INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts’ workload for Saturday’s second scrimmage at Lucas Oil Stadium focused mostly on the first teams for the first half of a swift practice that lasted just under two hours.
Quarterback Philip Rivers started hot in the no-huddle with six consecutive pass completions before the drive stalled and settled for a field goal. Running back Jonathan Taylor ended the streak with a dropped pass and defensive tackle Denico Autry batted down another.
A defense led by All-Pro tackle DeForest Buckner got back-to-back stops next. One was a three-and-out series. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad beat left tackle Anthony Castonzo for a sack.
Rivers eventually threw a 2-yard TD pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., then added a 47-yard scoring pass to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who caught the perfect pass in stride. Hilton celebrated with a brief tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, the “Black Panther” movie star who passed away Friday from colon cancer at the age of 42.
Rivers unofficially completed 17-of-28 passes with the two TDs. Jacoby Brissett completed 11-of-18 with one TD to Artavis Scott on a well-blocked screen. Pittman made three consecutive catches during that scoring drive. Rookie Jacob Eason was 3-of-4 with the lone blemish a drop, and Chad Kelly was 1-of-4, the latter two passers getting limited reps.
Taylor, the second-round selection who has impressed at camp, dropped another short pass later on.
Tight end Trey Burton suffered a left calf injury near the end of the first half and was assisted to the locker room. Head coach Frank Reich said Burton will miss “a little bit” of time, but expressed confidence that the tight end will heal quickly. Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle rested as a precaution due to a neck injury that’s kept him out of most of training camp. That provided more snaps for Mo Alie-Cox, who had a solid practice with some clutch receptions.
“Second day down at Lucas Oil, really got a lot done,” Reich said. “I’m excited about the work we got done out there. It was kind of mission accomplished, getting through the game-like routine of the day. That went well. I think we get a comfort level of what that routine looks like, so that was very important. It seems like a little minor detail, but very important just to put us in the right frame of mind. Secondly, (we) made big plays in all phases, so that was good. We’re looking for playmakers, guys who can make big plays. There was plenty of that to go around out there today.
“Also was looking for offensively, the goal – last Monday I thought we ran the ball pretty well down here. So today, there was a little bit of an emphasis on the pass game. I wanted to get a rhythm pass game going. I felt like we were able to do that for the most part. I feel pretty good about that. I thought the defense looked good and sharp making plays. The other thing we did is we had three kind of long extended drives really for conditioning purposes in the heat. We’ll be down in Jacksonville in two weeks and (we’re) wanting to get ready for that. Then some good stuff on special teams as well. So, all in all, a good day.”
Undrafted rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship got the best of incumbent Chase McLaughlin as he made 6-of-7 field goals to the latter’s 4-of-7. This was a reversal of Monday’s first workout at Lucas Oil Stadium, when McLaughlin had the edge on Blankenship. So stay tuned for another week before roster decisions have to be made.
“It’s exciting,” Reich said. “It’s good for the team. It’s good for those guys. Two good kickers, these are two NFL kickers right here. These guys both need to be playing in the league. They are doing a great job. We are just going to continue to evaluate everything, but they are handling it very well. So I’ll look forward to seeing the film from today, seeing the times, kick charts, and all that stuff. But they are handling it very well.”
(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is email@example.com.)