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INDIANAPOLIS – The most depleted offensive group Andrew Luck has ever worked with will be what the Colts have in Week Five.
Luck officially knows that he will be without his top running back (Marlon Mack), top wide receiver (T.Y. Hilton) and tight end (Jack Doyle). Starting right tackle Denzelle Good will also not make the trip. And it’s no slam dunk that Anthony Castonzo plays on Thursday.
Not the personnel look you want to have when taking on the Patriots in Foxborough.
The 7 inactives for the Colts are already known going into Thursday night: TE-Jack Doyle (hip), OT-Denzelle Good (personal), WR-T.Y. Hiton (chest/hamstring), RB-Marlon Mack (hamstring), CB-Kenny Moore (concussion), DT-Hassan Ridgeway (calf) and CB-Quincy Wilson (concussion).
Here are other injury notes for the Colts on a short week:
- So it’s hard to breakdown the Marlon Mack/Anthony Castonzo injury situations with the Colts only having walk-throughs, no practices this week. Mack is OUT again after he practiced limited 3 days last week. This is what Frank Reich had to say about Mack on Tuesday: “Ultimately, it comes down to trusting the players to say, ‘Hey, I’m ready to go. I’m 100 percent. I can let this thing rip. I have no hesitation,’” Reich said when asked about Mack. “I feel every gear that he has in his body he feels and he has no reservations. I think because of the setback we had, I think after going through that it’s pretty critical that the player is just all in and there is no hesitation and no doubt in his mind.”
- Castonzo is actually questionable to play, after he practiced 2 days last week. Right now, Castonzo could play because the team has already ruled out 7 players for Thursday. With the 7 inactives already known, Castonzo will at least be eligible to make his 2018 season debut. Still, with no practices this week, Castonzo has yet to participate ‘fully’ in any practice this season. Would the Colts really feel comfortable exposing Castonzo to 60-some snaps with such limited practice time, after tweaking his hamstring twice?
- Unfortunately, the tragic news of Denzelle Good losing his brother on Tuesday has implications for Thursday’s game. At Tuesday’s walk-through, the Colts were working rookie Braden Smith as the starting right tackle. Smith has played 10 snaps in his rookie season, all in jumbo packages as an extra offensive lineman. During the month of August, the Colts tried Smith at right tackle and he actually started there in Week Two of the preseason. But they moved Smith back to right guard, his more natural position, where he started 39 of 41 games at in college, in late August. Smith’s abbreviated snaps haven’t been great in 2018, but what other options do they have at right tackle?
- With Good out, the Colts have 7 offensive linemen eligible to play Thursday and one of those is Anthony Castonzo. If no roster moves happen in the next 24 hours, things could be really interesting up front for the Colts on Thursday. These are the linemen eligible to play Thursday: Le’Raven Clark, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Matt Slauson, Braden Smith, Anthony Castonzo, Marc Glowinski.
- Thursday will be the third game T.Y. Hilton has missed in his 7-year NFL career. It’s been incredible how durable the 5-9, 183-pound Hilton has been after battling some injuries in college. His 42-consecutive game streak of starting is the third longest for any current NFL receiver. Without Hilton, Bill Belichick can now commit his defensive resources to suffocating the Colts at the line of scrimmage and take away more underneath action from the unproven skill group. The Hilton loss is without a doubt a major, major issue. Yes, the Colts found some late-game success without Hilton last week. But Hilton still attracts gobs of attention and has found some production against New England, despite Belichick’s focus (Hilton has averaged 67 yards receiving and has scored 3 touchdowns in 5 games against the Patriots).
- No Kenny Moore or Quincy Wilson has the Colts dipping into their cornerback depth chart. Nate Hairston should give it a go and pair with Pierre Desir in the starting lineup. When the Colts go nickel, will they insert special teams ace Chris Milton or go with the recently claimed Arthur Maulet? You know Tom Brady is going to try and challenge the Colts’ depth in the secondary.
- Darius Leonard (left ankle) is listed as questionable. He was on the field for Tuesday’s walk-through, while wearing a boot. That was a good sign for him giving it a go on Thursday.
- Could the Colts dress only 44 or 45 guys on Thursday (you normally dress 46 guys)? If any of those ‘questionable’ guys can’t give it a go than they will. Those questionable are: CB-Nate Hairston (ankle), C-Ryan Kelly (hand), LB-Darius Leonard (ankle), LT-Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), S-Clayton Geathers (knee) and K-Adam Vinatieri (right groin).