The Indianapolis Colts got underway for their first padded practice of 2021 training camp on Tuesday, and the physicality naturally rose.
After dominating their way through the first five practices, the defense laid claim to No. 6 as well, as they harassed the offense's backfield and swarmed in pass coverage.
With the injuries that the offense is experiencing, the Colts' defense is far too good for the current offense.
Here's how it all went down on Tuesday.
— One of the injuries the offense is now forced to trudge through is to superstar left guard Quenton Nelson. After quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a foot injury last Thursday, Nelson suffered a nearly identical injury on Monday. Nelson will have a procedure on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00pm ET that will keep him out 5-12 weeks, just like Wentz.
— The following players did not participate in practice Tuesday: Tarik Black (undisclosed), T.Y. Hilton (rest), J.J. Nelson (groin), Ashton Dulin (undisclosed), Jordan Wilkins (undisclosed), George Odum (undisclosed), Shawn Davis (hamstring), Rolan Milligan (undisclosed), Darius Leonard (ankle), Jordan Glasgow (back), Danny Pinter (illness), Ryan Kelly (elbow), Jack Doyle (rest), Taylor Stallworth (hamstring)
— Running back Nyheim Hines returned to practice and made his 2021 camp debut after missing the first five sessions with a hip injury. He was thrown right into this mix, returning punts on special teams, and running and catching the ball on offense.
— Of course, the competition level rose as the pads came on for the first time today. There was quite a bit of chirping going on between players of both the offense and defense and they put in their commentary from the sidelines.
— With the pads going on, it means the offensive and defensive linemen could begin really going at it again. With head coach Frank Reich observing his trench players among a lively group, I scored each rep of the 1-on-1s. I gave a "win" to the offensive lineman if he kept his man from getting to the marker on the field that he's attemtping to reach, and a "win" to the defensive lineman if he successfully reached the mark. Here's how it went: Kwity Paye def. Sam Tevi; DeForest Buckner def. Chris Reed; Grover Stewart def. Joey Hunt; Mark Glowinski def. Joey Ivie; Tyquan Lewis def. Braden Smith; Ben Banogu def. Will Holden; Will Fries def. Chris Williams; Jake Eldrenkamp def. Antwaun Woods; Andrew Brown def. Carter O'Donnell; Smith def. Isaac Rochell; Paye def. Tevi; Hunt def. Stewart; Buckner def. Glowinski; Jake Benzinger def. Kameron Cline; Banogu def. Holden; Williams def. Fries; Eldrenkamp def. Woods; Ivie def. O'Donnell; Smith def. Lewis; Paye def. Tevi; Brown def. Fries; Hunt def. Stewart; Glowinski def. Williams; Rochell def. Fries; Banogu def. Holden; Reed def. Ivie; Woods def. Fries; O'Donnell def. Cline; Smith def. Lewis; Tevi def. Paye; Ivie def. Eldrenkamp; Williams def. Fries; Glowinski def. Rochell; Cline def. O'Donnell.
— It was another inconsistent day for Jacob Eason as the first-team quarterback. He was 10-of-22 passing (45.5%) (H/T George Bremer) with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. On the interception, he perhaps would've been sacked first, but since it was Stewart who got the interception, I'm gonna give the big fella some love. Both touchdowns came in red-zone situations, and both went to Zach Pascal. On the first, Eason rolled out to his right and dumped the ball off to Pascal from about 10 yards out, and Pascal had a clear lane to the front pylon. The next one came in the same session and was from about four yards out when Eason found Pascal in the middle of the end zone. Something that has been evident in Eason's throws has been the inconsistent use of his arm strength. He will launch intermediate balls that sail over the receiver's head but then will loft downfield shots with seemingly no velocity that hang in the air.
— The first series of the day was a disaster for the first-team offense. They started out with two bobbled snaps between Eason and Hunt in the first three plays, and with Eason ending up on the ground twice. He then tried floating a screen pass to his left side that was intercepted by Stewart. After, Eason connected with Michael Pittman Jr. on a couple of productive slant routes, but cornerback T.J. Carrie punched the ball out of Pittman's grasp and caused a fumble. It was a "no good play goes unpunished" sort of day.
— While Eason was constantly under duress and searching for consistency, rookie Sam Ehlinger may have had his best day. His arm strength is nowhere near that of Eason's, but his timing and accuracy are much better. Ehlinger had a couple of impressive plays late in the two-minute live sessions. On one, he threw a pass that was batted by a defender, and Ehlinger caught the ball and scrambled toward the sideline for a few yards. He also capped off his final two-minute session by leading the offense down the field and finding tight end Farrod Green in the end zone from 15 yards out.
— During those two-minute sessions, Ehlinger looked to undrafted rookie receiver Tyler Vaughns often, and it went well other than a drop by Vaughns on a deep dig that was thrown low. The two connected on a few chunk plays across the field.
— Quarterback Jalen Morton connected with running back Benny LeMay in the end zone from about seven yards out for a score during red-zone work. LeMay leaped up and picked the ball out of the air.
— With Kelly out at center and Nelson out at left guard, Hunt and Reed got the first reps at those positions, respectively.
— Stewart was a man on a mission Tuesday. He began the 11-on-11 sessions by bulling over Eason during a loose ball on the first play and then did the same to his man when the offensive line vs. defensive line group drills began. He popped throughout the day.
— Buckner and Banogu each had at least two sacks on the day. At one point, quarterback Brett Hundley also got sacked by what appeared to be nearly the entire defensive line. This was just the latest big performance for Banogu, who seems to have notched a sack about every day at practice. Considering he'd been written off by many after a nearly nonexistent 2020 campaign, he's looked legit this summer.
— Along with Banogu, another young edge rusher who's done well is the Colts' first-round pick, Paye, who is particularly getting the better of Tevi. Tevi may be the team's starting left tackle until Eric Fisher returns. Paye has looked good against Tevi in 11-on-11s but it didn't get much prettier for Tevi once the two squared off in 1-on-1s for the first time in camp on Tuesday.
— Woods made a high-motor play when he busted through the link and mauled Hines in the backfield almost immediately.
— New full-time starting MIKE linebacker Bobby Okereke has been making some noise in camp for his range and skills in pass coverage. Tuesday was no different as he mobbed rookie tight end Kylen Granson on consecutive plays during the two-minute drill. Granson has been one of the offense's standouts in camp so far.
— There wasn't much going on with special teams today, but Hines, Isaiah Rodgers, and DeMichael Harris all fielded punts.
What did you think of Day 6 of #ColtsCamp? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!
Miss Anything During Camp? We've Got You Covered!
- Day 1: First Look at Wentz, More
- Day 2: Wentz, Eason Make Strong Impression
- Day 3: Eason Gets First-Team Reps, Young Pass Rushers Shine
- Day 4: Eason Starts Slow but Rebounds, Okereke Stars
- Day 5: Eason/Wentz Update, Defense Thrives While O-Line Flounders