WESTFIELD, Ind. — Today was Day 2 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:
— Defensive end Jabaal Sheard was also held out of practice Friday as he deals with some soreness in his knee, head coach Frank Reich said.
— After doing stretching and positional drills but no scrimmage work on Day 1, quarterback Andrew Luck's workload increased a bit on Day 2. On top of what he did yesterday, he also began 7-on-7 work on Friday. He was in for 10 reps, which included a few nice completions to wide receiver Devin Funchess and tight end Eric Ebron. He hit Funchess about 10 yards on the right sideline; with cornerback Pierre Desir wrapped all over Funchess, Luck stuck the ball perfectly into Funchess' chest. Ebron's best catch from Luck came on a gain of about 30 yards down the left sideline, concluding in Ebron somersaulting to the ground.e
— Ebron would also later be on the receiving end of a shovel pass right up the gut that had some daylight. He might've been able to make a nice gain in a live game situation. He had a rushing touchdown last year, so it's not inconceivable that they use his abilities with the ball in his hands.
— When 11-on-11s began, the offensive line configurations remained the same for the second consecutive day. The first unit consisted of Anthony Castonzo (left tackle), Quenton Nelson (left guard), Ryan Kelly (center), Mark Glowinski (right guard) and Braden Smith (right tackle). The second unit was Antonio Garcia (left tackle), Jake Eldrenkamp (left guard), Josh Andrews (center), Joe Haeg (right guard) and Le'Raven Clark (right tackle). The third unit was J'Marcus Webb (left tackle), Daniel Munyer (left guard) Evan Boehm (center), William Poehls (right guard) and Jackson Barton (right tackle).
— The first-team offense first showed a look of Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, Nyheim Hines at running back, T.Y. Hilton and Funchess at wide receiver, and Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox at tight end. Also seeing some first-team reps were running back Marlon Mack, wide receivers Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers and tight end Jack Doyle.
— Before team drills got underway, quarterbacks and centers paired off, with Luck taking snaps from Kelly and Brissett taking snaps from Andrews. Boehm later got in some snaps with Luck.
— Quarterbacks Chad Kelly and Phillip Walker split second and third-team reps behind Brissett. On one play in 11-on-11s, Kelly got out in front of Hines on an end-around and was lead blocking for him. That takes some bravery for a quarterback to do. Near the end of practice, Kelly hit Johnson about 20 yards downfield, with Johnson making a nice leaping catch out of it.
— Walker distributed a couple of nice plays himself. On one, he threw to tight end Billy Brown about 15 yards down the right seam, hitting him perfectly in stride with the ball extended over Brown's left shoulder; Brown would've picked up more yardage even in a game situation. Later, Walker hit Alie-Cox about 15 yards down the middle of the field. Alie-Cox reached around the defender's back to grab the pass, but made it look easy like we often see him do.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)
— They're just in their second and third NFL seasons, respectfully, but linebackers Darius Leonard and Anthony Walker are clear leaders for the defense. The linebackers were doing an early drill in which they muscle up a blocking sled, then rip away and work their feet to knock away a couple coaches coming at them at various angles with pads. Drew Lewis, just signed to the team literally hours before Friday's practice, gave it his first go, and Leonard and Walker were right there to give some helpful input. "Rip it!" they both said. The rookie Lewis got it right the second time around thanks to the help of his teammates.
— You'll hear all about Luck's impressive performance in today's 7-on-7 drills, but the defense did put in a couple solid reps against the Colts' Pro Bowl quarterback. About midway through, the defense earned what could be considered a "coverage sack," as Luck went through his progressions, saw nothing open, went through them again, and was forced to just throw the ball into the ground. The session then ended with some nice coverage by cornerback Nate Hairston, who got physical against rookie wide receiver Penny Hart and forced an incompletion along the sideline.
