INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke to reporters Saturday via video conference after the team's training camp scrimmage at Lucas Oil Stadium. What's the latest on the offensive momentum heading into Week 1, DeForest Buckner's defensive impact, injuries to Trey Burton and Kenny Moore II and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Reich feels the offense is "in sync" as camp wraps up: Saturday's practice — the second and final scrimmage of the week at Lucas Oil Stadium — represented the Colts' last official day of training camp this year. The players return Monday, and that's when the preparations for the team's Week 1 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars really begin in earnest.
And while everybody coming into camp knew about the familiarity between Philip Rivers, Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni from their time together with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, the fact of the matter remained that Rivers is the team's new starting quarterback, so it would be understandable if there were some occasional kinks to work out along the way.
But, for the most part, the offense was able to move through the playbook without any hiccups, giving Reich all the confidence he needs to know his guys on that side of the ball are just about ready for the start of the season.
"I feel like we are in sync," Reich said. "I feel like we are where we should be considering we are two weeks away from the season.
In the run game, Reich said "the offensive line seems to be doing their thing," and he's been impressed with the team's gap and zone approaches, as well as the work being done with various combination blocks.
In the passing game, Reich noticed a bit of a rhythm out of his offense on Saturday.
"We've had a lot of good work there and are very confident the passing game is going to be strong," Reich said. "Obviously, Philip is top-notch. He has elite accuracy and our receivers today looked really good."
» DeForest Buckner has certainly been as-advertised: The Colts knew exactly what they were getting this offseason when they acquired All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner from the San Francisco 49ers, but just like Rivers on the offensive side of the ball, you just never know how a guy will immediately react to his new surroundings.
And, again, just like Rivers, it didn't take long for Buckner to show that he's going to be just fine wearing the Horseshoe.
While it's a little more difficult without actual tackling going on to fully evaluate the play of the defensive linemen throughout training camp, Buckner, who was frequently lined up across from All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson, certainly had his dominating moments over the past couple weeks. That was also apparent on Saturday, as he bullied his way into the backfield for two big tackles for loss against the run.
Reich said Buckner, perhaps not surprisingly, "has really asserted himself" heading into Week 1.
"Literally, every day he has practiced you just feel his presence out there," Reich said. "I think he is going to be a game-wrecker. He is a leader. He is just so long, he's strong, he's smart, he's unselfish, he knows his assignment. If he's not wrecking a game, he's eating up blockers to get somebody else free. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he does on our defense."
The Colts circled that three-tech spot up front as a major need to address heading into this offseason, and Reich is ecstatic general manager Chris Ballard was able to pull off the move to add a guy at Buckner's level to Indy's defense.
"I think the move that Chris made to get DeForest is really going to show itself out – be the right move that we needed at the right time to get that 3-technique, a dominant 3-technique to really set that whole defensive line off, and the linebackers, and the secondary. I mean it's key and you've got a dominant player there," Reich said. "He looks dominant out on the practice field every day. So I am really excited about what he is going to bring to the table."
» Updates on injured tight end Trey Burton, cornerback Kenny Moore II: Trey Burton has been a frequent target of Rivers' throughout camp, emerging as yet another key newcomer on the roster. But now it seems as if Burton is going to have to miss at least a little bit of time after going down with a calf injury during Saturday's practice.
"My anticipation just from talking to him is it is going to be a little bit (before he can return)," Reich said of Burton, who will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.
With Burton hurt, and with starting tight end Jack Doyle out on Saturday, Mo Alie-Cox saw his practice snaps increase throughout the session. Reich has raved about Alie-Cox's all-around game, and while he's been a strong blocker now for a couple seasons, he's really improved as a route runner, the third-year head coach said.
Others who could see an uptick in practice reps this week at the tight end position include Farrod Green, Xavier Grimble, Andrew Vollert and Dominique Dafney.
The Colts' top nickel cornerback, meanwhile, could be making his return to the practice field this next week.
Kenny Moore II suffered a groin injury early in camp, but has been seen working off to the side with trainers of late.
"Kenny continues to make good progress," Reich said. "We want to get him back on the field as soon as we can. He is getting very close, hopefully it will be this week."