INDIANAPOLIS – With Halloween this week, the Colts look to be getting The Maniac back.
That’s obviously great news for the Colts as they return from their bye week and take on the Lions, who have won 3 of their last 4 games.
What did we learn from the Colts on Thursday afternoon, as they held just their second indoor practice of the season?
- Linebacker Darius Leonard (groin) practiced for a second straight day on Thursday. That’s a good sign for him returning this weekend. Leonard spoke before Thursday’s practice and said as long as he feels confident in his normal self during practice, then he’ll be good to go for Sunday. Leonard says the doctors have had to hold him back a bit during this 2.5 game absence.
- How big of a drought has T.Y. Hilton been in? Think about these numbers: Since Hilton’s last touchdown catch (10/20/19), there have been more than 700 receiving touchdowns in the NFL. Since Hilton’s last 100-yard receiving game (12/23/18), there’s been more than 300 games of players recording at least 100 yards receiving. Just four years ago, Hilton was the NFL’s leading receiver. Now, he’s gone 17 straight games without 100 yards receiving and 11 consecutive games without a touchdown.
- Hilton met the media on Thursday and said he feels close to having a breakthrough game. Hilton acknowledged that he hasn’t received a great whistle this year, particularly in the most recent game against the Bengals. He feels he is getting grabbed more, and is expecting a lot of that from the Lions this weekend. Hilton reiterated that the poor start to 2020 for him has not added to any thinking about the contract year that he’s currently in.
- Good news/bad news at the Colts tight end position on Thursday? Tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee) returned to practice on Thursday for his first practice action since Friday, October 9th. But Jack Doyle was not at practice on Thursday. Doyle initially was suited up, and went through the early part of practice on Wednesday before leaving that session. The Colts listed Doyle’s absence on Wednesday as ‘not injury related.’
- After a limited practice day on Wednesday, center Ryan Kelly (knee) was not at practice at the start of Thursday’s session. Without Kelly, that meant rookie Danny Pinter was taking the first-team center reps. Outside of a half dozen mop-up snaps earlier this season against the Jets, Pinter has never played center in his football life. He was a jumbo tackle for 21 combined snaps in the first four games of the season, but hasn’t played in the last two games. Kelly will be a name to watch at Friday’s final practice of the week.
- In Sheldon Day, the Colts have a guy who played with DeForest Buckner last year in San Francisco. Day says he sees a ‘more determined’ Buckner here with the Colts in 2020, wanting to assert his dominance as one of the best defensive tackles in football. “I would say he’s at a different clip,” Day says of Buckner. “I know he’s really trying to fortify his name among the top defensive tackles in the league.” Here is where Buckner ranks among defensive tackles in 2020: 4th in sacks (2.5), 2nd in quarterback hits (13), 7th in tackles for loss (4).
- Many people are curious as to why WR-Michael Pittman and DE-Kemoko Turay are practicing this week, yet not appearing on the team’s injury report. That’s because neither is on the active roster (for now). Pittman remains on IR and Turay is on the physically unable to perform list. Both can be called up at any time to the active roster, with a corresponding move needed. Pittman was practicing again on Thursday, but Turay was not out there in front of the media. Wednesday was Turay’s first practice in over a year.
- In the AFC, there are six teams with positive point differentials after seven weeks. All six have at least 35-point positive differentials: Chiefs (plus 75), Ravens (plus 75), Steelers (plus 65), Dolphins (plus 47), Colts (plus 42), Titans (plus 35).
- How good has Xavier Rhodes been on 3rd down this year? Per Pro Football Focus, Rhodes has yet to allow a single completion on 3rd down this season, with a perfect 0.0 passer rating allowed on 10 third-down targets.
- It sounds like the Colts are going to be looking at rotating more defensive players into the games in the coming weeks. The Colts are playing their starters a good amount early in the season, but want to keep those frontline guys fresh as the team embarks on a stretch that will include (at least) 10 games in 10 weeks.
- In playing the NFC North last season with the Chargers, Philip Rivers did face Matt Patricia’s Lions early in the 2019 campaign. It was not an offensive beauty, with the Chargers losing 13-10 in Week Two of the ’19 season. Rivers went 21-of-36 (58.3 percent) for 293 yards, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Chargers 10 drives ended with the following results: punt, TD, punt, punt, punt, FG, fumble, FG miss, FG miss, INT.
- The Colts will practice one more time on Friday, with a 1:00 PM game this Sunday in Detroit. The Lions are not having any fans at their games currently.
Thursday Injury Report
-DNP: C-Ryan Kelly (knee), TE-Jack Doyle (not injury related)
Bowen Analysis: Two important, and durable, Colts missed the second practice of the week.
-Limited: TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee)
Bowen Analysis: This was Alie-Cox’s first practice since Friday, October 9th.
-Full: LB-Darius Leonard (groin), DL-Denico Autry (not injury related), OT-Chaz Green (back), S-Julian Blackmon (rest), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest)
Bowen Analysis: Good news to see Leonard progressing to a full participant.