PHILADELPHIA – Anthony Richardson and "a lot of the starters," Colts head coach Shane Steichen said Tuesday, will play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Which of those starters plays, besides Richardson, will be determined on a case-by-case basis, Steichen said. But for Richardson, it'll be one final opportunity to get in-game experience before he makes his NFL regular season debut Sept. 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"It's just more reps," Richardson said. "That's all it is for me, more reps. Just trying to grind and eat away at greatness day by day by getting more reps against a great team."
Not playing in the Colts' second preseason game – last weekend against the Chicago Bears – was a little difficult for Richardson "because I'm a competitor and I like to play," he said. Richardson and the Colts' first-team offense had heavy workloads during joint practices with the Bears Wednesday and Thursday of last week, leading Steichen – as well as Bears head coach Matt Eberflus – to keep his team's starters on the sideline on Saturday.
Richardson, though, still took the opportunity over the weekend to get better.
"It also opened up my world for me, teaching me how to be more of a leader, a more vocal leader – bringing the energy for the squad if the energy is not there," Richardson said. "It's a win-win for me either way. I'm blessed and I can't complain too much."
How joint practices could pay off for Richardson in the regular season
The way Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai schemes fronts and coverages is different than how Eberflus and the Bears do it, and is different from how Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley coaches things. The looks Richardson faces in practice were always going to be more complex than what he saw in his preseason debut against the Buffalo Bills – coaches rarely put exotic or designer looks on film before the regular season.
But facing three different kinds of defenses in practice could benefit Richardson as he gets into the regular season, and can draw from the experience he now has from three joint practices.
"As a QB, you have to have an eye for things like that just so you can make the offense work," Richardson said. "Just seeing different coverages, especially early on before the season even starts, I think that's good for me. It's exposing me to a lot of different things and if I make a mistake – hopefully I don't make it again in the season because I've already seen it."
News, notes and observations from Tuesday's joint practice with the Eagles:
- Returning to practice were defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, tight ends Mo Alie-Cox and Drew Ogletree and linebacker Segun Olubi.
- Linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who Steichen said over the weekend is in the concussion protocol, did not make the trip to Philadelphia.
- The ball rarely hit the ground for the Colts' offense in one-on-one wide receiver vs. defensive backs drills. Wide receiver Alec Pierce beat Eagles cornerback James Bradberry twice, including one deep for a touchdown. Wide receiver Josh Downs had catches on both his reps, while wide receivers Juwann Winfree, Breshad Perriman, Amari Rodgers and Michael Pittman Jr. all had wins.
- Richardson fired a couple of strikes to Pittman and Alie-Cox during seven-on-seven work.
- In 11-on-11, Richardson had an impressive off-balance throw over the middle to Pittman for a chunk gain.
- Quarterback Gardner Minshew connected with Ogletree and tight end Will Mallory for touchdowns in 11-on-11 red zone work.
View the best photos from the Colts' joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.