Colts Training Camp Practice Notebook: Frank Reich Returns, Ben Banogu Keeps Bringing Energy

The Colts held their fifth training camp practice of 2021 Monday. Here’s everything you need to know from the day’s action at Grand Park, which was highlighted by the return of coach Frank Reich. 

WESTFIELD, Ind. — Frank Reich was back with the Colts for Monday's training camp practice at Grand Park after 10 days in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

Reich, who is fully vaccinated, said he "felt great the whole time" he was isolated. 

"It really is good to be back out here, the whole deal – to see the fans, to see you guys, and obviously as a coach it's really for me about that relationship with the players," Reich said. "The first 20 minutes for me today on the field were special. You're away 10 days, it feels like it's been a long time. So, just good to be back, great to be back at Grand Park. This is a great place for training camp. I'm so excited – just the perfect setting for us."

Monday's practice, though, had some sloppy moments. And those, coupled with it being the coach's first day back, led Reich to take longer than usual addressing his team at the conclusion of the morning. 

"We're trying to establish some things – it was a positive message," Reich said. "It was, 'Hey, these are the things we're establishing, just want to reemphasize these points early in camp.' Really, a big message to the whole roster, like there were some mistakes by the twos and the threes and some offsides and some substitution errors and part of that message was everyone on this roster is important because those twos and threes are going to be ones at times so that's not acceptable. 

"We don't look at it like, 'Well the twos jumped offsides, that's OK, they're not the ones.' No, that's not the standard. Those guys will be ones. Let's pick that up, let's eliminate that and then just reinforcing a lot of positive things that we saw out there today."

Another Disruptive Day for D-line

The Colts' defensive line has played lights out since the start of training camp, and Monday's practice was no different. Defensive tackle Grover Stewart and defensive ends Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay had noticeable pressures on 11-on-11 passing plays, while the run defense up front was stout, too. 

Banogu, in particular, has made a handful of splash plays throughout camp and has displayed a relentless motor. A major test awaits him and the rest of the Colts' defensive line when the pads come on for the first time for Tuesday's practice, but the early part of camp has been encouraging for the 2019 second-round pick, who was inactive for seven of the Colts' 16 games in 2020. 

"Seeing him fly around and be upbeat, it brings a lot of energy to the D-line," defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis said of Banogu. 

Quick Hits

  • Left guard Quenton Nelson left practice after having his foot get stepped on, Reich said. 
  • Linebacker E.J. Speed had a strong day in coverage, highlighted by an impressive pass break-up in 11-on-11 work.
  • We saw two spectacular catches by wide receivers: First, Michael Pittman Jr. hauled in a difficult contested catch on a downfield throw from Jacob Eason; second, De'Michael Harris made an acrobatic diving grab to snag a pass from Sam Ehlinger. 
  • Notable again here is the Colts will hold their first padded practice of 2021's training camp on Tuesday at 10 a.m. "I love the pads," Stewart said with a grin. 

They said it

"He's throwing the ball pretty well. Once we get into team period, he hasn't really worked with us as much. It's a lot different. But you can see when he's confident, and he's confident in that throw, that ball gets there." - Tight end Mo Alie-Cox on Jacob Eason

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