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2021 Colts Training Camp Journal, Day 14: Tempers Flare, Ehlinger Excels Under Pressure

On the final day of joint practices between the Colts and Panthers, tempers flared but the on-field product for both the Colts' offense and defense was a quality one. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

The Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers wrapped up their second day of joint practices on Friday as they rest tomorrow before they square off again during their preseason opener on Sunday.

It was a physical day, to say the least, as both offenses and defenses got after each other and tussled.

The Colts' offense was productive in two-minute and red-zone situations while the defense continued to have the upper hand over QB Sam Darnold and the Panthers offense.

All that and more in Thursday's Day 14 "Colts Training Camp Journal."

TEAM

— The following players did not participate in practice Friday: QB Carson Wentz (foot), WR Ashton Dulin (hamstring), RB Nyheim Hines (leg), LB E.J. Speed (knee), CB Nick Nelson (undisclosed), LB Skai Moore (back), G Quenton Nelson (foot), LB Jordan Glasgow (back), OL Danny Pinter (foot), DE Damontre Moore (knee), C Ryan Kelly (elbow), TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee), TE Noah Togiai (knee), DT Taylor Stallworth (hamstring), DeForest Buckner (foot).

— S Julian Blackmon (knee) returned to the field after missing the last two practices.

— In 1-on-1 drills pitting the Colts' wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends vs. the Panthers' linebackers and defensive backs, the Colts won by a score of 16 reps to 12. I scored an offensive win by a catch or penalty, and defensive wins by an incompletion or offensive penalty. Here's how it went: Donte Jackson def. Michael Pittman Jr.; Jack Doyle def. Juston Burris (penalty); Clay Johnston def. Jonathan Taylor; Jeremy Chinn def. Zach Pascal; Mike Strachan def. Rashaan Melvin; Tarik Black def. Jaycee Horn; Farrod Green def. LaDarius Wiley; Shaq Thompson def. Jet Anderson; Sam Franklin def. DeMichael Harris; Quartney Davis def. Keith Taylor; Jalen Julius def. Dezmon Patmon; Jordan Thomas def. Kenny Robinson (penalty); Jordan Wilkins def. Haason Reddick; Parris Campbell def. Doug Middleton; Stantley Thomas-Oliver def. Strachan; Horn def. Pittman; Doyle def. Sean Chandler (penalty); Benny LeMay def. Josh Bynes; Wiley def. Tyler Vaughns; Davis def. Troy Pride Jr.; Black def. Julius; Brian Cole def. Graham Adomitis; Deon Jackson def. Frankie Luvu; Chinn def. Pascal; Melvin def. Strachan; Patmon def. Horn (penalty); Green def. Franklin; Marlon Mack def. Jonathan Celestin

— The best play from this drill was the second to last when Colts TE Farrod Green scored against Panthers S Sam Franklin. The ball was bobbled at the catch point, and as Franklin began celebrating, Green came down with the ball as he fell to the ground.

— In 11-on-11s, the Colts' offense primarily worked on two-minute and red-zone situations.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger (4) gets ready for a one-on-one drill against the Carolina Panthers alongside Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (1) on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. Indianapolis Colts Host Carolina Panthers At Grand Park In Westfield Ind

OFFENSE

— It's almost a guarantee that there will be some sort of skirmish when you throw together teams for joint practices in training camp. It didn't take long for things to get heated between the Colts offense and Panthers defense, as the first series of 11-on-11s with the Colts offense and Panthers defense was disrupted by two fights and another one or two "debates." File away for future reference: RB Jonathan Taylor and WR Michael Pittman Jr. may be nice guys, but they are not push-overs.

— QBs Sam Ehlinger and Jacob Eason continued to split the first and second-team reps. After practice, Colts head coach Frank Reich stated that Eason will start vs. the Panthers on Sunday and play about a quarter and a half. Ehlinger will then do so in the following game against the Minnesota Vikings.

— Ehlinger went up first with the 1s. On the day, he went 13-of-17 passing (76.5%) in 11-on-11s with 1 touchdown (Green) and 3 sacks. He looked particularly sharp in the red zone. In one session, he threw a strike to Green right up the seam and into the end zone on the first play of the drive. In 7-on-7s, Ehlinger also connected with Pittman on a five-yard slant that went for a score. Ehlinger then hit WR T.Y. Hilton in the back of the end zone right after.

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— While Eason continued to take a little while to deliver the ball, he's beginning to look less jittery and is delivering some strikes with more confidence. He finished 10-of-15 passing (66.7%) in 11s with 1 touchdown (Hilton) and 2 sacks. He would've had a big play on fourth down but it was called back by a penalty away from the action, where he found Hilton roughly 30 yards down the left side. In 7-on-7s, he had a short touchdown to RB Jet Anderson where he found Anderson on a comeback at the goal line.

— Some highlight plays: In the red zone, a ball was bobbled at the catch point and Pittman pulled it in while on the ground. WR Dezmon Patmon made a nice snag on a comeback route with a defender draped all over him. RB Benny LeMay had a run that legitimately might've picked up big yardage due to the hole he found and angles the defenders were coming from.

— Your daily WR Mike Strachan highlight: During 11-on-11s, Ehlinger lofted the ball about 30-35 yards down the left sideline, hanging it in the air so Strachan could get under it and make a play. Strachan let the defender keep going while he slowed down to adjust to the ball and came down with it.

— Colts QB Brett Hundley was successful in the red zone during 7-on-7s. On two occasions, he bought time, made a few reads, and then hit WR Tyler Vaughns in the back of the end zone for scores. Hundley also found TE Graham Adomitis in the front of the end zone, and while Adomitis got popped right after he got hit, he held on.

— It was a physical, passionate day for Taylor. While he overall had a good performance, there was a play he'd like back. Ehlinger found him on a quick dump-off during 11-on-11s, and as Taylor ran about 25 yards downfield, Panthers DE Brian Burns tracked him down from behind and punched the ball out of Taylor's grasp for the fumble.

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Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) smiles as he's welcomed to the field to loud cheers from the crowd gathered Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, during a joint practice with the Carolina Panthers at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind. Indianapolis Colts Host Carolina Panthers At Grand Park In Westfield Ind

DEFENSE

— Yesterday, I focused on the defense, and then switched to the offense on Friday. With that being said, I didn't gather as much, but here were some Colts defensive highlights: DT Grover Stewart recorded a would-be sack, and DE Ben Banogu stuffed a running back for a loss. Both linemen have had an outstanding camp. CB Isaiah Rodgers took advantage of an errant throw by former Colts QB P.J. Walker and got both feet in bounds for an interception. During 7-on-7s, Colts CB Rock Ya-Sin also came down with an interception.

SPECIAL TEAMS

— Both Ks Rodrigo Blankenship and Eddy Pineiro were a perfect 4-of-4 on the day on field goals, converting from 33, 40, 47, and 53 yards during kicking drills. Then, Blankenship hit from 43 yards in a live team two-minute drill, and Pineiro hit from 45. Both players are perfect through 14 practices (although this is only about the fourth day they've kicked).

What did you think of Day 14 of #ColtsCamp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!

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