INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich today spoke to local reporters via video conference. What's the latest on defensive tackle Tyquan Lewis' hot start to training camp, the differences he sees in kickers Rodrigo Blankenship and Chase McLaughlin and why he's really enjoyed taking in the 1-on-1 reps between the offensive and defensive lines.
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Reich has been impressed with the way Tyquan Lewis has performed in camp so far: Lewis, a second-round pick out of Ohio State in the 2018 NFL Draft, battled a foot injury that kept him out of the first half of his rookie year, and then had a nagging ankle injury last year, and never really consistently found his way onto the field.
Heading into a crucial third year in 2020, the defensive tackle told reporters yesterday that he took the offseason to really focus on both his physical and mental wellbeing. Reich said he's noticed a clear difference through the first few days of camp practices.
"I think he definitely has set out to prove something," Reich said. "We picked him with a high pick; every player wants to contribute, every player wants to live up to the expectations. Tyquan's got great character, he's got great athleticism … and he's had three really good days. He's looked strong every day in pads."
Lewis has done most of his work inside at the three-tech spot to this point of camp, but has the flexibility to roll off the edge when needed.
"Looks fast and explosive," Reich said of Lewis. "Physically he looks better than he's ever looked since he's been here. So (I'm) very excited about that."
Staying consistent and stacking good days is the goal for Lewis from here.
"It's a very short window here," reich said. "We all know this is a long haul and he needs to continue to do what he's been doing these three days. And if he does, it's going to be good for him and it's going to be good for us, 'cause he's looked exceptionally good."
» There's a noticeable difference in the approaches by the two guys competing for the kicker job: There's no perfect formula when it comes to kicking in the NFL; some guys can be very detailed and seemingly uptight, or they can be loose and appear a little more nonchalant.
Reich said he's got one of each of those in the rookie Rodrigo Blankenship and Chase McLaughlin, who continue to be neck-in-neck in the team's kicking competition (though neither attempted any field goals during Wednesday's practice).
When it comes to Blankenship, Reich said he's "very regimented, disciplined about his approach, very technical in every little thing."
Reich compared McLaughlin, meanwhile, to his former Buffalo Bills teammate, Steve Christie: "Chase is a little bit more … not as regimented about certain things. Just more of a, 'Hey, just put it anywhere. I'm good. I can make it.'"
As things moves forward, Reich said Blankenship and McLaughlin have "both done well in the kicking competition, and (there's) plenty of more of that to come over the next couple of weeks."
» Reich has enjoyed watching the one-on-one sessions between the offensive and defensive linemen: The Colts put on the pads for the first time on Monday, which presents the big fellas up front with, really, their first chance to be physical all year. The team has built extremely talented and deep offensive and defensive lines, and Reich said he's enjoyed watching them battle against each other during drills so far.
"I'll tell you what, the one-on-one drills between the O-line and D-line have been really fun to watch — the pass rush drills," Reich said. "Just great intensity and effort and physicality, and they're very competitive."
Reich said he re-emphasized to his players recently just how important those one-on-one opportunities — either between the OL/DL, the receivers and the defensive backs or the running backs and linebackers — really are.
"Those drills are really important to the development of a player," Reich said.