6 takeaways from Day 4

9 takeaways from Day 3

The Indianapolis Colts were back on the field Tuesday for training camp at the Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield.

Though this was the fourth practice of training camp, it was the first time the Colts threw on the pads and got physical. These are the types of practices that truly show the separation in the position battles.

We also put together a quick roundup of the practice that includes news, notes and highlights from the session.

Here are six takeaways from Day 4 of Colts training camp:

1 Attendance

AP Photo/AJ Mast

LB Shaquille Leonard (back) and WR Mike Strachan (knee) remained on the PUP list and did not practice Tuesday. OT Carter O’Donnell (undisclosed) and WR John Hurst (ankle) were placed on the injured reserve list before practice. Because they were placed on the list now and not after roster cuts, their season is over unless they receive an injury settlement. DT Chris Williams (foot) and OT Dennis Kelly (knee) did not practice Tuesday. TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee) returned Tuesday after tweaking his knee in the final practice of the first week. He was limited in his return but was practicing nonetheless.

2 Offense had red zone struggles

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Though Ryan’s completion percentage on the day was nothing to scoff at (7-of-11), the offense seemed to struggle during the red-zone drills to end the day.

Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan noted that the defense won the majority of red-zone and two-point drills regardless of which units were on the field.

“While 7-of-11 is a fine day on the stat sheet, Ryan and the entire offense had some red-zone struggles on Tuesday. The veteran quarterback even had a couple of ball security issues on Tuesday. When the offense was put into a two-point competition to end the day, it was the defense winning two of those three situations, which led to the offense running suicides after practice.”

Seeing the defense thrive against the offense in that area of ​​the field is encouraging. On the flip side, it’s not encouraging to see the offense struggle like that on the first day of wearing pads. That’s the duality of training camp.

3 Bobby Okereke, Zaire Franklin won the day

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The stars of the day on the defensive side of the ball appeared to come from the middle of the defense. While Okereke has been working at his typical spot as the starting MIKE linebacker, Franklin has been working as the replacement for Shaquille Leonard.

According to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, the duo shined when the pads came on for the first time Tuesday.

“Okereke and running mate Zaire Franklin were monsters throughout the day. Okereke had the sack, laid a physical hit on Mo Alie-Cox to break up what looked like a sure touchdown and made several plays. Franklin, for his part, flashed with a pass breakup and a couple of nice plays in the running game, including a flying hit of Nyheim Hines on the outside.”

It isn’t clear how much longer Leonard will be out, but Franklin has been the clear favorite to work as his replacmenet.

4 Offensive highlights

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Though it was noted that the offense didn’t have its best day, that doesn’t mean the unit was completely dead. There were plenty of highlights on that side of the ball, including a long touchdown catch from Michael Pittman Jr. and Matt Ryan.

In addition, backup quarterback Nick Foles had a quietly strong day throwing the football, according to Joel A. Erickson of The Indianapolis Star.

“On one play, a beautiful move from Michael Pittman Jr. and a perfect pump fake from Ryan fooled cornerback Brandon Facyson badly, and Pittman Jr. got free for a gain of 40 or more yards. Hines showcased his speed on the outside at times, and Foles made several tight-window throws in the red zone, hitting Ashton Dulin and Keke Coute without much space to work with.

Even the other two quarterbacks had nice moments. Undrafted free agent Jack Coan threaded the needle on a nice touchdown pass to Nikola Kalinic, and late in the session, and a scrambling Ehlinger found Isaiah Ford for a touchdown with a strike.”

The connection between Pittman Jr. and Ryan is the biggest highlight here. It’s crucial for them to find a connection quickly as the season approaches.

5 Kickers in the spotlight

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

For the first time at camp, the media got a chance to see the kicking competition between incumbent starter Rodrigo Blankenship and Jake Verity, who signed with the team in January on a futures contract.

Both kickers were perfect on the day, converting all four of their attempts from 32, 40, 46 and 52 yards. It was the first time the kickers went at it as the Colts try to find their starter for the 2022 season.

6 UDFA LBs making some noise

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

As is typically the case with the Colts, an undrawn free agent is likely going to make the initial 53-man roster. And there’s a good chance a linebacker is among those players that make it. The only question is, which one?

The Colts have a solid group of undrawn rookie free agent linebackers at camp, and several of them had their moment in the sun Tuesday with the pads finally on.

According to Joel A. Erickson of The Indianapolis Star, a trio of undrafted free agent linebackers were making plays.

Nebraska’s JoJo Domann broke up a pass and made an impressive tackle of Phillip Lindsay in the hole. Clemson’s James Skalski got his hand on a Coan pass, and Miami of Ohio’s Sterling Weatherford leaped high to knock away an Ehlinger throw in the end zone.”

Domann and Weatherford dominated the spring practices and are likely the favorites for one of the spots. Skalski is a sleeper to keep an eye on, especially for special teams work, while Forrest Rhyne out of Villanova rounds out the group.

7 What’s next?

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Colts will be back on the field Wednesday for their fifth practice of training camp at the Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield starting at noon.

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