WESTFIELD, Ind. – Colts head coach Shane Steichen said earlier this week he'd rotate first- and second-team snaps between Gardner Minshew and Anthony Richardson – and that's exactly what we saw Friday.
Richardson on Friday took all of the snaps with the Colts' first-team offense – and flashed the playmaking talent that helped make him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
During a seven-on-seven period, Richardson bailed out of the "pocket" (there are no offensive or defensive linemen on the field in seven-on-seven) to his left and uncorked a majestic, effortless 60-yard strike to wide receiver Alec Pierce for a touchdown.
"He flicks his wrist," wide receiver Josh Downs said, "and the ball goes 60 yards."
There is a school of thought that quarterbacks shouldn't scramble outside the pocket in seven-on-seven drills since there's no pass rush, and the emphasis for a "good" rep is on quickly throwing the ball with timing and rhythm. But Steichen has reiterated to Richardson and his quarterbacks that explosive gains can come off scramble plays – so he was pleased with Richardson identifying that nothing was there early and deciding to create with his athleticism and arm strength.
"The biggest thing is, if nothing's open, we just don't want to stand there and stand back there, right," Steichen said. "... They matched it up pretty good, and it was like oh, let's scramble and create those plays because that's what it's going to be like in the game."
Richardson did have a learning moment later in the morning, though – the kind of moment you'd expect for a rookie quarterback in his second training camp practice. The Colts' defense sent a blitz off the left side of the formation, which was picked up, but Richardson stepped up too quickly in the pocket and threw an off-platform pass too high for tight end Kylen Granson to haul in.
"Little things like that — like, hey, we're picked up, boom, we're good on that," Steichen said. "It'll just be a little easier throw right then, we'll be good."
Those are teaching points Richardson will continue to digest throughout training camp as he rotates between the first- and second-team offense with Minshew. But coaches and teammates have been impressed with Richardson's acute willingness to ask questions, and with his offseason dedication to getting prepared for his first pro camp.
"I thought he did a really nice job (today)," Steichen said. "The thing we were looking for — obviously he was stacking the days in spring and then you get that time off in the summertime, we didn't want him to take a step back. And I don't think he has done that at all. He's continuing to improve and grow and we gotta keep doing that."
News & observations from Friday's practice:
- The Colts moved Friday's practice indoors due to a torrential thunderstorm that moved through Westfield in the morning. For up-to-the-minute updates for fans attending practices at Grand Park, follow @ColtsLife on Twitter and download the Colts App.
- Cornerback Kenny Moore II blew up a quick pass early in 11-on-11, his second splash play in as many practices to start camp.
- Linebacker JoJo Domann swatted away a pass during an 11-on-11 period.
- In addition to his deep ball to Pierce, Richardson found wide receiver Josh Downs over the middle for a chunk completion during seven-on-seven.
- Steichen said defensive end Samson Ebukam did not participate in practice due to a hamstring issue.
- Like Wednesday's camp curtain-lifter, Friday's practice was just over an hour and featured heavy rotation with skill position players and defensive linemen as Steichen intentionally ramps up his team's activity. The Colts will hold their first padded practice of training camp next week.