About 10,000 fans showed up to watch the practice, the last one scheduled in pads before Saturday's preseason opener against St. Louis.
Also, out at practice was quarterback Peyton Manning. This marks the third time Manning has been out watching practice this training camp and stood off to the side while interacting with players and coaches.
The practice opened up with some work on punt coverage with Pat McAfee and rookie Travis Baltz doing the punting. Next up, was some field goal work as kicker Adam Vinateri was a perfect seven-for-seven on the night including hitting a 57-yarder to end the drill.
After working on position drills, the offense and defense came together for some 11-on-11 work practicing mostly running plays. Lining up at fullback during this period included defensive tackle Eric Foster, tight end Mike McNeill and running back Darren Evans.
The offense and defense then spent a period of time working inside the 10-yard line with the defense winning most of the battles.
Rookie running backs Delone Carter and Darren Evans had the highlights for the offense during this portion both scoring on three-yard runs up the middle.
Before finishing the night practice with more 11-on-11 work, the Colts did some work on kickoff coverage. All four of McAfee's kicks were ruled touchbacks and none of them were shorter than at least seven yards into the end zone.
The Colts only practice once on Thursday at 2:00 in the afternoon and will have one more practice Friday morning before heading out to St. Louis in the afternoon.
LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION
Less than 36 hours away from hitting someone other than their teammates for the first time since January, the agenda for each of the 90 players on the Colts roster varies heading into Saturday's night preseason opener.
Some worry about execution. Others worry about knocking the kinks off. And still, others wonder what life in the NFL will be like.
All those factors and much more will be on display as the Colts head to St. Louis for an 8:00 EDT kickoff Saturday.
"I think it's a great time for us in terms of evaluation," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "We get a chance to see some young guys get out there and play in front of the lights for the first time. The speed of the game, that's really the thing you're trying to determine is whether or not a guy can match up to that speed."
Tight end Dallas Clark has been a part of nine Colts training camps and as an established veteran on the roster he is looking forward to watching the young guys Saturday night.
"I enjoy going out there to get our work done, but I also like to see these young guys go out there and get their chance," Clark said. "You love to see that underdog. You love to see that player that is undrafted and at the end of the preseason he's on the team just by going out there and making plays. So you love that aspect about it. You love seeing guys just fighting and giving everything they've got to fulfill their dream and to make this team better and to help this team out."
Fellow veteran Joseph Addai is similar to Clark in that both are coming off an injury-plagued 2011. The sixth-year running back said he's happy with where he's at a week and a half into training camp but is ready to test it out in a game situation.
"I'm a person that's for preseason to kind of get the kinks out," Addai said. "You have to get bumped around a little bit just to get the feel in or whatever. Regardless of how many plays, I just want to be out on the field. If it's two plays I'm fine with that, but I need to be in the game situation."
On the defensive side of the ball, Gary Brackett is in charge of calling out the plays from his middle linebacker position. The captain will have a pair of second-year linebackers next to him when the Colts take the field Saturday and knows he needs the entire defense to have the same mindset.
"Just be sharp, I think communication," Brackett said when asked what he wants to see against St. Louis. "Making sure we line everyone up, make sure we are on the same page, are flying around..."
On the other end of the experience spectrum come the rookies. The Colts selected only five players in April's draft but 15 other undrafted free agents are expected to see their first NFL action Saturday night.
Rookie offensive tackle Ben Ijalana is not sure when he will get his first action at the professional level but said he is excited to finally get in some game action.
"I mean there's always going to be some curiousness but once I touch the guy and I know okay, we put our pants on one leg at a time, let's go," Ijalana said. "There are no preseason games in college, this is going to be a new experience. I was saying earlier I might not be going against a veteran because I don't know when I'll get in the game but maybe I'll go against another rookie, maybe somebody who is hungry and trying to get the best of me and I need to get the best of him. It's going to be interesting."
In years past, the preseason has opened avenues for undrafted free agents to not only make the Colts roster, but also have established careers with the organization. Brackett, along with safety Melvin Bullitt and center Jeff Saturday are three prime examples of undrafted rookies who have made the most of the four-game preseason.
Saturday night will be the first of many tests to see how the rookies react to playing at the highest level.
