INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday held their first full practice of the regular season, as they prepare for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“In-season Wednesday,” head coach Frank Reich said to begin his press conference on Wednesday. “I mean, this is the start of the cycle. This is the start of the climb. And we’re looking forward to getting to work today on the practice field, first day, and our guys are ready to go.”
The Colts had a “bonus day” of sorts on Sunday, getting in a light practice, before giving the players the day off on Monday. The team returned to the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center for a day of meetings on Tuesday, so Wednesday’s practice — a fully-padded session — was really the first opportunity for the team to put everything it’s been planning around Sunday’s season opener into action.
The team, relatively speaking, is extremely healthy entering the Chargers matchup. Just two players — running back Jonathan Williams (rib) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) — did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, giving Reich and his staff virtually a full roster to prepare for Sunday’s game.
Two other players — running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle) and cornerback Kenny Moore II (thumb) — were seen wearing red non-contact jerseys on Wednesday, as was practice squad wide receiver Ashton Dulin.
Wednesday was also the first Colts practice for new No. 2 quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was signed by the team on Monday to be Jacoby Brissett’s backup moving forward.
Hoyer told reporters Wednesday that he’s taking the opportunity to learn as much of the Colts’ playbook as possible heading into Sunday’s game in stride.
“I was telling Jacoby it’s like, imagine studying Spanish for four years in college and then, like, the last week before finals they’re like, ‘Alright, here’s French. Good luck. Here’s the final exams on Sunday,’” Hoyer said. “So just trying to figure it out. I mean, there’s some similarities, but just trying to take it one day at a time, and a little bit at a time.”
Parris Campbell is a rookie, and he missed about three weeks of training camp practices with a nagging hamstring injury. Those two factors don’t usually lead to much of a role early during the regular season.
But Reich said there’s just something different about Campbell, who eventually was able to make his NFL debut in the Colts’ preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday.
Campbell, according to Reich, could handle as big of a role as needed heading into Sunday’s season opener against the Chargers.
“I think we’ll be smart with it and not overload him,” Reich said. “But I think we probably could overload him. It feels to me like he’s physically and mentally ready to … it feels almost like he’s been practicing the whole time, and I know he’s only been out here for a few practices, but I feel like, ‘OK, if we needed to play him 50 in the game, he could play 50 games.’ I doubt he’ll play 50 plays in the game, but I think he’s ready to go.”
Reich said that ability for a rookie to be that ready so early in the season is rare, especially considering the fact he missed so much time due to his hamstring injury.
“I think it’s a testament to him that he stayed mentally locked in, and physically doing everything to be ready,” Reich said.
Here’s the full injury report from Wednesday’s practice:
» DNP: DE Jabaal Sheard (knee); RB Jonathan Williams (rib)
» Limited: WR Devin Funchess (back); CB Kenny Moore II (thumb); RB Jordan Wilkins (ankle)
» Full: N/A