Day 12 Colts Training Camp Notebook: "Massive Day" For Deon Cain
Day 12 Colts Training Camp Notebook: "Massive Day" For Deon Cain
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts were back at Grand Park on Saturday morning to begin their final week of off-site Training Camp.
Dwight Freeney took in Saturday’s practice, with the 2019 Ring of Honor inductee talking to the team after practice.
“We had an all-time great, not only an all-time Colt great, but an all-time NFL great, Dwight Freeney here,” Frank Reich said on Saturday morning. “Dwight was working with our D-line most of the day and then had a chance to speak with the team. The one thing he said, which really stood out to me, was, ‘Hey, everyone is doing what is required of them. You have a schedule. Everything is required of you. But what are you doing to be great that is not required of you.’ A great message by Dwight.”
Here are some tidbits from Saturday’s 12th practice of Training Camp:
- Saturday’s practice might have just been 90-100 minutes, but Deon Cain made the most of his time on the field. Cain had 3 deep catches on the sideline, where he did a beautiful job of high-pointing the ball for chunk plays. Frank Reich definitely took note: “Deon had a huge day today. I don’t know how many deep balls he caught today, but usually in practice, if you catch one deep ball, you feel great about it. I think he caught 3 or 4. That’s a massive day for a receiver out on the practice field. A player that has been through what he’s been through, another great day at practice is really another mental hurdle to clear and confidence to build, because right now, it’s all about confidence.”
- Well, Saturday’s Andrew Luck update is he still hasn’t been medically cleared for practice, but the Colts aren’t saying he’s officially ruled out for next Saturday’s preseason home opener against the Browns, although it seems extremely unlikely No. 12 will play. Reich said on Saturday that the pain Luck is currently dealing with would keep him from playing in a game at full speed, but the head coach would not say how it’s restricting Luck in his ongoing rehab. As far as all this missed preseason action (game and practices) Luck has missed? “It’s ironic we are having this discussion because even before everything, as Chris (Ballard) and I talked and mapped out the preseason, it was like, ‘Any idea where Andrew gets 20 snaps, 15-20 snaps, probably playing not a whole lot, and that’s everything for the whole preseason,’” Reich shared on Saturday. “To miss 15-20 snaps, would they be nice to take? Yeah, but if he ends up not getting any, I don’t think 15-20 snaps is going to shock the world….You always get better when you are out there, but he’s doing a great job. We are getting the most that we can out of the walk-throughs and then you count on the fact that this isn’t the average physical human being. This guy is freakish in his abilities, physically and mentally, so when he gets back he’s naturally going to progress faster naturally, just given his gifts.”
- I can’t say I keep this stat on pen and paper, but just watching all 12 practices this camp: The passer rating for Jacoby Brissett when targeting Devin Funchess would not be very high. Now, this is for a myriad of reasons, but we just haven’t seen consistent rapport between those two. After some misconnections between that duo early on Saturday, they did finally hookup for a nice back shoulder touchdown in the red zone.
- The defensive highlight on Saturday came on a one-handed pick in the red zone by Kenny Moore. The interception came thanks to blanket coverage by Quincy Wilson on T.Y. Hilton, which led to a ball deflected into the air, and eventually into Moore’s diving arms.
- The Colts really want Nyheim Hines to take on some return duties in 2019, given how much they’ve worked him there this camp, and even last Thursday night against Buffalo. I still don’t think Hines will beat out Zach Pascal (kick returner) or Chester Rogers (punt returner), but they are giving him tons of opportunities to do it.
- We saw some shuffling among the backup offensive line group on Saturday. It was Le’Raven Clark repping at right guard, something we’ve barely seen at camp and then Joe Haeg sliding over to left tackle.
- Outside of Cain, probably the two best catches of the day came from Mo Alie-Cox snatching a ball that George Odum looked to be intercepting for a completion and then Krishawn Hogan absorbing a hit from safety Derrick Kindred to make a big grab down the middle. Hogan is making a strong case for (at least) a practice squad spot.
- Let’s monitor the running back depth moving forward. Jordan Wilkins (foot) hasn’t even been out watching practice the last couple of days: “Ongoing evaluation on him,” Frank Reich said of Wilkins after Saturday’s practice. “Trying to determine the best course of action on his foot.” Also, we didn’t see D’Onta Foreman in team drills on Saturday. “Just gradually easing him along, building him up in individual, 1-on-1s, stuff like that. By the end of this week, he should be getting reps,” Reich said of Foreman.
- Was Saturday the first drop we’ve seen from undrafted free agent TE-Hale Hentges? It might have been, which had Frank Reich chuckling a bit after practice. “He’s had a great camp,” Reich said of Hentges. “He just finds a way to get things done in the pass game, and in the run game. To his credit, he’s really a technician and it’s really as much a mindset with him. Really happy with how Hale is performing in Training Camp.” Could Hentges be this team’s 4th tight end, with Ross Travis continuing to miss time?
