WESTFIELD, Ind. — While Carson Wentz's Colts training camp debut was a main focus during Wednesday's curtain-lifting practice at Grand Park, another player's camp debut stood out, too.
Rookie tight end Kylen Granson made a handful of plays and was involved with the offense quite a bit Wednesday morning, which offensive coordinator Marcus Brady cooly described as "just giving him the plays that we feel like are going to be comfortable with him."
The Colts are high on Granson, who was picked in the fourth round (No. 127 overall) of this year's NFL Draft, and see his speed as complementing established tight ends Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox well. But rookie tight ends, historically, often struggle to find success early on — only 79 first-year tight ends in NFL history have caught at least 30 passes; just nine have had 50 or more receptions.
Granson, though, could have a shot at being the exception to that rookie tight end rule.
"He's a sharp kid," Brady said. "He's picked up the offense very well, you could see that he transitioned — even today, made some plays, you could see he could be involved in the offense. And he's very mature. So we're going to try to get him involved with the many weapons we have."
Kwity Paye gets up to speed
On the topic of rookies, Kwity Paye said one of his takeaways from his first training camp practice was that he needs to adjust to the speed of things — "it's a way different tempo" compared to college practices, he said.
"Knowing what to expect now, coming out here tomorrow just get off the ball a little faster," Paye said.
Paye spent the last two months working extremely hard to get ready for his first NFL season. He said his routine would be to wake up and do agility drills on the field, then do an upper/lower body lift, then yoga/pilates, then on-field work after. Those were full days, but they're what Paye was able to do with his sole focus being on football now.
Paye also huddled with Colts dietician Kirsten Gregurich to optimize his diet and arrived at camp feeling lean (he cut about five pounds this offseason) and energetic.
"You just have more energy waking up and coming into practice, doing your thing," Paye said. "You have more energy to be able to do your stuff. If you're eating bad stuff then you'll be gassed."
Braden Smith talks contract extension
The Colts announced a contract extension for Smith, their stalwart right tackle, prior to Wednesday's practice. Smith said the extension is a "relief" for him, and that he can now just focus on football knowing he has stability in Indianapolis for the long term.
"They paid me, so I want to pay them back and play my best football, help them win as many games as we can and just keep giving back," Smith said.
- Running back Nyheim Hines did not practice Wednesday due to a hip issue, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said. "I believe he's close and he'll be ready to go shortly," Brady added.
- Everything went smoothly with coach Frank Reich, who tested positive for COVID-19, in quarantine. "It's really been no different than if he was here," Brady said. "He's been in every meeting obviously through Zoom, so the communication has been there. We've planned as far as practice over the summer, getting ready for the first day so everything has been pretty smooth."
- One player who flashed Wednesday: Wide receiver J.J. Nelson, who made a couple of nice plays in seven-on-seven and full team drills. The 29-year-old was a productive player for the Arizona Cardinals a few years ago, catching 64 passes for 1,076 yards (17.1 yards/reception) and eight touchdowns from 2016-2017.
- Other flashes: Julian Blackmon and Rock Ya-Sin had some impressive break-ups in one-on-one drills. Undrafted rookie receiver Tarik Black had a nice route and catch in one-on-ones as well. And Parris Campbell had a solid day, too.
They said it
"I just started (playing) so it's getting better. It was getting better, and now it's done for a little while. So, we will see next spring how it's going to be." -Colts QB Carson Wentz on his golf game