— Here's who lined up as the theoretical "first-team" defense once 11-on-11s broke out: Al-Quadin Muhammad and Kemoko Turay at defensive end; Denico Autry and Margus Hunt at defensive tackle; Leonard (WILL), Walker (MIKE) and Matthew Adams (SAM) at linebacker; Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore II at cornerback; and George Odum (strong) and Malik Hooker (free) at safety.
— Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, per usual, did so much mixing and matching with the defense throughout Friday's practice that it's practically impossible to say who might be considered on the "second" or "third" teams. There were a few players that got notable snaps with what one might consider the "first team:" Hairston and Rock Ya-Sin at cornerback, Bobby Okereke and linebacker and Tyquan Lewis at defensive tackle. Rookie Gerri Green also got some run at defensive end towards the end of practice.
— The defensive highlight of the day was the play of two young pass rushers who clearly took advantage of a prime opportunity on Friday. With Houston and Sheard out, Turay and rookie Ben Banogu put in quality days, each making several plays and wreaking havoc throughout the afternoon.
— Turay was a terror primarily working against left tackle Anthony Castonzo. He had, by my count, two would-be sacks of quarterback Jacoby Brissett, one of which would've been of the sack-fumble variety as he knocked the ball out of the QB's hand just as he was getting ready to throw. On the very next play, Turay bullied his way inside and stuffed a run by Marlon Mack.
— Banogu, meanwhile, also had a couple would-be sacks, one of which included an impressive bull rush against right tackle Le'Raven Clark. Banogu also disrupted a quick flare route play intended for Daurice Fountain, as the second-round pick forced his way into the gap and got his hand in the way, forcing an incompletion.
— Cornerback Shakial Taylor showed off some impressive reaction skills on a dump-off pass play to Nyheim Hines, bailing from his coverage in the middle of the field and immediately getting to the running back almost right as the ball got to his hands. This got defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon all sorts of fired up.
— Sticking with the cornerbacks, Marvell Tell III seems to be flourishing a bit as he makes the switch from college safety to NFL corner. Tell III made a nice play late in 11-on-11s, sticking to wide receiver Marcus Johnson down the right sideline and making sure the pass hit the grass.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)
— The Colts got in a spirited pursuit special teams drill to begin practice. On the whistle, the defender would do one up-down to get his eyes off the returner, who would start his way through an avenue down the field. The defender would need to find the returner, close ground — or "Shrink it up!" as assistant special teams coach Frank Ross would say — and get two hands on them to simulate a one-on-one tackle.
— The final rep was one of those classic teachable moments from a veteran to a rookie. Chester Rogers, the Colts' punt returner the past two seasons, absolutely shook fourth-round pick Khari Willis, faking to his left, then his right, and then back left again, as Willis absolutely sold out to the right and whiffed on the tackle. That drew some "Woooo!" from teammates and fans alike.
— Rookie Cole Hedlund handled field goal duties for the Colts on Friday, connecting on 7-of-9 attempts. Hedlund converted from 24, 28, 32, 38, 44, 54 and 57 yards, and missed from 50 and his final attempt from 59 yards.
— The Colts worked on their kickoff coverage in the middle of Friday's practice. Those with the first-team kick coverage unit were Kenny Moore II, Willis, Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed, Zach Pascal, Chris Milton, George Odum, Matthew Adams, Jordan Wilkins and Pierre Desir. Rigoberto Sanchez handled the kickoff duties.
— Those who worked with the second-team kick coverage unit: Malik Hooker, Marcus Johnson, Skai Moore, Bobby Okereke, Nyheim Hines, Rock Ya-Sin, Nate Hairston, Carroll Phillips, Jonathan Williams and Matthias Farley, with Hedlund kicking off.
— Undrafted rookie Penny Hart had an electric return against that second coverage unit, and perhaps also experienced a rookie teaching moment. As he got past midfield and worked down the right sideline, Hart started high-stepping just a little bit — much to the chagrin of Farley, who gave Hart a little nudge as he went out of bounds around the 30-yard line.
(via Andrew Walker/Colts.com)