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INDIANAPOLIS – For the month of December and Week 14, the Colts pretty healthy.

And it comes at such an important time with a massive one waiting on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Here is what we learned from the Colts on Friday:

  • After two days of practicing limited, LT-Anthony Castonzo (knee) is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Raiders. “Made progress each day,” Frank Reich said of Castonzo returning to practice this week. “Will have to see how he feels (Saturday) morning. Will be questionable for the game, but has taken good steps.” If you were looking at the history of players that have missed just one game, and then practiced on a Thursday and Friday the following week, it’s a pretty good chance they suit up that week. So, that’s a positive sign for Castonzo’s potential return on Sunday.

 

  • The Colts will definitely be getting one defensive starter this week, and possibly another. Safety Khari Willis (quad, back) is good to go after practicing this week. Linebacker Bobby Okereke (ankle) practiced every day this week and has a chance to play, too. Okereke is listed as questionable with the Colts wanting to see how he feels on Saturday.

 

  • This will be the second straight missed game for P-Rigoberto Sanchez (illness). Back on December 1st, Sanchez had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. He’s slowly gotten back to work, participating in team meetings this week and remains on the active roster. Given that this weekend will mark the second (and final) time the Colts are allowed to promote practice squad punter Ryan Allen to the active roster for gameday, could the return of Sanchez come next weekend? Frank Reich said on Friday that there’s a definite chance Sanchez punts again this season. “I’m really excited, he’s really making good progress,” Reich said of Sanchez on Friday. “He’s back in the building. He’s had a good week. Very optimistic and very happy for Rigo.”

 

  • Well, it’s my contractual obligation to report when the Colts talk about Andrew Luck, so here goes nothing. Frank Reich was asked on Friday if he’s recently spoken to Luck, who has now been retired for about 15 months. “I have not had any recent discussions with Andrew,” Reich said. “We occasionally text, ‘Hello.’ I’ve gotten one or two, ‘Congratulations,’ here or there, along the way, just checking in. But, yeah, still good friends.” In case anyone was wondering, even owner Jim Irsay has softened his (dream scenario) stance of Luck possibly returning one day.

 

  • With Jonathan Taylor emerging, and the Raiders giving up an astonishing 206 rushing yards to the lowly Jets last week, will Sunday offer the opportunity to lean on the run game in a big, big way? Taylor has come on as of late, averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his last 6 quarters of football.

 

  • We know about the poor starts defensively for the Colts lately, but one consistent aspect (in a positive manner) early in games has been the offense. The Colts have scored 42 points on opening drives this season, which ranks 2nd in the NFL.

 

  • Not sure how much this matters for Sunday, but Raiders QB-Derek Carr has had tremendous success against the AFC South. In his last 7 games against AFC South opponents, Carr has thrown 17 touchdowns and 0 interceptions with a passer rating of 115.1. In two meetings against the Colts the last two years, Carr has completed 71 percent of his passes for 486 yards, tossing 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions against Matt Eberflus.

 

  • Interesting staff member note for the Raiders related to the Colts: Long-time NFL coach Rod Marinelli is the DL coach of the Raiders. Of course, Marinelli is a huge mentor to Matt Eberflus, with the two together in Dallas for several years. Chris Ballard has ties to Marinelli from their days in Chicago, too.

 

  • As a long-time member of the AFC West, Philip Rivers has seen the Raiders quite a bit. Here’s how Rivers has fared against current Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther: 84-of-123 (68 percent), 1,048 yards, 6 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 97.2 passer rating (4 games over the last 2 years).

 

  • One quarterback disparity that caught my eye this week was in how Philip Rivers and Derek Carr protect the football. Carr leads the NFL with 11 fumbles this season. Rivers has fumbled just once.

 

  • The Colts will have a Saturday morning walk-through and then they’ll head to Las Vegas for Sunday’s kickoff at 4:05 PM.

Final Injury Report

-OUT: P-Rigoberto Sanchez (illness)

Bowen Analysis: Always a good injury report when only 1 player on the active roster is ruled out.

-Questionable: OT-Anthony Castonzo (knee), DL-Tyquan Lewis (hip), LB-Bobby Okereke (ankle)

Bowen Analysis: Lewis was limited on Thursday and full on Friday.

The following players were on the injury report this week, but are now good to go: DL-Denico Autry (rest), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), OT-Braden Smith (groin), LB-Anthony Walker (ribs), TE-Jack Doyle (rest), S-Khari Willis (quad, back), DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle).