As Organized Team Activities got underway this week, the Indianapolis Colts held their first practice that was open to media on Wednesday.
With the team featuring so much change over the last two and a half months, this was the first chance for us to get our eyes on the likes of Matt Ryan, Alec Pierce, Stephon Gilmore, and many of the rest of the Colts' offseason acquisitions.
The Colts had already been doing light workouts and some on-field work for the last several weeks, but this week things really get started.
“Full-speed reps. Full-speed 7-on-7," Colts head coach Frank Reich responded when asked what the difference is between what these OTAs bring and what the Colts had already been doing during offseason workouts. "We’re not doing it in team period, but we’re doing it in 7-on-7. I think it’s the right balance. I think we thought long and hard about this and I think we all feel it’s been good work. I’ve thought many times over the last few weeks, ‘How have we not done this the last couple years?’ It’s been that good. Every rep has been really good.”
The Colts will hold another OTA practice open to the media next week, followed by a mandatory minicamp the following week, before another session of OTAs the week after gives them their last action until training camp begins near the end of July.
Here's what I observed at practice today.
— Arguably Ryan's best physical attribute as a quarterback is his accuracy and that was on full display on Wednesday. He threw with good timing and anticipation, throwing receivers open and fitting balls into tight windows. Ryan's day would've looked even better if not for some drops on perfectly-placed passes. His new backup, Nick Foles, showed off his arm strength as passes zipped out of his hand.
— Buy stock in Nyheim Hines. It's expected that he's going to have a big year and he looked like a guy with that intention. He was explosive, elusive, and caught the ball well. On one play early in 7-on-7s, he caught a pass to the outside and quickly shook linebacker Zaire Franklin. It likely would've been a legitimate big play in a game situation.
— Second-year tight end Kylen Granson, who will face stiff competition from rookie draft picks Jelani Woods and Drew Ogletree, had a drop on Ryan's first pass of the day and then had a pass knocked out of his grasp shortly after.
— Speaking of tight ends, the pure size in that room is incredible. Seeing Woods (6'7", 253), Ogletree (6'5", 260), and even Michael Jacobson (6'7", 244) standing next to starter Mo Alie-Cox (6'5", 267) makes you think they could do some big (no pun intended) things in the red zone.
— Perennial All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson is showing clear leadership. That's nothing new for him but the offensive line has had more turnover this offseason than any other in his tenure, so guys like Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith leading the way will be important. Nelson could be seen talking shop with teammates one-on-one and directing the group where to line up for their position drills on at least one occasion.
— With Gilmore taking a light workload on Wednesday, the Colts featured a couple of aggressive cornerbacks in Isaiah Rodgers and Brandon Facyson who were both intentional in playing the ball and made multiple pass breakups.
— As was expected under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, get ready to see more single-high safety in 2022.
— Cornerback Kenny Moore II is present at the Colts facility but not working out on the field as he reportedly shows his desire for a new contract that will compensate him more fairly in today's cornerback market.
— Moore, linebacker Darius Leonard (ankle), edge defender Yannick Ngakoue, and safety Julian Blackmon (Achilles) all sat out on Wednesday. Wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. left early with tightness, and Gilmore was a limited participant.
What did you think about the first day of OTA practice? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!