INDIANAPOLIS – A victory Friday leading into a weekend off?
That’s the ideal way to take care of business in playing on Thursday Night Football, especially when yout beat the division leader on the road.
Frank Reich and his staff broke down the film on Friday of the Colts’ 34-17 victory over the Titans, before getting away from football this weekend.
What did we learn from the Colts on Friday?
- As you’d expect, Frank Reich isn’t pleased with how the Colts have been doing in short yardage this season, with that showing up again on Thursday. “I do not like not making 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-2. Even on 4th downs, if we are going for it on 4th down, I expect 100 percent. We have to coach it better and we have to play it better. I was not happy with getting stopped a few times. I know they were good inside, they have two defensive tackles that were pretty stout. Looking at it on the film, those plays can be coached better, designed better and played better. That is one area where we definitely have to improve on.” The Colts did use Jacoby Brissett on a 3rd-and-1 QB sneak, with the backup following a great surge by Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly for a 2-yard touchdown run. With Philip Rivers shying away from those sneak situations, we could see Brissett involved more. “Jacoby has been very successful (on QB sneaks),” Reich said on Friday. “It’s not like I would never do it with Philip, but definitely want to do it with Jacoby. And obviously when we bring Jacoby in there it’s not just a quarterback sneak. We have to complement that. But you have to start somewhere and that was a good starting point and I’m hoping we can build off that.”
- Undrafted rookie Rodrigo Blankenship has now made 12 straight field goals. Outside of a couple missed extra points against the Lions earlier this month, Hot Rod has been really solid as of late. What was the difference in the Colts choosing Blankenship over Chase McLaughlin at the end of training camp? “I think we felt that Rod had the right mental makeup for the position and to be able to be good in pressure moments and to be able to overcome when you miss a kick— the confidence in yourself that when you miss you are going to make the next one. It was a gut instinct on all of our parts that he was the right guy.” Reich, Chris Ballard, and special teams coaches Bubba Ventrone and Frank Ross had input on the decision.
- Thursday was the best offensive game of Nyheim Hines career (41 games). Frank Reich spoke on Monday and credited the footwork of Hines for allowing him to be so effective in space. “He works really hard at his footwork,” Reich mentioned. “The other thing about Nyheim is he is a guy that lays in his bed at night and thinks about and envisions what he’s going to do in the open field. We talk about that as a team and try to encourage that type of stuff. Some guys just naturally do it more than others. My guess is Nyheim does that more than others. He envisions himself making those moves. Watching that touchdown pass again on film, it was impressive watching it live, but watching it on film, the footwork and his instincts in the route running, there were some technical things he did in the route that I have just seen him work at time and time again that created maximum separation on the break out and then just his speed and acceleration to then turn the corner and score, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of backs that score on that route, other than Nyheim. I think 99.9 percent of that is how hard he works at it.”
- When the Colts sat down to prep for the Titans early this past week, the offensive staff and Philip Rivers knew they needed to build off what Michael Pittman did against the Ravens (4 catches for 56 yards). “If we want to go where we want to go, he’s going to have to be a guy, like an important part, cog in the wheel, of what we are doing. So let’s build of this momentum. There was a conscious effort to get the ball to him like we did.” During the scouting process of Pittman, the Colts saw a guy who could be a yards after catch, contact type of weapon. “Chris and I talked a lot about this in his college tape, this guy is fearless in every way. When the ball is in his hands, he wants to hurt somebody. He runs very aggressively. That one shallow route he caught, he turned the corner and showed speed. He did a great job blocking and running on the reverse. That was not possession stuff. That was big play receiver stuff. We need to see more of that.”
- For those curious if Frank Reich thinks Parris Campbell will play again this season, here is what the head coach said about that on Friday: “That’s a great question. At this point, I think it’s too early to tell that. I know he’s working really hard. If there is a chance, I know that Parris is going to be the guy to do everything he can to give him that chance. But I think it’s still too early to tell that.” Campbell injured his MCL and PCL back in Week Two. He remains on the injured reserve list and can be activated at any point, with the NFL granting unlimited IR spots to NFL teams in 2020 (players on IR have to miss at least 3 games).
- Two injuries the Colts are monitoring: TE-Jack Doyle (who missed Thursday’s game with a concussion) and CB-Kenny Moore (who left Thursday’s game due to a rib injury).
- The Colts will have the weekend off before getting ready to take on the Green Bay Packers at home (4:25 PM kickoff) next Sunday. The Packers (6-2) will host the Jaguars this Sunday.