WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 14 of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2019 training camp practices at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind.
Here were some top takeaways from the day’s session:
— The Colts moved things indoors today for just the second time in 14 camp practices, and were in full pads for a second straight day. Among those who did not practice today: wide receiver Penny Hart (hamstring), kicker Adam Vinatieri (knee), quarterback Andrew Luck (calf), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (maintenance day off), wide receiver Parris Campbell (hamstring), running back Jordan Wilkins (foot), cornerback Nate Hairston (injury not disclosed), guard Quenton Nelson (ankle), guard/tackle Le’Raven Clark (injury not disclosed), defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee), defensive tackle/end Denico Autry (maintenance day off) and defensive end Justin Houston (maintenance day off).
— Among those who returned to practice Monday after missing some time: wide receiver Deon Cain, safety Clayton Geathers, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, cornerback Pierre Desir, tight end Ross Travis, center Daniel Munyer and tight end Eric Ebron.
— Reich said after practice that Nelson — who didn’t miss a single offensive snap last season and rarely, if ever, misses practice — isn’t expected to be out long with his ankle issue. Travis, meanwhile, was able to return today after missing nine straight practices with a hamstring injury, while Ebron had been out three days with an ankle/foot injury.
— Today’s practice was a bit shorter than usual, so there are no 1-on-1 drills to report.
— To put it simply, Monday wasn’t the Colts’ offense’s greatest day of practice. A lot of credit there goes to the defense, which has been particularly dominant the last couple days (and you’ll read more about that below), but the group will hope to be sharper heading into Wednesday’s first day of joint practices with the Cleveland Browns in Westfield.
— With Quenton Nelson (ankle) taking a rare day off, the Colts utilized Josh Andrews as his replacement at left guard with the first-team offense on Monday. Andrews has spent camp as the team’s primary backup center, and the coaching staff clearly has a ton of confidence in his ability to slide over to guard if needed.
— The rest of the starting offensive line remained in tact Monday: Anthony Castonzo (left tackle), Ryan Kelly (center), Mark Glowinski (right guard) and Braden Smith (right tackle).
— Those at skill positions who got early work with the first-team offense today: quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running backs Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines, tight ends Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox and Eric Ebron and wide receivers Devin Funchess, Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers.
— The second-team offensive line consisted of J’Marcus Webb (left tackle), Jake Eldrenkamp (left guard), Evan Boehm (center), Joe Haeg (right guard) and Jackson Barton (right tackle). The skill players mostly used in this group included Phillip Walker and Chad Kelly at quarterback, Jonathan Williams and Hines at running back, Ross Travis and Hale Hentges at tight end and Daurice Fountain, Deon Cain and Krishawn Hogan at wide receiver.
— The third-team offensive line seen was Antonio Garcia (left tackle), Daniel Munyer (left guard), Boehm/Eldrenkamp (center), Nate Theaker (right guard) and Barton (right tackle).
— Hines had a nice play early where he originally lined up out wide to the right and was brought in motion inside near the slot; on the snap he took advantage of a solid pick route from Ebron to get just enough room on a quick in route to haul in a pass from Brissett for about 10 yards.
— Hines had quite the busy day, actually. He showed off his speed to the edge on a goal-to-go situation, taking the handoff from Brissett to the left on a read option play and outrunning safety Malik Hooker to the front corner of the end zone. Then, on a 3rd and Goal play from the 6, Walker found Hines on the quick slant for the touchdown.
— The running backs, in general, were lining up everywhere today. There was a solid mix of Mack, Hines and Aca’Cedric Ware lining up wide near the sidelines, and then the offense was also utilizing quite a few two running back formations, where both backs would be lined up on each side of the quarterback in shotgun.
— Sticking with the running backs, Williams certainly brings a no-nonsense running approach to the position. On a 1st and Goal play from the 5, he took the handoff to the right, found the hole and got into the end zone. No extra steps, no dancing around required. Just get the handoff and go.
— Kelly also found Alie-Cox for a touchdown in a late goal-to-goal situation.
— Perhaps the play of the day, at least offensively, came from Cain. While he was being held down by cornerback Marvell Tell III, Cain still was able to haul in the pass from Kelly, diving and grabbing the ball on his way down. This was just one of those plays in which Cain’s elite athleticism was on full display.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— With a few key pieces on the defensive front out today, we saw some new defensive lineups. Running with the first team were Tyquan Lewis (LDE), Jihad Ward (DT), Margus Hunt (NT), Al-Quadin Muhammad (RDE), Darius Leonard (WILL), Anthony Walker (MIKE), Matthew Adams (SAM), Pierre Desir (LCB), Kenny Moore II (RCB), Malik Hooker (FS) and Clayton Geathers (SS). When they broke into their nickel package, Quincy Wilson came in at RCB, Moore II moved into the nickel, and Adams came off the field.
— Also seeing some reps with the first unit were Bobby Okereke (MIKE), Rock Ya-Sin (RCB), George Odum (FS) and Khari Willis (SS).
— The primary second-team defense was Ben Banogu (LDE), Grover Stewart (NT), Caraun Reid (DT), Kemoko Turay (RDE), Matthew Adams (WILL), Okereke (MIKE), Jalen Collins (LCB), Marvell Tell III (RCB), Wilson (nickel CB), Odum (FS) and Willis (SS).
— Also seeing some reps with the second unit were Rolan Milligan and Matthias Farley at safety.
