WESTFIELD, Ind. — Colts coach Frank Reich had a message for quarterback Jacob Eason during Wednesday’s training camp practice at Grand Park: “Hey, that’s the way to bounce back.”
After some struggles on Tuesday, Eason and the Colts’ offense put in a strong morning of work Wednesday during the team’s second padded practice of training camp. Eason made some aggressive and confident throws, like when he used his arm strength to zip a pass into a tight window to wide receiver Zach Pascal over the middle during 11 on 11 work.
“Today, right from the start, very first period — I’m sure you guys could see it and feel it, and that was starting with Jacob,” Reich said.
Reich noted Wednesday’s practice was lighter on install, and the Colts’ offense began repeating plays that were installed earlier in camp. That helped with the offense’s better execution, as did Eason and the rest of the players having a generally good day.
And practices like the one Eason had Wednesday are part of the growing process for Eason as he builds a foundation of confidence ahead of his preseason debut Aug. 15 at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Carolina Panthers.
“Confidence is a big deal, and there’s only one way to get it and that’s execute,” Reich said. “Execute and stack play by play. The quarterback position’s tough, you’re dependent on a lot of other guys, so you can have a few things go wrong that sometimes aren’t your fault but it reflects on you. But that’s the job. You still gotta find ways to overcome that. Today was a good day for all the quarterbacks but Jacob in particular.”
Nelson follows Wentz with successful procedure on foot
Like the foot procedure quarterback Carson Wentz underwent 24 hours prior, the same procedure on left guard Quenton Nelson “went as well as can be expected,” Reich said.
“Same good report, in and out, everything else looks good,” Reich continued. “Talked to him this morning, was in good spirits. You all know Quenton’s got this intensity about him — I can assure you that after having the procedure that intensity didn’t change one bit. Just talking about how he’s going to approach the next few weeks to continue to get better every day. He’s not going to waste a day. He’s already given me his plan every day, so love his approach.”
Nelson took to Instagram to offer an update Wednesday morning, too, writing:
“3rd surgery of the offseason in the books, no time for pity. ** that. Truth is, I’m thankful, thankful the early part of the time table says 5 weeks. That gives me 5 weeks to do everything I can physically and mentally to be ready to go Week 1 to smash these goals.”
Reich pleased with O-line’s work
With Nelson (foot), center Ryan Kelly (elbow) and left tackle Eric Fisher (Achilles’) all out, the Colts are practicing without 60 percent of their projected starting offensive line. And yet, every day Jonathan Taylor still rips off an explosive run or two (or three) while Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines pick up productive carries.
So while the Colts’ defensive line has been swarming over the last week, Reich said he’s happy with how the offensive line has responded to needing so many next men up. And the reps guys like Danny Pinter, Chris Reed and Sam Tevi are getting now should only help bolster the Colts’ depth later.
“I think the O-line, even without Eric, without Quenton, without Ryan, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been very impressed with the offensive line, without those guys in there,” Reich said. “I feel like we’re running the ball in camp, now that the pads are on I think there’s a lot of good things showing up. I feel really good about the depth that we’re building and I think some of these guys have proven they can play starting football for us if needed.”
- Linebacker Bobby Okereke had *another* pass break-up on Wednesday. The third-year linebacker has been one of the brightest bright spots for the Colts over the first week of training camp.
- Linebacker E.J. Speed has had a solid start to camp, too, and did a good job reading and reacting to a wide receiver screen to sniff it out early in 11 on 11 work. “Having E.J. and Bobby Okereke out there in coverage is, for a linebacker coach, it’s nice because they’re both long, athletic, they can make plays on the ball,” linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi said. “They’re both really rangy, athletic, quick, instinctive players.”
- Quarterback Sam Ehlinger hit a nice downfield shot to wide receiver Gary Jennings off play-action in team drills.
- Defensive end Ben Banogu had another impressive practice, highlighted by some solid reps in one-on-one drills.
- Defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis had a pressure early in practice, the kind that could’ve been a sack in a game.
- Cornerback Kenny Moore II had a flash rep when he played sticky coverage on wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and broke up a pass intended for the veteran receiver in 11 on 11.
- A highlight from Eason we didn’t mention earlier: He did a good job of reading a blitz and getting the ball out quick to wide receiver Parris Campbell in 11-on-11. Campbell had a few flashes, too, as the 2019 second-round pick continues to stack practices.
- Two other defensive highlights: Safety Ibraheim Campbell blew up a screen and linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi had an interception in team work.
“I didn’t think he was human. He’s probably still not human. He’s probably going to be back quicker than we think. – Running back Nyheim Hines on left guard Quenton Nelson