INDIANAPOLIS – With Election Day falling on Tuesday, the Colts had a busier Monday than normal as they see their schedule pick up in intensity.
The Colts now sit at 5-2, tied atop of the AFC South, as they prepare to face the Baltimore Ravens (5-2) this Sunday afternoon inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here some takeaways from the Colts on Monday:
- After going from 2 carries total in the 2 previous games, to a career-high 20 in Sunday’s win over the Lions, Jordan Wilkins should expect a bigger role moving forward. “Jordan did a great job, just like Jordan Wilkins has done for the three years that I’ve been here and the three years that he’s been here,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said on Monday. “I feel like he always takes advantage of his opportunities, so excited about what he did and look forward to continuing to grow in the run game.” Sirianni said at times he has asked himself why Wilkins hasn’t had a bigger role: “Whenever you have a guy who takes advantage of the opportunities the way Jordan has, I think you always are going to ask that question. Jordan has done nothing but earn more opportunities and he’ll continue to get more opportunities. I think that’s fair.”
- We have seen 15 different Colts catch a pass in 2020 (all having caught at least two passes, too). Nyheim Hines and T.Y. Hilton are the only Colts to be averaging more than 3 catches per game at this point of the season. While the Colts certainly lack a top-flight pass catcher, Frank Reich sees plenty of positives in Philip Rivers finding so many different guys. “They can’t scheme to stop one guy, because we are spreading it around,” Reich said on Monday. “That’s the biggest positive. They don’t know who we are throwing to on 3rd down. Or when we get into the red zone, who we are going to feature because we are going to spread it around. The other positive of that is we are continuing to develop our football team into playmakers, with our running backs, tight ends and our receivers, all of our skill guys. We talk about being an unselfish room and everybody stepping up and making plays. We feel like we are getting that and building confidence in our whole roster.”
- It’s shocking to see the Colts continuing to rank dead last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.51). Reich isn’t too worried about that figure though. “I thought (against the Lions) we made some progress in some ways. Early on, we struggled, various reasons for that. The yards per attempt, I don’t want to say I’m not concerned about it, I’m always going to have the same mindset that we can get better, no matter what. I think offensively we are making the steps in the right direction there…but we have to get better, there’s no question. And I believe we will.”
- We heard from Frank Reich on Friday about some ’flashes’ Kemoko Turay showed in that final practice of last week. What did Matt Eberflus think of Turay’s first on-field work of 2020? “I thought he was good,” the defensive coordinator said on Monday. “He did a lot of show team reps for us and some 1-on-1 pass rush. He’s a work in progress, but I thought he looked good and we’ll see where he’s at this week.”
- Tyquan Lewis had another impressive outing on Sunday (2 sacks). With what Lewis did the game prior (5 tackles and a half sack), these are the best back-to-back performances of his three-year career. “The health has been there, but I think he’s progressing and understanding what works for him in practice,” Lewis said. “He understands what his pass rush move is and what his counter is, and understanding how to play the run, and utilizing his power and intensity that he needs to within his body. He’s always been super smart. He’s always known what to do with his alignments and assignments to play all along the line. We’ve never had an issue with that. He’s just now starting to work his body and mind at the same time to be productive on the field.”
- There was some question following Sunday’s game about the health of Jonathan Taylor. Following the win, Philip Rivers mentioned in an interview with CBS that Taylor was ‘dinged up.’ On Monday, Reich didn’t originally mention Taylor as an injury the team was monitoring from the Lions game. But when asked specifically about Taylor later in the presser, Reich did say that he learned after the game, not during it, of the rookie having a ‘little bit of an ankle issue.’ Based off what Reich said on Monday, this news didn’t impact how the Colts handled their running back rotation in Sunday’s second half (Jordan Wilkins got 14 carries; Jonathan Taylor had 1).
- As far as other injuries from the Lions game, Reich said the team will monitor the statues of T.Y. Hilton (groin) and Ashton Dulin (knee) this week. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin did clear concussion protocol after leaving in the 4th quarter against Detroit.
- Looking for a spark in the red zone, the Colts have used Trey Burton twice in a WildCat look. Burton is 2-for-2 in converting, keeping the ball both times for the 1-yard scores. “It’s probably one of the more fun things I get to do,” Burton said on Monday. “I told Nick (Sirianni) and Frank (Reich) and all those guys, ‘I don’t do many things well. But one thing I can do really well is run the WildCat. I’ve done it my whole life.’” As a former high school QB, who does bring a threat to throw, Burton had some of those packages involved in his collegiate role at Florida, too. Burton, who stands 6-2 and 238 pounds, is only the 3rd tight end in NFL history (and first since 1968) to rush for a touchdown in consecutive games.
- The first major COVID related item has impacted a Colts opponent. The Baltimore Ravens will not have All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey against the Colts, after his test on Sunday morning came back positive. Humphrey played against the Steelers, but now is out 10 days due to his positive test. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Humphrey will miss this Sunday’s game in Indy. With Baltimore also down stud left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle), and possibly veteran running back Mark Ingram (ankle), the Colts are catching some nice breaks in Week Nine.
- Remember, the NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4:00 PM. My stance hasn’t changed. I still don’t think the Colts should be active in buying at the deadline.
- Normally, the Colts have Monday as their off day, and do some in-person meetings on Tuesday to review the previous Sunday’s game. But they switched up those two days this week with Election Day this Tuesday. The Colts will get back to in-person work on Wednesday, with a normal practice schedule Wednesday-Friday.