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Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Colts Training Camp Notebook: When Will Malik Hooker Play In The Preseason?

Colts Training Camp Notebook: When Will Malik Hooker Play In The Preseason?

For the first time in Training Camp, the Colts have their entire 90-man roster eligible to practice.

Stacy Revere | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – Each day, 1070 The Fan will bring you a full camp notebook covering a variety of tidbits from Colts Training Camp at Grand Park in Westfield.

Friday was the eighth practice for the Colts at Grand Park.

Here is what was learned from the eighth day of practice:

-Andrew Luck was back to throwing in full pads during Friday’s night practice. Head here for an update on how Luck looked on Friday. Also, Frank Reich confirmed the Colts are looking for Luck to play around a quarter in Thursday’s preseason opener.

-The major news on Thursday afternoon came from Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers coming off the physically unable to perform list. Let’s pump the breaks though on these two immediately being full-go at practice, or playing early in the preseason. A big reason why the Colts moved these guys off the PUP list was so they could participate in walk-throughs. This defense has been very walk-through heavy in the offseason as Matt Eberflus tries to teach his guys through a drastic system change. Even at Thursday’s evening walk-through, Frank Reich noticed two pretty imposing safeties on the other side of the field: “It was funny,” Reich said of seeing Hooker and Geathers out there for his first time as a head coach. “Just those guys coming out in the walk through (Thursday) for the first time, just the physical presence. I’m looking over, as a quarterback, you notice it. It’s a physical presence.” Hooker and Geathers only stretched with the team on Friday night, before heading back over to an extra practice field for rehab work.

 

-Let’s start with Geathers. When Chris Ballard took this job last January he identified Geathers as a core player to build around. “He was a really good player before he got hurt,” Ballard says of Geathers. But a lingering neck injury in 2017 and a knee injury at the end of last season has Geathers in major question for his future with the Colts. Still, the Colts know how menacing of a physical presence Geathers can be at safety, when healthy. It’s been a mental grind for Geathers to deal with serious injuries in consecutive offseasons. He should be further along with his knee recovery than Hooker in getting on the field/playing this month, so we will see if Geathers sees some reps at Grand Park now that he’s off the PUP list.

 

-With Hooker, the Colts are going to be more cautious considering the return from a torn ACL and MCL. We might not see Hooker fully in practice for another week. Chris Ballard says the Colts have the San Francisco game on Aug. 25 as Hooker’s best shot for returning to game action in the preseason. From watching Hooker film, Frank Reich knows what that type of presence at safety can do to an opposing quarterback. “You know as a quarterback when you are playing a safety who has that knack to have ball production. Guys like Earl Thomas, as a quarterback, you can’t make a mistake. Any little mistake is going to be amplified when you have a playmaker like that. (Hooker’s) obviously very early in his career and he has to prove it over and over again. But that’s what we are expecting from him.” On Friday morning, Hooker said he’s moving the best he has since leaving Ohio State and is itching to get back out there after an abbreviated rookie campaign.

 

-Speaking of Ballard, he joined The Dan Dakich Show on Friday afternoon. Below are some tidbits from that interview.

 

-Ballard mentioned a lot of rookies as guys that have impressed: Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith (who has been asked to play some right tackle), Kemoko Turay (who has shown the burst off the edge, but needs to learn how to rush at this level), Tyquan Lewis (who the Colts really like at the 3-technique, defensive tackle spot), Deon Cain, Jordan Wilkins (who showed off some goal line ability earlier in the week) and then Nyheim Hines (who Ballard looks at as a gadget/return option).

 

-Ballard says the most impressive thing he’s seen from Andrew Luck has been the accuracy, while the zip still gets all the way back. “His accuracy is pretty special, his ball placement and anticipation is pretty unique,” Ballard said. Remember, Ballard is getting his first true, in-person, look at Luck this camp.

 

-Kind of random, but when asked about Antonio Morrison, Ballard talked about his special teams impact. “He’s an important element to this team,” Ballard said of a guy who has definitely lost his starting job.

 

-Ballard did acknowledge that the Colts are not yet athletic enough to win like they expect to win. That comment makes sense given the nature of this rebuild.

 

-We also heard from Jim Irsay after Friday’s practice. Ever the optimist, Irsay is very excited for the 2018 season. The Owner gushed about having Andrew Luck “extremely healthy and extremely excited” to get back to being the player everyone thought he was going to be when drafted. “This has made him a better player, a better man, and in the end, he’s going to give us an even better chance at greatness,” Irsay said of Luck.

 

-Either the Colts really, really love Jacoby Brissett or they are wanting to drive up the trade value for him. Irsay said on Friday that the Colts would probably not trade Brissett for a first-round pick right now (to be fair, Brissett’s trade value is definitely not that high). “All of a sudden we have the best backup quarterback in the league,” Irsay said of Brissett.

