INDIANAPOLIS – See you next at training camp, Colts.
The Colts had their final on-field session of the spring on Thursday and will now take an 8-week break from team activities.
Thursday was also the second time the media has been allowed to view the 2021 Colts this spring. As a reminder, these sessions are not in full pads and players aren’t wearing helmets.
Here are some takeaways from the Colts on Thursday:
- The Colts split up their first and second units on separate fields for a practice that lasted a little more than an hour on Thursday. That allowed for the offense to line up against the defense with the tempo being a sped-up walk-through.
- With OT-Eric Fisher, LG-Quenton Nelson and OT-Sam Tevi not participating on Thursday, that opened the door for some starting reps to G/C-Danny Pinter and OT-Will Holden. Both Pinter and Holden were needed to start games for the Colts late last season. Pinter’s roster spot in 2021 is likely secure. Holden will face a little more competition out at tackle, but he had a nice performance when needed to start last year against Pittsburgh.
- Frank Reich mentioned on Wednesday that the offense will be making some tweaks due to a change in QB playing styles this year. The implementation of more RPOs will definitely be a major part in that. Thursday was another reminder of what Carson Wentz can bring with his legs, especially compared to the statue that Philip Rivers was playing quarterback.
- Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad was back participating on Thursday. When you look at the defensive end position, I view it as 3 guys competing for the 2 starting jobs. That would be Muhammad, DL-Tyquan Lewis and rookie DE-Kwity Paye. I see the 2 starters coming from that group, with Lewis being a guy who can play in the interior as well. Paye will certainly get a chance to lock up a starting job in camp, but Muhammad is a guy that shouldn’t be overlooked. Kemoko Turay is still rehabbing his ankle injury, and is better suited to be used on passing downs. Ben Banogu has a ways to go before he’s in the group with the trio mentioned above. Isaac Rochell is another name to watch, given his 6 starts last year for the Chargers.
- A few weeks back, Chris Ballard noted how WR-Mike Strachan made a nice impression at rookie minicamp. The Colts feel that Strachan’s jump from Division II Charleston to the NFL might not be as steep as they initially expected. With Michael Pittman out on Thursday, it was Strachan getting some chances with Carson Wentz and the first unit. Strachan is definitely a name to watch in camp. His size speaks for itself, but it seems like he’s handling things pretty well mentally.
- I’m intrigued to watch the development of a pair of former Day 3 draft picks at cornerback. Marvell Tell and Isaiah Rodgers are different body types, but both have shown a bit of something in the NFL. They might not be at the top of the cornerback depth chart here in 2021. But if either can take a jump, they will be really important down the road, and will continue to apply pressure to Rock Ya-Sin.
- Speaking of names to watch, it’ll be interesting to see what the third-year role is for LB-E.J. Speed. The former 5th round pick didn’t have much experience at linebacker in college, and has barely played on defense in the NFL. But with the depth at linebacker a bit up in the air (Zaire Franklin is expected to be the third linebacker against run-heavy teams), Speed certainly has a chance to play a massive role, if an injury occurs to Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke. Athletically, you see similarities between Speed and Leonard/Okereke.
- Punt returners on Thursday were RB-Nyheim Hines, WR-DeMichael Harris, WR-J.J. Nelson and WR-Tyler Vaughns.
- The list of players who didn’t appear to be participating on Thursday included: CB-Xavier Rhodes, LG-Quenton Nelson, OT-Eric Fisher, S-George Odum, LB-Jordan Glasgow, OT-Sam Tevi, DE-Kemoko Turay, WR-Michael Pittman. Rhodes was not spotted at either of the two open media sessions the Colts had this year.
- This is the last day for the Colts players and coaches until the final week of July, when training camp begins (likely to be back at Grand Park in Westfield).