Michael Pittman runs with the ball at practice
WESTFIELD, IN - JULY 31: Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) runs through a drill during the Indianapolis Colts training camp practice on July 31, 2021 at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Day 5 Colts Training Camp Notebook: Michael Pittman, Rodney McLeod Get Into First Camp Skirmish

INDIANAPOLISAfter their first practice in full pads on Tuesday, the Colts were back in shorts and shells on Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday was a little more run-centric, with some short-yardage periods sprinkled into the steamy 90-minute practice.

Here is what was learned at Wednesday’s fifth practice of camp:

  • Matt Ryan finished Wednesday afternoon 7-of-9 with completions to the following guys: Kylen Granson (4), Michael Pittman (2), Alec Pierce. It was a lot of first and second down work for the offense, with a passing game mostly in the underneath department. Through 5 practices, Ryan is 34-of-47 in the full teamwork. Ryan’s completed his passes to the following guys: Michael Pittman (9), Mo Alie-Cox (5), Kylen Granson (5), Jonathan Taylor (4), Parris Campbell (4), Nyheim Hines (3), Alec Pierce (2), Ashton Dulin (1), Dezmon Patmon (1).
  • The best play of camp (5 practices in) came late on Wednesday’s practice. It was Nick Foles taking a deep shot to a very well-covered Ashton Dulin. Despite Isaiah Rodgers seemingly in the perfect position to force an incompletion, Dulin dove over Rodgers to secure the highlight catch. Even Rodgers had to throw Dulin a high-five after the big-time play. Whereas Dulin’s roster spot wasn’t a slam dunk in prior camps, he looks to be pretty darn secure on this 53-man roster.
  • Kylen Granson needed the day he had on Wednesday. Granson had 4 catches on Wednesday. Entering Wednesday, he had only made 1 catch with the starters in the first four practices. It was a tough spring for Granson catching the football, but Frank Reich said he’s bounced back nicely in Grand Park. Unlike the other tight ends on the roster, Granson is a different body type/skill set from the others. The Colts need him.
  • While the starting battles on the offensive line have remained with Matt Pryor at left tackle and Danny Pinter at right guard, we saw a switch with the starting safety. It was veteran Rodney McLeod (123 career starts) getting a shot with the starters, next to Julian Blackmon. Up to this point, with McLeod still working his way back to 100 percent from summer knee surgery, it’s been rookie Nick Cross running with the first unit.
  • We had our first real skirmish of training camp on Wednesday! To no surprise, it involved Michael Pittman. Following an engaged block by Pittman and veteran safety Rodney McLeod, the two traded several blows before the fight was broken up. As Frank Reich said after practice, Pittman plays with an edge, and that’s what makes him a unique player at wideout. Of course, not crossing that line post-whistle (like last year’s New England ejection) is the challenge. As I’ve said many times, there’s zero ‘USC pretty boy’ to how Pittman plays the game of football.
  • Speaking of Pittman, he has such strong hands in bringing the ball in. That was on display Wednesday when he caught a ball over the middle, away from his body, while Stephon Gilmore was hitting No. 11. Some guys at 6-4 and 220 pounds don’t play to their full size. Pittman does.
  • Linebacker Bobby Okereke continues to have a nice camp in coverage. In a contract year, Okereke might be the most deserving Colts 2019 draft pick for a second contract. But do the Colts have room for long-term linebacker contracts for 3 guys in Shaquille Leonard, Zaire Franklin and Okereke?
  • On the Leonard front, Frank Reich said on Wednesday there’s nothing imminent on his return to practice. So, based off that, it’s likely, we will get to mid-to-late August before Leonard hits the practice field at Grand Park. Is Leonard definitely going to be ready for Week 1?
  • As the Colts transition into Week 2 of training camp, the continued installation of plays is ending. The Colts are about to enter the phase where they trim some of the playbook and narrow in on the stuff they really like and want to run on a frequent basis this fall. Frank Reich and Matt Ryan dove into some of that process on Tuesday night. Reich said other leaders on the team will have input in this phase of camp.
  • Even though the full pads were not on Wednesday, the pass rushers brought some frequent disruption. It was Yannick Ngakoue beating Matt Pryor off the edge a couple of times, Ben Bangou got involved in second-team work and Ifeadi Odnigbo had his moments with the third stringers. Ngakoue has given the Colts an edge presence they’ve really lacked.
  • Here is how the starting offense looked on Wednesday: QB-Matt Ryan, RB-Jonathan Taylor, RB-Nyheim Hines, WR-Michael Pittman, WR-Parris Campbell, TE-Kylen Granson, 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 Gilmore, S-Julian Blackmon, S-Rodney McLeod.
  • Guys that stood out at Wednesday’s practice for a variety of reasons: CB-Anthony Chesley, S-Julian Blackmon, WR-Ashton Dulin, TE-Kylen Granson, DE-Yannick Ngakoue, DE-Ben Banogu

Injury Report: The following players remain on the PUP or non-football injury list: LB-Shaquille Leonard (knee), WR-Mike Strachan (knee). The following players also did not practice on Wednesday: DT-Chris Williams (left foot in a boot), OT-Dennis Kelly (knee), WR-DeMichael Harris (undisclosed), RB-D’Vonte Price (undisclosed), LB-Forrest Rhyne (undisclosed). Cornerback Alex Myres left practice near the end. The Colts are still easing DL-Tyquan Lewis (knee) and S-Rodney McLeod (knee) back into team reps.

Weekly Camp Schedule

-Thursday: 12:00 – 1:45 Practice

-Friday: Off day

-Saturday: Off day

-Sunday: 12:00 – 1:30 Practice

-Monday: 12:00 – 1:45 Practice

-Tuesday: Off day

-Wednesday: 12:00 -1:30 Practice

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