The Indianapolis Colts returned to the practice field after having Sunday off. The crowd has remained steady even as the temperature increased, producing an unpleasant afternoon.
The biggest absence from practice today was wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. He was given the day off, which is odd considering the team just had a day off. The reasoning was apparently precautionary but it comes on the heels of some interesting comments from offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I can say that I’ve seen enough,” Hamilton said. “I think he is still working to get himself in game shape.”
That’s what Hamilton said to Tom James from the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.
It is a rather ominous quote but Nicks hasn’t looked bad in camp so far. It’s clear his timing with Andrew Luck isn’t quite there yet, but he is definitely more reliable than Darrius Heyward-Bey and a proven wide receiver in the NFL.
This likely just means that the Colts will lean more heavily on T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, and the tight ends for their passing needs (at least early on). If Nicks is out again tomorrow, then its likely due to a legitimate injury.
Backup inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was taken off the field on a cart late in the day. No word on the injury, but it appeared to be something with his lower leg.
Here’s what stood out from practice today:
- Safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Vontae Davis were back at practice today. Both players were on a play count, but they appeared to be fine and neither suffered a setback. Landry was in for 15 snaps while Davis had 10.
- Trent Richardson is looking good out of the backfield. He is hitting the gaps quickly and decisively. For some reason thought the team keeps lining him up on the outside (either pre-snap or via motion from Luck) and it never produces anything.
- Donte Moncrief is impressive. He has considerably more polish than you would expect from a rookie taken late in the third round. It helps that he has been staying close to Wayne at all times and asking for advice.
- In one-on-one drills, Moncrief had a great catch in the back corner of the endzone off a fade from Luck. He caught it over the DBs outstretched arms and managed to stay in bounds.
- In 11-on-11, he fought off press coverage and made another back of the endzone touchdown reception. He is a nice big target at the position too.
- How Wayne consistently manages to get open is staggering. He’s using subtle moves to lull the defense to sleep before and explosive cut that creates space, and Luck is great at anticipating the cuts. Wayne likely would have had a touchdown on one play in seven-on-seven and that prompted the defense to double-team him on the next snap.
- While Wayne appears to be healthy, he won’t play on Thursday vs the Jets.
- The defense has been able to consistently bring pressure on Luck. Its hard to judge based on half-hearted blocking in practice, but there were a few impressive plays.
- Bjoern Werner is consistent pushing the pocket, which should translate to sacks in a live game.
- Robert Mathis and Erik Walden had a play where they both dominated the tackles and would have sandwiched Luck under normal circumstances.
- Jerrell Freeman had a sack coming up the middle on a delay. It was perfectly timed and Luck had nowhere to go.
- Rookie Jonathan Newsome shows promise with the rush. He had a few pressures today and would have likely had at least once sack against Matt Hasselbeck.
- There was some chippiness between some of the backups late in the day. Running back Zurlon Tipton and safety Colt Anderson got into it after a play. Anderson was a little heavy with the mock tackle at the end of a play and Tipton moving too fast creating a collision. There was a lot of shoving but ultimately it was short lived and nothing happened.
The Colts return to practice tomorrow at 1:50 PM in Anderson. They’ll have Wednesday off as they travel to New York to face the Jets on Thursday.