During a two-minute drill late in Wednesday's practice, Justin Fields threw a long pass to Isaiah Coulter, who hauled in the ball between cornerback Lamar Jackson and safety Eddie Jackson.
Receiver Darnell Mooney later told reporters that what became the play of the day was originally designed for him. But the receivers lined up in the wrong formation, so they switched routes, and Coulter came up with the impressive grab. After the play, Mooney told Coulter he "was going to be on his ass if he didn't catch it."
Coulter stood out through the duration of practice, connecting with Fields earlier in a team period for another deep catch over Jaylon Johnson. With a handful of receivers out of practice this week, Coulter is working to get every opportunity possible.
"It being in the middle of the camp, second week going into the first preseason game and your body a little tired, so you kind of got to dig deep," Coulter said. "So it was a great play confidence-wise, and just having that weight on your shoulders, just trying to make a play at the end of practice to end the practice strong, it was great."
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The third-year receiver has been waiting for these opportunities, just sticking with the process and staying ready. Coulter said at the end of the day, it's still football and he's not trying to put pressure on himself. He's keeping his preparation simple, focusing on his assignments every play, getting open and making blocks downfield to enhance the run game.
Coulter laid the groundwork for his preparedness during the offseason, regularly training with Mooney. The pair have grown to be close friends since Coulter arrived in Chicago last August. Coulter said he sees Mooney as a brother now, the two spending a lot of time together off the field.
"We kind of have the same personality. We're not too loud, just reserved kind of guys and just about our work," Coulter said. "We just want to be great. I see the things that he does on the field day-in and day-out, so kudos to him and I look up to him in that way. So, I'm just trying to pick his brain and get better, talk to him on and off the field."
Mooney said Coulter is hungry to improve and shares a similar work ethic as him. Starting last season, the receivers worked on the JUGS machine together after practices and on off days. But Coulter was surprised when Mooney told him to go to his house instead of the facility, not knowing Mooney had his own machine.
That's when Coulter got a better sense of Mooney's drive, gravitated towards that, and started spending more time practicing with him this spring.
"It was kind of just vice versa so over the offseason, I'd hit him up, 'you want to get on the JUGS, you wanna get some catches in?'" Coulter said. "Then sometimes he hit me up like, 'pull up, come shoot the JUGS' and things like that. We'll come to the facility late at night, catch passes, run routes, just talk about different things like that. We got a real tight relationship."
This offseason, Coulter wanted to hone in on the fundamentals and improving each area of his game. He focused on getting better at the top of routes, his balance and coming in and out of his breaks.
Coulter also spent significant time training with Fields and a few other receivers in the offseason. When Fields wasn't in Atlanta training, he was at Halas Hall where Coulter would almost always join him. Now a couple weeks through training camp, Coulter is seeing the work pay off.
"Me and Justin, we've been throwing the ball a lot during the offseason, me, Justin, Mooney, the receivers, the tight ends and things like that," Coulter said. "So, it's kind of cool just seeing it all click and him making great throws today and just all throughout camp, so it's been great. He's a great guy. He doesn't really yell at you for anything. He's a good quarterback. He talks to you through things. So, you want to play for a guy like that."
The third week of camp has been the most significant for Coulter, who is eager to play in the preseason game on Saturday. The receiver got a taste of it on Tuesday's Family Fest practice at Soldier Field.
Coming into the league during the COVID season, Coulter didn't get to experience much of a game-like atmosphere. Being a part of the player introductions, coming out of the tunnel and hearing the fans gave him a little extra adrenaline rush.
"The smoke, you feel like it's WWE running out there," Coulter said. "You're in your jersey, got the helmet on. So that's probably the coolest part. Of course, the fans making noise and stuff too, but just coming out with the smoke, that's cool."
Saturday's matchup with the Chiefs will also have a personal touch for Coulter; his cousin, Aaron Parker, is a wide receiver for Kansas City. The two grew up together in Maryland and both played college football at Rhode Island. Coulter is excited to reunite with Parker and both of their moms will be in attendance.
But Coulter's priority is taking advantage of more opportunities on Saturday, gaining in-game experience and of course, getting the win.
"I just really want to just go out there and do my job, play at a high level, be consistent," Coulter said. "Of course, you're gonna have good plays and bad plays. So just focusing trying to make your next play your best play and just try to go out there and get a victory."