"I was telling one of the young kick returners the other day, David Gilreath, that he is going to see the biggest, fastest collection of players coming down the field to cover that kick and anything sideways in this league gets run down pretty quickly so you better find a seem" said Caldwell. "It's always interesting to see how guys adjust."
PLAY OF THE DAY
The highlight of the night practice on Wednesday came via the offense and quarterback Curtis Painter and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. After the offensive line gave its quarterback ample time to throw, Painter found Garcon across the middle who turned upfield and for about a 35-yard gain. Painter hit Garcon in stride for the first 15 yards and then it was Garcon who recorded about 20 yards after the catch. Garcon lined up on the right side of the formation and thanks to the time give by the offensive line, Painter found No. 85 crossing over the middle and hit him towards the left sideline. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Drake Nevis, defensive end John Chick and defensive back Chip Vaughn all got pressure on the Colts quarterbacks during 11-on-11 drills. In the final 11-on-11 session it was defensive end Robert Mathis and safety Antoine Bethea who got into the Colts backfield 'touched' the quarterback for a sack.
PLAYERS WHO DID NOT PARTICPATE IN NIGHT PRACTICE INCLUDE:
DE-Jamaal Anderson (Groin)
TE-Brody Eldridge (Knee)
LB-Cody Glenn (Neck)
WR-Joe Horn (Back)
DT-DeMario Pressley (Hamstring)
OG-Jamey Richard (Calf)
LB-Ernie Sims (Appendectomy)
OG-Jaimie Thomas (Back)
CB-Jacob Lacey (Achilles)
WR-Chris Brooks (Hamstring)
On what he looks for in preseason games:
"I think it's a great time for us in terms of evaluation. We get a chance to see some young guys get out there and play in front of the lights for the first time. The speed of the game, that's really the thing you're trying to determine is whether or not a guy can match up to that speed. I was telling one of the young kick returners the other day, David Gilreath, that he is going to see the biggest, fastest collection of players coming down the field to cover that kick and anything sideways in this league gets run down pretty quickly, so you'd better find a seem. It's always interesting to see how guys adjust."
QUOTE TO NOTE
Rookie offensive tackle Ben Ijalana on the first preseason game against St. Lous Saturday:
"I mean there's always going to be some curiousness but once I touch the guy and I know okay, we put our pants on leg at a time, let's go. I'm excited. There are no preseason games in college; this is going to be a new experience. I was saying earlier I might not be going against a veteran because I don't know when I'll get in the game but maybe I'll go against another rookie, maybe somebody who is hungry and trying to get the best of me and I need to get the best of him. It's going to be interesting."
Wednesday's Question is: The Colts playoff record for most rushing yards in one game is 147 yards. The player who accomplished this feat did it on a mere 13 carries. Name the player and who he did it against.
After a night practice on Wednesday, the Colts will only practice once on Thursday. The 2:00 practice is scheduled for two hours in Macholtz Stadium and the players will be in shells.
WHO'S COVERING THE COLTS
ESPN"s Paul Kuharsky wrapped up his three-day stop in Anderson on Wednesday evening and is onto his next AFC South destination. Sirius Radio was in Anderson after Wednesday morning's practice talking to many players about the 2011 season. NFL writer Tom Pedulla of USA Today was also in attendance on Wednesday.
Cool temperatures hit Anderson on Wednesday with a high of 78 and a low of 58 degrees. More sunny skies are expected for Thursday's afternoon practice. A high of 78 is being forecasted and a low of 60 degrees.
FOR THE FANS
COLTS CITY remains a popular destination point for training camp attendees. Colts city elements include: interactive inflatables, sponsor booths, giveaways and register-to-win ticket opportunities, Colts In Motion traveling museum, Colts Express Retail Trailer, cheerleader autograph session, opportunities to learn about and support charities in the community and appearance by Blue (the official mascot of the Colts)
COLTS CITY OPEN:
Tuesday, August 16 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tuesday, August 16 'Clayton Anderson' from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Fireworks show following the conclusion of the 7:30 p.m. practice
Tuesday's question was: Name the Colt with the most consecutive games with an interception. This player did it for five straight games.
The answer is Ray Buchanan. In the 1994 season, "Big Play Ray" had five straight games (games 10-14) with an interception.