The Indianapolis Colts concluded their final session of mandatory minicamp Thursday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, which means the majority of the roster will go their separate ways before returning for training camp.
While this offseason has seemingly flown by, we still were able to find plenty of takeaways when it comes to the offseason workout program. Several new pieces of the roster came together for the first time, and we got a good look at new quarterback Matt Ryan.
Jobs aren’t won in the spring, but the foundation of the competition is laid out during OTAs and minicamp.
Here are 10 takeaways from Colts’ minicamp this week:
1 Kenny Moore’s contract situation unresolved
It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few months. Moore clearly is unhappy with his contract and the fact that he gets labeled merely as a slot cornerback. However, the Colts don’t seem to be budging on renegotiating a new deal.
Moore sat out the entire voluntary portion of the offseason and participated on the first day of mandatory minicamp before suffering a minor injury that was described as a tweak.
Training camp is a different animal, though. Moore is likely going to be advised to sit out until he gets a new deal if this is truly the endgame, but we may be looking at a holdout situation in Westfield.
2 Darius Leonard’s mysterious injury
Leonard missed the offseason workouts for what was thought to be a nagging ankle injury—the same one he dealt with throughout the 2021 season. Then it was revealed that Leonard underwent a back procedure on an issue that had popped up in recent weeks.
At first, it was reported that the injuries were not connected. Then, Pat McAfee said on his show that Leonard told him the back injury and ankle injury were impacting each other due to a nerve issue.
An obvious contradiction, head coach Frank Reich told the media Thursday that, at some level, the two injuries may be connected but not in a major way, according to his understanding.
“My understanding from talking to the trainers is at one level, yes everything is connected at some level or another but my conversation with the trainers was maybe some connection, but they are different injuries. They are different injuries, is there some connection? Honestly, I didn’t go that far into it with them at the time of that discussion. So, I’ll need to talk to them to get further clarity of what level of connection, if any, there is.”
It still isn’t clear how much of an issue this will be moving forward. Leonard is expected to miss some training camp time but is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
3 Matt Ryan shows out
By all accounts, Ryan has been extremely impressive. From the leadership qualities he’s shown to the accuracy he’s boasting in team drills. Though it’s still very early, there is plenty of promise in the outlook of the upcoming campaign.
Ryan certainly looked to be spreading the ball around throughout the practice sessions. However, he clearly has built a rapport with the trio of Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell and Nyheim Hines. All three players should be heavily involved in the passing game at all levels of the field.
We’ll see just how far Ryan can take the Colts offense but going into the middle of June, all signs point to a more consistent passing attack in 2022.
4 Stars of minicamp
There were a number of players who stood out over the course of the three-day minicamp.
On offense, Nyheim Hines and Parris Campbell continued to dominate. The Colts have Hines working all around the field even split out wide in some cases. On one play, Hines beat cornerback Brandon Facyson for a 40-yard play down the sideline.
Campbell has been dominating almost every practice. The talent is still clearly there, but the question still remains whether he can stay healthy. If he’s on the field, there should be a heavy dose of targets coming his way.
On defense, linebacker Bobby Okereke made impressive plays several times, especially in coverage. With Leonard out, Okereke must show he can take over the middle of the defense.
Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers was all over the place, breaking up passes left and right. The Year 3 cornerback will be fighting for a starting role in nickel packages and he’s off to a great start in 2022.
5 Alec Pierce continues to impress
While there have been plenty of names popping up in the wide receiver room, the Colts couldn’t be more impressed with how the rookie has started his career.
Head coach Frank Reich has had plenty of praise for Pierce this offseason, and his latest quote on Wednesday talked about how quickly the rookie is combining his intelligence with his instincts.
“Alec (Pierce) has looked really good. I mean really good. He’s really acclimated well, it seems like he’s been here a long time. Matt (Ryan) and I were just talking about that today. He just does a couple of things instinctively that are really good signs. I think some of that is Matt and how smart he is and knowing how to use him but some it is Alec. He’s a smart player – not just smart but instinctive. There is a difference and he looks like he has both of those things.”
While Hines and Campbell will have their respective roles in the offense, Pierce continues to work his way into a starting role. The foundation has been laid out. Now, he just needs to continue this development throughout training camp.
6 Jonathan Taylor held out for precautionary reasons
One name you may not have heard a lot about during minicamp was Taylor’s. The 2021 rushing champ was present but not participating as the Colts held him out due to precautionary reasons. Considering the impact he has on the offense, it makes sense they would want to avoid any non-contact injuries.
7 New defense working on get-off
As new defensive coordiantor Gus Bradley implements his new scheme, the Colts have been working primarily on getting the defensive line upfield as quickly as possible.
Bradley discussed the changes being made and, in particular, how second-year edge rusher Kwity Paye is coming along.
“We have a LEO type and then we have a left end type. You’re looking for those combination type guys,” Bradley said Wednesday to reporters. “He fits in nice with us because he has some speed, athleticism but that strength also to hold a point out that you need from a big end or a left end.
“I think it’s just right now, that’s the big emphasis for us is the get-off and the disrupt up front. Kind of let him loose a little bit, all those guys up front. Obviously, it’s not chaos but just the mindset of get-off and set the line of scrimmage. To affect the quarterback this day and age, you got to be able to affect the quarterback and it starts with a good get-off.”
Paye is likely to work more at the big end spot with Yannick Ngakoue working from the LEO. The aggressive mindset that Bradley will bring to the defense should help the Colts have more consistent pressure, and it can be even better if Paye takes that Year 2 jump.