Colts Wednesday Notebook: Devin Funchess Eligible To Return To Practice Next Week

Colts Wednesday Notebook: Devin Funchess Eligible To Return To Practice Next Week

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Colts Wednesday Notebook: Devin Funchess Eligible To Return To Practice Next Week

With the Colts having their first ‘official’ practice of the week on Wednesday, a few important names were on the injury report. What were the Wednesday takeaways?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – When you look at the home schedule for the 2019 Colts, you won’t find many games with more at stake than this one on Sunday afternoon.

 

For the 4th time in 12 and a half months, the Colts (3-2) and Texans (4-2) will play against each other, this time in a 1:00 PM contest at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

What else did we learn from the Colts first ‘official’ practice of the week?

 

  • Injured wide receiver Devin Funchess (clavicle) has been on injured reserve since Week 1. Funchess is eligible to return to practice next week, and then to game action on November 17th against the Jaguars (the Colts have confirmed that a player must be out for 8 weeks, not 8 games). But Frank Reich isn’t ready to commit to Funchess definitely practicing next week. “We’ll have to see next week, but he is making good progress,” Reich said on Wednesday. “He’s been in here more and in all the meetings now. So good to see him back there. Hopefully he just keeps making the progress that he’s made the last couple of weeks.” Not only will a return of Funchess help out the Colts’ wideout group, it will also serve the pending 2020 free agent well as he tries to earn another contract. With Funchess on injured reserve, meaning he must miss at least 8 weeks, the Colts have still tried to keep him mentally into their operation. “I think the way we keep (Funchess) engaged is just by communicating with him like you would any player whether he’s playing in that game or not,” offensive coordinator Nick Sjrianni says. “I just think that’s coaching as far as you are constantly trying to connect with your players on different levels than just coaching. That’s one way maybe talking to Devin about what Michigan did this week or something about his family. So trying to keep him engaged by just letting him know he is still in our plans, he is still there with us and obviously we haven’t forgot about him. We can continue to just talk to him that way.”
     
  • The ’1-0 mantra’ is repeated every week in the NFL, but even Frank Reich has told his team this week about the extra importance of getting this victory. “We make an emphasis of division games. These games are weighted a little bit heavier. So we did bring that to their attention,” the head coach said on Wednesday. The winner of Sunday’s game will have a 2-0 mark in the AFC South this year, and have the early head-to-head tiebreaker over the other top contender in the division.
     
  • While Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson bring a lot of similarities to the quarterback position, the Houston QB has one advantage. “As a pure runner, I think Deshaun has more ability,” Frank Reich said on Wednesday. Watson’s effectiveness as a runner doesn’t mean he immediately tucks the ball when he starts to scramble. This is a guy who still likes to keep his eyes down the field, knowing that his legs are a tremendous last resort.
     
  • The plan for Malik Hooker (knee) this week is for him to practice on Thursday. Hooker missed Wednesday’s first official practice of the week as he tries to return from a torn meniscus. While Hooker feels good about his knee, he also cautions that things will not be rushed. Hooker has been a quick healer before, but he has also missed valuable time due to injury in his NFL career. This will be an injury to watch as the week goes along. If Hooker plays on Sunday, he will have missed exactly 4 weeks since tearing his meniscus.
     
  • Even though the Texans traded away Jadeveon Clowney at the start of the year, they still are relying heavily on veterans Whitney Mercilus (5.0 sacks) and J.J. Watt (4.0 sacks) in the pass rushing department. When the Colts come to the line of scrimmage on Sunday, they must know where Watt is lining up. “He’s been at the top of the league since he got into the league,” Jacoby Brissett said on Wednesday of Watt. “And he hasn’t slowed down yet. He’s definitely a player you have to (have) your eye on and understand where he is on the field at all times.”
     
  • No clown mask for T.Y. Hilton this weekend. “I’m done with that,” Hilton said on Wednesday. When Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph didn’t like Hilton calling NRG Stadium his ‘second home’ last season, Joseph referenced that comment as ‘clown stuff.’ So that’s when Hilton decided to rock the clown mask from Party City. Hilton got the last laugh on that. In Hilton’s career against the Texans, he has 81 catches for 1,530 yards and 9 touchdowns in his 15 games. But the numbers are a bit different in the home/away splits: 8 away games-46 catches, 1,018 yards, 22.1 yards per reception, 7 TDs; 7 home games-35 catches, 512 yards, 14.6 yards per reception, 2 TDs.
     
  • Those looking for a Tyquan Lewis (ankle) update, here is what Reich had to say about the second-year defensive lineman missing the last two games: “He’s making some progress, some good progress, so hopefully we’ll get him out there before not too long.” Lewis was not practicing on Wednesday and his absence is notable with the Colts looking for some young depth to emerge up front, especially with Kemoko Turay out for the season. Lewis has had a bit of an odd start to his second year in the NFL.
     
  • Speaking of replacing Turay, rookie defensive end Ben Banogu seems to be a logical choice. Banogu didn’t play a single defensive snap against the Chiefs. In the first 4 games of the season, Banogu had 5 tackles, a half sack and 2 quarterback hits in 67 defensive snaps. Matt Eberflus praised Banogu’s practice effort as of late, but the rookie isn’t expecting to just be handed a full-time role on third down. “I don’t really know,” Banogu said on Wednesday of the changes coming his way with Turay out.. “I’m just going to wait for my opportunity. If the coaches put me in, they have a game plan for me, they have certain things they want me to do, I’m down for it. I feel like I’ve prepared well and I’ve practiced well. Just waiting for my opportunity.”
     
  • The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday, before Sunday’s kickoff at 1:00 PM.

 

WEDNESDAY INJURY REPORT

 

DNP: WR-Parris Campbell (abdominal), CB-Pierre Desir (hamstring), DT-Tyquan Lewis (ankle), S-Malik Hooker (knee), CB-Kenny Moore (knee)

 

            -Bowen Analysis: These two cornerbacks were banged up early in the Kansas City game, but returned and finished the game. They are, obviously, important names to watch this week, especially with the depth of the Houston wideout group.

 

LIMITED: S-Clayton Geathers (rest), LB-Zaire Franklin (hamstring)

 

            -Bowen Analysis: Franklin injured his hamstring against the Chiefs. Geathers has been cleared from concussion protocol.

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