INDIANAPOLIS – Back on the practice field from the weekend, the Colts put the pads on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Frank Reich, it will be the toughest defensive challenge of the year for the Colts (6-3) in Week 11, with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (7-2) on the visiting sideline.
What did we learn from the Colts on Wednesday?
- Kenny Moore did not practice on Wednesday after injuring his ribs in last Thursday’s win over the Titans. Frank Reich said they are hoping Moore won’t miss a lot of time. With rib injuries being tricky, the Colts are trying to keep Moore away from aggravating it.
- One of the most frustrating aspects to the Colts falling apart down the stretch last season was how they played once Kenny Moore got hurt in Week 13. An ankle injury in a home loss to the Titans on December 1st ended up sidelining Moore for the rest of the season. Without their elite cornerback, the Colts lacked the secondary depth to stay afloat. “I don’t want to underestimate the loss of Kenny Moore,” Chris Ballard said at his season-ending presser in 2019. “I think you all know my thoughts on Kenny Moore. I think he’s the best nickel in the league, for what he does. I think time will prove me right on that. I think he’s a real special player. We had a major drop off when we lost Kenny.” Here were the Colts pass defense numbers to close last season once Moore got hurt: 1,259 passing yards allowed (32nd in the NFL), 11 passing touchdowns allowed (30th in the NFL), 101.1 quarterback rating allowed (28th in the NFL), 73% completion percentage allowed (32nd in the NFL).
- Seeing those games play out without Moore was a major reason why the Colts coveted T.J. Carrie in free agency, and then followed that up by drafting Isaiah Rodgers, who is another slot option. Carrie, 30, is the next man up though and has had quite the turnaround this season. After allowing a 105.1 quarterback rating and 68.3 percent of balls targeted his way to be completed last season, Carrie has totally flipped that in 2020. He’s allowed a QB rating of 35.6 and a completion percentage of 36.4. Carrie is giving up just 2.7 yards per target. If Moore misses Sunday, the Colts really need him to step up as he now is likely to see his most playing time of the season.
- On Wednesday, E.J. Speed became the second Colts player to earn an AFC Player of the Week honor this season. It was Speed’s blocked punt that earned him the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week nod. T.J. Carrie picked up the block and returned it for a touchdown. The Colts lead the NFL with 5 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season. Xavier Rhodes was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week back in Week Three.
- Frank Reich calls Sunday the ‘toughest defensive test of the season’ for the Colts. When you combine the QB-RB-WR of the Packers, this is easily the best ‘triplet’ skill group the Colts have seen (and will see) this season. That’s QB-Aaron Rodgers (26 touchdowns, 3 interceptions), RB-Aaron Jones (4.8 yards per carry) and WR-Davante Adams (741 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns in just 7 games).
- As you’d expect Reich is pretty darn impressed by what Aaron Rodgers has brought to the quarterback position. Reich lists these traits as things he likes about Rodgers: arm strength, can make every throw from every arm angle, gets the ball out incredibly fast with a flick of the wrist, makes throws without needing great footwork, can extend plays, etc. This is easily the most unique passing game challenge the Colts have faced in 2020. Rodgers (1st in the league in quarterback rating) is the first top-10 quarterback rating QB the Colts have seen this season. Up to this point, Detroit is the only top-half passing offense that the Colts have played (Green Bay ranks 6th).
- Through 9 games, Denico Autry is the Colts leading sacker this season. Autry’s 6 sacks are 2.5 more than any other Colt. In a contract year, the 30-year-old Autry is once again stepping up. “Quiet, unsung hero,” is how Frank Reich describes Autry “Doesn’t like the attention. Not trying to draw attention to himself. He just loves ball and loves that d-line group and is just tough as nails.”
- What did the heavy no-huddle approach by the Colts last week lead to? It helped Philip Rivers have the quickest time to throw of any NFL quarterback (2.31 seconds in Week 10). On the season, Rivers is averaging 2.49 seconds time to throw (4th fastest in the NFL). Another area where Rivers ranked very high in last week was in his completion percentage above expectation. Rivers was plus 6.9 in that last week, which ranked 2nd in the NFL.
- Tight end Jack Doyle (concussion) missed Wednesday’s practice and remains in concussion protocol. Doyle originally got hurt in the November 8th loss to the Ravens.
- The Colts will practice again on Thursday and Friday afternoon before taking on the Packers at 4:25 PM this Sunday, with 12,500 capacity allowed inside of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Wednesday Injury Report
-DNP: TE-Jack Doyle (concussion), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), CB-Kenny Moore (ribs), S-Khari Willis (ribs)
Bowen Analysis: We knew about the ribs ailment for Moore, but the one for Willis new. Willis played every single defensive snap against the Titans. Both guys were jogging with a member of the rehab specialist at Wednesday’s practice.
-Limited: TE-Mo Alie-Cox (knee), DE-Kemoko Turay (ankle), S-Julian Blackmon (pelvis, knee)
Bowen Analysis: Turay is now on the active roster, so he shows up on the daily injury reports. Blackmon has added ‘pelvis’ to his normal scaled back practice status.