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INDIANAPOLIS – This running back by committee approach for the 2018 Colts has added another quality member and could get even more crowded in a couple of weeks.
Marlon Mack’s return to the lineup on Sunday saw him start, but play just 18 snaps (10 carries and 1 catch) as the Colts kept him on a pitch count. Mack did get banged up a little on Sunday, but Frank Reich said the second-year back was fine after the game.
With Mack’s re-insertion into the lineup, Reich will be juggling reps between a trio of guys. Rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines are also very much in the mix.
“All three have a different gift,” Reich says. “Obviously, they overlap somewhat, too.”
Game flow also can dictate how much the Colts decide to deviate a bit from their weekly game plan and just ride the hot hand.
“Part of that is we can go in there with a plan as far as this a 25 (Mack) play or whatever 21 (Hines) play or whatever 20 (Wilkins) play,” offensive coordaintor Nick Sirianni says. “And some of it is, ‘Hey, 20 is hot. Let’s go, keep him in there.’ Sometimes we go into it and we plan a play that, ‘Hey, we want Marlon in or Nyheim in or Jordan in for this,’ and sometimes it’s, ‘Hey, we’re driving. Let’s go, keep him in.’”
For now, it looks like Mack could rise back up to his No. 1 spot on the depth chart. But Wilkins has done nothing to show that he deserves to see his role shrink too much. And Hines is still a nice matchup problem.
- Reich on Mack: “Marlon is kind of your explosive guy. He’s got the most juice and has got the quick explosiveness. You’re able to use that in different ways, try to get him the ball in space. I don’t limit him just to being an outside runner because we did call one or two inside runs with him in the game.”
- Reich on Wilkins: “Jordan has good vision. He has good patience. He has good balance.”
- Reich on Hines: “Nyheim has the speed and you’re just trying to look for ways to create a little seam for Nyheim and get him through there.”
Week 1 Running back snap counts:
-Jordan Wilkins (starter): 46-of-82, 14 carries for 40 yards, 3 catches for 21 yards
-Nyheim Hines: 37-of-82, 5 carries for 19 yards, 7 catches for 33 yards
-Christine Michael: 3-of-82, 2 carries for 9 yards
-Marlon Mack: Inactive
Week 2 Running back snap counts:
-Jordan Wilkins: 24-of-61, 10 carries for 61 yards, 2 catches for 3 yards
-Nyheim Hines: 24-of-61, 4 carries for 7 yards, 1 catch for -2 yards
-Marlon Mack (starter): 18-of-61, 10 carries for 34 yards, 1 catch for 2 yards
-Christine Michael: Inactive
In Mack and Wilkins, the Colts have two guys that they should feel comfortable using in an every down sort of role, with Hines sprinkled all over the offense.
And, of course, this group could add yet another runner to the mix in Week Five, when Robert Turbin’s suspension is complete.
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