2018 #ColtsCamp Notebook, Day 6: Colts Have Most Physical Practice Yet

Wednesday, Aug. 1, was the sixth practice day of the 2018 training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. What were some of the takeaways from the session?

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WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 6 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

— Andrew Luck was 16-for-19 passing during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Nineteen was how many he threw in each of his first couple days. He threw 30 yesterday. This was another good-looking practice for Luck, as he continued to connect on some big plays and pushed the ball down the field. He made sharp decisions and wasn't forcing the ball into dangerous situations. Tomorrow's practice is a scheduled "rest" day for him — at least throwing-wise — before he resumes throwing again on Friday. His last "rest" day was last Saturday, when took part in just about everything except throwing the ball. 

— Luck to T.Y Hilton was in full effect again today. The pair connected five times during live sessions. Hilton is doing a great job finding the soft spots in the zones. 

— At one point, the offense was about to start a goal line drill where the quarterbacks throw to the running backs. Before beginning, Luck basically laid out all the information for what to do to rookie running back Nyheim Hines. He is definitely displaying his leadership this summer. 

— Today's first-team offensive line: Anthony Castonzo (LT), Quenton Nelson (LG), Ryan Kelly (C), Matt Slauson (RG) and Austin Howard (RT). 

— Today's second-team offensive line: Denzelle Good (LT), Le'Raven Clark (LG), Mark Glowinski (C), Braden Smith (RG) and Joe Haeg (RT).

— Today's third-team offensive line: Le'Raven Clark (LT), Mark Glowinski (LG), Deyshawn Bond (C), Braden Smith (RG) and J'Marcus Webb (RT). Although Bond has taken part in position drills to this point, this was the first day we saw him in 11-on-11s. 

— There was a session in which quarterbacks threw to tight ends on deep out-and-up routes (about 30-plus yards) down the right sideline. Quarterback Brad Kaaya threw some dimes in this drill. He had a few perfectly placed balls roughly 35 or 40 yards downfield, hitting the receiver in stride over their inside shoulder. 

— There were a couple of other drills pitting receivers and tight ends against defensive backs. In one of them, the receiver would line up outside against the DB and run a go route down the sideline. Tight end Eric Ebron made two really nice plays during this drill, one where he had to jump and use his body to block out the defender. The other was a toe-tapper where he got his feet in and then got knocked out of bounds. 

— Former wide receiver Reggie Wayne was in attendance today, back in his role as a volunteer receivers coach. He was seen throwing with rookie receiver Deon Cain before practice. With such a young receiving corps, it's good to see them have an all-time great like him to learn from. There were a handful of times where Wayne would walk with a receiver after a rep and coach them up on how they can improve. 

— The receivers worked a lot in drills today catching balls in traffic and being harrassed. During one drill in particular, there were three cones a few yards apart each. The receiver would come up, chop their feet forward and then backward at each cone, all while being hit with pads. They would break either right or left with Wayne chasing behind them, and the ball would then come their way. Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni would then throw a large pad at them as the ball got to them. Sirianni actually commented to them, "Today, you want to catch them? You dropped 11 balls yesterday!" 

— We get asked a lot about rookie receiver Reece Fountain because his fellow rookie Cain has done so well so far in camp. Fountain does look good during positional drills, there just haven't been a ton of opportunities yet in the live portions of practice. He has made a few routine catches during these periods, but no big plays yet. Those are likely to come at some point. 

— Cain was peppered in again occasionally with the first unit today. At one point, he caught a 15-yard in route from Luck against Quincy Wilson. 

— Rookie receiver Steve Ishmael made a nice play today against cornerback Pierre Desir. It was about a 25-yard play for a would-be touchdown. Ishmael beat Desir and created a ton of separation, catching the ball in the back of the end zone. James Wright and Krishawn Hogan also had some nice plays between them. Wright's was a highly contested catch on the sideline against Desir. Hogan, working for the first time without a knee brace since tearing his ACL in Week 5 last year, had two big plays. On one, he got a 25-yard ball down the right sideline from Phillip Walker. Walker placed the ball perfectly over Hogan's outside shoulder where only he could get it. The next one was just a moment later. Hogan stumbled through the later portion of his route. He was able to recover enough to get the ball from Walker, which went about 20 yards. 

— In live goal line drills, Marlon Mack, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael and Jordan Wilkins all had touchdowns. Mack and Turbin busted theirs to the outside. 

— Wilkins showed off some nice inside runs today, including the goal line touchdown. Putting the pads on has been a big positive for him. 

— We saw a lot of activity from the tight ends today as well. They ran out of some three-tight end sets early in the 11-on-11s. Mo Alie-Cox and Darrell Daniels even got some looks with the first team in these drills. 

— In 1-on-1 drills pitting a receiver/tight end against a defensive back, I scored 19-16 in favor of the offense.

(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)

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DEFENSE

— The rotation at defensive end continues. On Wednesday, rookie defensive end Kemoko Turay got his turn with the first-team. The rest of the hypothetical starters were the same as yesterday: Jabaal Sheard at defensive end; Al Woods and Denico Autry at defensive tackle; Darius Leonard (WILL), Skai Moore (MIKE) and Najee Goode (SAM) at linebacker; Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore II, Pierre Desir and Nate Hairston all rotating in at cornerback; and Matthias Farley and T.J. Green at safety. Chris Milton also got some run with the first-team defense in the nickel package as an outside corner, while Ronald Martin filled in for an injured T.J. Green midway through the session.

