Colts Minicamp Journal: 'Really Like Where Team is Heading into Camp'

Despite the distraction of Anthony Richardson's shoulder, Shane Steichen is pleased with where the Indianapolis Colts are headed after a productive minicamp.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen watches players stretch Wednesday, June 5, 2024, during practice at the Colts Practice Facility in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen watches players stretch Wednesday, June 5, 2024, during practice at the Colts Practice Facility in Indianapolis. / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY
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The Indianapolis Colts have concluded their three-day, mandatory veteran minicamp and now head into a six-week hiatus before training camp begins in late July.

While discussion about the team this week was dominated by the health status of quarterback Anthony Richardson's recovering shoulder, there were some takeaways from the action on the field.

“It was a great camp," Colts head coach Shane Steichen reflected. "Guys flew around these last three days. We had a nice, fun competition at the end to end it off. But really like where our team is at heading into training camp.”

Here is what Horseshoe Huddle observed on the field over the last three days.


— As for injuries to players coming into minicamp, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. remained out after banging knees with cornerback Jaylon Jones two weeks ago. Steichen acknowledged last week that they're just being cautious with Pittman and that he could practice if they needed him to. Jones hasn't missed any time. Right tackle Braden Smith remained out after undergoing a procedure on his knee earlier in the offseason. Wide receiver Ashton Dulin, who suffered an ACL tear last summer, has yet to practice but has been present each day that the media has been present. Cornerback Chris Lammons remained out but was no longer donning the boot on his left leg and crutches that he has been seen using during OTAs. Cornerback Ameer Speed (undisclosed) also remained out.

— We will dive into Richardson's shoulder situation briefly, but first, injuries that occurred this week during practice or were learned about this week. Wide receiver Alec Pierce did not practice this week, and Steichen later revealed that Pierce got a foot stepped on last week in practice. Second-year defensive back Michael Tutsie didn't practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Unfortunately, second-year safety Daniel Scott suffered a torn Achilles in practice last week, according to Steichen. Scott missed his rookie year last year with a torn ACL. As for Richardson's shoulder, he was limited in the second half of Wednesday's practice and was limited again and did not throw during Thursday's practice. He experienced shoulder soreness during Wednesday's practice, so he was held out for precautionary reasons Thursday. Per Richardson and Steichen, occasional soreness is still to be expected at this stage of Richardson's recovery. The team did not want to force him to throw on the final day of minicamp.

— With a long summer break incoming, veteran minicamp typically ends with some sort of fun team exercise or competition. On Thursday, the Colts had defensive end Kwity Paye, offensive tackle Blake Freeland, and linebacker E.J. Speed throw footballs at a tackling dummy that was being driven across the field on a cart. Speed won the competition.

The team announced some roster moves on Thursday afternoon, signing undrafted free agents cornerback Clay Fields III and wide receiver Derek Slywka while placing Scott on Injured Reserve and waiving interior offensive lineman Jack Anderson.


— Richardson did get some brief action on the field this week, going 5-of-7 passing (71.4%) during 11-on-11 drills with completions to wide receivers Josh Downs (3) and D.J. Montgomery as well as running back Jonathan Taylor. While we can't tell much about the offense at this point of the calendar in terms of changes, it doesn't appear the Colts are going to shy away from using Richardson's legs to make plays.

— Richardson's backup, Joe Flacco, saw the majority of first-team work during 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s due to Richardson's decreased workload. Flacco was aggressive throughout the week, often targeting downfield shots, which worked about half the time. Flacco was particularly intentional in targeting rookie receiver Anthony Gould, which resulted in a pair of deep completions downfield.

— Richardson and Flacco were quite productive in red zone drills during Tuesday's practice, as Richardson found rookie receiver AD Mitchell from about 10 yards out for a score while Flacco shredded the defense three times for scores in quick succession, connecting with Ethan Fernea, Montgomery, and Mo Alie-Cox.

— Incumbent QB3 Sam Ehlinger had a roller coaster minicamp, with a couple of highlights including a touchdown to receiver Tyrie Cleveland in the back of the end zone over the tight coverage of safeties Marcel Dabo and Kendell Brooks. On Thursday, Ehlinger also tossed a short route to running back Evan Hull, which bounced off the intended receiver's hands and through the air before Fernea dove for the ball and came down with it.

— There isn't much of a valid QB3 competition yet. Ehlinger exclusively saw the QB3 reps while Richardson was active, with rookie undrafted free agent Kedon Slovis getting some reps on Thursday. So far, Jason Bean hasn't factored in outside of positional drills while Slovis has only seen 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 action while Richardson was out, which moved everyone else on the QB depth chart up a peg. We'll see if anything changes when training camp rolls around.

— Young guys continue to show out, particularly Mitchell and Gould. Not only did Mitchell sign his rookie contract this week, but he has shown a great rapport with Richardson, particularly downfield in big-play situations. Gould also had the big plays with Flacco, along with getting work in the return game.

— Last week, I told you to expect a lot of Downs in 2024 due to the volume he saw in OTAs (obviously inflated due to Pittman's absence). Nothing's changed.

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— There were some pass ruh standouts, particularly on Wednesday. Defensive tackles DeForest Buckner and Taven Bryan both got through for would-be sacks versus Richardson. Rookie first-round pick Laiatu Latu also stood out particularly from the perspective of how he explodes off the ball. He never looks unprepared when coming into contact with a blocker, and he is incredibly smooth/efficient.

— Linebacker Austin Ajiake got the defense on the board with an interception on Tuesday off of Ehlinger, who dumped the ball off over the middle into Ajiake's arms, who was waiting just outside the defense's goal line.

— There doesn't seem to be much change (yet) in the competition for CB3 between Jaylon Jones and Dallis Flowers, and free safety between Nick Cross and Rodney Thomas II. Jones and Cross have consistently seen the first looks at these spots although the groups are rotating first-team reps.


— We finally saw the team practicing the new kickoff return format, with running back Tyler Goodson, Gould, Downs, Kenny Moore II, and Flowers all participating in the return aspect in some form.

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Jake Arthur


Jake Arthur has covered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for a decade. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) and FantasyPros' expert panel. He has also contributed to multiple NFL Draft guides.