INDIANAPOLIS – Monday Night Football means everything gets pushed back a day this week for the Colts.
Thursday was the first practice day of the week with an extra day of rest helping a banged-up football team as they prepare for the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens.
Here are some Thursday takeaways from the Colts:
- Braden Smith did not practice on Thursday, but the plan was for him to be on the field, doing some work as he tries to get back to game action. No matter the opponent, but even this week with the disguising and blitzing Ravens, the presence of Smith back in the lineup is so critical. Smith has missed the last three games, with the Colts unable to find stability at right tackle in playing Julie’n Davenport and Matt Pryor there. As Carson Wentz mentioned on Wednesday, pre-snap communication is going to be so critical in a loud primetime environment. Quenton Nelson will remain on injured reserve for at least two more games (@Ravens and Texans).
- It took more than 7 minutes into Wentz’s media availability on Thursday before he was asked about his ankle. That’s a good thing. Wentz said he is continuing to feel much healthier. The fact that the Colts felt comfortable using Wentz in a QB sneak last Sunday and then opening up the playbook even more was a great indicator of how the Colts feel about No. 2’s health.
- How unique are the Ravens? The Colts began preparing for them last spring, with coaches in the building for off-season meetings. In training camp, that prep included the players, with the Ravens being the only specific opponent the Colts spent time on at Grand Park. With the dynamic and elusive Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens offense is such an outlier in today’s NFL. Assignment, assignment, assignment is the name of the game for the Colts defense this week in responsibility of who has the quarterback running, the dive man and the pitch option.
- We know NFL players are crazy. Playing special teams takes on a different level of crazy. That’s a step further for the return men in the league. On Thursday, Colts punt returner Nyheim Hines was asked if there was a ‘certain level of crazy’ you have to have to field punts. “Yeah,” Hines said. “Before I go back there, I say, ‘I don’t care about my life at all. Every time.’” Yeah, that’s how you have to think.
- Last week, with the pushing of Kemoko Turay, DeForest Buckner helped lead a players only meeting. Speaking at the meeting was Buckner, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Darius Leonard. What was the message? “It was for guys just to say their peace and to really hold each other accountable,” Buckner said. “That was really my main message when I spoke, being able to hold each other accountable. With the rough start that we’ve had, I’ve been on a couple teams that have started 0-3 and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a long season.’ But starting off 0-3 with this squad, I didn’t feel that way. We were in the (Rams and Titans game). We beat ourselves. Watching the film, all around, we beat ourselves, in all three phases. I know we have a great squad and I wanted to let the guys know that and let them know that I believe in us and we all should. I think some of the guys had some great things to say and I think it was beneficial for us. Buckner added that Frank Reich helped put the meeting together.
- If Brett Hundley is to be the backup again this week, the Colts will have to make a roster move in bringing him up from the practice squad. They’ve already used the two practice squad promotions allowed, per player, with Hundley, the last two weeks.
- It did not appear the following Colts were practicing on Thursday: OT-Braden Smith (foot), LB-Darius Leonard. DE-Kwity Paye (hamstring), RB-Nyheim Hines. Paye appears to be very close to returning to practice. Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) and Khari Willis (groin) were both back to practice after missing last week’s win.
- The Colts will have two more practices this week (Friday and Saturday) before a Sunday walk-through ahead of the 8:15 PM kickoff in Baltimore on Monday.