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NFL: MAY 25 Indianapolis Colts OTA

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INDIANAPOLIS Finally, game week is here for the 2023 Indianapolis Colts.

Wednesday was the first regular season practice of the season for the Colts, with Sunday’s season opener taking place at 1:00 vs. the Jaguars.

What did we learn from the Colts on Wednesday?

  • Zack Moss (broken arm) practiced on Wednesday, his first action since July 31. Moss was not in a red jersey though, so clearance for contact appears to be there. Moss did the ball security drill, which involves various staff members hitting players with pads to try and simulate defenders ripping at the ball. Even though Moss was practicing on Wednesday, it remains to be seen if his month-long break will keep him from playing on Sunday. If Deon Jackson is the starting running back on Sunday, it’ll be the second straight year he’s been in that role with the Jaguars visiting Lucas Oil Stadium. Jackson had 12 carries for 42 yards (3.5 YPC) plus a career-high 10 catches for 79 yards in last year’s home matchup with the Jags. Expect a running back by committee on Sunday though, but that might just mean Jackson and rookie Evan Hull, if Moss can’t go, with a practice squad call-up from Jake Funk and/or Jason Huntley. How much has the practice return of Moss before the season opener though impacted the Colts not making a veteran move at the running back?


  • One thing to watch for as Shaquille Leonard progresses through concussion protocol, and looks to play in Sunday’s season opener, is how much do see No. 53 on the field? Typically, Leonard has been a player who is on the field for every defensive snap in his career. But it sounds like that’ll change a bit in 2023. Look for E.J. Speed (who has cleared concussion protocol) to spell Leonard at times this year. And, as we’ve mentioned before, the biggest thing to judge on Leonard this season will be how he looks. The Colts are paying him to be an elite, playmaking linebacker. They need return on that investment. And that’s the harsh reality when a 28-year-old who hasn’t been his self the last 12-24 months enters a season with 4 more years left on a mega contract. On the concussion front, Leonard continues to practice, and without a non-contact jersey on. He did suffer a concussion (and a broken nose) last October, missing the next 3 games. This concussion for Leonard happened three weeks ago (August 16th) in the first joint practice with the Bears.


  • Tuesday is the players “day off” but it wasn’t for Anthony Richardson. Shane Steichen said Richardson spent 8 hours in the building on Tuesday, preparing for his first NFL start. One big advantage for Richardson in prepping for Sunday’s opener is having offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who spent last season with the Jaguars. This is something the Colts feel will be an advantage for them. On Tuesday, Richardson was asked about his individual goals for his rookie season: “Stay healthy and stay smart,” Richardson said. “Keep playing football. Not try to put too much pressure on myself. Not put too much pressure on my teammates when things aren’t going well. Mainly, just stay healthy and keep playing football.”


  • How to evaluate Anthony Richardson is a storyline to watch this season. For Shane Steichen, he does think the “yards per attempt” statistic is a solid barometer for evaluating quarterback play. “That’s a big part of it,” Steichen said on Wednesday about YPA. “Obviously, you want to be explosive in the pass game and if you can get that yards per attempt up, I think it definitely helps the pass game. Completion percentage is a big part of it. But at the same time, you want to create those explosive plays. It’s not everything, but the yards per attempt is a big part of that.” Again, the Colts can live with Richardson having a completion percentage that isn’t in the top-half of the league (which is probably very likely), but the big plays are an absolute must to offset the lack of consistency through the air.



  • It’s wild to look at the trends of this Colts/Jaguars series. The home team has won the last 11 matchups in this series. You have to go back to a 27-0 Jaguars shutout in 2017 for the last time the road team won this matchup (the 10-sack game against Jacoby Brissett).


  • Yes, the Colts haven’t won a season opener since 2013. We do this annually, but it’s wild to look back on that game and think how long ago that’s been. Friday is the 10-year anniversary of that game. Of the 53 Colts on their roster for that 21-17 win over the Raiders, no one is still playing in the NFL. Again, the “can’t win in Week 1” notion extends a bit into the rest of September, too, in this Chris Ballard era. The Colts have been one of the worst September teams in the NFL since Ballard took over in 2017.


  • If there’s a position group where the Colts should/could have an advantage come Sunday, it has to be their defensive line. That’s especially true with the Jaguars missing left tackle Cam Robinson (suspended for the first 4 games of the season) and young backup tackle Walker Little has been banged up this preseason. Disruption for the Colts defensive front is a must for many reasons, including the need to help out a very young secondary facing a deep Jacksonville wideout group. Trevor Lawrence went 45-of-52 (86 percent) in those two matchups with the Colts last season. It’s critical for the heavily invested Indy DL to do its part in winning this matchup.


  • Injury Report: The Colts had all 53 players practice on Wednesday: Zach Moss (forearm) was limited. Shaquille Leonard (concussion) was full.


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