Colts Day One OTA Notebook: Calf Strain Sidelines Andrew Luck
Colts Day One OTA Notebook: Calf Strain Sidelines Andrew Luck
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INDIANAPOLIS – Andrew Luck’s participation in OTAs remains on hold.
A minor calf strain, which Luck suffered earlier this spring during the Colts offseason program, currently has Luck sidelined.
Luck was not on the field Tuesday for the first OTA session of 2019. Following Tuesday’s practice, Frank Reich said Luck will not participate this week, but the head coach expects No. 12 to be on the field at some point this spring.
“Our whole mode during this session is to be real conservative with guys, anybody who has any issue whatsoever,” Reich stressed. “I told (our rehab staff), let’s just be conservative with these guys. The main thing is to get to (training) camp at full strength. Any player that has any issue, we are going to be cautious.”
So, Luck will miss the first week of OTAs, but he still could participate in the next two weeks of OTA sessions and/or the mandatory minicamp that will end the offseason program June 11-13.
“I don't anticipate him being the whole (spring) camp,” Reich said of Luck’s outlook the rest of the spring.
With Luck absent, Jacoby Brissett was guiding the starting offense to begin a second straight offseason program.
Here is a notebook look from Day One of OTAs:
- The Colts opened up in a nickel defense on Tuesday with the following 11 guys ‘starting’: DE-Justin Houston, DT-Margus Hunt, DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, DT-Denico Autry, LB-Matthew Adams, LB-Skai Moore, CB-Quincy Wilson, CB-Pierre Desir, CB-Kenny Moore, S-Matthias Farley and S-Malik Hooker. The likes of DE-Kemoko Turay, LB-Anthony Walker, LB-Zaire Franklin all subbed in at various times.
- The Colts began Tuesday in a three wide receiver set with the following 11 guys ‘starting’: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Quenton Nelson, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Mark Glowinski, RT-Braden Smith, TE-Mo Alie-Cox, WR-T.Y. Hilton, WR-Devin Funchess, WR-Chester Rogers, RB-Marlon Mack, QB-Jacoby Brissett.
- Mo Alie-Cox is going to catch a TON of balls this spring, with injuries at tight end. Alie-Cox was very noticeable on Tuesday and caught the eye of his head coach: “I’m really excited about Mo’s development because I really think he’s starting to develop as a route runner,” Reich said after Tuesday’s session. Reich said Alie-Cox was an ‘average’ route runner last year. But Reich has seen strides this spring of Alie-Cox inching towards the vast potential the Colts saw in him as they projected his football pedigree.
- Watching Chad Kelly throw the ball on Tuesday and you notice the arm talent that helped him earn Denver’s backup job for a stint last season. Reich said the Colts always wanted to add a 4th QB before OTAs and the Andrew Luck injury situation did not factor into signing Kelly. “Chad has a lot of good tape out there. Felt like from the tape we saw, what the scouts thought, the vetting that we did, the people we talked to, thought we would give Chad a chance to come in here and compete as the 4th guy coming in.” Reich reached out to Jim Kelly, the uncle of Chad, during the vetting process. Chad Kelly has had several off-the-field issues stunt his football growth throughout the last half dozen years. “Chad knows he has to prove it. He knows he’s getting a second chance,” Reich said on Tuesday. “But he did come in here at the rookie minicamp and looked good, so we are comfortable with it. When you are vetting these things out, you talk to everybody you know. Obviously, Jim and I are close. I know Jim has been mentoring Chad in a lot of ways and talking to him over the year about being a pro. That played into (the signing) a little bit.”
- On Monday, Devin Funchess turned 25 years old and the birthday boy was easily one of the best players on the field during the first OTA session of the year. At 6-4, Funchess has an impressive catch radius that showed up on a slant during 11-on-11 work. The highlight on the day from him was hauling in a 50/50, ‘go get that’ jump ball from Jacoby Brissett on a back-shoulder throw. “That was nice, wasn’t it?” Frank Reich said of the play by Funchess after Tuesday’s OTA practice. “He’s covered pretty well (Jacoby) just threw it up to him and he came down with it. That’s one of the things you are hoping to get. On another play, he runs a deep in-cut. The corner had pretty good coverage on him, inside technique, Devin does a good job at the top of the route, comes underneath and makes a contested catch. That’s the kind of plays, the down the field, not just the back-shoulder stuff. Andrew loves throwing in-cuts. We really think Devin is a good in-cut runner. We will just keep developing his passing route tree so everything complements each other.”
- Tuesday was an edge rushing day for rookie Ben Banogu with the rookie almost exclusively working there during practice. We didn’t see Banogu at linebacker, which is where he was during rookie minicamp earlier this month. Expect a lot of interchanging at those spots for Banogu this time of year.
- Rock Ya-Sin took some gunner reps during Tuesday’s practice. It was a reminder that if Ya-Sin doesn’t beat out one of the top corners, he’s likely going to need to fill a role on special teams. Ya-Sin wasn’t perfect on Tuesday, although he was in the right spot to haul in an overthrow form Jacoby Brissett for an interception.
- In a man coverage matchup between Rock Ya-Sin and Parris Campbell, it was the receiver winning on a deep crossing pattern out of the slot. It was the biggest play of the day from Campbell and it was the rookie showing something you didn't always see on his college tape---making a play down the field without needing a whole lot yards after catch wise. The Colts used Chester Rogers and Campbell as punt returners on Tuesday. If Campbell can take on those duties, it will potentially hurt the chances of a guy like Rogers making the 53-man roster.
- Speaking of Campbell, Reich is a staunch believer the rookie will be able to become a full route tree runner: “He has this football aptitude,” Reich says of Campbell. “He understands it. Sometimes you explain something to someone and you can tell they get it. He is that guy. You see how easy he adapts, the little coaching points. He can run all the routes. He’s got to develop. He has a ways to go, but I just think he can play every position on the field (receiver wise) and make big plays from all over the field. But that’s going to be a process. That’s going to take time. I’m sure with his athleticism and how smart he is, he’s going to show flashes, but we just have to make sure we bring him along at the right pace, make him shine, make him learn and grow and then just gradually work him in.”
- In case you’ve been under a rock, the outside expectations are extremely high for the Colts in 2019. Safe to say, Reich won’t be holding up a No. 32 power ranking sign at any point in a post-game locker room this season: “That’ll be a little bit of the challenge,” Reich said on Tuesday of the higher expectations. “Maybe I overplayed the pre-season ranking a little bit. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time (laughs). As you know me and how we roll around here, we don’t typically make a big deal out of that. Really, the challenge this year will be keeping the same approach, the 1-0 approach, keeping the getting better every day, not being complacent in any way, not falling into the trap of thinking we are supposed to be this and that. We did nothing. We have to go prove it every day. That should be the mindset every day.”
- Reminder, here’s a look at some of the injured guys expected to be dialed back this spring. On Tuesday, guys sidelined included: WR-Deon Cain, TE-Jack Doyle, TE-Eric Ebron, S-Clayton Geathers, LB-Darius Leonard, QB-Andrew Luck, CB-Chris Milton, DE-Jabaal Sheard, TE-Ross Travis, DL-Jihad Ward.
- Some of the guys that dealt with injuries, but participated on Tuesday included: S-Matthias Farley, WR-T.Y. Hilton, S-Malik Hooker, DE-Justin Houston, LB-Anthony Walker, RB-Spencer Ware. There should be zero concern about Hilton’s ankle issues from 2018. He took part in all team drills on Tuesday.
- The Colts will have 9 more OTA sessions over the next three weeks, before a three-day mandatory minicamp ends the offseason program June 11-13.