Colts safety Khari Willis reacts after a big play.
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 18: Khari Willis #37 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after stopping the Cincinnati Bengals on third down during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Colts Thursday Notebook: Starting Lineup Changes Needed For Offensive Line, Secondary?

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s looking like the Colts might have to make some starting lineup changes along their offensive line and in the secondary this Sunday.

Of course, when you are playing a two touchdown underdog that might not be the most pressing issue, as the Colts prepare for their 4:25 PM kick this Sunday against the Jaguars.

Here are some notes from the Colts’ second practice day of the week:

  • We know the offensive line will have to make a change, with Anthony Castonzo done for the year. My best guess at a starting O-line for Sunday? How about this: LT-Quenton Nelson, LG-Danny Pinter, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Mark Glowinski, RT-Braden Smith.
  • Currently, the Colts are without two secondary starters with S-Khari Willis and CB-Rock Ya-Sin both in concussion protocol and having missed the first two practices of the week. So that means some shuffling could/will be needed for the starting secondary on Sunday. Would it be veteran Tavon Wilson again subbing in for Willis, next to Julian Blackmon? Wilson struggled in place of Willis on Sunday. When Willis got hurt covering a punt in the third quarter against the Steelers, the Colts were leading 24-7. His absence was clearly felt. The Colts could turn to George Odum, although he has played just 25 defensive snaps this season. If Ya-Sin can’t go on Sunday, it would probably mean a much more extended role for veteran T.J. Carrie. Over the last 5 games though, the Colts have really been splitting the roles of Carrie and Ya-Sin. Carrie has played 176 snaps in that span, with Ya-Sin playing 164 snaps.
  • The Colts made the signing of veteran offensive lineman Jared Veldheer (to the practice squad) official on Thursday morning. That gives Veldheer two practice days to try and get up to speed and possibly be a left tackle option for this Sunday.
  • While the Colts need help to get into the playoffs, they can finish anywhere from the 4 to 7 seed when it’s all said and done on Sunday night. To get the 4 seed (and a home game by virtue winning the AFC South), the Colts will need to beat the Jaguars and then have the Titans lose to the Texans. The most likely Wild Card seed would be the 6th or 7th spot, meaning a trip to Buffalo or Pittsburgh next weekend.
  • When talking AFC South teams, it’s the Jaguars who have had Frank Reich’s number. In the Reich era, the Colts are 2-3 against the Jaguars (losing 3 times on the road and 2 times at home). Reich has done very well against the other AFC South teams, going 4-2 against the Titans and 5-2 against the Texans.
  • All things considered, Rodrigo Blankenship has had a very good rookie season. He ranks 9th in the NFL in field goal percentage (90.9%, 30-of-33) and ranks 11th in extra point percentage (95.3%, 41-of-43). For an undrafted rookie taking over for Adam Vinatieri, it’s been a solid first professional season for Hot Rod.
  • Here are the 6 Colts looking to start in all 16 games this year: QB-Philip Rivers, RG-Mark Glowinski LG-Quenton Nelson, DT-Grover Stewart, DE-Justin Houston, LB-Anthony Walker. On offense, Glowinski is the only player to have yet to miss a snap (1,023 snaps). No defender has played every snap, but Kenny Moore leads the defense with 887 snaps (91.7 percent).
  • Week 17 in the NFL for teams with uncertain playoff fate brings this reality: Several guys could be playing their last game as a Colt. Here are some of the notable 2021 free agents for the Colts: QB-Philip Rivers, QB-Jacoby Brissett, RB-Marlon Mack (hurt), TE-Trey Burton, DL-Denico Autry, DE-Justin Houston, LB-Anthony Walker, CB-Xavier Rhodes, S-Malik Hooker (hurt).
  • The Colts will practice one more time on Friday afternoon, with a Saturday morning walk-through ahead of Sunday’s 4:25 PM season finale against the Jaguars.

Thursday Injury Report

-DNP: DT-DeForest Buckner (ankle), OT-Anthony Castonzo (ankle), S-Khari Willis (concussion), CB-Rock Ya-Sin (concussion), OT-Will Holden (ankle), TE-Jack Doyle (quad)

Bowen Analysis: This is the first time we’ve seen Buckner miss the first two days of practice. Just maintenance for the big man?

-Full: LB-Jordan Glasgow (illness), DL-Denico Autry (hip), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), WR-Michael Pittman (concussion), WR-Marcus Johnson (quad)

Bowen Analysis: Continued good news for Pittman as he tries to return by Sunday.

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