WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 7 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:
— With the rain finally out of the area, the Colts were able to move back outdoors for Thursday's session, which ended up being a much lighter day compared to the last few. The players on Thursday were in shells and helmets instead of full pads, which they had been wearing the previous four days, and the practice itself was a little shorter than usual. With a "Friday Night Lights" themed practice tomorrow — in which the team is expected to be in full pads once again — head coach Frank Reich decided to take his foot off the pedal just a little bit today with a lot of work still left to be done.
— Today was a scheduled non-throwing day for quarterback Andrew Luck, his second of camp. Like his other non-throwing day, however, Luck did participate in just about everything else as the No. 1 quarterback — working on running plays, footwork drills, etc. He's expected to be back to a full throwing load tomorrow night.
— That meant backup Jacoby Brissett was leading the offense on Thursday. Brissett had an efficient outing, completing 12-of-15 passes with two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end Jack Doyle. Most of Brissett's pass attempts on Thursday were of the shorter variety, though he did thread the needle on two longer throws in particular. On one pass attempt in an 11-on-11 drill, Brissett used the play action to draw in the defense and then found tight end Eric Ebron running an out route to the left for about a 20-yard gain to the sideline. Then, on the very first play of the third and final 11-on-11 period of the day, Brissett delivered a beautiful touch pass over the middle of the field, just out of the reach of linebacker Skai Moore and into the waiting hands of Doyle for a 21-yard touchdown. Brissett had another seven-yard touchdown pass to Doyle a few plays later, although it's very possible the tight end would've been blown up at the goal line before getting in.
— While Anthony Castonzo's return from the Active/Non-Football Injury list yesterday finally got the Colts' starting offensive line together for the first time all camp, the team was still mixing it up on the other side of the line on Thursday. Joe Haeg, and not Austin Howard, was seen working with the first-team offense at right tackle at various portions of the day's session. Howard would also get some work with the first unit at right tackle, but he was primarily part of a second offensive line that consisted mostly of Tyreek Burwell at left tackle, Le'Raven Clark at left guard, Deyshawn Bond at center, Braden Smith at right guard and Howard at right tackle.
— The Colts showed a couple other offensive line mixes on Thursday. One had Clark at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Bond at center, Smith at right guard and J'Marcus Webb at right tackle, while the other was the same thing, only with Haeg in at center.
— We're continuing to see the repercussions for mental mistakes. On Thursday, Smith had a false start during an 11-on-11 period, so offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo promptly pulled Smith out of the lineup and replaced him with Glowinski at right guard. Smith sat out just one play, but it's just another example of the ways in which this coaching staff is really emphasizing the details.
— Speaking of details, we saw a fiery side of offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni on Thursday, who was irate at a group of receivers whose alignment on a particular bunch formation was just a little bit off. Mistakes are going to happen, but when the team runs through certain plays and alignments over and over and over again during walkthrough sessions and in the film room, and then it doesn't translate onto the practice field, that can be extremely frustrating for a coach.
— Quarterback Phillip Walker got a chance to take control of the offense after Brissett during the last 11-on-11 session, and wrapped up his work with a five-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Steve Ishmael. Brissett was working with the offensive line that had Clark at left tackle, Glowinski at left guard, Haeg at center, Smith at right guard and Webb at right tackle. Next up for the offense was quarterback Brad Kaaya, who actually was working with the first-team offensive line. So, again, it's hard telling — even at the quarterback position — what the depth chart really is at this point beyond the starters and key backups.
— There was some playful banter from the defensive players as the offense and defense were supposed to meet back up for the first session of 11-on-11s early on. Usually a horn is blown to signify changes in the period of practice, but it had to be blown twice to get the attention of the defense, which had to hustle all the way from the far field over to where the offense was (impatiently) waiting on the other field. Safety Matthias Farley was jawing a little bit at Reich, who told the safety with a smile, "Hey, I'm just trying to be a crowd pleaser, man."
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— During positional drills, the linebackers and the secondary both worked quite a bit on forcing turnovers. The defensive backs worked on a drill where they punched the ball out of their opponent's grasp, and they also worked on a tip drill — catching passes tipped up in the air by coaches using pads. The linebackers did some basic interception drills, including some where they had to leap up high to get the ball. Skai Moore especially excelled at this.
— We've talked before about defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus' coaching style. Today, he stopped a drill in the middle of it to make the linebackers do push-ups before they could continue. Presumably a punishment for not executing properly during the drill.
— Today's first-team defense: Jabaal Sheard (DE), Al Woods (DT), Denico Autry (DT), Kemoko Turay (DE), Skai Moore (MIKE), Darius Leonard (WILL), Najee Goode (SAM), Quincy Wilson (CB), Kenny Moore II (CB), Nate Hairston (CB/N), Matthias Farley (S), Ronald Martin (S) — this is for base defense and nickel, in which they often operate.
— With the practice being about 20 minutes shorter than normal, no live Andrew Luck and the team not in pads, it seemed like there was a big emphasis on rotating guys in and out of the lineup and getting everybody reps in different situations. We saw several times where players who would normally be with the second or third units playing with the first team, and vice versa. There was not much definition to the lineups today, both on offense and defense.
— 42 vs. 42 — Cornerback Henre' Toliver had a nice play where he closed in on running back Nyheim Hines running a shallow curl route, and Toliver was able to knock the ball away before Hines secured it. Linebacker Antonio Morrison made a play very similar to this later, knocking the ball away from a crossing tight end. Morrison has made a handful of plays in the passing game so far in camp.
— The defense made another play against a shallow curl — linebacker Zaire Franklin forced a fumble against tight end Ross Travis, which was recovered by Toliver.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— Kicker Adam Vinatieri was a perfect 7-for-7 on field goal attempts. The kicks started from about 27 yards out, increasing in distance until ultimately booting his last one in from 57. With the Colts back outside today, he was kicking through actual goal posts. The field goal at the indoor facility is basically drawn/taped onto a net.
— Fielding punts today were Nyheim Hines, T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant.
— Wide receiver Zach Pascal made a nice play on one punt, maintaining balance and downing the ball inside the five-yard line.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— Those who did not practice today included tackle/guard Denzelle Good (hamstring), safety T.J. Green (contusion), running back Josh Ferguson (hamstring), linebacker Anthony Walker (groin) and tight end Erik Swoope, who has gotten a day off here and there to start camp after missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury.
— Cornerback Quincy Wilson seemed a bit shaken up during Wednesday's practice, but was a full participant on Thursday.
— After practice, safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers — both of whom are on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list — were seen getting some work in on the side field. This week, Reich was asked about Geathers, who had a knee procedure this offseason: "Yeah, Clayton is making good progress. He is making good progress. I think we will see him before too long." General manager Chris Ballard has said it might be Aug. 9 or 10 — the nine-month period since Hooker underwent ACL surgery — until the team makes a further evaluation on him, meanwhile.
REMAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
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