INDIANAPOLIS – After their longest break since camp began in late July, the Colts (4-2) have returned to work.
Monday marked the beginning of a grind that will include 10 games in 10 weeks, with the hope that a few more playoff games/weeks will get tacked onto the Colts’ schedule in January
What did we learn from the Colts on Monday?
- While DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle) is now eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list, he’s not expected to play for at least another week. And that’s at the earliest. In fact, the Colts still aren’t saying for sure if Turay will play this season. Before that can be a definitive statement, the Colts need to see Turay in practice, likely for a couple of weeks. “The plan will be that we have to practice this guy a couple of weeks before we do anything (in a game),” Reich said on Monday. “He has to prove himself out on the practice field first before we think about putting him back out there in a game.” The Colts will have just 6-7 total practices leading into their next 3 games (3 practices before the Lions, 3 practices before the Ravens, and 0-1 practices before their Thursday night contest against the Titans). Turay hasn’t practiced in nearly 13 months after dislocating and fracturing his ankle last October. On Monday, Reich expanded on what a guy like Turay can bring to a defensive end position looking for a jolt. “I think Kemoko’s unique gift is speed and bend. Speed and bend off the edge and when I say speed, I should say there’s a third element to that and it’s get off. All the really good pass rushers have a natural knack for getting off on the ball and I think Kemoko has that. For a guy his size, everybody at this level bends well, but then there’s guys who have a little bit of extra bend for his size and his strength…We’re anxious to get that back out there when we can, and if we can.”
- Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor says he is feeling great physically as he approaches the mid-point of his rookie season. That’s not too surprising, considering Taylor is averaging 14 carries per game. He carried it 22.5 times per game in college. Taylor is really leaning on the advice from Marlon Mack right now. Mack has remained in Indianapolis, rehabbing at the Colts complex and taking part in running back meetings. “He’s always at the facility, but he also shoots me a text message. I really just ask him questions about, ‘How is he able to be so effective?’ Maybe there’s certain runs, certain pass play concepts. I’m asking him, ‘What’s going through your mind when you hear this? Or on this scheme, what are you thinking?’ How are you about to be so effective?’ He’s able to break it down where, ‘Hey, that was just a game situation thing where we knew this team just did that or it was where your eyes and reads.’ He’s been very, very helpful…(Running backs coach Tom Rathman) always pulls up clips of Marlon of how he was effective delivering blockers to their defender. I think that’s just the biggest thing. Watching tape on Marlon because he’s been so good in this system and trying to figure out how can I take bits and pieces of that and put that into my game.”
- As you’d expect, the Colts put a heavy importance into self-scouting their run game during the bye week. “Last week we put an emphasis on our zone run game, because that’s what we run the most,” Frank Reich shared on Monday. “Actually, for a lot of ways, we were encouraged. At the point of attack, anytime you are talking about a zone blocking scheme it’s about combination blocks, it’s about footwork and technique and combination blocks. As far as execution and how the offensive line is performing at those combination blocks, we felt like it was pretty good. Some of it was situational. Some of it was heavy box, unaccounted for, forced player, heavy crack replace. There’s always different ways that we as an offense tries to address those things. There’s some things we definitely need to work on. But I felt like we were encouraged. We just have to keep calling it and keep getting into the right situations to call it and just keep trusting our guys to do what we know they can do.” Reich did not hesitate on Monday when asked if the Colts still want their identity to be a run-focused team. “No question,” Reich said. “We are committed to the run, we want to be more committed to the run.”
- Along with the run game focus, Reich said the Colts spent a good chunk of self-scout time on their situational football and tendencies, as well. The Colts also did a little future scouting into opponents waiting in November and December. Beginning with Sunday, the Colts will play 3 games from November 1st-12th (at Lions, Ravens, at Titans). That will include two games in five days against two very physical teams in the Ravens and Titans.
- We know Frank Reich has always been a big fan of Marcus Johnson. The head coach expanded on the traits that Johnson brings, which has helped the speedster record 20-yard plus catches on 5 of his 8 grabs this season: “There’s two things, the first is the speed, Marcus is explosive. The second thing is the ability to make the 50-50 catch,” Reich says. “A couple of the ones that he’s had, he’s had good leverage and run by guys. Most of the plays he’s made though has required him to go up, high pointing or tracking the ball. Being able to high point and track the football are two separate skills, along with the speed, that he’s doing really well right now.
- The Colts will return to the practice field on Wednesday, for their normal weekly routine of Wednesday-Friday sessions. The Colts will travel to take on the Lions (3-3) this Sunday afternoon.