INDIANAPOLIS – For the first time since 2016, the Colts are headed overseas this week to play an NFL game.
The Colts (4-5) and the Patriots (2-7) are playing in Frankfurt, Germany for a 9:30 AM (3:30 PM Frankfurt time) kick, with the game airing nationally on NFL Network and locally on FOX-59.
Here is what we learned from the Colts on Wednesday:
- A picture of sheer joy is LT-Bernhard Raimann talking about the Colts trip to Frankfurt this week. For Raimann that means playing an NFL game just 6 hours from his hometown Austria. Raimann shared on Wednesday that 18 members of his family and friends will be in attendance on Sunday, 17 of them seeing Raimann play in the NFL for the first time. What do these international games mean to people outside the United States? Raimann’s first ever NFL game was going to a Vikings/Steelers game in London in 2013 serving as an inspiration to further pursue American football. In fact, Raimann still has the ticket stub from that game, which is with his mom in Austria.
- This Josh Downs knee injury is something that has been bothering him since the spring, when he missed several weeks of offseason activities. Downs injured his knee in the first game of his final season (2022) at North Carolina, missing the second and third game of that season. Downs was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday last week, and then left Sunday’s game with Carolina after 12 snaps. Will the Colts view the upcoming bye week as a chance for Downs to try and take care of this nagging knee issue?
- As far as other injury questions, Shane Steichen wasn’t revealing on any other statuses on Wednesday. The Colts had just a walk-through on Wednesday, with their first practice of the week coming Thursday before flying to Germany later that night. Injuries to watch for the Colts: LB-Zaire Franklin (knee), RT-Braden Smith (wrist, hip), WR-Josh Downs (knee), CB-JuJu Brents (quad), TE-Drew Ogletree (foot). On the Wednesday practice estimation (the Colts had a walk-through), Smith was the only one who was a full participant. If Smith practices on Thursday, it would be his first practice since October 12th.
- Anthony Richardson is scheduled to be back in Indianapolis at some point this week, where he will continue his right shoulder rehab, which began in Los Angeles. Shane Steichen said the Colts are unsure yet if Richardson will travel to the game in Germany or not.
- Don’t look for a change at punt returner on Sunday. Shane Steichen said Isaiah McKenzie will keep his job at punt returner, despite his muff of last week.
- Grover Stewart was back in the Colts building on Wednesday, despite being suspended for 3 more games. NFL rules allow for suspended players to return to the team complex halfway through their suspension, which was 6 games for Stewart.
- Back in October 2018, I tossed a Kenny Moore question to Bill Belichick when the Colts and Patriots met in Week 5. Moore had spent the 2017 offseason with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent. Due to a roster numbers crunch, the Patriots waived Moore and the Colts claimed him as they re-tooled their roster. Clearly, Belichick was a Moore fan looking back on the quote some 5 years later: “Kenny is a good football player. He is a very instinctive guy. He has a real good feel for routes and anticipates route combinations. He sees the quarterback and sees the ball well. He has good hands. He is able to play inside and outside, which he has done for the Colts. He plays on the perimeter and then he moves inside and plays nickel in their sub situations. Again, I think that speaks to his intelligence, instincts and awareness. He is a tough kid and is a good tackler. That enables him to play inside and also be part of the Cover 2 scheme that they use to jam receivers and get involved in a lot of runs and perimeter tackling plays. So yeah, I like Kenny and really respect how hard he works. He is one of those guys that came into the league without a lot of notoriety but has earned a spot in the National Football League and has continued, I’m sure, on a daily basis to work hard to maintain that. We’ve got a lot of our guys on our team like that and it’s one of the things that attracted us to him. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep him on the active roster. (He) was a good pickup for the Colts and there is a lot of guys like that in the league. I think he is a good poster boy for that type of unheralded guy that comes in and works hard and earns it. So, I’ve been impressed with him. I was impressed when we had him and watching on film, he is a good player. He’s done a good job for the Colts.”
- For those curious, the Colts asked the NFL for about 2,500 tickets to Sunday’s game in Germany, which is played at 50,000 seat Deutsche Bank Park (the Colts got 1,000 tickets back in 2016 when they played at 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London). They got 700 tickets for the Frankfurt game with prices hovering around $100 American dollars.
- The Patriots (2-6) are not good. They have the worst record in the AFC, are 31st in points scored and Bill Belichick admitted this week how challenging this season has been. Belichick was even asked earlier this week if he feels like he’s coaching for his job with this Sunday’s game in Germany. One area they are good in though is stopping the run (3.48 yards per carry allowed, which ranks 2nd in the NFL). If that shows up in Germany, could it create a slow day for the Colts offense?
- Given all the turnover over the years, I’m not sure how much it matters to point out the Colts have lost 9 of their last 10 matchups with the Patriots. These two teams have played each of the last two years (splitting those matchups). Of course, the game in New England last year was when the Colts scored 3 points in 15 offensive drives as Jim Irsay was calling Jeff Saturday from the visiting owner’s suite at Gillette Stadium. Less than 24 hours later, Frank Reich was fired and Saturday was the Colts interim head coach the rest of the season. Sam Ehlinger was sacked 9 times in last year’s meeting.
- Just a reminder the Colts will practice like normal in Indianapolis at their team facility on Wednesday (walk through) and Thursday. They will then board a plane for Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday afternoon, which is about a 9-hour flight. They’ll have a light Friday practice, in the evening, before playing the Patriots on Sunday in Frankfurt. The team will land in Germany around Friday morning (6-hour time change). The Patriots are also traveling over there on Thursday night.
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