One scrimmage down and no skirmishes, just football.
Unlike in other NFL joint practices where fights have stolen the headlines, the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears stuck to sweating through drills and executing in standard 11-on-11 situations Wednesday in the first of two workouts at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis.
The need for first-team offenses and defenses being on the field at the same time required the set-up of an additional field outside of the Colts fenced-in practice area. That’s where the Bears’ offense faced the Colts’ defense. Inside the fence, the Colts’ offense competed agains the Bears’ defense.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler gave the edge on his field to the hosts.
“They got after us,” Cutler said. “They won the day.”
The teams will practice again on Thursday in the first scrimmage the Colts have hosted at their complex since arriving in Indianapolis in 1984.
Filming of 11-on-11 practice is prohibited, but this is a brief clip of a blocking/pass-rushing drill between the two teams.
Because the Colts did interviews before practice, there wasn’t a Cutler-like assessment of how the Colts’ offense performed against the Bears’ defense. But Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw the ball well, completing most of his passes in drills and 11-on-11 simulations.
The Colts’ defense welcomed back Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis to practice. He missed Sunday’s exhibition opener at Philadelphia with a groin injury. Colts rookie nose tackle David Parry got some snaps with the first-team defense.
Pagano said of his team: “Our roster is probably better right now than it’s been at any point, so we are going to say good-bye to a lot of good players.”
The first mandatory roster cuts, from 90 to 75 players, is Sept. 1.
Bears coach John Fox knew what he was up against in making the trip. As coach of the Denver Broncos in January, the Colts bounced his team from the playoffs with an AFC Divisional victory in the Mile High City.
“I pretty much know their roster and what they are capable of,” Fox said after the two-hour workout. “I haven’t even seen this side of the ball yet because I was on another field. But they are a good football team and that’s all a part of it and getting the extra work and watching how they do things. You have different styles of offense and defense and it’s good practice for your team. I thought it was a productive day.”
Fox will switch fields and watch his defense play Thursday.
“I think the Colts did a great job, the (Colts ownership family) Irsay’s, as far as getting 90 plus another 50 staff people all organized,” he said. “I think both staffs did a great job of getting it organized. I thought it went very well. It was very good work.”
Pagano provided an injury update before the workout. Outside linebacker Robert Mathis (Achilles) and offensive left guard Donald Thomas (quadriceps) are still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Inside linebacker Nate Irving (knee) is also confined to individual workouts. Rookie cornerback Donald Celiscar, running back Dan Herron (groin), outside linebacker Daniel Adongo (quadriceps) and rookie cornerback D’Joun Smith (concussion) were also inactive.
The Colts and Bears will play a preseason game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.