INDIANAPOLIS – Normally, a Colts/Patriots week would speak for itself.
But this week has been all about a ton of news coming out of West 56th street with the firing offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and the trade of Nyheim Hines.
What did we lean at the Colts first practice of the week?
- Jonathan Taylor did not practice on Wednesday, with his status for Sunday again in doubt. Taylor tweaked his previously injured right ankle in Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. Taylor is not 100 percent. Reich said he’s hopeful Taylor makes progress this week and will take it day-by-day. Taylor missed two games due to a right ankle sprain last month.
- Was Marcus Brady a scapegoat in being fired for a unit’s struggles, which Frank Reich ultimately oversees: “It’s really unfortunate,” Reich said on Wednesday. “I understand that (question). He’s not being scapegoated. I understand how that perception is there. So I have to own that. But I can tell you it’s a collaborative effort. Marcus, obviously, plays a role. We all work together. We are all responsible for the work. Ultimately, I made a decision that I thought was best for the team.” Brady ran the offensive meetings, and was the primary voice in those, but Reich stressed it’s a collaborative effort during the week. “It’s a collaborative effort for sure, but myself, the coordinator are the ones central to that game-planning process. Play-calling is obviously my view and the first 15 (plays). So those things fall on me.” When you factor in the Colts haven’t scored a point on an opening drive this season, and last had a halftime lead 10 games ago, that’s a terrible reflection on Reich, the play caller.
- Reich declined any question on if Nyheim Hines directly requested to be traded, saying Chris Ballard handled “90 percent” of those discussions. As far as Hines’ lack of usage, the Colts thought he’d be receiving around 10 touches per game, compared to the 6 touches he’s gotten: “I obviously had a vision of Nyheim taking off in this offense,” Reich said. “This year I look back at it and when you look at the six games that he played in, he was the third most targeted guy (behind Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman). The fact of the matter is our offense has been below average. We have not produced yards, not had enough points. So everybody’s production is down. When I look back on the game-by-game, I was hoping to get close to 10 touches for him. And given the context of some of those games, maybe a little bit of it was down, but I don’t think it was dramatically down relative to the other players or relative to where we were as an offense.”
- On Wednesday, Frank Reich was asked about offensive line coach Chris Strausser and why he has retained his job. “I have a lot of confidence in Straus. He’s produced a lot of good offensive line play. I do feel our run game was better last week. We’ve had some changing dynamics (along the offensive line). Do we have to play better? Yes. Do we feel we are heading in the right direction? I do feel we are. I feel like guys are playing better. We had some uncharacteristic play last week that hurt us. We have to improve that, and everybody’s got to do their job, from me, Straus and the O-line. I believe we are on the right track.”
- It’ll be the same plan for Matt Ryan this week—he won’t practice due to his right shoulder sprain and will be the team’s 3rd quarterback. With Tuesday’s trade deadline coming and going, the Colts have a lot of money invested in QBs who aren’t expected to play anytime soon (Ryan and Nick Foles).
- Kwity Paye (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday, his first action since being carted off against Denver, having missed the last three games. Will three practices be enough for Paye to return? His return is needed with Tyquan Lewis (knee) lost for the season. The role of Dayo Odeyingbo will also likely expand now. And the Colts need more from Odeyingbo.
- Reich is not naming an interim offensive coordinator. When the Colts coordinators meet the media moving forward, it’ll be running backs coach Scotty Montgomery representing the offense. Montgomery has taken on a heavy focus with run/pass options given his experience in the collegiate game. With the Brady firing, Reich will have even more daily attention on the offense, with the assistants still collaborating on the game plan.
- The Colts added a familiar faces to their running back room on Wednesday. Jordan Wilkins is back, one day after his fellow 2018 draftee Nyheim Hines was traded to the Bills. Ironically, Wilkins is using the locker Hines once used. Wilkins is on the Colts practice squad and hasn’t been on an NFL roster since the Titans cut him in mid-August. Wilkins’ last NFL carry came on December 13th, 2020, with him playing in 5 games last season, but not recording any carries. On the running back front, new running back Zack Moss was not at the start of Wednesday’s practice.
- We saw yet another big play from Alec Pierce last week. Pierce now leads all rookies (with at least 20 receptions) in yards per catch. His 15.5 yards per catch tops all first-year players.
- Sunday was arguably the most impressive game of Parris Campbell’s career, considering the types of big plays he created with the ball in his hands. Campbell’s health has always been the first question with him. In playing all 8 games this season, he’s already eclipsed the most games played in a season for him (Campbell has played 7, 5 and 2 games in his three NFL seasons).
- When the schedule came out in May, this road game in Foxborough, along with a New Year’s Day game vs. the Giants were the two outdoor weather games to watch. Well, it looks gorgeous for this Sunday in New England. Temperatures in the 70s with sunny skies expected for Sunday afternoon.
- The Colts are on their normal practice routine this week, going Wednesday-Friday. They’ll hit the road this weekend to take on the Patriots in a 1:00 PM kickoff this Sunday.
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