INDIANAPOLIS – It’s short week time for the Colts.
Thursday Night Football against the Jets (2-6) means a compressed week of walk-throughs for the Colts (3-5) before their mini bye comes this weekend.
Here are some takeaways from the Colts on Monday:
- In the day after games, Frank Reich is typically very candid with his transparency on various decision making. When it comes to the use of Jonathan Taylor or just the run game in general, Reich has very few regrets about how things were handled. Reich pointed to successful run/pass options (that were pass plays) and a few runs that were called back due to penalties as reasons why the run/pass discrepancy was not as jarring to him. Carson Wentz attempted 51 passes on Sunday, with Jonathan Taylor having just 16 carries.
- The Colts have now lost 8 straight games against playoff teams from last season. While the Titans are 5-0 in such games this season (and the Colts are 0-5). “What it comes down to is you have to be able to beat those good teams,” Reich said on Monday. “You have to find ways to win, to close it out at the end. That’s a combination of coaching and playing. We have to find a way to make that break through. We talked this year at the beginning as a team about having a ‘breakthrough moment.’ Well, that’s a big part of having a breakthrough moment—winning a game like that, making the right calls, making the right plays, when the game is on the line. You said it. We said it. That felt like a playoff game yesterday. We need to win those games. I believe that we have the players and the coaches to do that. We haven’t been doing it so that’s on me.”
- Any thought by Frank Reich to remove himself as play caller and insert offensive coordinator Marcus Brady? “No,” Reich said on Monday. For what it’s worth, Brady did call plays in the Canadian Football League, but has never in the NFL.
- Some ugly news from Sunday’s loss, DE-Tyquan Lewis (patella) suffered a season-ending knee injury. Lewis had played the fourth most snaps of any Colts defensive lineman this season. This comes in a contract year for Lewis. This news means a ramped-up usage of Dayo Odeyingbo, who offers some similar outside/inside versatility. Odeyingbo played 16 snaps in his NFL debut. He didn’t record a snap. The loss of Lewis is so crushing for his future, too. Given this injury, it’s hard to see Lewis receiving a multi-year contract on the open market. With this news, Lewis will have missed 24 of 64 games in his four seasons. That will certainly impact Lewis next spring. Unfortunately, with injuries playing a part, this pick is another question mark in Chris Ballard’s major investment along the defensive line. Unlike some other young Colts DL, Lewis has offered the most consistent playbook among that group.
- The Colts will be without WR-T.Y. Hilton (concussion) on Thursday. Hilton did suffer a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Titans. With Hilton out two weeks ago against the 49ers, the Colts bumped up veteran Keke Coutee from the practice squad for some snaps. An expanded role for Coutee moving forward would make some sense.
- Khari Willis (knee/calf) was the other notable injury from Sunday. The Colts are still evaluating Willis. Without him to finish the game, it was Andrew Sendejo and George Odum at safety. The Colts do have some veteran safety options on the practice squad, that could come into play this week.
- If playing time is an indicator, Chris Reed is this team’s right guard moving forward. He started for Mark Glowinski and out-snapped him 76-to-4 on Sunday. Glow gave up a sack, too, on a stunt in the second quarter. Even with that, Frank Reich still says the team is open to rotating at right guard: “Chris has been playing well,” Reich said on Monday. “We still could rotate those guys some. We will figure that out in the next 24 hours how we play that out on Thursday night.”
- The NFL’s trade deadline comes Tuesday at 4:00 PM. The Colts have had some talks, with Chris Ballard handling those as Frank Reich deals with a short week of preparation. “We’ve had some discussions along the way, over the last couple of weeks, but nothing too imminent,” Reich said on Monday. With the Colts cutting Jordan Wilkins over the weekend, does that mean the need for Marlon Mack—who was on the trade block after a mutual decision between him and the Colts—is too much to give up? “We love Marlon,” Reich said on Monday. “We think Marlon is a great player. That’s always going to be a week-to-week evaluation because we are trying to give the ball to Jonathan as much as we can. And then Nyheim (Hines) plays the role that he has. How much we are able to use Marlon is going to vary week-to-week.” Sunday’s result reiterates how I feel about the Colts and the trade deadline this year.
- The Colts will have just walk-throughs this week, and no practices, with a Thursday night kickoff coming in Week 9 against the Jets.