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INDIANAPOLIS – If first impressions are anything, the Colts have another solid contributor from their 2018 draft class.
The staff in Indianapolis had been singing the praises of rookie Tyquan Lewis for quite some time.
On Sunday, everyone got to see Lewis in action, with the rookie making his NFL debut and impacting the game in a positive way, while also earning a start at defensive end.
“(Lewis) had a really good day back,” Frank Reich said. “Played (54) snaps, played hard and it was like there was no restrictions on him. I felt like he got stronger as the game went on.
“He played more than I thought he would end up playing. But credit to him. He felt good, just wanted to keep going and was playing with a lot of energy and certainly brought that to the table.”
Lewis’ playing time was second amongst the Colts’ defensive linemen (Jabaal Sheard played 56 snaps).
The Ohio State product started at defensive end, logged some snaps in the interior on rushing downs, as well, and finished the day with 3 tackles, 1 pass deflection and the team’s only quarterback hit on the afternoon.
“Overall, his performance was pretty good,” defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said of Lewis’ play against the Jaguars. “I mean that was the first time this guy has played and put a helmet on in an NFL game. You certainly saw his movement and the reason why Chris (Ballard) and the scouting staff and all of us said, ‘Hey, take this guy.’ He’s was just quick, explosive, instinctive and certainly a guy that’s going to keep getting better.”
With fellow rookie Kemoko Turay OUT on Sunday, Lewis logged more reps than expected out at defensive end. That could have been due to Turay being inactive and then Carroll Phillips, another defensive end, got hurt during the game. It will be interesting to see how the Colts use Lewis, who was thought to be more of an interior body, going forward.
Besides Lewis, here is a notebook look at other Tuesday tidbits from the Colts Complex:
- The Colts made a roster move on Tuesday, placing DE-Carroll Phillips (groin) on injured reserve and bringing CB-D.J. Killings up from the practice squad. The cornerback group didn’t appear to suffer any injuries this past Sunday, but their play wasn’t stellar against Jacksonville.
- I wanted to ask offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni about how involved Deon Cain is right now in meetings. Obviously, Cain isn’t playing in 2018 after tearing his ACL. Rehab and mental reps are the major focus for Cain’s first season in the NFL, after injuring his knee back in early August. Here is what Sirianni had to say about Cain: “With wide receivers, I really believe he can see all the looks. We have so many tapes of different receivers running different routes. It’s just showing him every single different look that he can get. Physically right now, he can’t do that, so it’s just having a plan in his head of what am I going to do when this defensive back is pressed and inside, pressed and outside, (playing) off, Cover 2. It’s just putting himself in those positions, mentally, when he can’t do it physically. Obviously, he has to grind it in the training room to get his knee right and get him back to the athleticism that he had before. But what he can do mentally, learn the system, master himself in the system, when he’s not out there. He can be in the playbook doing that, too. We have very high hopes for Deon because he showed he can be a very good football player in this league.” Given when Cain tore his ACL, he should be full-go for the 2019 Training Camp and possibly even earlier in the offseason.
- We’ve talked a lot about the offensive line and their incredible sack-less streak of 185 straight pass attempts. Sirianni spoke on Tuesday about three things that really stand out about the group right now: the physicality, how united they are and its intelligence.
- What a nice in-season find veteran wide receiver Dontrelle Inman has been these past two games. Inman has had 10 catches in 11 targets, since joining the Colts after their drop-fest losing streak in mid-October. “Dontrelle is a very dependable receiver,” Sirianni said. “He did it for multiple years in San Diego. The way Dontrelle runs routes is very inviting for a quarterback. He’s easy to read. He can separate from defensive backs. He’s a big, long target. It only takes so many times for a receiver to pluck the ball out of the air really pretty for you to be like, ‘Hey, I want to throw you the ball.’ Dontrelle is a good pro. He always knows what to do. He’s just on it and that’s another reason why I think Andrew has been able to develop that trust.” Remember, Inman was with Sirianni and Reich during their stint with the Chargers. “He has a PhD in this system,” is what Sirianni has to say about Inman’s knowledge. Inman had some key third-down grabs, too, against the Raiders and Jaguars.
- Um, I have some disappointing news. The Quenton Nelson viral video of him screaming and engulfing Jaguars safety Barry Church was altered. Nelson said on Tuesday he wasn’t screaming on that specific play. Head to my Twitter account for some clarification on ‘scream/yell gate.’ Still, Nelson is a rare, rare teammate.
- Moving over to the defense, coordinator Matt Eberflus said he thought this past Sunday was Anthony Walker’s best game of the season. Eberflus said Walker did a good job of tackling, getting downhill in the run game and excelled in coverage against the Jaguars. “Anthony has done a really good job,” Eberflus said. “He’s very smart, makes a lot of the calls out there in terms of setting the defense. He’s done a tremendous job with that. He’s made plays at times and he just keeps improving as the year goes.”
- On Tuesday, Eberflus was asked on several occasions about his team’s recent ineffectiveness in the pass rush and pass defense. The coordinator said the team must find more consistency in the pass rush. They’ve had 4 sacks in the last 5 games. Eberflus isn’t ready just yet to start using more and more blitzing to improve the pressure. In pass coverage, Eberflus said the Colts need to do a better job of breaking in their ‘no cover zones’ from 0-to-5 yards, where we’ve seen a high-rate of underneath success lately.