INDIANAPOLIS – Vacation, kind of, is here for the 2020 Colts.
The bye week has arrived for the Indianapolis Colts (4-2), and it will really begin on Thursday, but players are still not allowed to leave Indy thanks to COVID-19 protocols from the NFL.
Following in-building meetings on Tuesday (tape overview of the Bengals game) and Wednesday (some self-scouting after 6 weeks), players will then have four days away from the team complex. All NFL teams have to give players 4 straight days off and that will come Thursday-Sunday, before the team reconvenes on Monday for the final 10 games of their regular season.
Colts players will remain in Indianapolis, as the NFL has mandated players still get tested daily during the bye week in the city of their respective teams. Reich does think some players will fly in family members during the break to have some time away.
What did we learn from Reich and the Colts on Monday?
- The Colts sit at 4-2 at the bye week, after having the easiest strength of schedule in football so far. Reich admitted on Monday he wishes the record was a little better (the Colts are currently in the final spot of the AFC Playoff Picture race). The head coach did appreciate how the Colts were able to win that game on Sunday though, doing it in a different way. “We still have a lot to prove but one of the things we needed to prove, we proved (on Sunday), that we can win a game like that. That’s an important box to check off,” Reich told his team following their 31-27 come from behind victory.
- An interesting note from Jonathan Taylor through 6 weeks: He’s got 16 catches on 17 targets, in averaging 10.1 yards per catch. That’s really impressive. Remember, Taylor caught just 42 balls in three years at Wisconsin, with him doing so much for the Badgers on 1st and 2nd down. Here is what Reich says about Taylor’s usage so far with the Colts: “Here’s a guy coming out of Wisconsin that people think doesn’t catch the football. But I think we’ve used him in the passing game. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands so get him in space, let him use his size and speed. I think we’ve done a fairly decent job. We can do better. Obviously we can do better. But I think he’s doing well. He’s getting better every week and running with more confidence. He has as good of a work ethic and mindset, and is as conscientious as anyone on the team. He’s a very, very mature young man and a great teammate. Feel very good about where he’s at and the trajectory he’s on.”
- Frank Reich acknowledged on Monday that Philip Rivers does excel when using some no-huddle/quicker tempo. The Colts had success with it on Sunday in their comeback. But that doesn’t mean the head coach is prepared to implement that more in a given game plan. “He does thrive in it. (In San Diego from 2013-15) we basically were no-huddle for 3 years, for the better part of 3 years. We weren’t always up-tempo but we basically didn’t huddle for three years. I don’t think we are going to get to that (this season). I think we want to mix it up. It did give us a spark (on Sunday). I just think when you get one-dimensional, and that can mean a lot of different things, unless you are just a super power and better than the other team at every position, and we are a good football team, but I don’t think there’s any team in the NFL that can just line up and say we are going to do the same thing on every snap and we don’t care. I think our MO will be to continue to mix it up. And that’s the art of it. How much do you use it? Is it 10 percent? Is it 30 percent? If we get hot, do we go a whole game with it? Those are the coaching decisions we have to make in the course of a game and a season.
- Do not take a gander at the box score when looking for Frank Reich’s opinion on how T.Y. Hilton played against the Bengals. Hilton had just 1 catch on 5 targets for 11 yards this past Sunday, with a pair of receptions also negated due to injury. Reich was adamant that Hilton played much, much better than one of the least productive games of Hilton’s entire career. “We throw for 376 yards and he’s got 1 catch for 11 yards,” Reich said of Hilton’s day. “You would never guess that in a million years when you throw for that many yards. To T.Y.’s credit, he’s such a good teammate and wants us to win. What’s my evaluation of what happened (Sunday)? My evaluation is he played well, he played really well. He had the catch on the sideline that got overruled. He has another big in-cut that he’s coming wide open and it’s going to be a 30-yard gain. Philip is coming right to him. And it’s one of the few plays all game where Philip gets pressured and gets pushed out of the pocket to the right or else it’s a 30-yard gain to T.Y. We had the screen play that just didn’t quite hit. Then we had another one where T.Y. is going deep down the middle. It’s a 2nd-and-10 call and T.Y. is going down the middle and gets pushed up the pocket and to the right and ends up throwing it short right to Nyheim as an incompletion. But had it fallen differently in the pocket and had he gotten pushed the other way, his eyes were going to get pushed towards T.Y. and it was going to be a 50-yard touchdown. So T.Y. is still doing T.Y. things and the ball just isn’t going his way much lately. And he’s gotten a few bad breaks and he’s gotten a few pass interference calls.”
- Great news in the injury department, per Reich, following the Bengals game. Reich said no injuries in the day after that game. The Colts will now be monitoring these injuries heading into next Sunday’s matchup with the Lions: LB-Darius Leonard (groin), TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), OT-Chaz Green (back), WR-Michael Pittman (leg), LB-Matthew Adams (ankle), DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle).
- Many have asked about the progress of Turay, who is now eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list and start his 21-day practice window. Turay hasn’t practiced in over a year. “He’s making good progress,” Reich said of Turay on Monday. “We’ll see after the bye whether he’s ready for Detroit or not. Not sure yet. But he is making good progress.” This is no guarantee that Turay will immediately re-integrate into the lineup right away with so much missed practice time.