— A "second" defensive unit seen on Wednesday in the nickel package: Margus Hunt and Tarell Basham at defensive end; Grover Stewart and Tyquan Lewis at defensive tackle; Goode and Zaire Franklin at linebacker; Hairston, D.J. White and Desir at cornerback; and George Odum and Chris Cooper at safety.

— In their most physical practice session yet — and the fourth straight practice in full pads — there were plenty of pads popping on Wednesday. In a 3-on-2 offensive line/tight ends vs. defensive line drill, we saw the Colts working on double teams and reach blocks, as well as protecting the edge. Sheard had an impressive rep against tackle Austin Howard that saw Howard tossed to the turf. Stewart, meanwhile, slipped his way out of a double team, much to the satisfaction of defensive line coach Mike Phair, who repeatedly yelled, "There you go!"

— Another physical portion was the pass protection drill for running backs against blitzing linebackers. It's essentially one-on-one, as the linebacker gets a running start and the it's the running back's job to meet them close to the line of scrimmage and try to impede their progress. The linebackers won most of the matchups on this day, but running backs coach Tom Rathman — a standout blocking back in his own playing days — was able to teach some of the finer points to his guys.

— But undoubtedly the most physical part of Wednesday's practice was the 1-on-1 offensive line/defensive line drills. While these are just physical in their very nature, they can also get chippy, as pride is on the line between the two groups of big fellas up front. At one point, veteran guard Matt Slauson apparently took exception to something Stewart did, and a huge scrum broke out; Castonzo and Denico Autry had each other by the jersey and exchanged some words, as well. Cooler heads prevailed, but I think it's fair to say these guys are ready to beat up on someone else; they get that chance next Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks.

— It's been interesting how the Colts have used the rookie Lewis up front. He was drafted out of Ohio State as more of a pass rusher with the ability to slide inside, but he's been playing more of a three-technique during training camp practices. Then, on a later 11-on-11 drill, the Indy defense had both their primary three-techs on the field at the same time in Autry and Lewis; Autry remained the three-tech, while Lewis lined up at the nose tackle position. It's a good way for the Colts to get more speed on the field when needed.

— Rakeem Nunez-Roches had a couple brilliant flashes on Wednesday. First, he looked tremendous against center Ryan Kelly in a 1-on-1 drill, and then a few minutes later, he broke through the line to stuff a run play for a big loss. Others who had big tackles for loss on run plays included linebacker Jeremiah George (on Marlon Mack) and Woods (on Jordan Wilkins); even Luck and Frank Reich had to give Woods a high five for his efforts on that one.

— The Colts' defense forced and recovered a couple big fumbles during a 3rd-and-1 drill from about their own 33-yard line. Skai Moore might've received a fumble on a handoff to tight end Darrell Daniels (I'm not immediately sure what the call on the field was, or if Daniels was down first); then running back Christine Michael broke free for about a 25-yard gain — this is 3rd and 1, mind you — but Hassan Ridgeway came up with a big fumble recovery inside the 10-yard line. Bend but don't break, I suppose.

(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)

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SPECIAL TEAMS

— Rookie Michael Badgley handled the kicking duties today, and he was a perfect 8-of-8 on his field goal attempts. Because the indoor "field goal posts" are set up about 10 yards behind where a usual NFL field goal post would be in the back of the end zone, Badgley's makes were probably from about 28, 31, 32, 37, 42, 47, 51 and 57 yards.

— The Colts worked a bunch today on communication during kickoff returns. Those fielding the ball in traffic had to shout "Mine! Mine! Mine!" much like a fielder in baseball. The Colts only really used three kickoff returners on Wednesday: Nyheim Hines, Chester Rogers and Marlon Mack.

— Those being used on the "first" kick return team (outside of the returner and the two players in front of him) on Wednesday were Kenny Moore II, Jeremiah George, Najee Goode, Matthias Farley, Antonio Morrison, Chris Milton, James Wright and Tyrell Adams.

— To stay warm during offensive/defense team periods, I saw long snapper Luke Rhodes running sprints on the side field with special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone and special teams assistant Franky Ross. To each their own, I suppose.

(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)

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INJURY UPDATE

— Those who didn't practice from the start on Wednesday (outside of those on the Active/PUP list) were tackle Tyreek Burwell, running back Josh Ferguson, linebacker Anthony Walker and guard/tackle Jack Mewhort. Tackle Anthony Castonzo made his training camp debut on Wednesday after spending the first week-plus on the Active/Non-Football Injury list with a hamstring issue.

— Safety T.J. Green suffered what was classified as a contusion injury during Wednesday's practice. He tried to go back in at one point, but only lasted another play or two before coming back out.

— Tackle Denzelle Good suffered a hamstring injury during a 1-on-1 drill against Basham, and seemed to be in some amount of pain as he was being tended to by team trainers. He did not return on Wednesday.

— Cornerback Quincy Wilson was also tended to by team trainers during Wednesday's practice, but was able to return to the field. He seemed to be favoring his left foot/ankle.

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REMAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

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, 6:15 -8:30 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

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