 

-Irsay is very high on the ‘young explosive playmakers’ for the Colts. That includes Marlon Mack, who Irsay thinks could rush for 1,500 yards, if the second-year runner gets 16-20 carries a game. “I think Mack has a chance to be a special guy this year,” Irsay said. “He’s just better than you think he is every time you watch him play.”

 

-The following players missed Friday’s practice: RB-Josh Ferguson (undisclosed), WR-Reece Fountain (knee), S-Clayton Geathers (knee), OT-Denzelle Good (hamstring), S-T.J. Green (contusion), S-Malik Hooker (knee), DE-Kemoko Turay (knee), LB-Anthony Walker (groin), CB-D.J. White (groin). Starting offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) tweaked the same hamstring on Friday that he first injured two weeks before the start of Training Camp. Castonzo limped out of drills and did not return on Friday night.

 

-Poor Joe Haeg. It looked like Haeg was going to get some first-team run at right tackle on Friday. But when Castonzo went down, the Colts needed Haeg over at left tackle. Veteran tackle Austin Howard stayed at his normal right tackle spot in the starting lineup. Will Haeg get a chance to compete with Howard for that right tackle job?

 

-It was a better night for the defense. The rush got home a little quicker than it has been, and the quarterbacks were not as efficient as we we’ve seen them so far in camp. Subbing continues to happen a lot. But some starters on Friday included Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore and Nate Hairston, with the Colts beginning in nickel. Big man Margus Hunt slid over to be a starting defensive end position with the Colts clearly not settled on the starter opposite Jabaal Sheard. Wilson did get beat on the deep touchdown to K.J. Brent. But Wilson had put together a couple of nice days before Friday’s practice.

 

-Frank Reich thinks really highly of Jacoby Brissett. How high? “I can’t emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have Jacoby,” Reich said on Friday morning. “I think this guy is one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL.” So the Colts have two of the league’s ‘top-20’ quarterbacks, according to Reich. The head coach said he’s talked with Brissett about the seismic change coming for the 25-year-old signal caller this season as he is now the backup behind an obvious starter.

 

-We’ve seen T.Y. Hilton field a decent amount of punts at camp. But Reich said Hilton will not be a full-time returner for the Colts, which is something The Ghost hasn’t done since his rookie season in 2012. “I don’t think the plan is for T.Y. to be the full-time punt returner,” Reich says. “But he is really gifted and is a great punt returner. The way he fields the ball is as good as anybody. That’s something he needs to be prepared to do at some level.”

 

-Here are Frank Reich’s thoughts about Jack Mewhort retiring: “That was a tough one. I knew Jack was thinking and working through that decision at some level. But I remember when I first got here and sat down with Chris and he walked through the roster with me. Jack was the kind of guy, ‘He’s a Colt.’ That toughness, that mentality, the high character. Great for him that he’s come to peace with that decision and we certainly appreciate his contribution.”

 

-The Colts had about 20 alumni players in attendance for Friday’s second night practice of camp, including Marlin Jackson and Gary Brackett. The Colts will have 1 more night practice at Grand Park, which will take a place a week from Tuesday (Aug. 14). 

 

-Jeremy Vujnovich came off the PUP list on Friday morning. Vujnovich played every snap at left guard last season, but a calf injury has kept him off the field for the entire 2018 offseason. In 2018, Vujnovich is probably more so competing for a reserve spot, needing to show some position versatility, too, to secure a roster spot. That’s normally not the case for a guy who just played every snap last year. But the resources at guard have been significantly upgraded.

 

 

UPCOMING CAMP SCHEDULE

 

Sat., August 4

Players’ Day Off

 

Sun., August 5

Practice: 9:00-11:00 AM

 

Mon., August 6

Practice: 9:00-11:00 AM

 

Tues., August 7

Practice: 9:00-11:00 AM

 

Thur., August 9

Preseason opener @Seattle: 10:00 PM

 

Sat., August 11

Practice: 3:40-5:20 PM

 

 

 

With the Colts nearing the end of their time at Grand Park, let’s take a look at the guys who have seen their stocks go up, and go down, in Westfield.
Practicing for a third straight day, Andrew Luck bounced back in a big way at the final night practice of Training Camp.
The Colts could have 1 of their 2 starting safeties back for game action on Monday against the Baltimore Ravens.
With the Colts at the midway point of August, let’s take a closer look at the starting position battles remaining in 2018.
On Monday, Colts general manager Chris Ballard joined Mike Florio on the #PFTPM podcast to chat about a variety of topics. What did Ballard have to say in the hour-long interview?