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Training camp notebook: Colts coaches, teammates impressed with Anthony Richardson's 'stone cold' mentality

Richardson threw an interception early during Thursday's practice, but the Colts saw him respond well in the moment. 


WESTFIELD, Ind. – Anthony Richardson began Thursday's practice by dropping back and firing a strike into the waiting arms of cornerback Darrell Baker Jr.

The Colts knew coming into training camp Richardson would throw interceptions, make mistakes, have challenging days of practice, etc. – all the things that come with a rookie quarterback's first experiences with the speed of the NFL. But what coaches, front office staffers and teammates have keenly watched for is how the 2023 No. 4 overall pick responds to those miscues.

On Thursday, after that interception, Richardson's teammates didn't notice anything different – in a good way.

"He's stone cold 24/7," wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. said. "He's the same guy. ... He doesn't get too high and he doesn't get too low. He just kind of stays steady. He's a next play guy — 'so what, now what.' Whether it's good, whether it's bad."

The Colts knew through the scouting process that one of Richardson's better qualities as a quarterback was his even-keel demeanor. General manager Chris Ballard pointed to it upon arriving at Grand Park for the start of training camp last week. But whether he'd keep a level head after things go wrong – in practice or in games – was still somewhat of an unknown.

And so far, now over a week into training camp, the early returns on Richardson's mentality have been positive.

"You're going to make mistakes at quarterback," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. "There's a lot going on, there's a lot of things to do. It's not a position you usually play perfectly. You get to the end of a practice, you have a few plays that you want to get back or you want to go look at the tape and see what did you see, what happened here, what were you thinking.

"For us to be able to discuss those things, he's really eager to hear it. He takes good notes. We see him make a mistake on one day and then the next day, that same opportunity presents itself and he's fixed it, he's got it figured out.

"That's the game that we play and that's the game that quarterbacks play in this league quite a bit. How much can you learn? How much better can you get? The good thing about Anthony – he's been really, really good about genuinely being open-minded about receiving coaching, receiving feedback and it's been impressive to watch him turn that into improvement the next day or maybe the next week on the practice field."

As the intensity of practices ramps up – including joint practices with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles – and when Richardson gets live reps in the Colts' three preseason games, the importance of how he responds to mistakes will continue to grow. But so far, the Colts have been pleased with what they've seen.

"He's just always watching film, studying, learning from our last day," Pittman said. "I feel like he's picking everything up really fast."

News, notes and observations from Thursday's practice:

  • Richardson took all the first-team reps for the second consecutive practice, though head coach Shane Steichen said that was due to Richardson missing Monday's practice following a procedure on his nose.
  • In addition to his interception, cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. had a pass break-up during a two-minute period toward the end of practice. Baker, a 2022 undrafted free agent from Georgia Southern, has made a handful of plays on passes this week.
  • Cornerback Darius Rush (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday.
  • Linebacker Zaire Franklin blew up a read option on the first 11-on-11 play of practice – one of those plays where, had the quarterback been live, he would've likely delivered a physical tackle for a loss.
  • Quarterback Gardner Minshew had a couple of nice completions in 11-on-11 to Isaiah McKenzie, Mike Strachan and Drew Ogletree, the latter of whom made a diving catch during two-minute work.
  • Tight end Will Mallory made an acrobatic one-haded catch during 11-on-11.
  • Wide receiver Josh Downs showed impressive physicality to haul in a completion during seven-on-seven.
  • Linebacker JoJo Domann had a pass break-up during seven-on-seven, while defensive tackle Grover Stewart batted a pass at the line of scrimmage during two-minute 11-on-11.
  • Defensive tackle Adetomiwa Adebawore blew up a run play in 11-on-11, while defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad had a would've-been-a-sack-if-the-quarterback-were-live pass rush.
  • Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner left practice with a foot injury, Steichen said. Cornerback JuJu Brents (hamstring), safety Julian Blackmon (hamstring) and tight end Jelani Woods (hamstring) remained out, while linebacker EJ Speed (ankle) did not practice.

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