INDIANAPOLIS --- On the first of two days of joint practices between the Bears and the Colts, the Colts starting offense looked extremely sharp on the grass practice field at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Full pads were on, with full team 11-on-11 drills, 7-on-7, and 3-on-2 (3 defenders, 2 receivers) drills taking place. I watched this side of practice; meanwhile, Colts.com Beat Writer Kevin Bowen was on the auxillar field outside the complex watching the Colts defense go against the Bears offense.
COLTS OFFENSE PRACTICE TAKEAWAYS
Andrew Luck was surgical against the defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL last season against the pass. He not only hit open receivers against the Bears secondary but also continued to trust Andre Johnson to catch the ball when blanketed, which he did on a couple of occasions.
Frank Gore was the quickest player on the field Wednesday. More of his runs broke through the line of scrimmage into the second level of the Bears defense than were stopped behind it. Some of those were even larger chuck plays into the secondary. For a 32-year-old running back, he continues to look every bit as quick and elusive as a 22-year-old running back.
Before team drills, running backs and tight ends conducted 1-on-1 pass protection drills against Bears pass rushers. RB Josh Robinson continues to impress in this area that so often is the biggest challenge to rookie backs. It wasn't a case of a running back absorbing the contact of the pass rusher, staying in front of him, but getting pushed back. Robinson was initiating the contact and stopping some of his challengers' momentum cold. With the 2nd team, Robinson also cut to lose a would-be tackler in the backfield to break a big run.
T.Y. Hilton was uncoverable for most of practice. He started by catching a deep-in against Bears starting S Antrel Rolle. Hilton then beat CB Sherrick McManis. Both of those were in 7-on-7 drills. Hilton followed that up with a long reception on the Bears other starting CB Kyle Fuller.
TE Coby Fleener also had a solid day. On the first pass play of the 11-on-11 period, Fleener hauled in a bomb down the seem for a chuck play. In 7-on-7, he beat Bears starting ILB Christian Jones on a deep out pattern.
On the Bears defensive side, according to ChicagoBears.com Senior Writer Larry Mayor, pass rusher and free agent acquisition Pernell McPhee has had a solid training camp. From my eyes, that continued today. This will be a great early test potentially for Colts RT Jack Mewhort Saturday night, after his move from left guard.
Phillip Dorsett and Duron Carter also continue to flash. Carter with a reception on a deep ball over the middle with the second unit, and Dorsett with a couple nices catches from Luck, creating clear separation from coverage. Don't forget about Donte Moncrief though. He returned and flashed his ability as well, breaking a simple screen pass for a long gain.
The following Colts did not practice on Wednesday: Robert Mathis, Donald Thomas, Nate Irving (will participate in individual period only), Boom Herron (groin), Donald Celiscar, D'Joun Smith (walk-through only for him as he undergoes the concussion protocol) and Daniel Adongo (quad).