INDIANAPOLIS – Facing their toughest test yet in 2020, the Colts have some very important injuries to watch in Week Five.
Both LT-Anthony Castonzo (ribs) and LB-Darius Leonard (groin) missed Wednesday’s first practice the week.
What else did we learn from the Colts on Wednesday?
- Wednesday was the very, very rare day of Anthony Castonzo not participating in a practice. Frank Reich wasn’t in the mood to discuss any injuries on Wednesday, so the details on Castonzo are murky. The durable left tackle missed the final four snaps of the win over the Bears with what Reich later called a ribs injury. Le’Raven Clark, who didn’t play an offensive snap last year, filled in for the final series of running out the clock. Castonzo didn’t miss a single offensive snap last season, after a hamstring injury forced him to sit out the first five games of the 2018 campaign. There’s a reason Castonzo is the most indispensable player the Colts have. And that only skyrockets this weekend, when you are facing Myles Garrett (who leads the NFL with 5 sacks through 4 games).
- The groin injury that kept Darius Leonard out for the second half against the Bears had him also missing Wednesday’s first practice of the week. When Leonard was out last week, you had Anthony Walker playing the WILL (Leonard’s normal spot) with Bobby Okereke at the MIKE. Leonard has missed 4 games in his career, with the Colts going 2-2 in those games. In those games without Leonard, the Colts have given up 38, 24, 31 and 13 points.
- These were the healthy linebackers working in front of the media on Wednesday: Anthony Walker, Zaire Franklin, E.J. Speed (red jersey with an elbow injury) and Jordan Glasgow. Along with Leonard, Bobby Okereke (thumb surgery) was not participating. This group might be the deepest on the team, but it could really be tested on Sunday afternoon.
- In facing the 4th ranked scoring team in the league (Cleveland is averaging 31.0 points per game), Frank Reich did say that can lead to a tad more aggression from him play calling/game management wise this weekend. That would be a bit different than the more reserved Reich we saw against the Bears. This makes plenty of sense knowing the potency the Browns do bring, compared to the Bears.
- Why should Colts fans have more optimism about this 3-1 start in 2020, after seeing a 5-2 record crumble last season? Remember, Chris Ballard knew the Colts were playing with fire a bit in having 9 straight one-possession games to start the 2019 campaign. That’s not happening this year. The Colts currently have a point differential of plus 47, which ranks 3rd in the NFL (Baltimore-plus 49, Green Bay-plus 51). In starting 5-2 last year, the Colts only had a plus 7-point differential, which ended up being a telling sign of a team that would lose 7 of their final 9 games.
- Wednesday’s news of 2 more Titans players, a Patriots player and a Raiders player testing positive for COVID-19, more chatter rose on the viability of the NFL pulling this season off, with 13 more weeks of regular season football, plus 5 weeks of playoff games left. Chris Ballard addressed Colts players on Tuesday, following a league-wide meeting reiterating the stringent protocols needed to accomplish this entire season. The Colts haven’t had a player test positive for COVID-19 in about two and a half months. After two Colts (WR-Malik Henry, CB-Jackson Porter) initially appeared on the COVID/reserve list at the start of training camp, the Colts have not had a single player go on that list since they started camp, and now into the regular season (with a pair of road trips, too). Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the many teams that have avoided any positive tests.
- With several injuries at linebacker right now (Matthew Adams out at least two more games with an ankle injury, Darius Leonard-groin, Bobby Okereke-thumb, E.J. Speed-elbow), the Colts reportedly brought in veteran linebacker Najee Goode for a visit this week. Goode, 31, spent the entire 2018 season with the Colts, only playing on special teams. Goode hasn’t been in the NFL since going on IR late last November with a knee injury, after playing 10 games for the Jaguars. The Colts did make a practice squad move on Wednesday, in signing LB-Jonas Griffith (Indiana State), who was an undrafted free agent of the 49ers in 2020.
- The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday, with a 4:25 PM game in Cleveland (3-1) waiting on Sunday.
Wednesday Injury Report
-DNP: LB-Darius Leonard (groin), LB-Bobby Okereke (thumb), OT-Anthony Castonzo (ribs)
Bowen Analysis: Okereke was supposed to have surgery on his thumb this week. Is this a situation where he could practice later in the week, club it up and give it a go on Sunday?
-Limited: LB-E.J. Speed (elbow), CB-T.J. Carrie (hamstring)
Bowen Analysis: Speed was wearing a red jersey at Wednesday’s practice. Carrie returned to practice after getting hurt last Thursday and missing his first game since 2015.