INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are in the midst of playing back-to-back home games for the only time until late November.
After beating the Vikings in Week Two, the Colts will host the New York Jets this Sunday at 4:05 PM.
What did we learn from the Colts at their first practice of the week?
- The stomach illness that sent Rock Ya-Sin to an area hospital on Sunday had him also missing Wednesday’s first practice of the week. Frank Reich wouldn’t reveal details on Ya-Sin’s status, but clearly this isn’t just some small bug that kept him from playing against the Vikings. Ya-Sin was released from the hospital earlier in the week and has tested not positive for COVID-19. With Ya-Sin’s availability for this week clearly in question, the Colts promoted cornerback Tremon Smith (22 career games of experience) from the practice squad.
- Wednesday marked the 4th straight practice Jack Doyle (knee, ankle) has missed. Remember, when Doyle’s injury developed after the loss to the Jaguars, the Colts first thought the veteran tight end would miss multiple games. At tight end, Trey Burton (calf) will miss at least one more game. Healthy tight ends on the 53-man roster are Mo Alie-Cox, Farrod Green and Noah Togiai. The Colts added Hale Hentges, who spent last offseason with the Colts and originally made their 53-man roster, to the practice squad this week. They also signed TE-Ethan Wolf to the practice squad.
- Frank Reich was asked on Wednesday if he sees any similarities between former college basketball players turned tight ends Antonio Gates-Mo Alie-Cox. Reich said outside of the basketball background, they are really much different players in their body build, the types of routes they run, etc. The Colts have liked the improved route running from Alie-Cox, which we saw on display against the Vikings.
- Against the Vikings, Darius Leonard reached the 300-tackle mark for his career. He’s the first player in NFL history to record 300 tackles in the first 30 NFL games of a career. We are just two games into the 2020 season, but Leonard’s tackle per game number is a little down this year (8.0 tackles per game, 9.3 tackles per game in 2019, 10.8 tackles per game in 2020). One could point to the defense not being on the field as much through two weeks as a reason why that early number is a little lower.
- All offseason long, we stressed that Philip Rivers was an upgrade over the quarterback the Colts received last season. In the two key passing game metrics, Rivers has passed the test early on. He completed 78 percent of passes, while having 7.9 yards per attempt in Week 1. Against the Vikings, Rivers completed 76 percent of his passes, and had an 8.5 yards per attempt number. Those are accuracy/’big’ play numbers that the Colts never really achieved last season. In fact, Andrew Luck achieved those numbers in just 5 of his 86 career games. It hasn’t been perfect with Rivers—and the Colts need to be better situationally—-but he’s hitting some important numbers that please Frank Reich.
- We’ve talked about Philip Rivers getting the ball out quick. Well, he is. With a 2.35 seconds time to throw, Rivers ranks 3rd fastest in the NFL this season in getting rid of the football. This is the biggest difference between him and Jacoby Brissett. In 2019, Brissett ranked second to last among NFL QBs, getting rid of it at 2.93 seconds.
- Jets assistant GM Rex Hogan was with the Colts and Chris Ballard from 2017-18, as the VP of Player Personnel. That’s a big reason why you see so much Colts flavor (more like castoffs) on the Jets roster. Here’s a list of all the former Colts with the Jets: OL-Josh Andrews, CB-Pierre Desir, S-Matthias Farley, RB-Frank Gore, DL-Henry Anderson, LB-Tarell Basham, CB-Nate Hairston, CB-Quincy Wilson (dealing with a concussion), LS-Thomas Hennessy, CB-Arthur Maulet (on IR). There’s WR-Donte Moncrief (injured) and TE-Ross Travis on the practice squad, too. Anderson, Hairston, Wilson and Hennessy were all traded from the Colts to the Jets. Anderson, Basham, Hairston, Wilson and Moncrief are all former Colts draft picks. Honestly, outside of Andrews, I don’t think there’s one person on this list that the Colts wanted to retain. Everyone else was cut, not re-signed or traded by Ballard.
- Frank Reich said he has ‘never experienced’ facing so many former players in one game. It won’t be immense, but it sounds like the Colts will make some slight communication/look tweaks this week knowing that the Jets have so many guys who have played for Reich/Matt Eberflus. “We’ll do just enough to complement things they may know to keep them off balance,” Reich said.
- On Wednesday, the Colts signed familiar face WR-Marcus Johnson to their practice squad. Johnson caught 17 balls for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns in 6 starts with the Colts last season. The Colts had Johnson in their training camp this year, but he missed a good amount of time due to a lower body injury. If healthy, Johnson could be a candidate to be promoted to the active roster later this week.
- The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday this week before welcoming the Jets for a 4:05 PM kickoff on Sunday.
Wednesday Injury Report
-DNP: TE-Jack Doyle (knee, ankle), CB-Rock Ya-Sin (illness), LB-Matthew Adams (ankle)
Bowen Analysis: Core special teamer LB-Matthew Adams (ankle) is going to miss multiple weeks after getting hurt covering a kick against the Vikings. Adams hadn’t played a defensive snap this season.
-Limited: Julian Blackmon (knee)
Bowen Analysis: Blackmon was on a pitch count in Sunday’s win over the Vikings, and continues to be listed as ‘limited’ in practice. We’ll see if this keeps him from taking on that full-on starting role from Hooker.
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