Colts Monday Notebook: Superstitious Darius Leonard Ready To Return
Colts Monday Notebook: Superstitious Darius Leonard Ready To Return
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INDIANAPOLIS – It was the very rare Monday practice that occurs during an NFL season.
With the Colts returning from their bye week, they held around a 90-minute practice on Monday.
What were the major takeaways from the Colts getting back to work?
- The second concussion of Darius Leonard’s career sidelined him for 3 games and had him being a ‘maniac’ around the house while watching his teammates play. Persistent concussion-like symptoms kept Leonard home from games against the Falcons and Chiefs. That’s when Leonard took to Twitter to help calm his nerves. “I was down on myself,” Leonard, who has been cleared to return for game action, said of being away from his teammates for so much of the last 3 games. “To cheer myself up, I put on a helmet, I put on my jersey just to get my personality back, because with the concussion, I wasn’t myself. I had to do something to get my spirits up.” Leonard said the one concussion he had in college sidelined him for only one game (the only game he’s missed in high school or college), but this was one that really lingered. The All-Pro linebacker believes the concussion occurred early in the Week 2 win over Tennessee, but Leonard thought his headache was just due to the 90-plus degree heat in Nashville. Leonard thought he would be able to return for the Kansas City game, but a slight headache following his return to practice halted that. He has since been cleared for game action, and that comes at a very opportune time. “This team is talented on offense,” Frank Reich said on Monday of the Texans on the schedule and getting Leonard back this week. “This team has some really talented players on offense. They are smart players. You can tell they have smart players and physically talented players, so we need to have as many of those guys as well. When Deshaun Watson gets into the open field, Darius can make it interesting and not many guys can. So you need guys like Darius, who can make it interesting.”
- Along with Leonard continuing to practice on Monday, the Colts also had Clayton Geathers (concussion) back to practice. Geathers, who missed the win over Kansas City, has also been cleared from concussion protocol. So, depending on Malik Hooker’s (torn meniscus) availability this week, the Colts appear to have Geathers back at safety, with Khari Willis and George Odum coming off strong games against the Chiefs.
- Here is what Frank Reich had to say about Hooker on Monday: “We are hopeful. He keeps progressing. We’ll see how the week goes. But he has made good progress.” Hooker first got hurt in the Atlanta game on September 22nd. Originally, the timetable for Hooker to return was 4-to-6 weeks. This coming Sunday will mark 4 weeks since he first got hurt. During Monday’s session, Hooker looked to be doing some on-field work with trainers.
- Wide receiver Parris Campbell (abdominal) had a procedure on his injured-mid section following the Oakland game and missed the Kansas City contest. Do things sound a little less likely for Campbell returning this week? “Good news and making good progress, not sure with him as much (compared to Hooker),” Reich said on Monday. “But keeping things optimistic.”
- Among the guys who did not appear to be practicing on Monday (Hooker, Campbell), that included second-year DE-Tyquan Lewis. An ankle issue has kept Lewis off the field for the last two games. With the injury to DE-Kemoko Turay, the Colts could use a healthy Lewis as another option at DE. It’s very early, but it’s been a disappointing start to 2019 for Lewis. He was a healthy scratch in Week One, made just 1 (assisted) tackle in 39 snaps in Weeks 2 and 3, and now has been injured for the last two games.
- On Monday morning, the Colts officially placed DE-Kemoko Turay (broken/dislocated ankle) on injured reserve. In replacing Turay though, the Colts didn’t fill that spot with an edge rusher. Instead, the Colts added another beefy defensive tackle. Carl Davis, who is 6-5 and 320 pounds, comes to the Colts with 12 career starts in 33 games played. Davis was a 2015 third-round pick of the Ravens. He’s also played for the Browns. Like new defensive tackle Trevon Coley, Davis was with the Browns this offseason, so the Colts got an up-close look at him during two August joint practices with Cleveland. Davis ended up being waived by the Browns during final preseason roster cuts. With Davis and Coley joining Grover Stewart, the Colts now have three defensive tackles over 300 pounds. Such a move could mean the Colts use Tyquan Lewis, who has missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury, back outside at defensive end, a spot he filled in last year. This isn’t where the Colts want to play Lewis long-term though, but they are pretty crowded now at defensive tackle with Denico Autry and Margus Hunt also in the middle.
- Frank Reich isn’t worried about the workload numbers Marlon Mack has through 5 games this season. Currently, Mack is averaging 20.2 carries per game this year (2nd in the NFL behind Christian McCaffrey at 21.2 per game). That has Mack on pace for 323 carries this season, which would be the most carries in the NFL since 2015. “It usually has a way of working itself out,” Reich said on Monday. “But right now, the way Marlon is taking care of himself, it feels to me like he’s getting stronger as the year goes along. I don’t sense any wear and tear on his body. So we’ll just keep rolling.” In 12 games last year, Mack averaged 16.3 carries per game. Back in college, Mack didn’t miss a single game (in 3 seasons) and averaged 17 carries per game. So, he’s always had a pretty consistent workload as a starting running back.
- Including some Jacoby Brissett scrambles, the Colts are running the ball nearly 48 percent of the time this year. Even with a major run-game focus from Frank Reich this year, that’s still a high number. “I didn’t have a number in mind, but it probably wasn’t 48 percent,” Reich said on Monday. “Usually, you think 60/40-ish, but somewhere between 40-to-45 percent, would probably be acceptable to get to where we want to get. It’s been a little bit higher than anticipated.”
- The bye week is all about self-scouting for teams. Frank Reich said there was ‘nothing glaring’ for the Colts needing major changes. Obviously, from a competitive advantage stadnpoint, Reich didn't want to delve too deep into areas that need slight adjusting. In terms of major league rankings, these are the following categories that the Colts rank bottom 5 in: passing yards per game (202.0), passing yards per play (6.05), rushing yards allowed per play (5.10), red zone efficiency allowed (66.7%).
- We see the weekly jersey swap following every game. Well, it looks like former teammates Justin Houston and Patrick Mahomes exchanged jerseys following last Sunday’s game. Houston had a signed Mahomes’ jersey in his locker on Monday.
- Injury watch for the Houston Texans has them banged up at two of their weakest spots: offensive line and secondary. Starting right tackle Tytus Howard (knee) is likely to miss some time after getting hurt versus the Chiefs. This means the Colts will face a backup tackle for the 4th time in 6 games this season. In those 3 previous games, the Colts have compiled 12 of their 13 sacks on the season. At cornerback for the Texans, a group the Colts have routinely exposed in prior meetings, starters Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are both dealing with hamstring injuries. Those are the two starting corners for Houston. Joseph didn’t play against the Chiefs. Roby left Sunday’s game against Kansas City early and is expected to miss time.
- The Colts will have their first ‘official’ practice of the week on Wednesday, as they get back into their normal Wednesday-Friday on-field routine.
Darius Leonard said he was pretty superstitious watching games while out. Had 3 TVs on. He would watch one until things stopped going well, then would move into another room to watch another. pic.twitter.com/CMlfMcMoXG — Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) October 14, 2019
Darius Leonard said he was pretty superstitious watching games while out.
Had 3 TVs on. He would watch one until things stopped going well, then would move into another room to watch another. pic.twitter.com/CMlfMcMoXG
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) October 14, 2019