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INDIANAPOLIS – Let’s start with the good news on the Week Six injury report.
Anthony Castonzo (barring falling down the stairs) will make his 2018 game debut, preseason or regular season, on Sunday afternoon against the Jets.
The nagging hamstring injury has finally subsided enough for Castonzo to practice fully all week and start at left tackle on Sunday.
Castonzo came into 2018 having missed just 7 games in his first 7 NFL seasons. He’s missed the first 5 games of 2018.
Still, even with Castonzo back, the Colts will be starting a new offensive line group for the 5th time in 6 games this season.
Here’s a notebook look at the rest of the Friday news from the Colts Headquarters:
- The Colts have ruled these 5 guys OUT for Sunday’s game against the Jets: DL-Denico Autry (hamstring), TE-Jack Doyle (hip), S-Clayton Geathers (neck/concussion), OT-Denzelle Good (personal), and WR-T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring). So, the Colts have now had 19 guys miss the past three weeks because of injury.
- In other injury news on Friday, the team placed S-Matthias Farley (wrist, shoulder, groin) on injured reserve. The valuable safety initially hurt his hamstring against the Patriots in last Thursday’s second half. Frank Reich wouldn’t say the specific reason for Farley going on IR. The loss is notable though. Farley played the 3rd most special teams snaps of any Colt this season and the 12th most snaps on defense, as a dime safety.
- Starting center Ryan Kelly (right calf) returned to practice on Friday for his first action of the week. Kelly is listed as questionable, but the Colts really need him to give it a go with the only backup center being Evan Boehm, who the team signed on Monday. Kelly has played every snap this season. After Friday’s limited practice, Kelly said he was ‘confident’ he would start in Week Six, despite missing Wednesday and Thursday. The calf injury first happened in the New England game, but he was able to finish the game with an arch and a sleeve.
- Given the past week and a half that Denzelle Good has had to go through, Frank Reich said the Colts don’t think “he’s quite ready” to return to game action. Good did practice on Thursday and Friday, although he was a late arrival to the start of Friday’s practice.
- With Good ruled OUT, and assuming Kelly can go on Sunday, then look for the Colts to keep rookie Braden Smith at right tackle, where he started against the Patriots, and then insert Marc Glowinski (19 career starts) at right guard. The backup linemen would be newcomer Even Boehm (interior option) and Le’Raven Clark (tackle option).
- The Colts are getting DT-Hassan Ridgeway back this week for the first time since Week Two. However, the defensive line is down DL-Denico Autry, and DL-Margus Hunt figures to be a game-time decision. Hunt did some rehab work in front of the media during Friday’s practice. It’s very rare to see a player miss practice (team drills) the entire week and play that Sunday. The d-line depth will be tested against a committed New York rushing attack.
- Darius Leonard is expected to return to the lineup in Week Six. Despite missing the New England game, Leonard still leads the NFL in tackles with 54 stops. Leonard was a full participant at Friday’s practice.
- With Clayton Geathers missing Friday’s practice, he didn’t have enough time on the field this week to progress through the concussion protocol and be ready for Sunday. Geathers practiced on Thursday, but not Friday this week. Reich said Geathers didn’t have a set-back with his concussion and is continually being evaluated with that neck injury. With Geathers and Farley out, that could mean new safety Mike Mitchell is starting next to Malik Hooker in Week Six. Mitchell, a 31-year-old safety with 83 career starts, was signed on Tuesday and has been out of football since last season.
- Sunday should see the returns of cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Quincy Wilson to the active dress list. Moore missed the New England game with a concussion. Wilson has been sidelined since a Week Two concussion against the Washington Football Team.
- Frank Reich was asked about rookie DL-Tyquan Lewis on Friday, who has been on injured reserve with a foot injury this season. Lewis’ earliest return would be in November, as an IR to return candidate: “I think he’s coming along well. It’s been a slow and steady process, but the last couple of weeks it’s been a little bit of an uptick. I couldn’t even project (his return) at this point. You want to make sure you have everything right. But there has been a good swing. We are trying to be optimistic but do the right thing as well. We are really high on him. You could tell early on, every aspect that he was involved in, he brought a lot to the field.” The Indy staff is definitely very high on Lewis, a productive second-round pick from Ohio State. Lewis figures to get a chance at the currently vacant 3-technqiue defensive tackle position. He missed the entire preseason with a foot injury.
- To fill Farley’s spot on the 53-man roster, the Colts promoted tight end Mo Alie-Cox from the practice squad. I would view Alie-Cox as insurance in case Eric Ebron (shin/quad/ankle/wrist) can’t go or gets banged up during Sunday’s game. Ebron did practice fully on Friday and I would expect him to give it a go in Week Six.
FINAL INJURY REPORT
OUT: DE-Denico Autry (hamstring), TE-Jack Doyle (hip), S-Clayton Geathers (neck/concussion), OT-Denzelle Good (non-injury related), WR-T.Y. Hilton (chest/hamstring)
–Bowen’s Analysis: That’s six starters and a very key defender in Farley now having missed consecutive practice days this week.
QUESTIONABLE: TE-Eric Ebron (shin/quad/ankle/wrist), DL-Margus Hunt (knee), C-Ryan Kelly (calf), LB-Darius Leonard (ankle), CB-Arthur Maulet (hip), S-Mike Mitchell (pectoral)
–Bowen’s Analysis: At least 4 of these guys will be active on Sunday.
The following players were on the injury report earlier this week, but are good to go for Sunday: OT-Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), CB-Nate Hairston (ankle), RB-Marlon Mack (hamstring), CB-Kenny Moore (concussion), DT-Hassan Ridgeway (calf), CB-Anthony Walker (concussion), CB-Quincy Wilson (concussion)