INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts dealt with their first positive COVID-19 test on Thursday that also forced a change in the practice schedule.
On Thursday morning, the team announced that a Colts staff member tested positive for COVID-19. With that news, the Colts initially announced that they would hold meetings virtually, but still have a normal in-person practice.
Here was the statement from the team on Thursday’s news:
“This morning, we were informed that a member of the Colts staff has tested positive for COVID-19. The team is in the process of contact tracing and has entered the NFL’s intensive protocol. The individual has self-quarantined and is under the care of team doctors. The Colts will conduct today’s scheduled practice at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, but all meetings will be held virtually and away from the practice facility. We are working closely with the NFL, its medical staff and our team doctors.”
After a few hours, the Colts decided that Thursday’s on-field work would be a walk-through, and not a normal practice.
The team is still expected to hold a normal final practice of the week on Friday afternoon.
Sunday’s game with the Ravens is still scheduled to be held at 1:00 PM inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
What else did we learn from the Colts on Thursday?
- At Wednesday’s first practice of the week, the Colts had 4 healthy wideouts on their active roster: Marcus Johnson, Zach Pascal, Michael Pittman and Dezmon Patmon. With T.Y. Hilton (groin) and Ashton Dulin (knee) working through injuries this week, the Colts will probably need to do something roster wise at wideout. That would be either Patmon finally making his NFL debut. Or the call-up of DeMichael Harris, who flashed against the Bengals earlier this year. Or bringing Reece Fountain up from the practice squad. This is something to keep an eye over the next 48 hours, especially with Johnson (knee) showing up on Thursday’s injury report.
- Blitzing Philip Rivers has not led to success for opposing defenses this season. Rivers ranks an impressive 2nd in the NFL with a 131.1 passer rating when being blitzed (Drew Brees ranks 1st). The ability for Rivers to identify the blitz pre-snap, know where the hot read is going to be, is such an advantage for the Colts this season. The numbers reflect that.
- Many questions this week about the Colts using a spy against Lamar Jackson. They will being use a spy on Sunday. How often? That remains to be seen. But the Colts were adamant this week that they need to do a good job of disguising that spy so it isn’t crystal clear to Jackson on who is responsible for him every snap. Options to spy should include Darius Leonard, Bobby Okereke and Kenny Moore.
- Speaking of Leonard, he had a great quote on Thursday in describing DeForest Buckner, and the switch that is flipped once the whistle blows to start a play. “It’s so crazy, because I’ve never seen him upset,” Leonard said of Buckner. “I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He’s very polite. He’s very nice. He’s well-mannered. He gets between the lines and he’s a different cat. It’s more so, ‘I’ve got to go out there and be a dog.’ Even in a game, he doesn’t talk as much in games, but he goes out and tosses people around like they have no family. He is just making people look silly. He’s by far one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, very genuine. He’s got that little mean streak between the whistle. Once the whistle blows, he’s back to that 6-8, 290-pound sweet, nice guy.”
- Grover Stewart (a free agent in 2021) needs to get paid by the Colts very soon. Stewart ranks 4th in the NFL with solo tackles among defensive tackles this season (18). Unlike virtually everyone else high on that list, Stewart is doing that from more of the nose tackle position in the Colts defense. Despite that, he’s still offering the luxury of individual production. Stewart is a major reason why this run defense ranks 2nd in the NFL this season.
- We mentioned earlier this week about the ‘true, January-like tests’ awaiting the Colts to close out this season. It’s just a weird layout to the Colts schedule in 2020, when you compare the front of it to the backloaded nature. Consider this: Of the 13 teams with positive point differentials in the NFL right now, the Colts haven’t played a single one of them. They will have 5 games against those teams the rest of the way, with 4 straight starting on Sunday.
- The Colts (5-2) will practice one more time on Friday, with a 1:00 PM game hosting the Ravens (5-2) in front of 12,500 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
Thursday Injury Report (estimation if the Colts would have practiced)
-DNP: WR-Ashton Dulin (knee), WR-T.Y. Hilton (groin), TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), WR-Marcus Johnson (knee), DT-Sheldon Day (non-injury related), DL-Tyquan Lewis (non-injury related), G-Quenton Nelson (non-injury related), WR-Michael Pittman (non-injury related)
–FULL: TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), C-Ryan Kelly (knee), RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), RB-Jordan Wilkins (groin), S-Julian Blackmon (rest)