INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Reich isn’t going to draw this thing out anymore than he has to: he’s said if Jacoby Brissett was able to be a full participant for the first day of practice this week, then he will be the team’s starting quarterback Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So how’d that first day of practice go today?
Brissett was, indeed, a full participant on Wednesday, so barring any setbacks with his knee injury, he’ll be back on the field for the Colts in their critical Week 11 divisional showdown on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brissett suffered a sprained left MCL early in the second quarter of the Colts' Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and although he was a limited participant all three days of practice last week, Reich elected to hold him out of last Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins as a precaution. Backup Brian Hoyer got the start in Brissett's place, and completed 18-of-39 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in Indy’s 16-12 loss to Miami.
Reich said Monday, in his weekly conference call with local reporters, that he was optimistic that the few extra days of rest for Brissett would translate into him being able to return Week 11 against the Jaguars. Talking to reporters again before Wednesday's practice, Reich said that the team was "anticipating (Brissett) will practice full today, and as long as he practices full today and gets through today the way we expect, then he’ll be starting in the game."
"Yeah, I mean, I’m assuming it’s all gonna be good and we’re gonna get to the end of practice — ‘Hey, were you good?’ ‘Yeah, we’re good.’ — and then, OK, we’ll check that box and say barring any setbacks the rest of the week he’ll be the starter," Reich said. "I know his knee feels a lot better today than it did five days ago."
Devin Funchess officially made his return to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time in 68 days.
The veteran wide receiver was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 10 after suffering a clavicle injury late in the Colts' Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, but on Wednesday was officially designated by the team to return to practice from IR.
Funchess, sporting a red (no-contact) jersey, did indeed participate in today's practice, setting in motion a 21-day window for the team to decide whether to return him to the active roster or revert him to IR for the rest of the season.
Reich said Funchess still has a few boxes to check before he can gain full clearance, including the more physical aspects of the position.
"He has to get certain things done and scans done to make sure that, ‘Hey this is fully cleared, ready to go,’" Reich said before Wednesday's practice. "I mean, I haven’t talked to the doctor most recently, but you know, you’ve got a break; you have to wait until it’s completely healed, right? And then once it’s completely healed, you’re good. Just like new."
The Colts are moving forward with Adam Vinatieri as their kicker.
That was the message from Reich on Wednesday, speaking to the media after having discussions about the situation with general manager Chris Ballard.
“As far as Adam is concerned, Adam is our kicker,” Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters on Wednesday. “He’s not just our kicker, he’s a leader on our team, he’s a captain, his presence is important. We feel we need him going forward, and have the utmost confidence in him.”
Vinatieri has converted 14-of-19 field goal attempts (73.7 percent) and 14-of-20 extra-point tries (70 percent) this season; he hit both field goal tries last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, but missed his only extra-point attempt in the Colts’ 16-12 loss.
Reich confirmed the Colts brought in some outside kickers for workouts earlier this week, but the team ultimately decided to stick with Vinatieri for a multitude of reasons.
“Sure you take a look, but when you take a look you see what we’ve got is (that) we believe Adam is the answer,” Reich said. “So that’s how we move forward, so I feel good about that. Obviously we’re all working to get better — every one of us, including Adam and everybody else. So we’ll just keep pressing forward.”
Here’s the full injury report from Wednesday’s practice:
» DNP: TE Mo Alie-Cox (hip); WR Parris Campbell (hand); CB Pierre Desir (hamstring); TE Jack Doyle (shoulder); WR T.Y. Hilton (calf); RB Jordan Wilkins (ankle)
» Limited: S Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest); LB Darius Leonard (abdomen)
» Full: QB Jacoby Brissett (knee)