INDIANAPOLIS – It's hard to debate what was better on Thursday for the Colts.
The weather at practice or the injury report for the offense?
Under perfect fall skies (and borderline summer temperatures), the Colts had their entire offense practicing on Thursday.
The Thursday notebook looks at the injury report and we hear from the coordinators going into Week 11:**
- OG-Denzelle Good (illness): Good was a full participant at Thursday's practice, after he missed Wednesday.
- DE-Kendall Langford (knee): Chuck Pagano was hoping to get Langford back to work on Wednesday. The big defensive end is still in "shut down" mode though.
- CB-Patrick Robinson (groin): The cornerback has missed the first two days of practice this week.
Rob Chudzinski on the play of Frank Gore:
"What we are doing with Frank, I think, is the right thing because he's playing as good of football since he's been here.
"I can't say enough about how good of football he's been playing."
Bowen's Analysis: Frank Gore has 145 carries through nine games, which computes to a little more than 16 attempts per game. That was the number Gore was expected to be hovering around in 2016. The 33-year-old is on pace for a 1,000-yard season and says he feels fresh going into the final month and a half.
The Colts have monitored Gore by having him take Wednesday's off. Gore still puts a ton of value into practice and uses that time to read the tendencies of an offensive line that has used six different combos in the first nine weeks of the season. Some credit should also go to backup running back Robert Turbin for letting the Colts use Gore how they want/need to. Turbin being a reliable/quality backup allows this offense to maintain production, even when No. 23 needs a breather.Rob Chudzinski on the return of Jack Mewhort this week:
"Prior to getting hurt, Jack was playing really consistent football."
Bowen's Analysis: After missing three games with a triceps injury, Jack Mewhort has practiced every day this week. Mewhort was playing at a consistently high level before the injury in mid-October. Chud credits improved technique out of Mewhort, which is allowing the third-year guard to play more physical and faster. Chud said the third year for a player is typically when guys round into their potential.
Mewhort's possible return this week is not expected to be the only difference in personnel from when these teams first met in 2016. Chud should also have Dwayne Allen, Jacoby Brissett and Donte Moncrief all back this week. That trio didn't play in the Week Seven win over the Titans. That means a more expansive playbook at Chud's discretion against a stout Titans' defensive front.
Ted Monachino on the physical nature this week:
"I know we have to prepare a little bit differently. We have to be physical in practice to prepare for Sunday. Our guys enjoy that part of it."
Bowen's Analysis: Ramped up physicality in shorter spaces is something that the defense has tried to employ this week. DT-Arthur Jones said on Thursday he's seen more aggression out of the scout team offensive line during practice. That's the sort of necessary prep needed when you play one of the NFL's most committed/productive running attacks. Monachino calls Tennessee's offense "as good an offense as there is."
Some keys Monachino pointed out on Thursday for Week 11 include winning early downs, stopping their game breakers (mostly in the run game, but also tight end Delanie Walker) and minimizing the explosive runs. Getting an early lead would be advantageous, too. Doing so would force the Titans to play a bit left handed, having to rely more on the passing game than they would like.
Here is Thursday's injury report:
-DNP: DE-Kendall Langford (knee), CB-Patrick Robinson (groin)
-LIMITED: ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (rest), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder)
-FULL: S-Mike Adams (groin/rest), DE-Henry Anderson (knee), OLB-Chris Carter (hamstring), CB-Vontae Davis (rest), OG-Denzelle Good (illness), RB-Frank Gore (rest), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), G-Jack Mewhort (tricep), OT-Joe Reitz (concussion)*