The Colts held their first full-pads practice on Wednesday night. Many people, including myself, were looking forward to seeing how they did with their full gear in tow. More than 7,000 people showed up to show their support and the team did their part to wow the crowd. There were some positives and negatives from to be taken away from the event. As I have said before, I know it’s early, but last night’s practice gave the team something to finally build from.
The super offense that so many had been raving about had been the talk of camp so far. So many people were saying that the weapons that Luck has at his disposal should translate to an enormous amount of points on the scoreboard. The offense last night did have a lot of good moments, however, Luck wasn’t his typical self last night. He hadn’t thrown a pick in the practices leading up to the Wednesday night practice, but he didn’t leave the field that way.
Luck was picked off three times last night. Darius Bulter, Greg Toler and Vontae Davis all made plays against their standout teammate, but Davis’ interception was the most impressive. Davis was covering T.Y. Hilton one-on-one and had to make a great adjustment for the interception. Davis has been talked about as the best corner the Colts have and the thought is that this season the team could allow Davis to move to the the side of the field that the opponent’s best receiver is on. This is a big change to what he is accustomed to as he hasn’t moved from the left side of the field since his time in Indy. He has owned that side so teams were starting to put their top talent against Davis’ counterpart Greg Toler. By allowing Davis to move on the field to cover the best receiver it should take away some of the doubt if that receiver will burn the team for a lot of yards and/or touchdowns.
It was announced last night after the practice had concluded that Robert Mathis’ time table for return is late September to early October. This is great news for the team and it’s fans. We know now that he is progressing and the team can announce publically that they have a time table for return. In his absence it seems that Erik Walden and Trent Cole will be the starting outside linebackers with phenom Jonathan Newsome and potential bust Bjoern Werner backing them up.
Frank Gore showed last night that he may be getting older but he still has some moves. He had a great touchdown run that included a vicious side step to free himself from a would-be tackler. Gore has impressed thus far and I can’t say I’m surprised. Yes, he is older, but he is a running back that is smart and hasn’t taken as much punishment as many think he has. I won’t say he is a pro bowler this year, but he is a lot better than any option we have had since the Luck era began.
Pep Hamilton stated yesterday before practice started that he is impressed with the evolution of Duron Carter. He stated that Carter is getting better every day and makes an amazing play at least once per practice. He did just that during the night practice making a great catch in which he had to make a major adjustment even get near the ball. Carter is someone that I hadn’t heard much about and I’m glad that he is showing well in camp thus far. I’m pulling for him and hope that he can make the 53-man roster.
Some unfortunate news came out of camp last night as well. Guard Ben Heenan fell with an injury and had to be carted off the field. The injury has still not been announced so the hope is that he will be okay and just needs some time to re-cooperate. However, that time he will miss will only make his chances that much more difficult to land one of the 53 spots at the end of camp. Ballard was held out of practice as well after pulling up and grasping his hamstring the day before. The reports stated that after he grabbed his hamstring that he was okay. More than likely him being held out was precautionary as the team wants to ease him into everything. I doubt Ballard sees much action until the second half of the second preseason game.
In conclusion, I feel somewhat sheepish for posting an article yesterday putting the defense on blast though I’m very happy to see that the defense, especially the defensive backfield, is already working at full capacity. Luck reminds me of Brett Favre as he doesn’t hesitate to make a risky throw. Having to face a solid defensive backfield in practice though may make him think twice about throwing into double coverage as much this year. As camp moves forward I can only hope that last night’s practice gives the team something to build off of and they can only get better. This team still is a Super Bowl contender whether the NFL Network analysts think so or not.