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INDIANAPOLIS – Some bad news and some good news from the Colts’ final injury report of the week.
Following Friday’s practice, Frank Reich ruled OUT linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) for Week Three against the Falcons.
Here is news from the last practice of the week for the Colts:
- Frank Reich wasn’t in the mood to reveal how the Colts will look at linebacker on Sunday, with Darius Leonard (concussion) out. But the expectation is rookie Bobby Okereke will climb into the starting lineup at the MIKE position, and then Anthony Walker will slide over to the WILL, where Leonard typically plays. Another expectation is Walker will have the ‘green dot’ on his helmet for sideline-to-field communication.
- We mentioned on Thursday about the Leonard injury testing a big key that Chris Ballard had going into the 2019 offseason—improving the linebacker depth. Okereke will be that guy on Sunday, as his role will increase. How has Okereke looked in 24 total defensive snaps this season? “Like he needs more play time, really,” Frank Reich said on Friday. “Our linebackers played well last week. The few snaps that Bobby was in, he looks good, so he’ll obviously get some more time this week.”
- Marlon Mack (calf) practiced on Friday for the first time all week. He was limited. Officially, Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home opener. Mack has 45 carries through the first two weeks of the season, which is the most the NFL. Typically, practicing on Friday is a good sign for a guy playing that Sunday. We will get official word on Mack playing 90 minutes before Sunday’s 1:00 PM kick.
- The Colts do have some good news on the defensive injury front: CB-Pierre Desir (knee) practiced all week and is good to go after he left last Sunday’s win over the Titans. That is great news for the Indy defense. Desir said he knew when he went down against the Titans that the knee injury was ‘minor’ just based off previous injuries. At 6-1, Desir gives the Colts a taller corner who has shown he can handle big-time responsibilities, as he did late last season against DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper. Now, the Colts aren’t going to have Desir shadow Julio Jones, or anything like that. But the veteran corner will be needed a lot on Sunday to defend a talented Atlanta wideout group. “With their weapons and quarterback, it needs to be all hands-on deck,” Reich said of his DBs this week. “What we’ve talked about is play good technique. Pierre, certainly, is a leader in that regard. His experience, his attention to detail, really helps set a tone for us defensively.
- Also, DE-Kemoko Turay (neck) has practiced all week and is good to return to the lineup in Week Three. Turay missed last week’s game against the Titans. The Falcons have a couple of injuries up front on their offensive line, so the Colts have the opportunity to again take advantage of a banged-up O-line.
- This week was the first time we’ve seen Jabaal Sheard (knee) practice in nearly two months. Sheard has been ruled out, which is no surprise. The thought was always that Sheard needed more than just one week of practice time before he made his 2019 debut. “Jabaal has worked hard and is making really good progress,” Reich said on Friday. “We are just trying to be smart for the long haul.”
- On Friday, Frank Reich touched on what went into the Colts’ thinking on bringing Chad Kelly back, signing him to the practice squad on Thursday: “Chad earned it,” Reich said. “He earned it on and off the field. Really thought he practiced well. Thought he played well in preseason games. Thought he was in meetings and in every aspect of what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, I thought he checked every box. He’s deserved a chance to be back here and further develop. I’m really looking forward to it.”
- Couple of impressive notes on the Colts in 2019: They have the least amount of penalty yardage in the league (75 yards). And they are tied for 1st with the fewest amount of committed penalties (11). This was a big concern for Frank Reich early in the season.
- Also, the Colts are a perfect 10-of-10 in third-and-shorts this season (3rd-and-3s or shorter). That’s a major credit to the offensive line, Frank Reich and the entire unit finding early-down success, mostly via the run game. The Colts have been very good situationally early in the season.
- While the Falcons offensive line is dealing with a couple of injuries, they will be without starting punter on Sunday. Matt Wile, who was the punter for the Vikings last season, will kick for normal punter Matt Bosher. So, the 4th down adventures could extend towards the visitors on Sunday, as well.
FINAL INJURY REPORT
OUT: LB-Darius Leonard, DE-Jabaal Sheard (knee)
Bowen Analysis: The injury updates on these two are above.
QUESTIONABLE: WR-T.Y. Hilton (quad), RB-Marlon Mack (calf), RB-Jonathan Williams (ribs)
Bowen Analysis: Hilton practiced limited every single day this week. Williams could make his 2019 debut on Sunday, after being a full participant at Friday’s practice. Although, if Mack is good to go, you might not need a 4th running back, which is Williams.
The following players were on the injury report this week, but have been removed and are good to go in Week 3: QB-Jacoby Brissett (knee), CB-Pierre Desir (knee), DE-Kemoko Turay (neck), DE-Al-Quadin Muhammad, WR-Zach Pascal (shoulder)