Colts Camp: Notes From Thursday’s Practice
By Evan Reller
Training camp is winding down for the Indianapolis Colts as the team now has just one more practice at Anderson University. The biggest news of the day happened a few hours before practice when the Colts signed T.Y. Hilton to a five-year extension worth $65 million.
The deal keeps Hilton with the team through the 2020 season and, more importantly, keeps Andrew Luck‘s favorite target where he belongs. The Colts have a number of other players from the 2012 class to consider re-signing (including Luck himself) as the season progresses.
Today’s practice was shorter than most but the team was in full pads for the afternoon. The offensive and defensive lines were a bit more aggressive but the rest of the players were essentially playing two-hand touch.
The Colts have just three days until their first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Darius Butler are still recovering from minor groin injuries but neither has been ruled out yet for Sunday’s game. The smart money would be on keeping both players out of a meaningless exhibition contest this weekend.
A few other players were out today as well. Donte Moncrief sat out with a sore groin as did Griff Whalen. Defensive end Montori Hughes left practice early with cramps. Dwayne Allen was also out due to illness.
Vick Ballard returned to practice after a week off with a sore hamstring. Ballard was still limited, but that was part of the plan before this minor setback. Ballard had a nice run and catch out of the backfield with the second string team during 11-on-11 drills.
Here’s what stood out from today’s practice:
- Luck was dealing in early one-on-one work. He had three perfectly placed over the shoulder touchdown passes during these drills. Two went to Hilton and a third to the rookie Phillip Dorsett. The only thing that would have stopped a completion on those plays would have been a drop.
- Jalil Brown had another day of play making. He recorded two pass breakups and was playing the left side corner spot with Davis out. He was matched up against Andre Johnson and Hilton regularly and played well.
- Rookie safety Clayton Geathers was utilized as a nickel linebacker alongside D’Qwell Jackson on a few plays. On one play, both he and Jackson blitzed Luck. Geathers was used at time dime linebacker during minicamp at times and it looks like the Colts have special packages to get him on the field.
- Frank Gore threw a great block on a blitzer up the middle during one series. The play was an incomplete pass to Dorsett (broken up by Brown) but showed Gore to be a tough and willing blocker, an underrated portion of his skill set.
- Rookie RB Josh Robinson had a few good runs today. Two were goal line touchdowns, one with the first team offense. He also had a big run up the middle that the refs marked as a seven yard gain, but would have been for much more in a real game.
- Unfortunately Robinson’s next two runs weren’t as great. Backup nose tackle Zach Kerr had tackles for a loss on them as he knifed through the offensive line. Neither play was Robinson’s fault.
- Pat McAfee was taking field goals today. In special teams work he was eight-for-nine, missing his last attempt from 68 yards out. In game simulation, McAfee hit from 48 yards but missed a 64-yard field goal kicking into the wind.
- Left tackle Anthony Castonzo caught a touchdown during goal line work. Sadly he didn’t break out his celebration dance.