INDIANAPOLIS — If the defense “won the day” during last week’s OTA practice that was open to the media, then the offense certainly turned the tide on Tuesday.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, filling in with the first team for a third straight week as starter Andrew Luck continues to be held out as a precaution with a strained calf, was on-target the entire session, while his receivers were getting open and making plays all over the field.
The practice was yet another positive step forward for the Colts, who move into the final portion of the offseason workout program — mandatory minicamp — next week before getting a few weeks off prior to the start of training camp.
So what were the top takeaways from Tuesday’s eighth day of OTA practices?
» As previously mentioned, Luck (calf) was once again a non-participant in Tuesday’s practice. He’ll be re-evaluated next week heading into minicamp, head coach Frank Reich said.
» In other injury-related news, rookie center Javon Patterson has suffered an ACL injury that will require him to miss the 2019 season, Reich told reporters. Patterson was the Colts’ seventh-round (246th-overall) selection out of Ole Miss. Patterson on Tuesday was placed on injured reserve; in a corresponding move, the team signed guard Nico Siragusa.
» Those who returned to the practice field on Tuesday who missed last week’s OTA session that was open to the media included safety Matthias Farley and linebacker Matthew Adams. Farley was seen wearing a red (no-contact) jersey on Tuesday, though he was in heavy rotation back at safety for Matt Eberflus’ defense; Adams, meanwhile, worked in with the first-team defense at WILL linebacker in the nickel package.
» Those who were not seen participating on Tuesday: wide receiver Penny Hart, wide receiver Deon Cain, Luck, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver Parris Campbell, safety Clayton Geathers, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, safety Rolan Milligan, tight end Ross Travis, defensive tackle Jihad Ward, linebacker Darius Leonard, linebacker Skai Moore, defensive end Kemoko Turay, tight end Jack Doyle, tight end Eric Ebron and defensive end Jabaal Sheard. Reich said Campbell is dealing with a “nagging physical thing,” while Ya-Sin had a personal day.
» Rookie defensive end Jegs Jegede also was getting attention from trainers after it appeared he got rolled up on during a red zone play midway through practice.
» The Colts had a special guest at Tuesday’s practice: former tackle Tarik Glenn. The three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XLI champion was seen chatting it up with his former offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who is now a senior offensive assistant on Reich’s staff.
» Brissett had a strong day throwing the ball, and it started from his very first pass attempt in 11-on-11 action, which found Zach Pascal on a quick out to the left sideline, just in front of cornerback Quincy Wilson. Brissett had another beauty to Pascal later in practice during 7-on-7s; a terrific over-the-top connection in which Pascal repeatedly yelled “Get off me!” as he strolled into the end zone. Brissett delivered another on-target fastball to Steve Ishmael, right out of the reach of safety Malik Hooker.
» Perhaps the player — and play — of the day, however, goes to wide receiver Chester Rogers, who was getting open all over the field on Tuesday. The best play came early in 11-on-11 drills when Rogers dove all-out — and I mean _all-out — _to haul in a pass along the right sideline from Brissett, maintaining possession and staying in-bounds in the process. Brissett and Rogers also hooked up on a nice over-the-shoulder play along the sidelines in 7-on-7s, as well as a bullet across the middle late in 11-on-11s that was just out of the reach of a diving Anthony Walker.
» With Campbell not participating on Tuesday, the Colts used Rogers, Nyheim Hines and Pascal as their punt returners during an early special teams drill. Rigoberto Sanchez, who was just re-signed to a contract extension on Tuesday, was hitting some beauties throughout the session; one was downed by Chris Milton around the six-yard line, and the next one was downed by Nate Hairston around the four-yard line. The Colts ranked first in the NFL in lowest punt return average allowed (4.4 yards) in 2018, and they were just one of three teams to not allow a punt return of 20-plus yards on the year.
» Speaking of Milton and Hairston, both continued to have solid days defensively after strong outings in last week’s practice that was open to the media. Milton had a great diving pass breakup on a pass attempt from Phillip Walker to Daurice Fountain along the left sideline, showing off all-out effort on the play. Hairston, meanwhile, picked off a Brissett pass for a second straight week, displaying some really good focus to keep his eye on the ball and snag it with two hands as he fell to the grass.
» Phillip Walker and Chad Kelly continued splitting reps with the No. 2/3 offense on Tuesday, with Kelly getting a little more action than he did a week ago. The battle for the No. 3 job at quarterback should be an intriguing one throughout training camp and the preseason.
» Also putting in a solid day for the Colts’ offense on Tuesday was Krishawn Hogan. The local product out of Warren Central High School and Marian University in Indianapolis is a big target at 6-foot-3 and 222 pounds, and after spending most of the 2018 season on Indy’s practice squad, he’s one of several players competing for the last couple spots on the depth chart at wide receiver come Week 1 of the regular season.
» The Colts showed an interesting look in their dime package towards the end of practice on Tuesday in a late 11-on-11, hurry-up drill. The team utilized six defensive backs, with Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore II and Hairston at cornerback, Hooker and George Odum at safety and Wilson lined up more in a linebacker role in this particular formation. The team also had Denico Autry and Tyquan Lewis — who are competing for snaps at the three-technique — as their defensive tackles on this play, in which Autry knocked down Brissett’s pass attempt at the line of scrimmage.