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INDIANAPOLIS – Thanksgiving week brings an injury watch to the ironman at quarterback for the Colts.

Frank Reich said the right big toe injury for Philip Rivers was ‘pretty sore’ on Monday.

Rivers injured the toe in Sunday’s 4th quarter while attempting a block on a misdirection run play. A smiling Reich said Rivers “definitely did not follow instructions on that play…three’s no design where he would be putting his shoulder into the chest of a defensive lineman.”

With Rivers starting 234 straight games, it’s hard to imagine this injury keeping him off the field from such a critical divisional matchup.

What else did we learn from Reich and the Colts on Monday?

  • Durable right tackle Braden Smith was a surprise inactive on Sunday. A thumb injury that Smith suffered in last Thursday’s practice wasn’t healed enough for the third-year tackle to give it a go against the Packers. “We could not find a way to protect his thumb that he could get comfortable and that he could play,” Reich said on Monday. “Hopefully it gets better. We’ll experiment with it every day and as soon as he gets to the point where he can function and do what he has to do with his right hand, then he’ll be back out there.” Reich said last year Smith actually played on a Sunday just six days after needing surgery on a separate thumb injury. Without Smith, the Colts rotated tackles Le’Raven Clark and veteran Chaz Green vs. Green Bay. “I just left that up to (offensive line coach Chris Strausser),” Reich said of the snaps at right tackle. “Le’Raven starts, go every 2 or 3 series, however it’s playing out, judge and feel how it’s going and rotate how you see fit. Both guys, in a very difficult situation, stepped up and did more than adequate. Was happy with their ability to perform at a level that could give us a chance to win the game.” Reich admitted it was a bit unusual to rotate guys at an offensive line spot. Clark got the start but was subbed out after two series. The Colts actually turned back to Clark for a brief bit, but Green played the entire second half at right tackle. Green played 62 of the 84 offensive snaps, with Clark logging 22 snaps. It was the most offensive snaps Green has played in 3 years. He has 7 career starts, but didn’t play in the NFL last season. The Colts liked Green this offseason, but a camp injury held him back a bit. Reich reiterated on Monday that he thought this year’s camp was the best of Clark’s time in Indy.

 

  • Colts rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship joined The Pat McAfee Show on Monday. McAfee asked Hot Rod about the rookie’s 50-yard miss that hit the crossbar and bounced short on Sunday. Blankenship said that ‘he chunked the ground’ as he overthought a new tweak to his kicking approach. Hot Rod says he’s been wanting to kick the ball a little lower to try and create more elevation. A kick of that distance is definitely not the issue for Blankenship. We watched him kick multiple 50-plus yarders in camp. In college, his long kicks each season were as followed: 49 yards, 55 yards, 53 yards and 50 yards.

 

  • What does Frank Reich think of Quenton Nelson’s play this season? “Quenton is playing really good, in both the run and the pass,” the head coach said. “The hold calls, they are going to come. I have no complaints about the officiating. The guys are calling what they see. We have to be better fundamentally and technique wise….Overall, if you look at Quenton’s grade for 65-70 plays a game, he’s been playing very good football.” Nelson has been whistled for 5 holding penalties through 10 games (he had 6 holding penalties in 2018; 3 in 2019).

 

  • Using 2 quarterbacks like Frank Reich has the past two weeks is unique for him. Jacoby Brissett played 7 snaps on Sunday, with the Colts finally finding some consistency in short yardage with him taking snaps. “I think we will continue to build off it,” Reich said on Monday. `

 

  • Frank Reich won’t reveal DL-Denico Autry’s availability for this week. Autry’s positive COVID-19 test took him out of Sunday’s game against the Packers. If Autry was asymptomatic, the league mandated 10-day absence would allow him to play against the Titans. If Autry was symptomatic, the league mandated 14-day absence would keep him from being ready for this Sunday. Reich wouldn’t say if Autry was symptomatic or not.

 

  • As of late Monday afternoon, Reich said LB-Anthony Walker was fine despite needing medical attention after getting hit in overtime on Sunday.

 

  • The Colts will get back to their normal on-field practice schedule Wednesday, will take Thursday off for Thanksgiving and then practice again on Friday afternoon before taking on the Titans at 1:00 PM this Sunday, with 12,500 capacity allowed inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.