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INDIANAPOLIS – The first of a possible three COVID-19 returns for the Colts this week took place on Wednesday.

After having the mandated 5 days on the COVID-19/reserve list as a high-close contact, Jonathan Taylor was activated back to the active roster and participated in practice. Taylor missed the loss to the Titans.

Denico Autry and DeForest Buckner—who both tested positive for COVID-19—are eligible to be activated later this week. Their statuses for Sunday’s game against the Texans will be determined then.

Here are some takeaways from the Colts on Wednesday:

  • For a second straight Wednesday, QB-Philip Rivers (toe) was held out of practice for precautionary reasons. “Definitely a week better as opposed to Wednesday of last week,” Rivers said on Wednesday. The quarterback added the Colts are just trying to limit his soreness throughout the week.

 

  • With Anthony Castonzo (MCL) missing practice on Wednesday, and his expected absence coming Sunday, the Colts have begun the plans to replace their most important player. Given how Frank Reich described Le’Raven Clark’s performance on Sunday (‘solid’ after a tough start), it’s probably safe to assume that the Colts are likely to give him the nod again. The Colts will not use this week of practice to evaluate possible scenarios at left tackle. They have a plan in place and will likely stick with that. With Chaz Green (back) not practicing on Wednesday, Clark was the only healthy guy participating with starting history at left tackle.

 

  • As far as an exact timeline for Castonzo’s return, that remains up in the air: “I talked with AC for a while this morning and this guy is a finely tuned athlete, he knows his body, so we’ll trust him and the doctors and the trainers, giving him the freedom to test this thing out as he sees fit, how he feels,” Frank Reich said on Wednesday. “We decided not to lock ourselves into any formula other than, ‘You keep pushing it every day.’ There’s no reason to say this is going to be 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 4 weeks. There’s no reason to say that. Let’s not put ourselves in a box.”

 

  • The Colts did not have a punter at Wednesday’s practice as they finalize that move through the COVID-19 protocols. Because of that, the Colts moved their normal Wednesday punting period at practice to later in the week. Rookie Rodrigo Blankenship is the punter during walk-through reps, but the Colts will be signing someone to handle the actual punting/holding duties .

 

  • Rock Ya-Sin met the media on Wednesday to talk about his recent struggles. “It usually comes down to technique early in the down and then in the move area, keeping my hands down and stuff,” the second-year cornerback said. “All of you know I’ve had fouls, I know that I’ve had fouls and the officials obviously know that I’ve had fouls, so they are looking. Got to be extra careful in the move area not getting into those hand fights…I have to have better technique in the move area and eliminate some of those penalties.” Ya-Sin said this isn’t the same technique flaw that he had during his rookie season. “I feel like this year I’ve been in good position on every PI call that I’ve had. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been overly aggressive with my hand fighting through the move area or if I’m leaning into guys and being too physical with my body. It’s one or the other, but I’ve got to eliminate both and be clean through the move area.”

 

  • What happened with that Xavier Rhodes/A.J. Brown spat on Sunday? Rhodes explained the story during his weekly appearance on Ride With JMV. Rhodes admitted he was pretty fired up, which was clear watching the game. Before a 4th-and-4 play late in the fist half, Rhodes had his helmet off yelling into the Titans huddle before the snap. Eventually Darius Leonard tried to calm Rhodes down, first before that critical 4th down snap and then again on the sideline after. “There really wasn’t any beef,” Rhodes said…”As you could see, things died down as the game went on, but it was more of a little hostility, more of fa moment type thing. It wasn’t really nothing. He shared something and then it went from there. After that you realized that we have to calm down, we still have a game to play, we have to play with clear minds, clear heads and help our teams win. We didn’t want to get kicked out of the game. We just came to a place where we both wanted to play the game and go our separate ways afterwards….Everything has been squashed. Sometimes that just football. You see teams that go through that. It was a really important game, an emotional game for both teams so those are the type of things you are going to get when the stakes are high.” Rhodes said he’s not an instigator with the trash talk, only engaging if the opponent starts things.

 

  • Since Week 5, the Colts have allowed 138 points in the first half (19.7 points per first half). That’s the most in the NFL during that span. Veteran defensive end Justin Houston points to part of the early-game struggles as the team ‘being too hyped.’

 

  • The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Following a Saturday morning walk-through, they’ll head to Houston for Sunday’s kickoff at 1:00 PM.

Wednesday Injury Report

-DNP: OT-Anthony Castonzo (knee), OT-Chaz Green (back), LB-Bobby Okereke (ankle), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), P-Rigoberto Sanchez (illness), S-Khari Willis (back, quad), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest)

Bowen Analysis: Honestly, the injury report isn’t too bad (compared to last week). Wednesday was the 4th straight missed practice for Okereke. Willis is one to watch this week after he left Sunday’s game in the 4th quarter.

-Limited: WR-Zach Pascal (knee), DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle)

Bowen Analysis: Turay played just 4 snaps on Sunday against the Titans.

-Full: C-Ryan Kelly (knee), RB-Jordan Wilkins (ribs), CB-Isaiah Rodgers (knee)

Bowen Analysis: Good news for Kelly and Rodgers returning to action this week.