WESTFIELD – In this instance, quality trumped quantity.
In a last-gasp, beat-the-clock session to end Sunday’s training camp practice, Anthony Richardson’s work with the first-team offense consisted of three plays. The final two netted the required results.
Shane Steichen set the scene: 46 seconds on the clock, football at the 25, offense with no timeouts, down 8.
After a running play netted a modest gain, Richardson delivered an in-stride pass to tight end Kylen Granson at the right pylon for a 15-20-yard touchdown. He then kept the football around right end to convert the 2-point PAT.
“Great competition,’’ Steichen said.
It marked the second strong outing for the Colts’ rookie quarterback. Richardson took all of the first-team reps Sunday after running the second unit Saturday. He finished 5-for-7 and dished out TDs to Granson, Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr.
Over his last two practices, Richardson is 14-of-18 with five TDs.
“Yeah, I thought he had a heck of a day today,’’ Steichen said. “He was really solid; made some big-time throws.
Richardson’s TD pass to Pierce came along the right sideline and was evidence the two are getting their timing down. It was roughly a 40-yarder against tight coverage.
“I think when you’ve got a guy that has speed – with Alec’s speed – he’s got a chance to hit some big ones over the top and, shoot, he made a heck of a throw,’’ Steichen said. “Just the call-it period to him, it was one-on-back backside and we had another combination over there, and he snapped back and threw that one-on-one. It’s a great throw and a great catch.’’
While Richardson delivered a TD in the two-minute drill, Gardner Minshew II was denied. He completed 4-of-6 passes and had the offense near the goal line with less than 4 seconds remaining.
Faced with a do-it-or-else situation, Minshew delivered a pass near the left pylon that linebacker E.J. Speed intercepted.
“Offense won one and defense won one,’’ Steichen said.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin was more emphatic.
“My boy Speed going crazy, man,’’ he said. “Honestly, he’s been making a lot of plays all camp.
“The offense was complaining because somebody got hit too hard . . . whatever, whatever. You know how that gets. To see my boy Speed finish it on their side like that, pose and take the pic, let’s go and have a good night.’’
Other than the final interception, Minshew had a solid afternoon: 13-of-18.
Linebacker Shaquille Leonard went through more work in padded 11-on-11 sessions. At one point, he appeared to limp off, but returned.
The team is keeping their All-Pro linebacker on a pitch count.
“We’re still ramping him up, going through that phase with him, but like where he’s at,’’ Steichen said.
Steichen wouldn’t share how he plans on rotating Richardson and Minshew in the Aug. 12 preseason opener at Buffalo.
“We’ll get that decision made probably midweek or later in the week,’’ he said.
Safety Rodney Thomas II wasn’t able to finish practice. He stood on the sideline. Steichen was unable to provide an update on Thomas’ situation.
“I’ve got to talk to the trainers,’’ he said.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.