WESTFIELD, Ind. – The Colts' final practice of 2022 training camp didn't include pads. It didn't even include any offense versus defense work – no ultra-competitive one-on-ones or foundation-building full-team periods – as the team's offense and defense separated on to separate fields at Grand Park's sprawling indoor facility.
The practice, then, was a little more intense than a walkthrough – but certainly not as intense as some of the action we saw at Grand Park over the last month. So for the fans in attendance, Thursday's training camp finale might not have looked like much.
But days of work like the Colts had Thursday are part of why quarterback Matt Ryan came away from his first training camp outside of the Atlanta area feeling encouraged with where his new team stands.
"I think the attention to detail, the focus has been good," Ryan said. "I think the barometer is always in those walk-thru periods. Sometimes during training camp, those can get redundant. The focus our guys have is really good.
"That's one of the things when you're not having to make a ton of corrections, or you're not asking for focus during those times. When guys just show up (and) do their job, there's not a whole lot of BS. That's encouraging. I think it's a credit to Frank (Reich) and the culture that he and Chris (Ballard) have created here and the guys that they've brought in. It's also a credit to the players of finding value in those periods.
"I say it all the time to our guys, it might be the only rep we get a certain look or a certain scheme, and if you don't view it as, that's a game rep or that might be the thing that makes a difference in a game then we are wasting our time. Our guys have certainly locked in during those times and done a great job."
There are more ways to get better in training camp than just in full-speed, padded practices. And for a team eyeing a fast start to the season – with five of its first seven games against AFC South opponents – that level of focus through all the work done at Grand Park is encouraging.
"We have an understanding of where we want to go, but the only way you get there is to attack week after week," Ryan said. "It has to be about playing well Week 1. That's the expectation we have to have for ourselves to be ready, to go down there to Houston, play our best football and find a way to get a win."
Other news, notes and observations from the Colts' final training camp practice of 2022:
- In addition to running back Jonathan Taylor, head coach Frank Reich said running back Nyheim Hines will not play on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reich said the Colts not only know what Hines can do, but want to get a lengthy evaluation of the other four running backs on their roster: Philip Lindsay, Ty'Son Williams, Deon Jackson and D'Vonte Price.
- Defensive end Kwity Paye, who sustained a knee injury during Wednesday's practice, had an MRI that came back "pretty clean," Reich said. "We'll play it cautious," Reich added. "It (got) banged up a little bit, a little bit sore, but just more give him some rest and he should be hopefully good to go for the opener."
- The Colts had a lengthy special teams period focusing on their punt operation with punter Matt Haack, who signed with the team Thursday morning following Rigoberto Sanchez's Achilles injury sustained during Tuesday's practice.
- Reich summed up training camp after Thursday's practice: "I was talking to a group of volunteers last night, Chris Ballard and I just went over to an event just to thank our volunteers and one of the things I shared was how excited we all were – players and coaches – to get here to training camp, but how equally excited we are to leave training camp, right? Because we know what that means, right? A lot of people get to play fantasy football, everybody is excited about that, but we get to start the regular season. We're excited about that. We've still got to finish up with this test against Tampa Bay. That's a big deal, right? Then we've got some tough decisions to make as far as the roster is concerned. But excited about the progress we made, the boxes that we checked during training camp and ready to go to work."
The Colts held their final practice of 2022 Training Camp on Thursday, August 25.