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INDIANAPOLIS Could the Colts be down yet another skill player in Week Two?

The injury report isn’t looking great for the skill group as the Colts held their second practice of the week on Thursday afternoon.

What did we learn from the Colts as they get ready to play the Vikings?

  • Jack Doyle (knee, ankle) missed a second straight practice on Thursday, bringing some more doubt into his status for Week 2. Doyle battled a neck injury in camp, yet still played 54-of-74 snaps, catching 3 passes on 4 targets for 49 yards. If Doyle misses another practice and Sunday’s game (he played in all 16 last season), the Colts will be very young at tight end this weekend. You’ll have Mo Alie-Cox leading the group, undrafted Noah Togiai (who was claimed two weeks ago from the Eagles) and the you have practice squad options in Farrod Green and Charlie Taumoepeau, both who also went undrafted in 2020. Not having Doyle would mean the Colts are down 3 key skill guys—himself, Marlon Mack and Trey Burton—and would almost have to mean that more 3 wide receiver sets would be used in Week Two.

 

  • If you watched Sunday’s opener and noticed a very vocal Philip Rivers, you aren’t wrong. Nyheim Hines said he hasn’t played with a quarterback who changed the protections as often as Rivers. It worked, with Rivers not being sacked in 46 pass attempts.

 

  • T.Y. Hilton said on Thursday that he re-watched his 2 drops from the final series of the game around 70 times Sunday. It took him until Wednesday before he got over the two critical drops. It was rare to see Hilton not come down with the two on-target balls, and was a bit reminiscent of his inability to come up with a couple of balls last year in a Thursday night matchup against the Texans. Back in 2016, when Hilton led the league in receiving, he frequently bounced back from quieter games. Will we see another one of those this Sunday?

 

  • We know The Maniac is always looking for motivation. Finding that this week comes from taking a look at the other sideline. In 2019, it was Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks beating out Darius Leonard for a first-team All-Pro selection (Leonard was second-team All-Pro in 2019). Based off stats last season, Kendricks had the following stat line 110 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, 0 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles in 15 games. Leonard produced these numbers: 121 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 7 passes defensed, 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles in 13 games. Leonard downplayed that on Thursday, but we know how he’s wired.

 

  • How important is a 1-1 split for the Colts after two weeks? Only about 12 precent of NFL teams that start a season going 0-2 make the playoffs. Now, remember there’s 7 playoff spots (not 6) up for grabs this season. And the Colts did start 0-2 in 2014 and go on to make the AFC Title game. Still, they started 0-2 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and didn’t finish above .500 in any of those years. With the gauntlet waiting in the second half of the year (Ravens, Packers, Steelers, two games each against the Texans and Titans), the Colts really need to find a win on Sunday and make sure they are a few games above .500 before November arrives.

 

  • No one should be worried about too heavy of a workload for Jonathan Taylor moving forward. Taylor averaged 22.6 carries per game in his three years at Wisconsin. For comparison’s sake, Marlon Mack averaged 17.6 carries per game last season. The Colts should feel comfortable giving Taylor a solid 15-20 carries, if they want to, this Sunday.

 

  • Another note on Taylor and how effective he was out of the backfield in his NFL debut. He caught all 6 of his targets for 67 receiving yards. That’s the second highest number of receiving yards by a rookie running back in his NFL debut since 2000 (Kareem Hunt had 98 receiving yards in the 2017 season opener).

 

  • There are major questions about the Minnesota defensive line, especially without stud Danielle Hunter (on IR to start the season) coming off the edge. Former Jaguars DE-Yannick Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings a few weeks ago. In his time in Jacksonville, Ngakoue was an issue for the Colts—piling up 6.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 8 career games against the Colts.

 

  • Those curious where former Colts kicker Chase McLaughlin is right now? He’s currently being protected by the Vikings on their practice squad. Veteran kicker Dan Bailey is the placekicker for the Vikings. McLaughlin, who has yet to miss a kick inside of 40 yards in his NFL career (35-of-35 inside of 40 yards), lost the kicking battle to Rodrigo Blankenship in camp.

 

  • There is a capacity of 2,500 fans for the Colts inside of Lucas Oil Stadium for Sunday’s home opener. That number will jump to 7,500 in Week Three, when they take on the Jets. On Thursday, Jim Irsay said the Marion County Department of Health approved the 5,000-fan bump. After that Jets game, the Colts will play just one more home game until November 8th (an October 18th contest against the Bengals).

 

  • The Colts will practice one more time on Friday before welcoming Minnesota for Sunday’s home opener kicking at 1:00.

 

Thursday Injury Report

-DNP: TE-Jack Doyle (ankle/knee), DE-Justin Houston (calf), CB-Isiah Rodgers (ankle)

Bowen Analysis: Rare to see Doyle miss the first two days of practice. Houston also sat out last Thursday with an calf injury. Rodgers is a new addition to the injury report.

-Limited: S-Julian Blackmon (knee), WR-Michael Pittman (toe), WR-Zach Pascal (knee)

Bowen Analysis: Until Blackmon is listed as a ‘full’ participant, it’s difficult to see him making his NFL debut. This is the rookie’s third week of practice. Good to see Pascal progress to being limited. He was again doing some light jogging off to the side to start practice. Pittman is a new addition to the injury report

-Full: S-Malik Hooker (illness)

Bowen Analysis: After missing Wednesday’s practice, Hooker was a full participant on Thursday.