Colts return to practice, find ways to get better

Frank Reich

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Saturday afternoon’s light practice at Grand Park could have served as a teaching moment for Frank Reich. Much of it would have been on how not to practice.

Although things were accomplished in the 80-minute workout, there clearly were things to clean up in what Reich described as a “corrections practice’’ on the heels of Thursday night’s preseason opening win at Seattle.

“There were a few too many mental errors, one or two drops—more than normal,’’ he said. “That’s what we’ve always got to fight through when it’s difficult circumstances . . . you get back, jet-lag.

“So definitely can get better.’’

Reich always gathers the team after a practice and offers encouragement, criticism or simply lays out the week ahead. Saturday he reminded the players how they’re always under the microscope.

“Really a little bit of a commentary today in what makes our profession unique (is) we get critiqued on every play, on everything we do,’’ Reich said. “That’s hard to take. That makes us mentally tough. That makes us better.

“But that’s what we crave.’’

 

Competition at right tackle

Free-agent acquisition Austin Howard spent the offseason working as the Colts’ starting right tackle and still is listed atop the depth chart, but good luck keeping track of that position.

J’Marcus Webb started at right tackle in the preseason opener at Seattle, and rookie Braden Smith – a guard by trade – took snaps with the first unit Saturday.

“We really like what Austin brings to the table,’’ Reich said, “but we’ve said from the very start it’s open competition. The best five will start.

“We have been rotating those guys through there. We feel good about the depth we have there. We’re just waiting to see who’s going to emerge.’’

Injuries continue to impede the progress at tackle. Missing time are Anthony Castonzo, Denzelle Good and Tyreek Burwell.

 

Castonzo update

Castonzo hasn’t practiced since aggravating a hamstring injury Aug. 3, and it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll return in time to play in one of the final three preseason games.

Reich isn’t certain. Or overly concerned.

“With a guy like Castonzo, you’ve got a hamstring and you want to play it more conservative,’’ he said. “The plan is he’ll get reps and we believe he’ll get reps in the preseason. It wouldn’t concern me if he didn’t.

“It would be beneficial if he does, but it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t.’’

 

Safeties progressing

Projected starting safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers saw action with the No. 1 defense Saturday as their workload continues to increase.

It’s possible Geathers will see some action in full pads sometime this week.

 

This and that

Quarterback Andrew Luck had a scheduled day off Saturday, but he is expected to be a full-go for the next three days. . . . the team signed defensive end Ryan Delaire and released safety Shamarko Thomas. Thomas’ release comes after he was ejected from the Seattle game for violating the NFL’s new rule on leading with his helmet on a tackle. Reich insisted the Colts weren’t sending a message by releasing Thomas.  “A lot of things go into that,’’ he said.

 

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.