INDIANAPOLIS – So much for a ‘limited’ day of practice for Carson Wentz.
The return of Wentz to practice on Monday—his first on-field work in three and a half weeks—saw him pretty darn active.
What did we learn from the 18th practice of work at Grand Park?
- So, let’s begin with what Wentz did on Monday. The only part of practice that Wentz did not take part in on Monday were the three team periods of 11-on-11 work. He not only participated in all the individual drills, but he tossed 30 passes in 7-on-7 work. That’s a lot, with the Colts adding another period of 7-on-7 on Monday to give Wentz more reps. In the individual periods, Wentz showed absolutely zero hesitation with his cutting and lateral movement. This might be bold to say after just one day of Wentz work, but if you are asking me today, barring a setback, No. 2 is the starting quarterback in the regular season opener.
- Onto how Wentz looked in his throwing sessions. He went 10-of-15, with an interception (threw slightly behind Tyler Vaughns), in his first 7-on-7 period and then 8-of-15 in the second period, with that coming down in the red zone. Wentz was 18-of-30 combined, completing passes to Kylen Granson 3x, T.Y. Hilton 3x, Jonathan Taylor 2x, Jack Doyle 2x, Mike Strachan 2x, Michael Pittman, Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, Jordan Thomas, Benny LeMay and DeMichael Harris. Completing 60 percent of passes in a 7-on-7 period, with no pass rush, isn’t great. But I think it’s premature to overreact to how Wentz looks right now in practice. He has missed nearly a month of work and entered Monday throwing less than 25 passes to his teammates in team settings this camp. Just watching Wentz whip it around on Monday, you are reminded of the confidence and pure talent he brings to the quarterback position. You can see and feel his dynamic abilities, even if the numbers aren’t standout. For day one of his return, you saw Wentz making Sunday-type throws on the run and showing no signs of worry about his injured foot. He threw a beautiful seam ball to Kylen Granson, too. For me, today was all about workload (and Tuesday will be all about how Wentz responds), and he did far more than I thought he would do.
- Moving to Carson Wentz and Frank Reich chatting after practice. Wentz said there’s still some ‘stuff to work’ through in his rehab and the training staff might want a few rest days for No. 2 now that he’s back practicing. He’s ‘optimistic’ about being ready for Week 1 and hopes to get involved in team reps (11-on-11), ‘sooner rather than later.’ Wentz said as long as he’s not worried about re-injury, he would be open to playing in Week 1, even if he’s not 100 percent. Reich said the next step for Wentz is to throw/practice on consecutive days. The head coach is a little surprised that Wentz is already involved in practice. He thought Wentz wouldn’t be back for another week. “I thought Carson looked good,” Reich said after Monday’s practice. “When I first saw him walking around out there, I thought, ‘Man, that looks pretty good.’”
- As far as the quarterbacks who did participate in 11-on-11 work on Monday, it wasn’t a very clean day, particularly for Jacob Eason. Ehlinger completed passes to Nyheim Hines, Mo Alie-Cox, Jonathan Taylor, Jack Doyle, Zach Pascal, Mike Strachan and Tyler Vaughns. Eason took the starting reps in two of the three periods, going 7-of-11 (5-of-8 with the starters). He threw two interceptions, one on an overthrow to safety Sean Davis and then one right into the arms of linebacker Bobby Okereke. Eason had a rough 1-of-4 session with the starters to end Monday’s practice.
- Sam Ehlinger went 7-of-9 (3-of-4 with the starters in his lone first-team period), benefitting from a dropped interception. Ehlinger did respond from that poor throw to find Parris Campbell down the field following the errant, almost pick. Ehlinger completed passes to Kylen Granson 2x, Parris Campbell, Michael Pittman, Jonathan Taylor, Jordan Wilkins, T.Y. Hilton.
- Quenton Nelson (foot) and Ryan Kelly (elbow) both were back to practice on Monday, too and participating during all the individual sessions. Like Wentz, both Nelson and Kelly were held out of team periods.
- Frank Reich said he will likely wait on naming a starting quarterback for Friday’s preseason finale until Wednesday morning. Friday’s final preseason game won’t be quite a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the regular season, with starters playing into the second half, but it sounds like Reich will play his first teamers for some time in Detroit.
- How about an update on second-round pick Dayo Odeyingbo, who remains sidelined with his Achilles rehab? “He’s making good progress,” Reich said of the long defensive end. “Considering where he was with (Eric) Fisher, I think everything is kind of paralleling (for the two in their rehabs). Of course, we feel very optimistic in what he’s doing. I was just saying to Chris (Ballard), ‘I want to see that next step for (Odeyingbo), too. I think we are getting close.’” If I had to guess, I see Odeyingbo starting the season the PUP list.
- Guys that stood out at Monday’s practice: TE-Kylen Granson, RB-Nyheim Hines, S-Julian Blackmon, DT-Chris Williams, TE-Jordan Thomas.
- Just a reminder, another roster cut comes Tuesday. That’s from 85 guys to 80, with 5 more being cut. The big and final cut down to 53 players comes next Tuesday (August 31st). The cuts started on Monday with the Colts waiving these guys: DT-Joey Ivie, LB-Skai Moore, TE-Andrew Vollert.
- The Colts will have two more practices at Grand Park before closing camp. The team’s preseason finale is Friday in Detroit at 7:00 PM.
Injury Report: The following players did not appear to be participating at Monday’s practice: DT-Taylor Stallworth (hamstring), LB-Jordan Glasgow (back), TE-Noah Togiai, C-Danny Pinter (foot, in a boot), LB-E.J. Speed (knee), DL-Tyquan Lewis (shoulder), DT-Antwaun Woods (hamstring), DB-Andre Chachere (concussion), DE-Kemoko Turay (shoulder), LB-Malik Jefferson, CB-Marvell Tell, CB-T.J. Carrie, OT-Carter O’Donnell.
Weekly Camp Schedule
-Tuesday: 10:00-11:30 Practice
-Wednesday: 10:00-11:30 Practice (final practice of camp)
-Thursday: Off Day
-Friday: Final preseason game (at Detroit at 7:00 PM)