- Matt Eberflus has mentioned the Colts are entering the phase where he wants to narrow down a starting group. He still has a few ongoing battles, but there seems to be a leader at those spots. It would be Anthony Walker over Bobby Okereke at the MIKE, Quincy Wilson over Rock Ya-Sin in the nickel package and Matthew Adams over E.J. Speed at SAM. Now, Okereke and Ya-Sin are still getting some starting reps throughout practice, but it remains Walker and Wilson getting the first (and most) action with the starters.
- Anyone care about starting gunners for the Colts? Based off what we saw on Saturday, CB-Chris Milton and S-George Odum have the lead there, as Milton tries to earn a roster spot based off his blue trait skill on special teams.
- One thing to note on Andrew Luck’s next 4 weeks, as the Colts are four Sunday’s away from their regular season opening up in Los Angeles: From a practice standpoint, things are shrinking quickly for Luck to get that full week/full speed of practice that Reich wants. If he practices this coming week, it will only be for two days and (likely) limited. So now you get into the week of August 19th, which is a full week of practice for the team as the Colts head back to their facility for their first closed practices (to the media) of ‘camp.’ That will be a really critical week for Luck to practice, and do it at full speed. Why? Because the next week is the final week of the preseason, so the Colts will have just two practices before a Thursday preseason finale. Then the final week in this 4-week stretch is leading into the regular season opener, so it’s time to game plan at practice and get ready for the Chargers. What does this all mean? Time is shrinking quickly on Luck getting a substantial amount of practice time in before things get real in September.
- It’s going to be interesting this next week to see if the Colts push any of those guys we saw in the 3rd and 4th quarter on Thursday night, into some earlier playing time in the next two preseason games, when starting-type players see more action. The first preseason game is so critical for the back end of the roster guys, because their playing time is likely to shrink the next two weeks. Once the preseason finale gets here, it might be too little too late.
- Here are some remaining notes from Frank Reich’s conference call that I wanted to throw in at the end of this notebook: Reich was asked about the possibility of carrying a 3rd quarterback on the Week 1 roster (a question related to the health of Andrew Luck) and the head coach offered this: “Obviously a lot of that is going to depend – Chris (Ballard) and I are always talking about every spot the whole way. So we remain confident and optimistic on Andrew’s situation but again, it’s still day-to-day and working through that plan, what is the best plan for him, for the team? So we will just adjust as needed, if needed.” Remember, Chad Kelly is suspended for the first two games of the regular season, so if the Colts do keep a 3rd QB to start the year, it will (likely) be Phillip Walker.
- Reich pointed out a mis-communication issue that the Colts had on Thursday night when Phillip Walker was in the game. “I will say Phillip did have the disadvantage of (that) there was a pretty major issue with the coach-to-quarterback communicator in the game that really came up when Phillip was in the game. They ended up getting it corrected after Chad’s second series. But we are standing there screaming the plays in. It had a little bit of an effect, but you have to be able to handle that.” As far as Walker’s play, Reich was much more pleased than most: “I thought Phillip had the highlight of the two-minute drive. He had a dropped ball or two. There were one or two missed connections that weren’t necessarily on him, a route that was too deep or a drop here and there.” Walker was 8-of-18 for 85 yards and an interception in 6 series of work.
- And, lastly, Reich’s thoughts on what Chad Kelly did on Thursday: “Chad I thought really had a nice night. He made some plays. As you guys know, the touchdown run was not a called quarterback run. It was something he instinctively saw and did. He was really supposed to hand it off. We had several quarterback-read plays called (Thursday) night. That was not one of them. He had a gut feeling and he saw something and he took advantage of it. So good by him and he made a couple good throws with people bearing down in the pocket. So good stuff by both of them, but also a lot of room for improvement as well.” Kelly was 13-of-19 for 121 yards, along with 53 rushing yards and a TD in 4 series of action.
- Here were the Colts who did not practice on Saturday: DE-Jabaal Sheard (sore knee, has missed 11 straight practices), WR-Parris Campbell (has missed 8 straight practices), QB-Andrew Luck (calf/ankle, has missed 8 straight practices), TE-Ross Travis (hamstring, has missed 8 straight practices), C-Ryan Kelly (shoulder, has missed 6 straight practices), K-Adam Vinatieri (knee), OG-Ian Silberman (abdominal) WR-Penny Hart (hamstring), TE-Eric Ebron (ankle/foot), RB-Jordan Wilkins (foot). It sounds like both Ryan Kelly and Parris Campbell are on the verge of returning to practice. Jack Doyle and Ben Banogu both returned to practice after missing more than a week. Cornerback Jalen Collins was participating, as well, after he got banged up in Thursday’s preseason opener.
- The Colts have just 4 practices left in camp at Grand Park, with 2 joint sessions against the Browns coming Wednesday-Thursday.
REMAINING COLTS CAMP SCHEDULE
Sunday, August 11: Practice from 9:00-11:15 AM
Monday, August 12: Practice from 9:00-11:15 AM
Tuesday, August 13: Off day
Wednesday, August 14: Joint practices with Browns from 4:00-6:10 PM
Thursday, August 15: Joint practices with Browns from 4:00-6:00 PM
Friday, August 16: Break camp