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2021 Colts Training Camp Journal, Day 11: Eason/Ehlinger Split with 1s, Leonard Returns

During Tuesday's practice, QBs Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason split first-team reps, LB Darius Leonard returned from his ankle injury, and QB Carson Wentz and G Quenton Nelson make an appearance. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

The Indianapolis Colts returned to the practice field on Tuesday after a day off as they gear up for their preseason opener this Sunday against the visiting Carolina Panthers.

The visitors actually come into town early this week for a pair of joint practices with the Colts at Grand Park Sports Campus on Thursday and Friday.

With that being the case, this isn't your usual week of training camp for the Colts.

So, what happened Tuesday? Oh, just a shift in the quarterback competition, a huge return by one of the team's biggest stars, and a sighting of two other injured stars.

I was not able to be in attendance on Tuesday, but I collected notes from some of my colleagues who were there. Make sure to catch the Twitter accounts of Kevin Bowen, George Bremer, Joel Erickson, Stephen Holder, and Zak Keefer for more.

I will be back in Westfield, Ind. at Grand Park later this week for the joint practices.

TEAM

— The following players did not participate in practice Sunday: QB Carson Wentz (foot), WR Ashton Dulin (hamstring), S Julian Blackmon (knee), CB Nick Nelson (undisclosed), LB Skai Moore (back), G Quenton Nelson (foot), LB Jordan Glasgow (back), OT Braden Smith (rest), DE Damontre Moore (knee), C Ryan Kelly (elbow), TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee), TE Noah Togiai (knee), DT Taylor Stallworth (hamstring), DeForest Buckner (foot).

— Starting RT Braden Smith was designated as a rest day, but he had a boot on his left foot. After practice, head coach Frank Reich reiterated it was "just maintenance." With that being the case, RG Mark Glowinski was the only usual starting offensive lineman in the lineup today.

— Rookie TE Kylen Granson (knee) returned to the field after sitting out the last two practices. However, the biggest return of the day was All-Pro LB Darius Leonard (ankle), who is fresh off signing a shiny, new contract last week. Leonard was said to be limited in live sessions, taking just a couple of snaps before relinquishing his WILL spot back to E.J. Speed.

— QB Carson Wentz and G Quenton Nelson, both of whom had foot surgery last week, made an appearance out on the field, sans walking boots. The Colts won't have a better idea of their timetable for return until about two weeks post-op.

— The Colts made a couple of roster moves early on Tuesday, signing free agent LB Curtis Bolton and waiving OT Jake Benzinger.


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (second from right) with other quarterbacks at Grand Park in Westfield on Monday, August 10, 2021, on the third week of workouts of this summer's Colts training camp. Wentz Back At Colts Camp

OFFENSE

— QBs Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason split the reps with the first-team offense today, each of them getting two live sessions. Eason has been the first-team QB in the other eight practices since Wentz went down, but Ehlinger got the first crack at it on Tuesday. According to Reich, the pair will continue to split reps throughout the week, but Eason is likely to start Sunday against Carolina.

— While Ehlinger has looked sharp and efficient throughout camp, his debut with the 1s wasn't quite as smooth. Like Eason has had to deal with all camp, the shortages on the offensive line are leading to domination from the Colts' starting defense. Ehlinger went 5-of-11 passing (45.5%) in 11-on-11s with two sacks but did find a different receiver on each completion. That includes a dart to WR T.Y. Hilton for roughly 15-20 yards.

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— Eason had one of his better camp performances, if not the best on Tuesday. He was 9-of-10 (90.0%) with one sack, and like Ehlinger, found a different receiver on each completion. Eason came right onto the field with the second unit and delivered a strike downfield to WR Dezmon Patmon for approximately 50 yards. Eason's deep ball has been shaky lately, so that's good to see. Eason was also noted for displaying good pocket mobility as well as throwing a couple of other impressive balls.

— After a very slow start to camp, Patmon has really picked things up in the last few practices. He's now had big-time deep grabs in the last two practices, and he's making catches in 1-on-1s and 11-on-11s on a more routine basis. That's great news for him since there are a couple of receiver spots up for grabs.

— OT Julién Davenport wasn't on top of his game, as he was dinged for two false starts Tuesday. Nelson was seen speaking with him to the side after.

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Indianapolis Colts defensive end Tyquan Lewis (94) at Grand Park in Westfield on Monday, August 10, 2021, on the third week of workouts of this summer's Colts training camp. Wentz Back At Colts Camp

DEFENSE

— Sacks have been beyond commonplace for the Colts' first and second-team defensive units throughout camp, and Tuesday was no different. DEs Tyquan Lewis and Ben Banogu were both credited with sacks (check this out on Banogu), and LB Zaire Franklin and DE Isaac Rochell shared one as well.

— DT Grover Stewart has been a menace for the offensive line pretty much every day. Tuesday, he was able to swat one of Ehlinger's passes at the line of scrimmage.

— Speed has also continued to impress as he attempts to keep his spot as Leonard's first backup at WILL as well as a potential spot as the starting SAM linebacker. Tuesday, Speed sniffed out a screen pass during 11s and killed it upon arrival.

— Since seeing some action with the first team at free safety in Julian Blackmon's absence, I've been asked about Andre Chachere's performance. Well, today he was able to grab an interception during 1-on-1 drills. The Colts love his versatility.

What did you think of Day 11 of #ColtsCamp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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