Postcards From Camp: Nick Cross Makes A Strong Impression As Practice Gets Underway At Grand Park

The Colts held their first training camp practice of 2022 on Wednesday at Grand Park. Here's what you need to know from the day's work. 

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The Colts moved Wednesday's practice indoors due to inclement weather, meaning only a limited number of fans were able to attend. But the folks that were able to watch practice brought energy – and so did the players on the field.

  • "It was good to see all the people coming out today inside," head coach Frank Reich said. "The players that, they feed off that energy. It was a good day today."
  • Reich added he thought the practice was "sharp," with few mental mistakes over the hour and a half the team spent on the fields of Grand Park's indoor practice facility.

Speaking of energy: ebullient safety Julian Blackmon, about 9 1/2 months removed from a season-ending torn Achilles', was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.

  • "I absolutely feel like I've definitely got back to where I need to be," Blackmon said.
  • Reich wasn't surprised to see Blackmon on the field knowing what went into his rehab process: "It's a real credit to Julian, how hard he's worked to get back."

Blackmon teamed up with cornerback Kenny Moore II to swat away a deep ball during a seven-on-seven period. "Just jumping off my left foot again and being able to make a play was just kind of, hey, I'm back," Blackmon said, "so you can't be putting too much air under the ball."

Other practice highlights and observations:

  • Rookie safety Nick Cross had one of the most impressive plays of the day. On the second seven-on-seven rep of the day, Cross played some sticky coverage, got in front of tight end Mo Alie-Cox, tipped a Matt Ryan pass in the air then dove to catch it for an interception.
  • "Great play by Nick and making a good first impression," Reich said.
  • Ryan looked efficient, confident and accurate throughout the afternoon, frequently hitting receivers in stride. A highlight came when he picked up a good chunk of yardage with a strike to rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers broke up a pass during seven-on-seven work.
  • An incomplete list of players who stood out – running back Jonathan Taylor, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, defensive tackle Grover Stewart and defensive tackle Curtis Brooks, among others.
  • Just about every time he wasn't on the field with the Colts' offense, running back Nyheim Hines was off to the side catching passes. He got some extra work after practice catching balls, too. Hines said on Tuesday his goal is to set a new career high in receptions.

Wednesday's quote of the day comes from Ryan on how he'll try to keep his teammates mentally engaged during the grind of training camp:

  • "Keep a foot up their a,"Ryan said, laughing.** "... Sometimes it's letting guys know that we expect better. Sometimes it's a little love. Each guy is different, each day is different. But the beauty of experience is you kind of know when it's not right, and you have that sense of when things aren't right. The thing I've learned is you have to nip that in the bud as soon as possible and you have to get it back to where it needs to be. I try to do the best I can do. We also have a great coaching staff, guys that have great experience, understand what it looks like at the highest level, and that's going to help us."

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