INDIANAPOLIS – While Rob Chudzinski should be smiling going into Sunday, the Colts do have some key injuries again this week.
The Colts will be without ironman Kendall Langford for some time, but they will have their top three wide receivers back this weekend.
Here is the Friday notebook, where we hear from Donte Moncrief and Chuck Pagano:
INJURY STATUS FOR WEEK EIGHT
- OUT: TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle): It's a week-to-week injury for Allen. He's missed the past two games.
- OUT: DE-Henry Anderson (knee): After missing last week, Anderson returned to practice on Wednesday, but sat out Thursday and Friday. This isn't the same knee that he suffered a torn ACL in last season.
- OUT: DE-Kendall Langford (knee): The Colts are shutting Langford down for some time as he hasn't gotten completely back from a preseason knee scope. Sunday will be Langford's first game missed in 135 career outings. He hasn't missed a game in nine NFL seasons.
- OUT: OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle): It's a week-to-week injury for the undrafted outside linebacker who left the Texans' loss early two weeks ago.
- OUT: G-Jack Mewhort (tricep): Mewhort was back to practice on Wednesday, but did not practice on Thursday or Friday. With Mewhort out for a second straight week, expect the same starting line on Sunday that we saw last week in Nashville: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Joe Haeg, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Denzelle Good, RT-Joe Reitz.
- OUT: WR-Chester Rogers (hamstring, foot): The team's new punt returner is out this week. Josh Ferguson and Jacoby Brissett are two potential options to fill in for Rogers, who is taking the place of Quan Bray (who is on injured reserve with a fractured ankle).
- QUESTIONABLE: WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Moncrief will play on Sunday for the first time since Week Two.
Donte Moncrief on returning to game action this weekend:
"Practice was good.
"It was good to get back out there and get the timing back with Andrew (Luck), get some running in and some reps with the offense."
Bowen's Analysis: Donte Moncrief will be in the lineup on Sunday. It's his first game action since playing nine snaps of a Week Two loss in Denver. Sunday will be the first time Moncrief has been exposed to contact since that fractured scapula (shoulder).
It's crazy to think about, but Sunday will be just the second time in 15 games that offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will have Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett together for an entire game. This is the present and the future for an offense that can easily be a top-five unit. Moncrief's return comes against one of the NFL's best defensive back groups in Kansas City.Chuck Pagano on the Colts shutting down Kendall Langford:
"You guys have watched him play and we have watched him and he's been battling through that thing (knee scope in the preseason) and just never really got right. He's a tough, tough guy. He's an ironman, a warrior. He wants to play. He wants to be out there. I know that. His teammates know that.
"But finally we just said, 'Let's shut him down for a little bit.' Get that thing totally calmed down and healed where he can get back to playing winning football. He wants to be out there with his teammates, but we just have to give him some time, let him heal."
Bowen's Analysis: In a normal week, this news would outweigh virtually anything that breaks on a Friday. Even with Donte Moncrief returning, the loss of Langford for a significant period of time is a major deal.
Langford just has not been himself in playing through a knee injury this season. An August knee scope for Langford had him in question for the start of 2016. He's played through it though. But that 135-game streak, the longest for any NFL defensive linemen, will end on Sunday. Without Langford and Henry Anderson, the Colts will welcome back Zach Kerr. They will also benefit from more sub packages on Sunday with the Chiefs often using three-receiver sets.
Chuck Pagano on stringing wins together:
"We need to find a way to eliminate some of the friendly fire and play four quarters of quality football in all three phases.
"That's the next step for this club to get back-to-back performances where we can close out a game."
Bowen's Analysis: The schedule definitely toughens up for the Colts in the coming weeks. This might be premature, but Sunday could actually be a potential playoff matchup. Yes, there is a long, long time to go before that is decided. But the Colts are fighting to win the AFC South, just one game back from the Texans. The Chiefs are a game back of the Broncos and if they don't win the AFC West, Kansas City is going to be in the Wild Card hunt.
What the Chiefs do such a good job is not beating themselves. On paper, they aren't a dominant team. Yet, they have won 14 of their last 16 regular season games. It might not be flashy, but the Chiefs have gotten it done better than anyone over the last year.
Here is Friday's injury report:
-DNP: TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle), DE-Henry Anderson (knee), DE-Kendall Langford (knee), OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle), G-Jack Mewhort (tricep), WR-Chester Rogers (hamstring, foot), OLB-Erik Walden (rest)
-FULL: Mike Adams (shin), CB-Vontae Davis (rest), WR-Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), RB-Frank Gore (rest), WR-T.Y. Hilton (hip), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (rest), DT-Zach Kerr (ankle), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder, ankle), Robert Mathis (rest), WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder), OT-Joe Reitz (back)*