WESTFIELD, Ind. – Rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce had a handful of standout plays during joint practices with the Detroit Lions this week, flashing the playmaking ability the Colts valued when they picked him in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
But beyond the plays we've seen from Pierce over the last few weeks of training camp, the Colts see a player with the right mindset to make the most of his talent.
"He's a really hard worker," quarterback Matt Ryan said. "When you combine that with talent, the good players I've been around, they've all been that way. More than anything he does on the field, it's the combination of work ethic, competitiveness, all the intangible stuff combined with the talent. And if you're going to be a great player in this league, which I think he can be, you've got to have it all — you've got to have the work ethic, you've got to have the confidence, and then you've got to have the skillset to do it too. And the combination of those things is what fires me up about him."
The Ryan-to-Pierce connection has grown as training camp has rolled on and will have one more week (three practices next week) and one more game (Aug. 27 vs. Tampa Bay) to continue developing before preparations for the regular season opener begin in earnest. The Colts have put a lot on Pierce's plate in camp to see what he can do best, and after that preseason finale will begin to hone in on incorporating his strengths into the offense starting Sept. 11 against the Houston Texans.
Other news, notes and observations from Wednesday's practice:
- The Colts indeed will not play the vast majority of their starters in Saturday's preseason game against the Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium, head coach Frank Reich said. One or two starters may play due to depth at certain positions, but the plan is to have starters back on the field for the final preseason game of 2022 against the Buccaneers next weekend.
- With Ryan not playing Saturday, the Colts' plan at quarterback: Nick Foles will play a quarter, Sam Ehlinger will play one to one and a half quarters and Jack Coan will play the rest of the game.
- Reich said tests confirmed tight end Drew Ogletree, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve Thursday, suffered a torn ACL during Wednesday's practice. Ogletree was at practice with a brace on his leg, and Reich commended his presence on the sideline at Grand Park. "This guy has special character," Reich said.
- Ryan had a number of completions to wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. during 11-on-11 work in Thursday's practice; he also connected for an impressive completion to tight end Jelani Woods.
- Foles found wide receiver Mike Strachan twice in short succession in 11-on-11.
- Running back Jonathan Taylor ripped off an explosive run early in 11-on-11.
- Defensive tackles Grover Stewart and Curtis Brooks each blew up a running play against the Lions' offense in 11-on-11.
- Linebacker E.J. Speed had an interception in the end zone during a red zone period of 11-on-11.
- Cornerback Chris Wilcox broke up a pass in a goal-to-go period of 11-on-11.