Lot to watch, listen to, and process as the Colts took the field for Day One of their three-day mandatory minicamp.
Dozens of new players and coaches getting to know one another and come together as a cohesive unit. Some regulars missed today’s work for a variety of reasons, and another player frustrated with his contract took the field and worked rather than eat an $88K fine to make a point.
Here are the highlight takeaways from day one:
- Darius Leonard had a back “procedure” today. I assume that is Reich-ese for surgery. According to Reich, Leonard will miss the early portion of camp, but will be back in time for the opener.
- Kenny Moore worked a little bit today before being given the rest of the day off for precautionary reasons. The precaution was likely that Moore has no interest in risking injury while frustrated over his contract. Reich was asked whether Moore was there because an extension had been worked out, “Not that I’m aware of. Chris (Ballard) is handling that side of it. So, I just stay in communication with Kenny, just on a personal level and just optimistic that things will work out the right way.”
- Safety Khari Willis missed work for a personal reason, and has been granted an excused interest.
- Jonathan Taylor missed practice today “for precautionary reasons.”
- Matt Ryan was said by Reich to be “insane accurate,” and he wasn’t lying. Ryan didn’t miss a throw during seven-on-seven work. He put the ball exactly where it needed to be throw after throw after throw. The ball was where only the offensive player could get his hands on it. They were not all caught, but Ryan was on the money.
- Alec Pierce, the Colts top draft pick at #53 overall, looked alternately good and a little rough. Ryan pulled Pierce aside on a couple of occasions to mentor his young receiver. Every rep and word from Ryan is crucial for Pierce’s quick development – and Pierce’s quick development is key for the Colts to have a diverse and dynamic offense.
- Michael Pittman Jr. would have had a beautiful touchdown reception if not for blatant pass interference by Isaiah Rodgers. Rodgers has tremendous speed, so that tells you a little about the offseason work Pittman has done to increase his velocity.
- Quenton Nelson says he is healthy and strong, and when asked about a potential contract extension, he said, “Not my focus.”
- Rodrigo Blankenship wants to make every kick this year and believes his effective range at Lucas Oil Stadium is “to 60 yards.”
- Radio play-by-play voice Matt Taylor remains disconsolate after learning of the retirement of longtime Bloomington and Indiana University radio voice Joe Smith, whose voice and delivery Taylor has enjoyed imitating for years.
- My favorite off the radar UDFA to make the practice squad or roster is Ethan Fernea, who was a walk-on at UCLA before earning a scholarship as a special team kamikaze and seldom used running back and receiver. I saw him line up in the slot a little bit today, and liked him enough to check the roster to see who he was – which as we all know is the first step toward NFL millions!