INDIANAPOLIS – On a day when the NFL saw its first multiple-player COVID-19 outbreak during the 2020 regular season, the Colts were in their own building to review film of their Week Three win over the Jets.
The Colts have not had a positive COVID-19 test in more than two months.
Practice for the Colts will start up again on Wednesday, with Indianapolis (2-1) facing Chicago (3-0) this Sunday at 1:00 PM.
What did we learn from the Colts on Tuesday?
- Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni has actually gone through a leg compartment syndrome—which is what Michael Pittman needed surgery for on Sunday night. The rookie is expected to miss multiple games. Sirianni, like Pittman, said his injury also came when running an in route. “Basically, you get some trauma in your leg and there’s nowhere for the swelling to go. It’s pretty serious,” Sirianni explained. “You have to relive the pressure somehow and the way you relieve the pressure is by opening up (surgery).” Sirianni, 39, credited then Mount Union Head Athletic Trainer Jay Jonas for recognizing the symptoms and getting a handle on his injury right away. While Sirianni mentioned that his leg compartment syndrome wasn’t the exact same injury as Pittman, the Colts OC did return to play college football and felt like he was a better player.
- Just because the Colts could be getting TE-Trey Burton (calf) back this weekend doesn’t mean that Mo Alie-Cox is going to the bench. The Colts have involved three tight ends in a game plan before and will be doing it again moving forward (whenever Burton returns for good). “We have to keep him involved,” Nick Sirianni said of Alie-Cox. “He’s made too many plays to say, ‘Okay now Mo, you take a backseat.’ Mo is going to be involved. We plan for Mo. We want to get him the football. And we have a variety of ways to get him the ball. We know what he does well and we know what he excels at and those are going to be the ways we continue to get Mo the football.”
- What does former Colts All-Pro punter Pat McAfee think of the guy who has replaced him? Well, McAfee holds Rigoberto Sanchez in very high regard: “He’s unbelievable,” McAfee said of Sanchez on his Instagram story earlier this week. “Has an incredibly athletic leg. Can do a variety of kicks. He’s a bit boring because of how unselfish he is…instead of kicking 60-75 yard balls, which he most certainly could anytime he wanted, he hits spots to eliminate the returner and help his team out as much as possible…His pooch kickoff (Sunday) was one of the most beautiful balls I’ve ever seen kicked…I love what Rigo does with the football. I got a sense of pride watching him. He does everything the right way #ForTheBrand…and I’ve been told he’s an incredibly cool dude as well.” Sanchez has punted for the Colts since McAfee retired following the 2017 season. The CBS broadcast mentioned this on Sunday, but Sanchez has not had a punt result in a touchback since Week Two of the 2019 season (58-punt streak). Minnesota’s Britton Colquitt is the only punter in the NFL who has had a longer stretch of no touchbacks. Sanchez is one of the Colts’ best players and is a big reason why they’ve controlled field position so well this season.
- It is really unusual to see the Colts ranked 32n in the NFL in third-down efficiency this season (converting just 30.3 percent of third downs). “It ticks us off a little bit, obviously,” Nick Sirianni said on Tuesday. Currently, this is easily the biggest issue for the Colts, no matter the unit, through three games. “We are definitely not where we want to be,” the OC said of the play on third down. “We have really good personnel to be able to win 1-on-1 matchups, our blocking is really outstanding. I think it’s just a bit of lack of execution, just need to execute better and put players in better positions. It’s all of us as a whole and it starts with coaches, just putting guys in better positions to help them do their job and then just executing versus the different looks. We have to be better.”
- Matt Eberflus said S-Julian Blackmon had a ‘solid’ performance in the rookie’s first NFL start. Blackmon appeared to still be on a pitch count, playing 41 of the 64 defensive snaps (with veteran Tavon Wilson subbing for the other 23 snaps at free safety). The rookie wasn’t challenged much against the Jets with his primary responsibility being as a deep field safety. Blackmon finished with 1 tackle. Eberflus called Blackmon’s practice effort last week an ‘A+.’ That’s extremely high praise from Eberflus, considering the stringent effort standard the Colts defense practices with.
- Even though we are just three games into Jonathan Taylor’s rookie season, it is a bit surprising to have seen him yet to break a big one (his long rush is 16 yards in 48 carries; 47 guys have had at least one 20-yard run this season). Taylor is averaging 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks 37th in the NFL. On Tuesday, Taylor talked about where he wants to improve as a runner. “I would like to improve on those instincts,” the rookie said. “A lot of times in college you just have a bit more time to allow blocks to develop. You think if I press this a little bit more, I might be able to move this guy, I might help my guard out a little bit. When you see something, you have to take it because the pursuit is that much faster at this level. The guys on the offensive line are that much better, so you trust that your offensive line is going to make that block, but at the same time when you hit that hole, the defensive line is going to try and rip off that block and get a hand on you, you’re going to have to run through arm tackles. Really, just trusting those pre-snap keys, make a decision, live with it and you have to hit it fast.”
- Sunday had to be special for third-year wideout Reece Fountain recording his first NFL catch. It’s been an emotional beginning to Fountain’s NFL career (he was the only draft pick to be cut in 2018, his grandmother passed away in 2018, he became a father, he suffered a gruesome ankle injury in training camp last year). Fountain said it was ‘amazing’ to record his first NFL catch, as he ended up with two receptions for 23 yards. With injuries to Parris Campbell (knee) and Michael Pittman (leg), Fountain should expect to see a continued role behind T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal. Both Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni have been pleased with the plays Fountain has made in practice, leading to his promotion from the practice squad, and role on game day.
- The Colts will get back to practice on Wednesday, preparing to take on the Bears (with defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano) in Chicago this Sunday. Reich will also see another familiar face in Nick Foles being named the starting QB for the Week 4 matchup.