Colts Notebook: Ankle Injury Ends 2019 Season For Kemoko Turay


Colts Notebook: Ankle Injury Ends 2019 Season For Kemoko Turay

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Colts Notebook: Ankle Injury Ends 2019 Season For Kemoko Turay

How will the Colts try and replace young pass rusher Kemoko Turay, who is lost for the 2019 season with a broken ankle?

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – On a night when injuries for both teams were an unfortunate storyline, the Colts suffered a notable one late in the action.

The 2019 season for emerging pass rusher Kemoko Turay will end after the second-year defensive end broke and dislocated his right ankle on Sunday night.

Frank Reich confirmed that news on a Monday conference call, with Turay scheduled to go on injured reserve.

While Turay isn’t a starter, he offers the Colts a unique third-down presence. That is as this team’s best pure speed rusher.

“Turay is a really good edge pass rusher,” Reich said on Monday.

“He has a knack for getting off the ball and he has this bending gift. Not everybody has it, that can bend around a corner without losing speed. He really has that. We felt that his game was continuing to get better and improve. The way he was practicing was good. So really unfortunate for him and for us.”

Turay was effective against the Chiefs, compiling three quarterback hits and a half sack. The Colts used Turay in 34 of their 63 defensive snaps, thanks to the Chiefs in full-on pass mode for much of the game.

On the season, in 4 games played, Turay has 1.5 sacks and is tied for the team-lead with 5 quarterback hits.

Without Turay, the Colts must alter their third-down package, which includes Justin Houston at the other defensive end spot, and then Denico Autry and Jabaal Sheard in the interior.

If the Colts are trying to get some more speed on the field, rookie DE-Ben Banogu would seem to be an option. Banogu didn’t play a single defensive snap on Sunday, but he has seen some passing-down action this season.

Still, the loss of Turay is difficult.

He’s by far this team’s most effective upfield rusher with his speed. This injury eliminates a key part of the Colts’ rush package, and it also stunts some growth for a really important player moving forward.

Fellow second-year defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis could also fill-in at defensive end. But even using Lewis, who has missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury, at DE would limit some of his growth, as the Colts feel defensive tackle is his long-term future.

The Colts have a familiar option in Al-Quadin Muhammad who could factor in on some DL reps, as well. Sixth-round pick Gerri Green is an option off the practice squad.

Here are a few other tidbits from Reich’s conference call:

  • Sunday’s defensive blueprint was an adjustment for the Colts and it stifled the most high-powered attack in the NFL. On Monday, Frank Reich addressed the decision-making from the Colts to play more pressing/jamming coverage. “Just trying to disrupt timing a little bit and play a little bit tighter coverage, not give much space, but try to disrupt timing in coverage and then we felt pretty good about some of our matchups up front,” Reich said. “They did it really well. If you do that and you are not right, then you can look bad in a hurry. If you are going to be up and trying to disrupt and they get a clean release, that’s the give and take. That was the risk that (Matt Eberflus) and the staff just really decided, ‘Hey, we are going to play a little tighter, play a little bit more aggressive.’ And the players executed it very well.”
  • A few weeks back I caught up with Colts safeties coach Alan Williams to get his thoughts on rookie safety Khari Willis. The comparison Williams---who was a former Tony Dungy assistant in Indy---used for Willis was a similar professional approach to Antoine Bethea. Reich was asked about Willis on Monday, and the rookie’s ability to play fast: “Maturity, intelligence and toughness. Those are the three things that jump out to me about Khari, that have allowed him to not only play early, but be effective.”
  • On Monday, the Washington Redskins signed TE-Hale Hentges to their 53-man roster. The sure-handed Hentges, an undrafted free agent out of Alabama was with the Colts all offseason. He was a healthy scratch for the first 4 weeks of the season, as the Colts have used Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron and Mo Alie-Cox as their only three tight ends on game day. With the Colts needing an extra body at cornerback for the Kansas City game, they decided to part ways with Hentges. That’s part of the roster numbers dilemma when the injuries begin to pile up.
  • The NFL is a mess right now with their handling of pass interference penalties and the challenges of the new rule change. On Monday, Reich admitted that he’s thought twice about tossing that red flag, knowing the terrible success rate in overturning the PI calls this season. Even though T.Y. Hilton’s offensive pass interference penalty on Sunday night was very, very questionable, the play was still not overturned after Reich’s challenge. “Yes, I have hesitated in challenging numerous calls in the first 5 games that I thought could have been called, knowing that they are not going to get overturned. But it’s not like zero have been overturned. You never know when is that one that is going to come up that’s going to get overturned. (Sunday night), we are playing a really difficult opponent in a difficult environment, (the Hilton OPI) was a huge play. It ended up we overcame it. (But) I just thought it was worth challenging. We just felt strongly about it. At the end of the day, when I saw it on replay, of course I didn’t think it was interference, but I also didn’t think they were going to overturn it because the league has been incredibly consistent in sticking with the call on the field. I was just taking a slim chance that maybe this would be the one that they would go the other way. But it was wishful thinking.” Reich did say there is ‘open communication’ with the NFL and head of officiating Al Riveron in trying to better figure things out. The Colts continue to be one of the league’s least penalized teams, while their opponents have committed an absurd amount.
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