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INDIANAPOLIS – The final two months of the NFL season has arrived for the Indianapolis Colts.

 

“Everybody is back and accounted for and most importantly in the right mindset,” Frank Reich said after the team’s practice on Monday morning.

 

With the Colts preparing for the Jaguars this Sunday—the first of five divisional games in the final eight games of the season—here are some takeaways from them getting back to work on Monday:

 

  • The bye week is all about self-scouting. Obviously, Frank Reich wasn’t too revealing on the specifics of where his team needs to improve in the second half of the season. But the players mentioned a few things in order to flip the team’s 3-5 record.
     
  • On offense, the Colts like the run game success of late and overall efficiency in the passing game. But they still point back to the early-season turnovers and not finishing well during the 1-5 start to the year. If the Colts would have protected the ball better or finished one of those early games, their chances at the AFC South could be much more realistic right now.
     
  • On defense, the Colts are pleased with how they’ve run to the ball in forcing the 5th most turnovers. But they really want to work on limiting the big plays. Coaches said that 80 percent of the 25 chunk plays allowed by the Colts were because of their own breakdowns defensively.
     
  • We know DL-Tyquan Lewis is one of the team’s IR to return guys in 2018. The other? It could very well be OL-Joe Haeg, who suffered a high ankle sprain in a Week Three loss to the Eagles. Haeg isn’t eligible to play until December, but he could begin practicing again this month. Frank Reich mentioned on Monday that Haeg is “getting closer” to returning to practice. Because Haeg has to miss 8 games on the IR list, he can’t return to game action until December.
     
  • Speaking of Lewis (toe), he is eligible to play on Sunday versus the Jaguars. The Colts have to make a final decision on Lewis by the end of next week, whether to definitely activate him in 2018 or place him on injured reserve. Reich said the Colts are happy with the progress that Lewis has made after the rookie practiced the week before the Oakland game and stayed in Indy during the early part of the bye week for some additional rehab work. The expectation is that Lewis will play in 2018.
     
  • This Sunday’s matchup against the Jaguars brings up some rough memories from last year at Lucas Oil Stadium. That’s when Jacksonville sacked Jacoby Brissett 10 times in a shutout win over the Colts. Even though the Jaguars (3-5) have struggled to apply the same sort of pressure this season, Reich is still very high on Jacksonville’s defensive front: “This will be the toughest test we’ve faced all year,” the head coach said of the opposing defensive line this weekend.
     
  • It’s been 156 pass attempts since Andrew Luck was last sacked. Like a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter, Anthony Castonzo doesn’t want to know how many pass attempts it’s been since the last sack. And Castonzo said last year’s performance against Jacksonville will not offer extra motivation this Sunday (Kelly and Castonzo are the only two starting line holdovers the same from last year’s game): “We don’t need any incentive,” the veteran left tackle said on Monday. “It’s the NFL. It’s our job to protect the quarterback and get that job done. The past is the past.”
     
  • Safety Malik Hooker (hip) and running back Robert Turbin (shoulder) were back to practice on Monday, a good sign for both of those guys being available for Week 10. Both players missed last Sunday’s win in Oakland.
     
  • Remember, the first injury report of the week will not come until Wednesday. So here’s an estimation of the guys that did not appear to be practicing at the start of Monday’s session: WR-Ryan Grant (ankle), S-Mike Mitchell (right calf), TE-Erik Swoope (knee), TE-Ryan Hewitt (left foot) and OT-Braden Smith (left hand/wrist).
     
  • Rookie right tackle Braden Smith was present for stretching on Monday, but took part in a very limited amount of positional drills. Smith was wearing a wrap on his left hand and wrist. With Smith out, Denzelle Good received some starting action at right tackle.
     
  • Marlon Mack and Ryan Grant were off working with the athletic training staff during the start of Monday’s practice.