WESTFIELD, Ind. – It's not a secret that the Colts are looking for ways to get running back Nyheim Hines more involved in the offense. And it's not a secret that Hines can generate explosive plays with the ball in his hands.
But Hines has had a number of splash plays over the first week-plus of training camp. On Thursday, he snagged a pretty 30-yard touchdown from Matt Ryan and reeled in another score during seven-on-seven work.
- Hines has done work with both the Colts' running backs and wide receivers during individual drills, and head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady have been intentional about moving him around to see just how much they can expand his role.
- "He knows that he's playing that dual kind of role there," Brady said. "So in order for him to be successful, we gotta get him those reps with Reggie (Wayne) in individuals and then as well as running back reps with Scottie (Montgomery). He's very busy but he's a lead player for us, and he's going to be very valuable."
While Hines tied a career low in touches last year (96), he set a career high in yards per touch (6.1). He fell four touches short of qualifying for the NFL leaderboard; if he did qualify, his 6.1 yards per touch average would've ranked third among all running backs (behind the Seahawks' Rashaad Penny and the Cowboys' Tony Pollard).
Other highlights from Thursday's practice:
- The Colts' defensive line was disruptive against both the run and pass. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner – who had an impactful practice – stuffed a run play during a two-minute 11-on-11 period; Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue blew up a handful of passing plays too.
- Speaking of impactful practices: Cornerback Stephon Gilmore nearly picked off a pass in seven-on-seven, then had two pass break-ups in the two-minute 11-on-11 period.
- Linebacker Zaire Franklin, cornerback Brandon Facyson and cornerback Marvell Tell III all broke up passes throughout the afternoon, too.
- Defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo had a forceful run stop during 11-on-11.
- Rookie tight end Andrew Ogletree had a spectacular one-handed catch for a touchdown in a seven-on-seven red zone period. Ogletree said he knew Ryan would throw him the ball when he saw how the linebackers were aligned, and he flashed his athleticism in coming down with the catch. Ogletree followed up that highlight reel play with near-touchdown on a pass from quarterback Nick Foles later in seven-on-seven.
- Ryan found tight end Mo Alie-Cox for a touchdown in a goal-to-go 11-on-11 drill; he also threw scores in red zone/low red zone drills to wide receivers Alec Pierce and Parris Campbell.
- Wide receiver Ashton Dulin flashed again with a low red zone touchdown reception from Foles, who also found wide receiver Dezmon Patmon in the end zone in 11-on-11.
- Practice ended with kickers Rodrigo Blankenship and Jake Verity each making 50-yard field goals.