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2021 Colts Training Camp Journal, Day 17: Colts Gear Up for Vikings, Heavy On 11-on-11s

Ahead of their preseason matchup with the Vikings, the Colts relied heavily on 11-on-11 and special teams drills during Thursday's practice. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

The Indianapolis Colts gear up to travel north and take on the Minnesota Vikings this Saturday, but first, they got in one more padded training camp practice on Thursday.

With a game ahead of them and the regular season just three weeks away, the Colts are beginning to hone in further on preparation as Thursday's practice was heavily based on 11-on-11 drills and special teams.

All that and more in Thursday's Day 17 "Colts Training Camp Journal."

TEAM

— The following players did not participate in practice on Wednesday: QB Carson Wentz (foot), CB Xavier Rhodes (undisclosed), CB T.J. Carrie (knee), CB Marvell Tell III (groin), LB Malik Jefferson (undisclosed), LB E.J. Speed (knee), G Quenton Nelson (foot), DE Kemoko Turay (shoulder), OL Danny Pinter (foot), C Ryan Kelly (elbow), TE Noah Togiai (knee).

— During practice, Kelly and OT Eric Fisher (PUP, Achilles) could be seen off to the side working together on Kelly's shotgun snaps and get-off.

— In 11-on-11s, the Colts' offense primarily worked on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd downs, empty backfield sets, high and low red zone, and end-of-game situations.


Indianapolis Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox (81) and other players warm up during the day's Colts camp practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Colts Camp

OFFENSE

— Both QBs Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger were given ample opportunity for reps with the first team. Thursday, Eason began the day with the 1s.

— Eason finished 11-of-14 passing (78.6%) with 1 touchdown pass, 1 touchdown run, and 1 interception. It really was another sharp day for him, even despite the interception. On the play, Eason fired a pass to WR Zach Pascal in the red zone but Pascal slipped and CB Isaiah Rodgers was there to make a really impressive grab as he was bent backward at the time. Eason had a number of solid throws including many different depths of the field. One of his best was his touchdown strike to WR Mike Strachan in the back of the end zone. He took advantage of his 6'5" target's length, putting the ball where only he could get it. Strachan then leaped up and got both feet in bounds for the score.

— Ehlinger finished 9-of-10 (90.0%) on the day, polishing a very efficient day after struggling on Wednesday. He elected for lots of check-downs and short completions, distributing four of his completions to running backs or tight ends, and multiple completions coming in the form of screens to his receivers. His escapability was also on full display.

— WR Michael Pittman Jr. was the favorite of Ehlinger on Thursday. He pulled in three catches of his own, including what appeared to be a legitimate gain of chunk yardage on a bubble screen.

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Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye (51) comes onto the field during the day's Colts camp practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Colts Camp

DEFENSE

— It was another banner day for DE Ben Banogu, who I counted with another 3 sacks on Thursday. The third-year defensive end has had a sack nearly every day of camp and has set up shop in the offense's backfield.

— Some defensive highlights: rookie DE Kwity Paye had a tackle for loss early in 11-on-11s, arriving at the catch point of a screen pass almost immediately. On another play, DTs Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner blew up the interior line and absorbed RB Nyheim Hines at the line of scrimmage, making it look effortless as to say, "Yeah, that's not happenin'." Always sneaking into the offense's backfield, CB Kenny Moore II also had a tackle for loss at the defense's 5-yard line during red-zone work as he killed a bubble screen upon arrival. DT Joey Ivie also had a highly noticeable tackle for loss as he shot through the line on a run play.


Indianapolis Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (3) kicks during the day's Colts camp practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Colts Camp

SPECIAL TEAMS

— Kickers Rodrigo Blankenship and Eddy Pineiro continued their perfection on Thursday, as both connected on three field goals during drills of 32, 38, and 46 yards. Neither player has missed a kick this summer throughout camp or the preseason.

— Punt coverage gunners for Thursday were S George Odum, WR Ashton Dulin, DB Andre Chachere, WR DeMichael Harris, and CB Rock Ya-Sin.

What did you think of Day 17 of #ColtsCamp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!

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