Colts OTA Notebook: Defense Missing Several Injured Starters
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INDIANAPOLIS – The OTA portion of the offseason has concluded for the Colts.
Three mini-camp practices next week is all that is left in the team’s offseason program under Frank Reich.
Thursday offered another open OTA session for the media and below are the following observations from practice:
- Several expected defensive starters remain out. Safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers continue to rehab together in the indoor facility. Quincy Wilson, who has been in and out this spring, wasn’t practicing on Thursday. Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard continues to be sidelined. All 4 of these young players could really use practice reps for their early development. Frank Reich isn't really in the mood to offer too much detail on these injured guys right now.
- Andrew Luck remains on the same schedule this week, rehabbing instead of minimal practice participation. Reich said the Colts are still “very encouraged” about where Luck is at. The quarterback is not expected to throw during next week’s minicamp. Reich would not comment if there are any remaining physical hurdles for Luck to clear before throwing. Rather it’s the “instinct as a player to know when you’re ready to go” Reich said when talking about Luck moving on to throwing an NFL football.
- Chris McCain was absent on Thursday. Frank Reich said the Colts and McCain mutually agreed to keep the defensive end off the practice field until the legal process plays out on him being charged with battery, stemming from a January incident. Reich said the Colts are still gathering information on the McCain situation. The head coach said McCain is not suspended. However, this time away for McCain isn’t ideal for a guy competing for a roster spot at a crowded position group. Reich wouldn’t say if the Colts knew about the McCain incident before signing him in May.
- Anthony Castonzo didn’t practice on Thursday. He’s been sidelined for a decent amount of OTAs over the last 3 weeks. With Castonzo out, Joe Haeg took reps as the first-team left tackle. Even though Austin Howard was practicing on Thursday, Denzelle Good was taking the majority of the first-team reps at right tackle. In the past few weeks, Howard has been the starter.
- Undrafted rookie linebacker Skai Moore was back in the lineup on Thursday and even got some first-team action. Moore, who had a very accomplished career at South Carolina, definitely has a chance to make this roster.
- Frank Reich loves what Eric Ebron has shown this spring, including in the classroom. Ebron is lining up all over the field and lauds the versatility that this offense prides itself on.
- Deon Cain flashed on Thursday. Cain made two impressive catches in the back of the end zone (one toe tap, and another quickly coming out of his break). Reich said after Thursday’s practice that the consistency of the rookie has been noticeable. Cain is definitely a name to watch when Training Camp arrives in a month and a half.
- Linebacker Tyrell Adams was again receiving some first-team reps for a second straight week. The linebacker position remains majorly up for grabs. Reich says that seeing defensive instincts when full pads come on in camp will clear up that picture. Anthony Walker slid over to a starting WILL at times Thursday.
- Jabaal Sheard says that Tarell Basham is “more drive, more focused” this offseason. Sheard and Basham have been the team’s starting defensive ends all spring.
- It’s been a nice spring for Jacoby Brissett. He looks comfortable and confident in his decision making. That has to be a far cry from how Brissett's previous two offseasons have gone, with hardly any starting reps.
- Rookie Kemoko Turay wasn’t spotted during team reps on Thursday. Fellow second-round pick Braden Smith continues to be taking reps exclusively with the second team.
- Guys that continue to miss time this spring include: C-Deyshawn Bond, G-Jeremy Vujnovich, QB-Andrew Luck, RB-Marlon Mack, TE-Erik Swoope.