INDIANAPOLIS – It’s looking like the Colts will be playing without their leading pass catcher this weekend.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (groin) didn’t practice all week and will officially be listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against Ravens.
Here are the takeaways from the Colts final practice of the week:
- T.Y. Hilton (groin) wasn’t able to practice this week, so he’s likely to miss his first game of the 2020 season. If Hilton does indeed miss Sunday, it’ll be the 7th missed game for him over the last three years. The Colts are 1-9 in Hilton’s entire career of being sidelined. With (maybe) just one practice in next week’s abbreviated schedule, Hilton’s availability for the Titans game on Thursday night seems to be up in the air. Remember, Frank Reich said earlier this week, Hilton needed to practice in order to play.
- Many will overlook the loss of Hilton and quickly point to his lack of production, but he’s still leading the Colts in receiving yards through 7 games. With WR-Ashton Dulin (knee) ruled OUT for Sunday, and WR-Marcus Johnson (knee, full practice on Friday) questionable, the Colts are likely to promote a receiver this weekend. Could that be the new No. 12 WR-DeMichael Harris, who flashed a bit against the Bengals with a few grabs? That seems to be the more likely option. The Colts could also have rookie WR-Dezmon Patmon make his NFL debut or call-up WR-Reece Fountain (2 career catches).
- Defensive end Kemoko Turay (ankle) got 2 more days of practice in this week, so he’s now practiced 4 total times since fracturing his ankle last October. Frank Reich says things continue to ‘head in the right direction’ with Turay, but the head coach won’t commit to a return date for the speedy rusher this weekend. Turay is still getting in scout team work at practice. Reich did say on Friday that whenever Turay does return he’ll be on a pitch count, mainly used in passing situations.
- The four close contacts the Colts held out of the building on Thursday, due to a staffer testing positive for COVID-19, were back on Friday, and practicing: LG-Quenton Nelson, WR-Michael Pittman, DT-Tyquan Lewis, DT-Sheldon Day. So those four, along with all other Colts players, continue to test negative and are good to go for Sunday’s matchup. Reich said the Colts decided to adjust their Thursday schedule to have a walk-through, and then a longer/more physical practice on Friday, with having to miss 8 guys yesterday (4 due to injury). That meant a few more team periods, and 25 minutes longer of a practice to close out the week: “Really give our organization a lot of credit and our players a lot of credit, handled well,” Reich said on Friday about the Colts dealing with Thursday’s adjusted schedule. “We got the news of a positive test. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s a virus. The Kinexon (tracing) is there for the close contact information. You get that information immediately. We are monitoring that stuff every day. We are trying to do a good job. We talk with our players that with increasing measure these last few weeks, as these cases are ramping up, we are talking to them in increasing measure about the close contacts, about the importance of keep your masks on at all times, maintain social distancing at all times. Our players are doing a good job. It’s hard to be perfect in this but I really think we are doing well as a team.”
- Among all the impressive defensive stats the Colts have compiled this year, these two stand out to me: 1st in the NFL in allowing a passer rating of 76.2; 1st in the NFL in interceptions (11). The Colts wanted to be a more playmaking defense this season, especially in the pass game. They’ve done that.
- Justin Houston has played in the NFL for a decade (125 career games). He doesn’t hesitate when asked who is the fastest quarterback he’s played against. “Lamar Jackson,” Houston says bluntly. When asked why he didn’t hesitate with his answer, Houston chuckles: “Have you watched him play (laughing)? That’s the real question. I was in Kansas City. I played against him, so hands down and by far the quickest, fastest quarterback. That’s no knock to any other quarterback. There are a lot of quarterbacks with speed, but no other quarterback moves the way he moves in that pocket. When he gets out of the pocket, he is so dangerous.”
- It’s kind of funny the Colts sit here with a 5-2 record for a second straight season. In 2019, the Colts started 5-2 but fell apart down the stretch in losing 7 of their final 9 games. This was a question that weighed on Chris Ballard following the season: “That’s an answer we have to figure out. I remember sitting there at 5-2 thinking, ‘We’ve got a pretty good football team. But I also knew we had won some really tight games. Usually that pops back around on you and you don’t always win those out. Point differential is big. I always look at it. I think we were plus 8 or 9 at one point, always hovering right in that middle area. We were winning tight games and then in the second half of the season, we weren’t winning those tight games, whether it was a failure offensively, or a failure in the kicking game, or a failure defensively. In each of those tough losses, something would go wrong that we would not make a play. We are a process and people driven organization. That’s how we are. I thought sometimes we got focused too much on the outcome. That’s my fault. At the end of the day, you are 5-2 and you start looking at, ‘Wow, we are going to make the playoffs. No, it’s got to be about the next game.’ Frank is not this way. He’s a great process-oriented person. That’s his thought process. I think you could hear a little chatter of 5-2, we’ve beaten a very good Kansas City team, a playoff team in Tennessee on the road, we beat Houston, who is a really good football team, so we’ve beaten three of the top teams in the AFC and if you don’t continue to grind and take care of the little things each and every week, it’ll bite you. I don’t want to be a momentum team, a momentum organization. You start over every week. You are 0-0 every week, even after the season. We are starting over and evaluating everything. I think we just got caught up in the momentum of being 5-2.”
- The Colts (5-2) will have a Saturday morning walk-through, with a 1:00 PM game hosting the Ravens (5-2) in front of 12,500 fans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
FINAL INJURY REPORT
-OUT: WR-Ashton Dulin (knee)
–DOUBTFUL: WR-T.Y. Hilton (groin)
-QUESTIONABLE: TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), WR-Marcus Johnson (knee),
Bowen Analysis: Both of these guys practiced on Friday. Johnson was FULL. Alie-Cox was LIMITED.
The following players were on the injury report this week, but have since been removed: DT-Sheldon Day (non-injury related), DL-Tyquan Lewis (non-injury related), G-Quenton Nelson (non-injury related), WR-Michael Pittman (non-injury related), TE-Trey Burton (rest), S-Julian Blackmon (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), C-Ryan Kelly (knee), RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), RB-Jordan Wilkins (groin).