It was my first practice of the year and I was pretty excited about going, despite being at 8:30 A.M. I am an Anderson University Alum, so it's always nice to go back to the old stomping grounds and get that warm fuzzy sentimental feeling. Another perk was that I parked by the house I used to live in and thus avoided paying $10 for parking. It was a hike, but what can I say? I'm cheap.
Moving on, here are some notes from practice.
- Overall, Curtis Painter looked pretty good. Much to everyone's dismay, there is nothing to suggest that he isn't the team's best option as the #2 quarterback. Painter threw up a couple of duds, and did miss Taj Smith and some others on deep routes, but for the most part his throws were crisp and accurate. A majority of his passes in 11 on 11 drills were short ones, but he seemed to hit Clark, Wayne, and Garcon just fine.
- In regards to the other quarterbacks, it looks as if Dan Orlovsky was getting most of the 2nd team reps (or third team or however you want to say it). He looked to throw the ball pretty well and be in sync with some of the secondary receivers. I did not see much of Mike Hartline and Nate Davis stood out as the only player in long sleeves. Davis did not impress me at all as most of his throws were offline or even wobbly. I'm pulling for him, but he did not look very good today.
- I spent most of the morning watching the wide receivers and overall they looked pretty good. After the obvious Wayne, Collie, Garcon, and Gonzalez, I have no idea what this team does at WR. Blair White has real game experience, but has not been practicing, and David Gilreath looked pretty solid to me. There is also Taj Smith, Chris Brooks, Joe Horn, and Larrone Moore. I suppose best case scenario is everyone stays healthy, White makes the team, Smith makes the roster for special teams and a few of the latter (Brooks? Horn?) make the practice squad.
- For a few moments the offense did look sluggish however. Wayne dropped two passes in a row, the first one being his fault and the second being a bad pass from Painter, it was behind him, but he still could have made the grab. Then Collie missed a pass and Clark dropped an easy one on a quick read.
- Anthony Gonzalez looked good to go. He seemed to be moving well and didn't show any negative signs. I read he had been looking stiff, so maybe it's just me, but he looked fine in my eyes. He made a grab in the corner of the end zone (I think) that drew cheers from the crowd, but I couldn't see it from where I was standing. I'm pulling for him this year and believe that a healthy Gonzo is a huge addition to the offense.
- On to the running backs. First of all, it seemed like there were a lot of them. There were the regulars, plus Delone Carter, Darren Evans, Devin Moore, Chad Spann, and Javarris James. I was trying to watch Carter pretty closely, but didn't see him do much honestly. I'm pretty sure I saw Spann with a nice run to the outside and James also got some snaps as well. Addai had a nice run up the middle which drew cheers from the crowd.
- Many of you have asked about Donald Brown, and unfortunately, I saw him do about absolutely nothing today. He might have taken snaps during 11 on 11 drills, but if he did, I missed it. I did however see him on the sideline a lot. He did put in some solid work after practice, catching quick passes going horizontal back and forth all the way across the field. I'm also pulling for Brown and I think a (healthy) RB trio of Addai, Brown, and Carter could be pretty sweet.
- I also did not see much of the offensive and defensive lines. During position drills they were mostly working on the opposite end of the field. Reports (from Phil B) make it sound like Constanzo struggled a bit. Overall, from what I could tell it looked like the defensive line was having the O-line for lunch, especially during 11 on 11 drills. Painter and Orlovsky would have been sacked multiple times. Pressure was mostly from Mathis and Hughes, who looked pretty good by the way.
- In regards to the defense, it was good to see Kavell Conner practice. LB's Kerry Neal, Adrian Moten, and Chris Colasanti were getting reps with the 2nd team. Neal is a big dude and seems larger than the typical Colts LB. Nate Triplett also looked good in the limited snaps I saw. If they can stay healthy (and Angerer and Conner continue to progress) I think we could be pleasantly surprised by this group of linebackers.
- The secondary worries me though, especially at safety. After the starters, there were a lot of rotating bodies out there. Al Afalava, David Caldwell, Cornelius Brown, Mike Newton, and Chip Vaughn were all getting snaps. I also saw Joe Lefeged suited up on the sideline, but missed him on the field. I think Brown or Newton makes the roster for depth purposes and it would be nice to see someone like Vaughn step up and turn some heads.Ok, well I think that is enough rambling for today. One last interesting note. On the way home I heard Bob Kravitz on the Dan Dakich show. And he was actually making a lot of sense. He talked about how it's just too early to make a call on some of these guys like Anthony Costanzo and Ben Ijalana. And he's exactly right. With that said, hopefully I can get back to camp next week and give some updates on how these guys are progressing.
Until then – GO COLTS!