Taking Their Shots

It was the hottest day yet at the Indianapolis Colts' training camp Tuesday, as heat indexes hit triple digits. But the Colts were still able to get a spirited workout in during their afternoon session. Eric Hartz reports from inside the inferno.

The Colts practiced in shoulder pads after a morning walk-through and got plenty of contact in, with linemen going through extensive drills and plenty of full-team work. Coach Jim Caldwell repeatedly emphasized to the defense not to take offensive players to the ground, however. For the most part, the players listened.

Both the offense and defense were able to get their shots in during the two-hour session. Pierre Garçon and Austin Collie dazzled on the offensive side of the ball, hauling in catch after catch from Peyton Manning against the first-unit defense.

But the defense also had their moments, visibly frustrating Manning a couple of times during red-zone drills. On one early play, a heavy rush came after Manning, and his dump off pass to Brody Eldridge went incomplete after the rookie tried to haul it in with one hand.

Manning could be heard shouting, "Come on! Let's do this right!" at one point, but for a few minutes, nothing seemed to go right. The Colts emptied the backfield, but under pressure, Manning threw one at Austin Collie's feet. Then, Gary Brackett tipped a pass that Kelvin Hayden picked off, and Manning shook his head in frustration as Curtis Painter took his reps.

When Manning went back in, Ramon Humber was able to tip his first pass for an incomplete. The quarterback settled in after that, however, and was his usual stellar self for the rest of the workout.

Other notes from Tuesday afternoon:

  • We saw two new players in camp Tuesday. James Williams, an offensive tackle, was there for both sessions wearing number 60. Guard Adrian Martinez showed up on the practice field midway through the afternoon session and introduced himself to Pete Metzelaars and the players.

    I didn't see Martinez get any action, but Williams didn't get a very warm welcome from Ervin Baldwin, who beat Williams on his first play for a sack of Curtis Painter. On the next play, Baldwin flattened Williams, putting him on his back and collapsing the entire left side of the line into a pileup. Painter was able to dump the ball off to Gijon Robinson, however, who made a nice one-handed catch.

  • I wrote a bit about my early impressions of John Chick in Tuesday morning's Training Camp Extra, and he seems to be fitting into the Colts' plans, getting reps with the first unit on defense all day today. He spent most of his time, again, at right end, but also played defensive tackle in the nickel set and even dropped into coverage one time from that spot.

  • Sam Giguere made the catch of the afternoon on a corner route in red zone 7-on-7 drills. Giguere turned his head late, after the ball was well on the way, and was able to adjust, dive and catch the ball with his left hand while very close the sideline in the corner of the end zone. Jacob Lacey had great coverage on the play — up until the point Giguere caught the ball. A tremendous catch, and maybe the best I've seen at camp so far, which is saying a lot.

  • There was no doubt that the coolest moment came at the end of one segment, when Manning, Lacey and some other players huddled up, then selected a young boy in a Dallas Clark jersey to come onto the field and run a couple of routes against Lacey. Manning overthrew the first ball, but the second one was on the money, and the youngster got the catch — and the thrill of a lifetime.

  • The offensive line situation became even more uncertain when the team announced that Jeff Saturday underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a "loose body" from his knee. This isn't the first injury for Saturday in recent years, as the center missed four games in 2008 with a knee injury.

    With the news this fresh, and the report from the team characteristically vague, it's difficult to identify what this means going forward. But it does mean that we won't see Saturday for at least a few weeks, and the musical chairs along the offensive line will continue for the time being. I've spent most of the past year lamenting the problems on the offensive line, so I won't belabor the point for now. It's time to see how the players perform in their new roles, whether they are temporary or permanent, so stay tuned.

That's all for now on a hot, long day at camp. Keep following the ColtPower.com Twitter Updates for all the news from camp, and be sure to stop by the ColtPower.com forums to talk about the latest.


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