INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts are back to their normal weekly routine with a massive one this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It’ll be the Colts (2-2-1) trying to split the season series with the Jaguars (2-3), after being embarrassed in Jacksonville earlier this year.
Here are the takeaways from the Colts facing an AFC South opponent for the second time this season.
- Based off what Frank Reich said on Wednesday, and assuming health is not in question, we can pencil in 3 of the 5 offensive line starters: LT-Bernhard Raimann, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly. Reich said the Colts want to see how Raimann grows from his first start last Thursday, which the rookie admitted had some early struggles before he settled in better. Reich said the Colts have not thought about benching Kelly, for Pinter, at center. Kelly did leave the Denver game early due to a hip injury, and did not return. As far as the other two spots on the right side, wouldn’t it make sense to move Braden Smith back to his usual right tackle spot? Reich said the thinking on moving Smith inside to right guard vs. Denver was to try and bolster the inside run game and firm up the center of the pocket in pass protection. If Smith goes back to right tackle, does that leave the right guard spot to Matt Pryor, Will Freis or Danny Pinter? If they want to keep Smith at right guard, would veteran Dennis Kelly get a chance at right tackle? Speaking of chemistry, if the Colts were willing to commit to a 5-man offensive line group of LT-Bernhard Raimann, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Braden Smith, RT-Matt Pryor on a short week, without any practice, was that done with the thought was this would be a multi-week commitment? That right side of the line combo remains a question, with last week’s 5-man grouping not being ruled out heading into Sunday.
- While the Colts have not placed DE-Kwity Paye (ankle) on injured reserve, Frank Reich said it’ll be a “week-to-week evaluation” for the second-year defensive end. Paye injured his ankle against the Broncos and some reports indicated his absence could be around a month due to a high ankle sprain. If Paye does miss time, expect Tyquan Lewis and Dayo Odeyingbo to be in line for the defensive end reps opposite Yannick Ngakoue. Paye was not wearing a boot while observing Wednesday’s practice.
- Frank Reich wasn’t providing many injury updates on Wednesday, other than saying the list was “long” and pointing to the first injury report of the week (which comes out later on Wednesday) for more info. Names to watch on that list include the following: RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), RB-Nyheim Hines (concussion), C-Ryan Kelly (hip), DL-Tyquan Lewis (concussion), LB-Shaquille Leonard (back, nose, concussion), S-Julian Blackmon (ankle). During the media viewing of Wednesday’s practice, Taylor was doing some light jogging off to the side but not practicing, Hines was participating in a red jersey, Kelly was doing some jogging off to the side, Lewis was practicing in a red jersey, Leonard was not practicing, Blackmon was back to participating. Philip Lindsay was not present during Wednesday’s practice.
- Something to note on the status for Leonard: He was on the injury report last week with 3 items listed (back, broken nose, concussion). With how Zaire Franklin and Bobby Okereke are playing, plus how little game action Leonard has seen in the lats year, should it be a slam dunk that whenever No. 53 returns to playing he continues to play every defensive snap?
- You have to go back many years to see a week in which there’s been so much debate on what the Colts starting offensive line should look like in a game. We focused on that in this piece, which goes into more detail on the NFL’s most expensive offensive line being broken just five weeks into the regular season. One of the more puzzling issues with the O-line right now is these current problems are not due to a player/or multiple players missing time due to injury. What happens when the inevitable offensive line attrition starts to hit the Colts O-line?
- It’s rather inexcusable how Trevor Lawrence has performed against the Colts compared to the rest of the NFL. In his 4 games against teams not named the Colts this season, Lawrence has completed 53 percent of his passes, thrown 6 TDs, 4 INTs, for an average passer rating of 82.2. In that Week Two win over Indy, Lawrence completed 83 percent of his passes, tossed 2 TDs, 0 INTs and had a passer rating of 121.5. In 22 career games, Lawrence’s two highest completion percentages games have both come against Indy, along with two of his three highest rated games.
- If the Colts lose on Sunday, it’ll be 5 straight divisional games without a win. That would be the longest stretch in franchise history. In this current 4-game AFC South win drought, the Colts have been favored in all 4 of those games, and have been down by at least 17 points in each of them.
- A huge change in the Colts and Jaguars meeting for a second time this season—the Colts did not have Michael Pittman or Alec Pierce in the 24-0 shutout loss to Jacksonville last month. That should lighten the attention the Jaguars were able to commit to Jonathan Taylor back in Week Two, stuffing the run game, thus setting up some advantageous pass rushing situations (Matt Ryan was sacked 5 times and hit 11 times in Week 2).
- In an odd twist to the Colts and Jaguars, the home team has won 10 straight matchups in this series. So, the scar tissue Colts fans typically feel should only be there when Indianapolis is traveling to Jacksonville. Frank Reich has never lost to the Jaguars when these team play at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- The Colts have their first AFC award winner of the 2022 season. After going 4-for-4 against Denver last week, Chase McLaughlin is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Clutch makes from 48, 51 and 52 yards for McLaughlin led him to be the lone points scorer of the Colts 12-9 win over Denver.
- One injury note from Ashton Dulin (foot) going to injured reserve on Tuesday. Frank Reich did say the Colts expect Dulin back at some point this season, but his trip to IR will cost him at least four games. Dulin was at Wednesday’s practice, not wearing a boot.
- The Colts are back to their normal practice routine this week, going Wednesday-Friday. They’ll welcome to the Jacksonville Jaguars to Lucas Oil Stadium for a 1:00 PM kickoff on Sunday.
Wednesday Injury Report
–Did Not Practice: LB-Shaquille Leonard (concussion, back, nose), CB-Tony Brown (concussion), RB-Jonathan Taylor (ankle), DE-Kwity Paye (ankle), C-Ryan Kelly (hip), DT-Eric Johnson (illness), CB-Stephon Gilmore (rest), DE-Yannick Ngakoue (rest)
Bowen Analysis: It’s the longest DNP list of the year. Now, 2 of these guys are rest. Taylor, Brown and Kelly were all doing some rehab work off to the side during practice. While this list is clearly long, Paye and Leonard are the only two guys I’d currently slot in the “very iffy/won’t play” category for Sunday.
-Limited: S-Julian Blackmon (ankle), RB-Nyheim Hines (concussion), DL-Tyquan Lewis (concussion)
Bowen Analysis: This is the first practice action for Blackmon since he left the Chiefs game in Week 3 with that ankle injury. Hines and Lewis were in red jerseys on Wednesday.
-Full: LG-Quenton Nelson (ankle, shoulder)
Bowen Analysis: We are starting to see a few more O-line injuries pop up.
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