INDIANAPOLIS–The Indianapolis Colts were supposed to play Washington in a preseason game August 24 that would air on ESPN as part of a nationally televised broadcast. With no preseason games because of the coronavirus, the Colts scrimmaged themselves at Lucas Oil Stadium instead.
With the roof and window at the stadium open, the Colts put on their uniforms for practice on their home field to simulate a 1:00 p.m. Sunday kickoff.
“It was the most physical that we’ve been the whole camp. The intensity was high. That’s something that we need. Especially having no OTAs or anything like that coming into camp, you don’t want the first game to be the first time to go live. It felt great to go against our great offensive line that we have and the great backs we have,” said Colts linebacker Darius Leonard.
Leonard said not having fans in the stadium was strange, but he brings energy no matter what.
“I’m still going to make sure I lead this defense with the contagious energy that I’ve had,” said Leonard.
The team piped in some league-approved crowd noise into the Lucas Oil Stadium speakers throughout the session. Head coach Frank Reich said the approved level league-wide was 80 decibels, which, according to Purdue University, is similar in noise level to a typical kitchen garbage disposal. The Colts and every other NFL team are preparing to utilize piped-in crowd noise as a way to make up for the lack of fans at games this season.
“It was great to be out at Lucas Oil. Great to see (Colts owner) Jim Irsay out there. I thought the guys brought great energy. With no fans, we have to make our own energy. I thought we did that. We had some live periods. It was fun to go live. We probably had about 30 plays live,” said Colts Head Coach Frank Reich.
Second-year defensive end Ben Banogu went down with an ankle injury during Monday’s practice, but Reich said he didn’t initially believe it was too serious. “So hopefully he won’t be out too long,” Reich said.
Only about 25 percent fan capacity will likely be permitted when the team plays its home opener September 20 against the Minnesota Vikings. With a capacity of 67,000 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium, that means the crowd will be limited to under 17,000.
Season ticket holders have the option to credit their payments to the 2021 season for the same seat location.
The Colts will have one more practice at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday.
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