— The first-team defense opened up 11-on-11 drills in their base defense: Hunt (LDE), Stewart (NT), Lewis (DT), Muhammad (RDE), Anthony Walker (MIKE), Darius Leonard (WILL), E.J. Speed (SAM), Pierre Desir (LCB), Kenny Moore II (RCB), Hooker (FS) and Geathers (SS).
— The team’s first-team nickel package featured: Hunt (LDE), Stewart (NT), Lewis (DT), Muhammad (RDE), Walker (MIKE), Leonard (WILL), Desir (LCB), Quincy Wilson (RCB), Moore II (nickel CB), Hooker (FS) and Geathers (SS).
— The team’s first-team dime defense featured: Hunt (LDE), Stewart (NT), Lewis (DT), Muhammad (RDE), Walker (MIKE), Leonard (WILL), Desir (LCB), Nate Hairston (dime DB), Geathers (dime DB), Hooker (S) and Willis (S)
— At the end of practice, the team practiced its two-minute drill. The first-team defense was: Muhammad (LDE), Ward (NT), Lewis (DT), Phillips (RDE), Okereke (MIKE), Leonard (WILL), Rock Ya-Sin (LCB), Wilson (RCB), Moore II (nickel CB), Hooker (S) and Willis (S).
— Also getting first-team reps at various points were defensive tackle Caraun Reid, defensive end Gerri Green and cornerback Jalen Collins.
— There was a lot of red zone work done today, and the Colts’ first-team was up to the task. The unit allowed no clear touchdowns, made a few plays at the goal line and even got an interception in the end zone.
— While the teams did 11-on-11 work with the offense lined up at the defense’s 10-yard line, quarterback Jacoby Brissett hit Hines on a dump-off to the left side, and Hooker met Hines there instantly. Hooker not only popped his pads onto Hines, but he was able to strip the ball away for an incompletion.
— Still on the defense’s 10-yard line, Brissett rolled out to his right, flung a pass into the end zone, but was intercepted by Desir, who jumped in front of the target.
— During the two-minute drill portion of 11-on-11s with one minute remaining, Collins was quick to dislodge the ball from a receiver along the right sideline. Out of clear sight, it was difficult to tell whether it was called incomplete or a fumble. Regardless, the drill continued.
— The defensive tackles came to play today during 11-on-11s. Lined up on the defense’s 10-yard line, the offense ran a play where Mack took the handoff to the left side, but Stewart broke through and smothered Mack immediately. Later in live drills, quarterback Chad Kelly rolled out to his left while being feverishly chased down by Lewis. In a live game scenario, Lewis likely would’ve pushed Kelly out of bounds for a sack or no gain.
— Hairston was one of the league’s best slot defenders while blitzing as a rookie in 2017, and he looked great doing it again on Thursday. There was one play where he likely would’ve sacked quarterback Philip Walker, and he got pressures at least a couple other times. On the day, Hairston got some looks with the first-team dime unit as well as playing outside corner in the nickel.
— The Colts’ defensive rookie are really pushing for significant snaps. Okereke, Speed, Willis and Ya-Sin all continue to get some occasional snaps with the first unit, and they don’t look bad doing it. Defensive end Ben Banogu fits into this as well, but he was out today. Speed has seen his reps with the first unit at SAM linebacker increase over the last few days, and then he saw action as the WILL with the second and third units.
— It can’t be ignored how explosive Okereke looked in the one-on-one pass rushing drills. He showed great upper body strength and overall drive, sometimes overwhelming the competition. We already know he’s fast, but pass rushing could be something to keep an eye on as a deciding factor in getting more snaps.
— Throughout the one-on-one reps between the pass catchers and the defensive backs, defensive backs/cornerbacks coach Jonathan Gannon kept repeating, “Slow it down!” Because the drills were being done in the red zone — with less field to cover behind them — Gannon wanted his guys to remember to slow their footwork down.
(via Jake Arthur/Colts.com)