Colts Camp: Notes From Monday’s Practice
By Evan Reller
The Indianapolis Colts were in full pads on Monday afternoon for one of the most physical practices of training camp so far. The players pulled up short of full on laying each other out, but wrapped up and beat on each other for nearly three hours.
After a day where 15 players were kept out of practice, the Colts saw a number of mildly injured players put their pads back on. The hot, humid afternoon led to the team breaking practice early just before a brief rain storm came through campus.
The past few practices have all focused on work in certain situations as opposed to general play between the 20s. The past few days has featured a lot of red zone work and today the Colts narrowed the play to more specific situations.
The first of these situations was getting out of the shadow of their own goalposts with the ball on the one-yard line and with game situations (read: first down markers and moving the ball after each gain).
The first team offense managed to get a first down in just two plays on their initial attempt. A short run by Dan Herron was followed up by a big gain on a pass to Andre Johnson. Their second attempt took three plays, but was still successful. A run by Frank Gore gave them some breathing room, a short pass to Gore then gave them a third-and-one, and the offense finally converted off an eight-yard pass to Dwayne Allen.
The second situation, and the more physical of the two, was gaining a first down off third-and-one at midfield. Both sides seemed to relish the chance to hit each other, at least to some degree. Both the offense and defense made good plays, but overall the offense seemed to win this drill and it was encouraging for the offensive line.
Herron and Zurlon Tipton got the carries in the “heavy” package during these third-and-one plays. Both players managed to convert every time they touched the ball with the first team offense.
The Colts ran play action twice in this situation, once with Andrew Luck rolling to his right and dumping the ball off to Coby Fleener for a short gain just before crossing the line of scrimmage with a man on him. The second play resulted in a three yard gain to tight end Jack Doyle.
Injuries and Rest
Robert Mathis and Donald Thomas remain on the PUP list and were doing work on the side field with trainers. The two were joined by linebacker Nate Irving and Vontae Davis, the later of whom is nursing a groin injury.
Darius Butler was still off as he too has a groin injury. Linebacker Junior Sylvestre was out with an injury.
Linebacker Jerrell Freeman appeared to have the day off for rest.
Here’s what else stood out from practice:
- Luck had a play where he managed to get the defense offsides prompting him to take a deep shot to Johnson. Johnson hauled in the 40-yard pass over rookie corner D’Joun Smith in the middle of the field. The defense had much tighter coverage on Johnson the next few plays.
- The next two plays were incompletes (a drop and an under pressure too short pass). On the next series out, Luck completed three passes for a total of 47 yards.
- Johnson had a drop on an easy pass during early drills (three defensive backs, two wide receivers). He didn’t drop anything else all practice.
- Safety Dwight Lowery had a nice pass breakup on a deep shot to Allen. Lowery hasn’t made a lot of plays but slowly seems to be integrating himself into the defense.
- Art Jones dominated a run play up the gut and would have killed Gore in a real game. Jones knifed through the line to make the play, even with Doyle in the fullback role. Gore had no chance on the play.
- The linemen went against each other in pass rush drills. It was interesting to watch as the one-on-one work that was very back-and-forth between the blockers and rushers.
- Pat McAfee was kicking field goals today, with WR Griff Whalen holding the ball. McAfee was 5-for-7, missing from 38 and 50 yards out against gusting wind in his face. He did hit from 43 and 55 yards.
- Today was easily the most vocal Luck has been all practice. He was praising Tipton after a hard two-yard run for a first down and generally pumping up his teammates. I’m certain he congratulated the defense on good plays too, as is his custom.
The Colts are off Tuesday and have just three more practices before they break camp on Saturday. The first preseason game is this Sunday at the Philadelphia Eagles with kickoff at 1 PM.