The Colts on Wednesday opened a 21-day window for running back Jonathan Taylor to be activated to the 53-man roster from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list, clearing the way for Taylor to begin participating in practice.
Taylor's first true practice will be Thursday, though, as head coach Shane Steichen opted to downshift Wednesday's practice to a walkthrough with the Colts coming off consecutive overtime games in Weeks 3 and 4.
"I decided to go walk-thru today just cause we had, shoot, back-to-back overtime games," Steichen said. "So just making sure these guys are fresh and ready to go for Sunday."
The Colts will evaluate Taylor's readiness to be activated from PUP and play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans over the next few days, with practices Thursday and Friday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Taylor, though, was listed as a full participant in the Colts' estimated practice report on Wednesday.
Steichen said he isn't worried about Taylor's knowledge of the offense, too, as he participates in practice for the first time since mid-December of 2022.
"With OTAs and training camp stuff, being around – shoot, the system, obviously the verbiage stuff, he's heard it all," Steichen said. "Obviously, in the meetings getting ready today and all that stuff. So, taking his notes, getting ready. With anything, obviously he's been around it, but anytime you sign a player – you sign players on Wednesday that start on Sunday. So, feel good about his mental."
What a JT, AR pairing could look like
Anthony Richardson said he has a "tight" relationship with Taylor, and added he doesn't think it'll take too long to get in sync with him on the field.
"I know he's a great player and I know I can do some things pretty well," Richardson said. "Just trying to combine those two things, I can only imagine what it's like but we won't see until it actually happens. We'll see and I'm excited."
Since his debut in 2020, Taylor has the NFL's third-highest yards per carry average (5.1) among running backs, while his 106 explosive runs (10+ yards) rank fourth. Richardson, meanwhile, is averaging 5.7 yards per carry along with four explosive runs and four rushing touchdowns.
But in addition to imagining the kind of explosiveness a Richardson/Taylor duo could bring to the Colts' backfield, Steichen said getting Taylor on the field could have a positive impact on the team's passing game.
"When you have an explosive player like him in the backfield that can hit the home runs, obviously you might get heavier boxes obviously with him running the football," Steichen said. "Then it leaves some shots down the field depending on how defenses are playing it. But, it definitely adds a huge element to our offense."
Again: The Colts still need to evaluate where Taylor is physically over the next two days of practice before making a decision on his availability for Week 5 – the earliest possible game he could play in after being placed on the PUP list on roster cut-down day. But as he takes the field with the Colts for practice this week, the vision of how he could effect Richardson and the offense is coming into focus.
"Watching his highlights and stuff," Richardson said, "he's a dog, he's a great player and I'm glad I'm a quarterback with him."
Wednesday's practice report: