INDIANAPOLIS – Jonathan Taylor has accomplished a lot of firsts in his career, but this is one no Colts fan wanted to hear.
An ankle injury suffered in the 4th quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the Titans will keep Taylor out of Thursday’s game in Denver.
It’s the first game Taylor will miss due to injury in his three NFL seasons. When asked on Tuesday the last time Taylor has had to sit out any football game due to injury he couldn’t recall.
With Taylor out, the Colts will have to greatly shift how they operate their rushing attack.
Nyheim Hines (8 carries for 11 yards) and Deon Jackson (2 carries for minus 3 yards) are the only other Colts running backs to touch the ball in a game this season.
While the Colts would probably want to keep Hines in his hybrid receiving/running role—although one that hasn’t been tapped into much this year—his workload has to increase some.
Deon Jackson is the other running back currently on the 53-man roster. Expect veteran Philip Lindsay to be promoted from the practice squad for Thursday night.
While Jackson made the team over Lindsay at the end of the preseason, this sort of situation should see the need for the two flipped
Unlike Jackson, Lindsay is not helping the Colts on special teams. But Lindsay has much more experience as an actual NFL running back. His presence on the practice squad is for this sort of insurance policy.
Lindsay will be plenty familiar with his surroundings on Thursday night. He’s a Denver native, became a Pro Bowler after being an undrafted free agent for the Broncos and ran for 1,000 yards in his first two years with Denver.
It would not be a surprise if Lindsay ends Thursday night with the most carries of any Colts running back.
Even though Frank Reich said the Colts felt Taylor would not do further damage to his injured ankle if he played on Thursday, it’s clear that this short week wasn’t enough rehab time to get himself in playing shape.
Before the Taylor news broke on Wednesday, here was Reich on Tuesday sharing his thoughts on a Lindsay practice squad promotion.
“(Lindsay) would definitely be a strong consideration,” Reich said. “Glad he’s on the roster. I feel very confident in him. Former Pro-Bowl player, 1,000-yard seasons – really glad he’s here.”
Will the loss of Taylor have the Colts trying to implement and lean on a quicker rhythm passing attack on the road in Denver?
It was the pass, and not the heavily infested rushing attack, that helped the Colts finally find some offensive footing last week.
Thursday night history for these two teams has brought some unheralded running back performances.
Last year, the Broncos gave up 146 yards to Browns 3rd string running back D’Ernest Johnson in a Thursday night loss to Cleveland.
In 2019, with the Colts missing Marlon Mack on a short week, it was Jonathan Williams running for 104 yards on Thursday Night Football.
Even though many accurately view running back as one of the more replaceable positions on the field, this news still means the worst scoring offense in the NFL will not have its best player on a short week.
Along with Taylor, the Colts will also be without 3 key guys on Thursday: S-Julian Blackmon (ankle), LB-Shaquille Leonard (concussion, nose, back), DL-Tyquan Lewis (concussion).