INDIANAPOLIS – Mother Nature sent the Colts indoors for their first practice of the 2022 training camp at Grand Park
Wednesday’s session had a spring OTA feel as the Colts ease back to full pads with a practice lasting a little over an hour.
Here is what was learned at Wednesday’s first practice of camp:
- We will get into the lone mistake by Matt Ryan below, but the new QB’s 11-on-11 work was nearly flawless. Ryan was 7-of-8 in full-team work completing passes to these 5 guys: Michael Pittman (2), Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Alec Pierce, Mo Alie-Cox. The best throw and catch of the day was one made with anticipation, on a deep comeback by Pierce. For day one, the timing of the Colts passing game was pretty impressive. Like we saw in the spring, Ryan is going to bring more decisiveness from the quarterback position this year. Ryan mentioned after practice this is his first off-site camp in his 14-year NFL history. The “auto pilot” days are over for Ryan this time of year as he tries to help grow and develop a very young pass catching group.
- The defensive highlight on Wednesday came on the second play of the 7-on-7 period. Matt Ryan threw a ball to a well-covered Mo Alie-Cox on a comeback route. It was rookie safety Nick Cross reading the route and making a make break on the pass. Cross first got his hand in there to tip the ball up in the air and then showed off his elite athleticism in diving to the ground to secure the interception. Even pre-snap, Cross backed out of playing near the line of scrimmage, but still showed the instincts post-snap to make a play on the ball. It was a brilliant display of recognition and skill from the third-round pick as he looks to earn a starting safety job next to Julian Blackmon.
- Speaking of Blackmon, it’s pretty remarkable watching him move and participate fully 9 months removed from tearing his Achilles. Blackmon made a great play on Wednesday in running down a deep pass attempt to Parris Campbell to knock a ball away. Blackmon said after practice it was another box checked for him, jumping off his previously injured left leg/foot to make a terrific pass deflection.
- I expect to say this a lot in the 2022 camp: the Colts are going to find creative ways to get Nyheim Hines on the field more + touch the ball in different ways. The Colts had great success with Hines and Jonathan Taylor on the field together last year. Expect that to expand in 2022.
- With Darius Leonard on the mend to start camp, it’ll be interesting to see how the Colts handle the other linebacker spot next to Bobby Okereke. Early on, they are opting with the veteran Zaire Franklin over the uber-athletic E.J. Speed.
- Some of the Colts kick returners on Wednesday: CB-Isaiah Rodgers, RB-Nyheim Hines, WR-Keke Coutee, CB-Dallis Flowers, WR-Isaiah Ford. If Rodgers plays a bigger cornerback role in 2022, will he maintain his kick return duties?
- Running back Deon Jackson, who is competing for that 3rd running back job, did have some ball security issues on Wednesday.
- On Wednesday morning, Colts DL-Tyquan Lewis and S-Rodney McLeod both came off the physically unable to perform list, but did not participate in the first practice of camp. For McLeod, he’s expected to be in a starting battle at strong safety with rookie Nick Cross.
- Here is how the starting offense looked on Wednesday: QB-Matt Ryan, RB-Jonathan Taylor, RB-Nyheim Hines, WR-Michael Pittman, WR-Alec Pierce, TE-Mo Alie-Cox, LT-Matt Pryor, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Danny Pinter, RT, Braden Smith.
- Here is how the starting defense looked on Wednesday: DE-Yannick Ngakoue, DT-Grover Stewart, DT-DeForest Buckner (limited), DE-Kwity Paye, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Bobby Okereke, CB-Kenny Moore, CB-Brandon Facyson, CB-Stephon Gillmore, S-Julian Blackmon, S-Nick Cross. Defensive tackles Chris Williams and R.J. McIntosh rotated in when Buckner was sitting out.
- Guys that stood out at Wednesday’s practice for a variety of reasons: DE-Yannick Ngakoue, RB-Phillip Lindsay, CB-Isaiah Rodgers, DL-Curtis Brooks, TE-Drew Ogletree.
- For those that care, the name change has occurred for No. 53. It’s “Shaquille Leonard” now on the Colts official roster.
Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Wednesday’s practice: DL-Tyquan Lewis (knee). The following players remain on the PUP or non-football injury list: LB-Shaquille Leonard (knee), WR-Mike Strachan (knee), DT-Eric Johnson (back). While Leonard is out, he was doing some light jogging from one practice field to the other.
Weekly Camp Schedule
-Thursday: 12:00-1:30 Practice
-Friday: Off day
-Saturday: 7:00-8:30 Practice
-Sunday: Off day
-Monday: Off day
-Tuesday: 12:00-1:20 Practice
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