The lone night practice for the 2014 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp is in the books. Over 7500 fans packed Macholtz Stadium on the Campus of Anderson University to watch the Colts conduct their second full padded practice Thursday night.
Punter Pat McAfee was booting some nice punts to Griff Whalen and Tony Washington early in the practice session. Catching and returning punts is one of the hardest jobs in the NFL. Tony Washington muffed a punt and double caught a couple others during his reps. Tony is a dynamic playmaker, but it’s clear that Griff Whalen is the more talented punt catcher of the two. So, my first Colts star of the night goes to Griff Whalen for his smooth and outstanding job fielding punts. His ability to return punts and kickoffs puts him ahead of Da’Rick Rogers for that all important #5 wide receiver roster spot.
With T.Y. Hilton out because of a jammed finger, Reggie Wayne wasted no time getting hooked up with Andrew Luck. Wayne caught the majority of Lucks first 10-12 throws. I’m not sure if Wayne had double digit receptions on the night, but it sure seemed like he owned the field. After watching Wayne in the two practices I’ve went to, I can safely say… so much for bringing him along slowly. Reggie is back, and the fans love it.
Tight end Coby Fleener was the Colts second leading receiver in 2013 catching 52 balls and finding the end zone 4 times. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he lead the team in touchdown receptions this season. And that is exactly what happened last night. As Wayne loosened up the field early, Luck hit Fleener over the top for a long scoring strike. It was Luck’s only TD of the night.
Pat McAfee wasn’t the only player launching the ball with his leg. Kicker Adam Vinatieri was in on the action hitting field goals from all over the field throughout practice. The highlight of the night that drew the biggest cheer from the crowd was Vinatieri’s 60 yard field goal that barely cleared the cross bar.
My Charlie Hustle award goes to Jonathan Newsome. I was impressed by his effort on special teams and his ability to fly down the field on punt coverage. Newsome is a talented defensive end out of Ball State drafted by the Colts in the fifth round. Word from camp is, Newsome is making a positive impression on the coaching staff with his work ethic and his ability to pick things up quickly and retain it.