DeForest Buckner walks around the practice field during practice.
WESTFIELD, IN - AUGUST 18: Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) runs through a drill during the Indianapolis Colts training camp practice on August 18, 2021 at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Day 6 Colts Training Camp Notebook: DeForest Buckner Brings The Disruption

INDIANAPOLISAfter some morning rain on Thursday, the weather cooperated for the Colts to stay outside for their second full-padded practice of camp.

With off days coming Friday and Saturday, the Colts practiced with more physicality and for longer on Thursday afternoon.

Here is what was learned at Thursday’s sixth practice of camp:

  • Matt Ryan finished Thursday afternoon 11-of-15 with completions to the following guys: Michael Pittman (3), Drew Ogletree (2), Mo Alie-Cox (2), Nyheim Hines (2), Jonathan Taylor (1), Kylen Granson (1). Ryan began Thursday completing his first six passes to six different guys, and just 1 of them was a wide receiver (Pittman). Through 6 practices, Ryan is 45-of-62 in the full teamwork. Ryan’s completed his passes to the following guys: Michael Pittman (12), Mo Alie-Cox (7), Kylen Granson (6), Nyheim Hines (5), Jonathan Taylor (5), Parris Campbell (4), Drew Ogletree (2), Alec Pierce (2), Ashton Dulin (1), Dezmon Patmon (1).
  • As if there’s been any question, Michael Pittman has looked like the definite No. 1 wideout on this football team. While Pittman is going to receive ample attention from opposing defenses, he has shown No. 1 receiver qualities in camp.
  • We will focus here on the three 2-minute drives to end Thursday’s practice. The defense didn’t let the offense cross the 50-yard line on the first two 2-minute drives. It was a three-and-out by the starting offense to begin things, and then the second-team offense had just one first down on the second drive. It was stifling defense, with two third-down sacks ending both drives. The starting offense went back out there for the third two-minute drive and got a field goal out of it (Rodrigo Blankenship and Jake Verity both connected from 50 yards out). In the two full-padded days of Colts camp, I think the defense has outperformed the offense.
  • The Day 3 draft pick who has impressed the most so far is tight end Drew Ogletree. While Jelani Woods and Kylen Granson have had some ups and downs this offseason, Ogletree has been steadier and a guy the staff has noticed. Ogletree is moving up the depth chart, earning a good amount of starting reps. The highlight from Ogletree on Thursday was him extending for a one-handed TD snag from Matt Ryan in a 7-on-7 session.
  • According to offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, the Colts have had just 2 total interceptions in the entire training camp so far (Matt Ryan and Sam Ehlinger have each had one). That’s more than 200 pass attempts from all 4 quarterbacks. It’s been great ball security from the quarterbacks. Entering Grand Park, the thought was having two extremely veteran QBs should allow for a better roster evaluation. That’s been the case through six practices.
  • It lasted for just one 11-on-11 period on Thursday, but we saw the first offensive line change of camp, due to a brief injury absence to Ryan Kelly. That moved Danny Pinter over to center and brought IU product Jason Spriggs into the starting offense at right guard. Through 6 practices, the Colts have been extremely healthy to start camp. Outside of Shaquille Leonard, I can’t think of many other starters who have missed an actual practice (maybe Rodney McLeod?). That’s a far cry from recent years.
  • When you watch Stephon Gilmore operate, I see a guy who always seems to be in control and a step ahead of others on the field. Gilmore might not be the same guy physically he was when he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, but he’s going to have the upper hand in his experience and technique.
  • A guy that I’ve noticed stand out in both full-padded practices: DE-Ifeadi Odeingbo. A late off-season signing, Odeingbo does have 10.5 career sacks in 41 games. He’s done some damage this camp. Speaking of the defensive line, you certainly see the first step bursts from rookie interior linemen in Eric Johnson and Curtis Brooks.
  • The full pads were on Thursday and that brought some more reps from DeForest Buckner, who has been held back a bit due to a back injury. Buckner was very disruptive on Thursday, causing fits for the Colts starting offensive line. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he likes the flashes the pass rush has shown in the two full-padded practices.
  • I don’t want to overanalyze the kicking too much, but I do to think it’s fair to say that the ball pops off Jake Verity’s leg more than Rodrigo Blankenship.
  • Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was at Thursday’s practice. Pagano is in town for the 10th annual Chuckstrong Gala, which is taking place on Thursday night.
  • Here is how the starting offense looked on Thursday: 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 Thursday: DE-Yannick Ngakoue, DT-Grover Stewart, DT-DeForest Buckner, DE-Kwity Paye, LB-E.J. Speed, LB-Zaire Franklin, LB-Bobby Okereke, CB-Kenny Moore, CB-Stephon Gilmore, S-Julian Blackmon, S-Rodney McLeod.
  • Guys that stood out at Thursday’s practice for a variety of reasons: LB-JoJo Domann, TE-Drew Ogletree, DT-DeForest Buckner, QB-Sam Ehlinger.

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 Thursday: DT-Chris Williams (left foot in a boot), OT-Dennis Kelly (knee), LB-Forrest Rhyne (undisclosed), WR-DeMichael Harris (undisclosed), DB-Brandon King (undisclosed), S-Armani Watts (undisclosed), RB-Ty’son Williams (undisclosed). C-Ryan Kelly (left knee) left practice for one team period, before returning later.

Weekly Camp Schedule

-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

-Thursday: 12:00 – 1:45 Practice

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