INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts today officially wrapped up this year's training camp with their second and final scrimmage session at Lucas Oil Stadium. What were some of the top takeaways from the day?
» As mentioned, today was the final official day of training camp for the year. The players, who have an off day Sunday, return Monday for one more week with the entire 80-man offseason roster, but the focus really turns to beginning preparations for Indy's Week 1 opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars. One week from today the Colts must trim down to their initial 53-man regular season roster, and then by 1 p.m. the following day, after the claiming period for players placed on waivers expires, the team can start building its practice squad.
» Without any preseason games this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colts used their two practices at Lucas Oil Stadium this week as a way to try to get used to that "gameday" feel. On Monday, the Colts simulated an "away" game, with the team riding together on buses from the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center to Lucas Oil Stadium and back. Today was a "home" game, as the players and coaches drove themselves to the stadium; the uniforms were also switched from Monday, as the offense was in the blue jerseys and white pants this time around, while the defense and special teamers were in the white jerseys and white pants. Just like Monday's practice, today's session included normal pre-game warmups, running onto the field for "introductions" and a "halftime" break.
» Among those who did not participate in Saturday's scrimmage: wide receiver Zach Pascal (hamstring), wide receiver Parris Campbell (concussion), cornerback Kenny Moore II (groin), safety George Odum (unknown), wide receiver Marcus Johnson (unknown), tight end Jack Doyle (unknown) and defensive tackle Sheldon Day (knee).
» Tight end Trey Burton suffered a calf injury during Saturday's practice and didn't return. Head coach Frank Reich told reporters afterwards that, "My anticipation just from talking to (Burton) is it's going to be a little bit," in terms of when he can get back on the field, but the veteran is set to undergo further testing to determine the actual severity of the injury.
» Today's practice was really the first time throughout camp the Colts have utilized true scrimmage-style series for the 11-on-11 portion. On Monday the practice was more scripted; the offense could get a huge gain on 1st and 10, but then they'd have come back, for example, to work on a 2nd and 6 scenario because that's what the script dictated. Today, however, most of the series had the pace of an actual game; if the Colts got a nine-yard pass completion on 1st and 10 from their own 25, for example, then next they'd be facing 2nd and 1 from the 34.
» The Colts' starting offensive unit came out working at a fast pace to start. Quarterback Philip Rivers connected on his first six pass attempts, getting the offense all the way to the defense's 22-yard line before stalling on 3rd and 7; both Chase McLaughlin and Rodrigo Blankenship would nail their 41-yard field goal attempts.
» Speaking of that kicker competition, while McLaughlin definitely won the day on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium, the rookie Blankenship took the momentum today. Blankenship hit 6-of-7 attempts in all, connecting from 33, 37, 41, 52, 56 and 57 yards and missing from 48, while McLaughlin connected on 4-of-7, with makes from 33, 37, 41, and 52 yards, and near misses from 48, 52 and 56 yards out.
» Another clear difference from Monday's practice at Lucas Oil Stadium to today's was the overall offensive approach. The Colts, especially coming out of the "second half" of Monday's scrimmage, found great success running the ball, with Marlon Mack catching fire. While there were some solid runs today as well, Rivers, as he did on Wednesday and Friday, really seems to be letting it loose in the passing game much more frequently. He completed 16 passes in all today, but had a couple big chunks in there, including one in which he evaded a blitz by cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and found rookie wide receiver DeMichael Harris for a gain of 16, and then the play of the day, when he launched a bomb to T.Y. Hilton, who was able to get by cornerback Tremon Smith down the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown reception (as seen below).
» Speaking of Rodgers, we got to see some of the rookie's pure speed during an early kickoff return, which he took back to the 45-yard line. While Rodgers battled an injury for a good portion of camp, the play was a good reminder of the sixth-round pick's 4.28-second 40-yard dash speed — the fastest on the team.
» Wide receiver Daurice Fountain had a tremendous all-around day today, catching four passes between three different quarterbacks in Jacoby Brissett (2), Chad Kelly (1) and Jacob Eason (1). He had one key catch on a 3rd-and-7 play, using his size and strength to his advantage to create separation against Smith along the sideline and then adding some YAC for a nine-yard pass-and-catch from Brissett; later in practice Eason launched a beautiful deep pass down the left sideline to Fountain, who was able to go up and get it in between the covering Travis Reed and Donald Rutledge for a 36-yard completion.
» Rookie wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. also had several catches on the day, particularly in the second half, when he hauled in three straight at one point from Brissett. Perhaps the most satisfying moment for Pittman Jr. came earlier in the day, however; Rivers tried to find the second-round pick three different times on one drive, but T.J. Carrie, Malik Hooker and Xavier Rhodes, respectively, were able to figure out a way to knock the football onto the turf each time. On the next drive, on 3rd and Goal from the 2, Rivers tried to find Pittman Jr. again on a little lob pass over the line that was off the mark. But finally, on 4th and Goal from the 2, Rivers bought a little time and was able to utilize one of his patented sidearm strikes to find Pittman Jr. across the middle of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown reception.
» Today's practice also wasn't without some key defensive plays. The defensive line, particularly, was really humming at times, as DeForest Buckner had multiple big stuffs for losses against the run, while Al-Quadin Muhammad continued his strong camp with a "sack" of Rivers, getting past left tackle Anthony Castonzo on a 3rd-and-16 play. Rookie Rob Windsor also had a solid day, as he was constantly being a nuisance in the backfield.
» But Tyquan Lewis might've just wrapped up his unofficial Colts.com TCMVP award with his dominant performance on Saturday. The third-year Ohio State product has made at least one, if not more, flash plays just about every day the team has been in full pads throughout camp, but he turned it up a notch today; over a span of eight plays at one point, Lewis logged two sacks of Eason and a big tackle for loss against the run, showing off his quickness off the edge against right tackle Brandon Hitner.
» One other defensive highlight came when Kelly tried to pinpoint a pass attempt to Harris across the middle of the field, but safety Tavon Wilson was there to get a hand on the ball, which was plucked out of the air by linebacker Zaire Franklin for the interception. Wilson, who has had two picks of his own during camp, and Franklin also wrapped up very strong overall training camps.