armed Forces Day | Colts City, 2:00 – 5:00 PM | Practice, 3:40 – 5:20 PM
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, 7:00 – 9:15 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