WESTFIELD – The final training camp practice unfolded indoors Thursday morning despite resplendent conditions outside, and was another of those walkthrough situations.
But on a grand scale, the Indianapolis Colts’ summer at Grand Park Sports Campus served its purpose. It laid the foundation for what’s to come, which is the Sept. 11 season opener at Houston and beyond.
The anticipation of the coming season was a topic Frank Reich shared when he and Chris Ballard met with the complex’s volunteer staff Wednesday evening.
“One of the things I shared was about how excited we all were – players and coaches – to get here for the start of training camp,’’ Reich said, “and how equally excited we are to leave training camp, right?
“Because we know what that means. A lot of people get to play fantasy football; everybody’s excited about that. But we get to start the regular season. We’re excited about that.’’
But first things first, and that’s Saturday night’s preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Reich reiterated he plans to play the vast majority of his starters. Noted exceptions are running backs Jonathan Taylor, who won’t play in the preseason for a second straight year, and Nyheim Hines.
Tampa Bay coach Todd Bowles also announced all of his healthy starters are expected to start the game. That presumably includes quarterback Tom Brady.
After dealing with the Bucs, the Colts face Tuesday’s roster cut to 53.
“We’ve got some tough decisions to make as far as the roster’s concerned.’’
Reich confirmed earlier reports that Kwity Paye avoided a significant injury during Wednesday’s practice. It was feared the team’s starting defensive end suffered an injury to his left knee.
Instead, Paye sustained a bone bruise.
“Yeah, we’re very happy about that,’’ Reich said. “When he first went down, I thought I got a good view of it live. It just looked like he got banged, just a little hyperextension.
“The MRI, everything looked pretty good. So, we’ll play it cautious. He’s banged up a little bit, a little sore, but just more give him some rest and he should be hopefully good to go for the opener.’’
Cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol and won’t play against Tampa Bay.
“Doing well and making progress,’’ Reich said.
Camp No. 15
Matt Ryan keeps piling up training camps. He’s checked off No. 15. His first camp with the Atlanta Falcons was in 2008.
“Probably out of all the camps, (this one is) pretty similar (to ’08), just being in a new spot and adjusting to new things,’’ Ryan said. “Whole new staff, entirely new players. So there’s probably some similarities to it.
“From a personal standpoint, I think I’m much further along.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.