— The primary third-team defense was Gerri Green (LDE), Caraun Reid (DT), Sterling Shippy (NT), Obum Gwacham (RDE), E.J. Speed (WILL), Zaire Franklin (MIKE), Ahmad Thomas (SAM), Chris Milton (LCB), Ya-Sin (RCB), Derrick Kindred (S) and Isaiah Johnson (S). When they broke into their nickel package, Shakial Taylor came in at nickel, and Thomas came off the field.
— The defense used a variation of a nickel package many times today where a safety would come in as the WILL linebacker while a traditional linebacker stayed on the field as the MIKE. This look often featured an extra man lining up on the line of scrimmage and appeared more spread-out than the typical nickel would. Coming in as this WILL linebacker were Geathers and Farley.
— Another unique look the defense showed today was something we originally saw them do in last year's training camp. It is a prevent package, but with three defenders lined up on the boundary on each side of the field. The purpose of this is to not only keep the big play at bay with the normal prevent package, but having players on the boundary limits the offense from being able to complete out routes and stop the clock by getting out of bounds. The lineup was Lewis as the only defensive lineman, Leonard and Walker as the linebackers, Banogu, Moore II and Desir on the left boundary, Turay, Geathers and Ya-Sin on the right boundary, and Hooker and Willis lined up at deep safety.
— There were a couple of clear would-be sacks today in 11-on-11s. Right off the bat in the first session, Hunt busted through line and right into quarterback Jacoby Brissett's face. In a later session, linebacker Speed came untouched on a blitz right up the middle to get to Chad Kelly.
— I think we've officially reached the point where we can say the Colts got a good one in Ya-Sin. His matchups with receiver Devin Funchess have been great to watch the last couple weeks, and today Ya-Sin's constant harassment led to an interception that he returned for a potential would-be 35-yard touchdown. Brissett looked to Funchess for about a five-yard out route to the left, but Ya-Sin was all over Funchess and mugged him for the pick. Even as an offensive guy, Colts head coach Frank Reich was fired up for the rookie and cheered him on during the play.
— Ya-Sin wasn't the only rookie cornerback stacking good performances together. Tell III built on his standout preseason debut last Thursday with a solid practice on Monday. Early in 11-on-11s, Kelly threw a 15-yard dig route to Ashton Dulin, but Tell III reached an outstretched arm in front of Dulin to break up the pass. Tell III also got in the action as a blitzer in 11-on-11s, coming off the edge unblocked and getting to Phillip Walker for a sack. Overall, he showed close coverage on the day. There were at least a couple instances where the quarterback would look for their receiver downfield, but they went to their next read because Tell III had them covered up.
— The defense was on fire today, making several big plays. One of which was in 11-on-11s where the offense was lined up on the defense's three-yard line. Brissett rifled a pass to tight end Eric Ebron, but Okereke was there to stick his arm in the way. The ball bounced up, and Odum was there to swoop in for the interception. Odum made a very similar play last week also.
— The defensive line's hustle didn't just result in sacks, but they also got after the offense in the run game. Still working on plays near the goal line, the offense had an outside run play to the right with running back Marlon Mack. Willis flew in from his safety spot to kill the play for a loss of yards. Mack then had an off-tackle run the to the left just after where Lewis was able to get to him right away coming off the backside. It likely would've resulted in a loss of a couple yards. Reid got into the action as well, as he was right there in the backfield to meet running back Aca'Cedric Ware for a handoff.
— The defense had several physical plays through the day. Running back Nyheim Hines caught a five-yard angle route, but Adams was right there to meet him, tossing Hines to the turf. Shortly after, Ya-Sin got to Hines quickly as well, wrapping him up and taking him down. The Colts' coaches want physicality out of their defenders even in practice (wisely, however). At one point, Hines took a carry about four yards to the left, front pylon. Ya-Sin was there to meet him and tried to tackle him, but it appeared Hines crossed the plane. Cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon appeared to shout at Ya-Sin, "Enforce!"
— Another physical play came late in 11-on-11s, as Brissett tried to pickup a chunk play against the prevent defense He threw 40 yards deep down the left side to receiver Zach Pascal. Pascal jumped up, high-pointed the ball between two defenders, but then Geathers leveled him, which dislodge the pass.
— Watching the defensive line during positional drills, you can tell it's a group where maximum effort is demanded of them by coach Mike Phair because the group is always going all-out, and Phair will let them know about it if they aren't. However, they also know how to stay loose and have fun — especially the veterans. The whole group is very vocal during drills, competing but also encouraging each other. It's a group that wants to get better and rarely appears to make the same mistake consecutively.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— The special teams units worked primarily on kickoffs today. The initial kickoff return team was Matthias Farley, Bobby Okereke, Khari Willis, E.J. Speed and Chris Milton in the front row; George Odum, Zaire Franklin, Matthew Adams in the second row; Zach Pascal, Jonathan Williams as upbacks; and Nyheim Hines as the returner.
— Also getting some reps as kickoff returners were Ashton Dulin, Marlon Mack, Pascal, Deon Cain and Chester Rogers.
— On the other side of the ball, the initial kickoff coverage team was: Quincy Wilson, Luke Rhodes, Krishawn Hogan, Rolan Milligan, Dadi Nicolas, Rigoberto Sanchez, Daurice Fountain, Carroll Phillips, Jalen Collins, Malik Hooker and Al-Quadin Muhammad.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)