Colts Monday Notebook: Knee Injury Ends 2019 Season For Chester Rogers

Colts Monday Notebook: Knee Injury Ends 2019 Season For Chester Rogers

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Colts Monday Notebook: Knee Injury Ends 2019 Season For Chester Rogers

On his weekly Monday conference call, Frank Reich updated some injuries at the beat-up wide receiver position. Reich also touched on Jonathan Williams not playing in the second half on Sunday.

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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s time for the Colts (6-6) to back up their words with some action.

That was the message from Frank Reich on Monday, with his team in the midst of losing 4 of their last 5 games.

“We are 1-0 and one percent better every day,” Reich said of his mantra. “It’s really in moments like this that you better have some substance behind those words. They better not just be words. There better be some substance to it.

“I believe we have that in our locker room, have a lot of substance, believe in what we are doing, believe in each other.”

What were the other items that Reich covered on Monday?

  • When you hear Frank Reich comment on his special teams group, some might spit up their drink. When asked on Monday about his entire special teams group, Reich said this: “I think in most respects we’ve been good.” He’s not wrong. Yes, the field goal unit has been absolutely awful, but the other areas of the special teams have been pretty solid. The Colts put a huge focus on hidden yardage in net punting and net kickoff, and how those areas impact field position. The Colts rank 3rd in punt return average and are 16th in kick return average. In the coverage units, they rank 9th in punt coverage and 15th in kick coverage. Now, when it comes to special teams, we all know that placekicking carries the heaviest weight. Still, when talking about all the facets of special teams, the Colts haven’t been in the basement of the league.
  • Starting running back Jonathan Williams didn’t touch the ball once in Sunday’s second half. After just 8 carries for 14 yards in the first half, while also committing a holding penalty in pass protection, Williams was passed up for a combination of Jordan Wilkins/Nyheim Hines in the second half. “That was kind of an in-game decision handled by the coaches on the sideline,” Reich said on Monday. “It was a little bit hot hand. There was more than one factor that went into it, but nothing negative in the terms of a general feeling that we have about Jonathan. Those other guys made a couple of good plays and we did what we did during the game.” Reich added that the Colts ‘love’ Williams, but clearly his quiet first half contributed to the pseudo benching in the second half.
  • Unlike past Monday, Frank Reich isn’t ready to rule out Marlon Mack (hand) for this week’s game. “We are definitely going to have to monitor him,” Reich said of Mack. “We felt like he was making good progress last week, but I just knew last week was out of the question, so it wasn’t even my mind. We’ll monitor him this week and see how it goes.”
  • The injury hits keep on coming to the wide receiver position. Chester Rogers suffered a fractured left knee in Sunday’s first quarter and he will now head to injured reserve. With Rogers out on Sunday, Nyheim Hines took over punt return duties. In 2019, Rogers has 16 catches for 179 yards and 2 touchdowns, while playing 52 percent of the offensive snaps (the third most of any skill player). Rogers has been this team’s most available slot receiver over the last few years. That role could fall to rookie Parris Campbell, as long as his injured right hand is healthy enough to play for the first time in a month this Sunday. On Monday, Reich said this about Campbell’s possible return for Sunday against the Buccaneers: “Too soon to tell. We are optimistic, but I was optimistic last week to be honest. I was hoping that he was going to get there last week, but we didn’t quite get there, so that would make you believe that there’s a pretty good chance this week, but until you actually get out there and practice, especially for a younger guy, we need to see it all three days out there that he’s ready mentally and physically to go. Hopefully he is, but it’s too early to tell.”
  • Currently, the Colts have just 3 healthy wideouts on their 53-man roster: Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Ashton Dulin. With the Colts finishing Sunday’s loss with those 3 wideouts, you had assistant coaches having to change receiver personnel groupings on Frank Reich’s call sheet during the course of the game. Reich said on Monday that the team would be making a corresponding roster move at that position this week. Rookie Parris Campbell was close to playing against the Titans, so he could return this Sunday. T.Y. Hilton is ‘week-to-week’ after re-injuring his calf last Wednesday. Reich said on Monday that the Colts are ‘hopeful’ Hilton will return this season. And the hope for a return of Devin Funchess in 2019 isn’t happening. With the Colts needing another wideout, they do have WR-Chad Williams, a 2017 third-round pick, on their practice squad.
  • As we pointed out earlier on Monday, it was a mixed bag from Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. The two interceptions were terrible, but Brissett did make a lot of good throws/decisions early in the loss. “I thought Jacoby made a ton of plays and obviously a couple that he would like back,” Reich said. The head coach didn’t feel Brissett was pressing at all to force the ball down the field more, given the lack of a vertical passing game against the Texans. “That would seem logical, it really would, but I never got that feeling,” Reich said of such a notion. “The last (INT) that he threw, he probably wishes he had that back. But I didn’t feel like during the day that he was pressing it (downfield) at all. I just really thought he was in a groove and felt confident throwing the ball down the field, was making good throws down the field. Obviously, he had a couple he would have liked back at the end of the game, but you just can’t forget about all the good things that he did that he put us in the position that we got into.”
  • When you go back and look at the 3 missed/blocked kicks from the Colts on Sunday, the Titans clearly had a plan to overload the side of the formation where Vinatieri would be angling his kicks. Knowing that the longer kicks would have a lower ball flight, the Titans wanted to attack the Colts’ terrible field goal unit in this manner. That led to the eventual breakdown in the blocked kick in the 4th quarter. “We just need to get that cleaned up,” Reich said of protection failing. “We didn’t execute the way we typically execute in that area.”

 

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