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INDIANAPOLIS – Anthony Castonzo did suffer another setback in his comeback from a nagging right hamstring injury.
That setback happened during Wednesday’s practice, with Frank Reich calling the tweak “minor.” But Castonzo will still miss a second straight game to start the 2018 season.
“I think it was a minor setback, but it was a setback enough to rule him out for this week,” Reich said after the team’s final practice of the week.
Reich said that the Colts didn’t really entertain the thought of putting Castonzo on injured reserve, with the left tackle suffering his second setback in the last month and a half.
Since Aug. 3, Castonzo has practiced just 4 times (Wednesday-Friday last week, and then Wednesday of this week). All four of those sessions had Castonzo practicing on a limited basis.
Based off Friday’s practice, do not be surprised if the Colts turn to Le’Raven Clark at left tackle on Sunday. Clark has never played left tackle in an NFL regular season game (like Joe Haeg last week). Clark did play a good amount of left tackle during the preseason. Against starting-level talent though, Clark struggled at left tackle in August.
“I’ve been preparing all week,” Clark said after Friday’s practice. “I got plenty of reps during camp and in the preseason. I feel good to go.”
Clark has 3 career starts at right tackle and 5 at right guard.
Earlier this week, before the Castonzo setback, Frank Reich mentioned that Clark would be needed in 2018, albeit his role come Sunday is probably a little bit earlier than the head coach expected.
“Le’Raven is a solid player,” Reich said. “He provides great depth for our offensive line at tackle and he can play guard. It’s a long season. My guess is we will see him before the end of the season.”
If Clark is indeed the starter at left tackle, that would mean Joe Haeg goes back to his more natural right tackle position. Haeg was pretty solid in emergency duty at left tackle though against the Bengals. But Haeg’s most experience in the NFL has been at right tackle, where he’s listed as the team’s starter on the depth chart and has 20 career starts.
Starting the 2016 draft picks in Clark (third rounder) and Haeg (fifth rounder) would keep rookie Braden Smith as the team’s sixth linemen on Sunday. Smith was a bit shaky in his 4 snaps of jumbo package work last week.
No matter how the Colts line up Sunday, it will be the 37th different offensive line Andrew Luck has played behind in 72 career games.
Marlon Mack is questionable for Week Two. Mack has now practiced in 5 straight sessions (4 of them limited, and then a full day on Friday) since injuring his hamstring in the preseason opener on Aug. 9.
Reich was very complimentary of how Mack looked at practice this week.
“He looked good,” Reich said of the second-year back after Mack was FULL at Friday’s practice. “He’s got that explosiveness, that quickness. He’s really made good progress. Feel confident for the game that if Marlon is up, ready to go, we will use him accordingly.”
If Mack makes his season debut on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how involved he is after the Colts had the following snap counts with their three running backs in Week One:
- Jordan Wilkins: 46 snaps (14 carries for 40 yards, 3 catches for 21 yards)
- Nyheim Hines: 37 snaps (5 carries for 19 yards, 7 catches for 33 yards)
- Christine Michael: 3 snaps (2 carries for 9 yards)
On the defensive side of the ball, DT-Denico Autry will be out on Sunday after a lingering ankle injury flared up following Wednesday’s practice.
Autry played 41 snaps in the season opener, the second most of any Colts’ defensive lineman. But he was limited at Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. He then missed the final two days of practice.
Following Thursday’s absence, the Colts decided to elevate DT-Jihad Ward from the practice squad, a sign that insurance was needed for Autry in Week Two. Reich was very high on what Ward, a 2016 second-round pick, has shown in his brief stint on the practice squad. Ward should dress on Sunday.
Besides Castonzo and Autry, OT-Denzelle Good (hamstring) and CB-Chris Milton (concussion) will also be out on Sunday.
Friday’s Injury Report
OUT: DL-Denico Autry (ankle), OT-Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), OT-Denzelle Good (knee/wrist), CB-Chris Milton (concussion)
–Bowen’s Analysis: Good and Milton missed practice all this week.
QUESTIONABLE: S-Clayton Geathers (safety), RB-Marlon Mack (hamstring), Grover Stewart (shoulder)
–Bowen’s Analysis: Geathers was a DNP on Friday after going limited on Wednesday and Thursday. This is something to watch on Sunday. The Mack update is above.