INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts on Thursday held their second of three days of on-field preparations for Sunday's Week 2 contest against the Minnesota Vikings. What were some of the top takeaways on the day? Here's today's Colts Notebook.
Here is the Colts' Thursday injury report:
Doyle out again
Colts Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle missed his second straight practice on Thursday with ankle/knee injuries, adding more questions about the possible depth at an already-light position group heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
In other Colts injury-related news, wide receiver Zach Pascal (ankle) and safety Malik Hooker (illness), both of whom also missed practice on Wednesday, made their returns to the practice field on Thursday, while defensive end Justin Houston (calf; did not practice), cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (ankle; did not practice) and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (toe; limited) made their first injury report appearances of the week.
Head coach Frank Reich does not typically speak with reporters on Thursdays; he'll next address the media on Friday, when he'll list who's been ruled out for Sunday's 2020 Week 2 contest against the Vikings.
Doyle played 54 offensive snaps last Sunday in the Colts' 2020 opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars; he was targeted with four pass attempts in all and finished with three receptions for 49 yards, including a career-best 28-yard reception from Philip Rivers on a 4th-and-1 play early in the third quarter.
Doyle never was reported to have any injuries throughout last Sunday's game, in which he was just one of two active tight ends for the Colts, alongside Mo Alie-Cox.
The Colts currently have three tight ends on their active roster. Veteran Trey Burton, who signed a one-year free agent deal with the team this offseason, entered the season on injured reserve with a calf injury, and the earliest he can return is Indy's Week 4 contest against the Chicago Bears, so the team early last week claimed undrafted rookie tight end Noah Togiai off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Togiai was on the inactives list for last Sunday's game against the Jaguars.
The Colts currently have two tight ends — undrafted rookies Farrod Green and Charlie Taumoepeau — on their practice squad, if needed.
T.Y. Hilton didn't mince words after last Sunday's loss season-opening loss to the Jaguars.
"I lost the game," Hilton said at the time "Two drops. Never should've happened."
Hilton was referring to the two dropped passes he had on the Colts' final offensive drive, as they were trying to tie the game up at 27 with about a minute left.
Down 27-20 and driving into Jaguars territory, Rivers found Hilton on a curl route along the left sideline at the Jacksonville 13-yard line; Hilton was able to initially haul in the well-placed pass and get both feet in, but couldn't hang on as he went to the ground after taking a shot from corner Tre Herndon.
Two plays later, on 4th and 5 at the Jacksonville 26, Rivers once again targeted his No. 1 receiver, Hilton, who was in one-on-one coverage on the right side this time against rookie cornerback CJ Henderson. The pass was delivered a couple yards past the first-down marker; Hilton quickly turned around and just simply couldn't make the catch, resulting in a turnover on downs and the essential end to the ballgame.
Hilton said today it took him until Wednesday to really get over that ending.
"I watched both of the plays about 70-plus times, just trying to see what I did wrong, what happened," Hilton said. "The first one, I caught it, put my two feet down, I turned, ball came out — just fluke stuff. And then the last play, I think I just missed it. I missed it."
Hilton — who had four receptions for 53 yards in the opener — is going to use it all as motivation heading into Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Vikings, who allowed 364 passing yards in their own respective opener last Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, including 14 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns to their top receiver, Davante Adams.
"I'm looking to bounce back," Hilton said. "I'm feeling good, ready to go, ready to bounce back in a major way. So they better try to stop me."
Hines ready for increased role
We know by now that Colts starting running back Marlon Mack unfortunately suffered a season-ending Achilles injury midway through the second quarter of last Sunday's opener against the Jaguars.
We also know that Reich has already named talented rookie Jonathan Taylor the starter at running back moving forward.
What we don't quite know yet, however, is if, or how, these changes will affect Nyheim Hines' role moving forward.
Hines was utilized in rotation with Mack early and often in last Sunday's game against the Jaguars, and finished the game with seven rushing attempts for 28 yards and a touchdown, as well as a team-high eight receptions for 45 yards and another score through the air.
Hines said today he isn't just assuming that Mack's absence will mean more touches for him moving forward, but he'll make sure he's ready for whatever comes his way.
Reich had said Wednesday he was going to expect Hines and fellow third-year back Jordan Wilkins to step up moving forward.
"I'm gonna just see what's in the game plan, and really even in practice, (and) you've got to really go out there and just see what happens on Sunday," Hines said. "And no matter what my role is — how many carries, how many catches, how many plays I have — I'm going to go out there and try to go 1-0 on every play and try to make the most of every play. And that's really all I can do.
"I know it'll probably be split some between Jordan and I or Jonathan or however that's going to go, but really, that's not really on me," Hines said. "That's on coach Frank Reich and how (running backs) coach (Tom) Rathman want to do it. I'm going to go out there and do everything I can to help this team win this week."
As for Taylor, Hines said he really hasn't felt compelled to deliver any additional advice to the rookie about the opportunity in front of him; he knows he's ready to go.
"He's a fast learner — a really smart guy," Hines said of Taylor. "Marlon, Jordan, all of us, we've been in his ear a little bit, really just telling him to believe in himself. A lot of things when you get into the NFL, you kind of have to make some plays and just feel things out, and he's a talented guy, so I just tell him just trust what he sees, and once you see it, go do what you do. And I know that got him drafted really high — he ran for millions of yards in college — so for him to do what he does, he does it pretty well, so I think once he just figures things out he'll be OK, and he's been figuring it out well."