INDIANAPOLIS – The longest road trip of the 2020 season awaits the Colts in Week 14.
It’s a big one for the Colts (8-4) this Sunday, as they take on the Raiders (7-5) at 4:05 PM in Las Vegas.
Here are some takeaways from the Colts first practice of the week:
- For a 4th straight practice, Anthony Castonzo (knee) was not participating at Wednesday’s session. Again, Chaz Green is the next man up there with Le’Raven Clark (achilles) now on IR. That opens up a spot on the active roster. Frank Reich said earlier in the week that the Colts were in the process of bringing in another offensive lineman (with COVID-19 protocols likely holding that process up a bit).
- This might sound crazy, but we probably haven’t given Philip Rivers enough credit for how he’s played as of late. Over the last two months, Rivers has put up the following numbers with the Colts going 5-2: 66%, 2,036 yards, 14 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 7.5 yards per pass attempt, 99.8 passer rating. “I think he’s gotten more comfortable with the whole process and with his personnel, the guys he’s throwing to, what we are trying to do,” Frank Reich said on Wednesday of Rivers’ play lately.
- Sunday marked the first time T.Y. Hilton recorded 100 yards in a game since Week 16 of the 2018 season. “I’m not going to lie, it did feel good and it’s the way it should be,” Frank Reich said on Wednesday of getting The Ghost back to his normal self. “It’s not going to be that way every game, but he’s our leader in that position and one of the emotional leaders on this team. He has a presence about him and a confidence about him that the team feeds off.” Something that Reich stressed on Wednesday (and something to keep in mind as Hilton and the Colts potentially enter contracts this offseason) is how Hilton handled himself while having quite numbers. “The thing I really want people to know is that while he’s a superstar player, as this year has gone on and as his numbers have not been huge, the way he’s approached practices, the way he’s approached meetings, how he’s celebrated his teammates success, even when he wasn’t getting the ball, I tell you it was first rate in every way.”
- One small advantage to Philip Rivers missing 3 straight Wednesday practices (he sat out the first practice of the week again on Wednesday) is it’s elevated Jacob Eason into scout team reps, with Jacoby Brissett running the starting offense. Reps have been very hard to come by for Eason in his first NFL season, so this extra time in practice has been important. “It’s been a good byproduct to get him out on the field and not just working drills and things like that,” Frank Reich said of Eason on Wednesday. “He’s done a nice job. It’s always different when you’re running scout team reps, obviously the defense is in his lap so he’s having to feel the pressure. He’s looked good out there.” Here’s a look at what a normal week looks like for Eason.
- In the great news category: Rigoberto Sanchez was back in the building on Wednesday, just 8 days removed from having surgery for a cancerous tumor. Sanchez was doing some on-field work. This further explains why the Colts still have Sanchez on their active roster, and didn’t place him on injured reserve (which would have forced him to miss at least 3 games). Punter Ryan Allen filled in for Sanchez last week, and is again protected on the practice squad this week, so the Colts could easily promote the lefty for a second straight week. But Wednesday was another reminder that the return of Sanchez could very well happen this season, and possibly somewhat soon.
- A candid Justin Houston met the media on Wednesday to talk about his 2020 season (7.5 sacks). Houston was asked about his future, as a free agent this offseason, and who will turn 32 years old next month. “I got a lot left in the tank,” Houston said, adding that he’s not close to hanging it up. Houston did point out that while the 7.5 sacks tell one story, he’s had one of his most inconsistent seasons when it comes to creating reliable pressure. His 7.5 sacks rank 11th in the NFL, but his 11 total quarterback hits rank 41st.
- The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Following a Saturday morning walk-through, they’ll head to Las Vegas for Sunday’s kickoff at 4:05 PM.
Wednesday Injury Report
-DNP: OT-Anthony Castonzo (knee), DL-Tyquan Lewis (hip), P-Rigoberto Sanchez (illness), S-Khari Willis (quad, back), DL-Denico Autry (rest), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest)
Bowen Analysis: No one too surprising on this list, although Lewis is a new name.
-Limited: LB-Bobby Okereke (ankle), OT-Braden Smith (groin), DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle), LB-Anthony Walker (ribs)
Bowen Analysis: This was Okereke’s first practice in two weeks. It’s a new injury for Smith, so this bears monitoring. New injuries as well for Turay and Walker.