INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni on Monday spoke to reporters via video conference. What did he have to say about an expanded role for running back Jordan Wilkins, gameplanning for versatile tight end Trey Burton and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top taekaways:
» Jordan Wilkins just continues to take advantage of his opportunities: While Wilkins has never really been the guy at running back for the Colts since being selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, he's done everything asked of him, and more, when he gets into ballgames.
In fact, since 2018, Wilkins' 5.16 yards-per-carry average ranks fourth among all NFL running backs with at least 160 carries over that span.
Wilkins, a key core special teams player for the Colts, also has shown a knack for making big plays late in games, such as his 55-yard run late in the fourth quarter early last season against the Tennessee Titans, which led to an eventual game-winning four-yard touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton on the very next play.
Wilkins was pressed into duty once again last Sunday in what ended up being an expanded role against the Detroit Lions, and was sensational; he had a team-high 20 carries for 89 yards (4.5 avg.) and a touchdown, and also added a 24-yard reception in the first quarter.
Wilkins was also outstanding in the fourth quarter, as the Colts pulled away to earn the 20-point road victory; he had 10 rushing attempts for 54 yards in the final period, scoring a one-yard touchdown and then also earning the two-point conversion. According to Pro Football Focus, three of Wilkins' carries in the fourth quarter went for first downs, and he forced four missed tackles in the period.
Sirianni said that while the Colts will continue to have the ultimate confidence in rookie starter Jonathan Taylor, Wilkins got hot at the right time last Sunday and continued to get opportunities; accordingly, like usual, the Indy coaching staff will continue exploring ways it can incorporate Wilkins into each gameplan.
"Jordan did a great job when he got in and got his opportunity, just like Jordan Wilkins has done for the three years that I've been here and the three years he's been here," Sirianni said. "I feel like he always takes advantage of his opportunities."
» The Colts love drawing up plays that highlight Trey Burton's versatility: Burton ran the wildcat in college at Florida, so he came into the NFL with plenty of experience taking snaps from the center and making things happen. Then came Super Bowl LII, when he executed the "Philly Special" to perfection by taking a pitch from running back Corey Clement on 4th and Goal from the 1-yard line and surprising everybody by then throwing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles, helping propel the Philadelphia Eagles to the championship.
So, while Burton performs his regular blocking and catching tight end duties extremely well, his athleticism and versatility allows for an expanded role within the Colts' playbook.
We saw that first hand in Week 6, when head coach Frank Reich dialed up a wildcat formation with Burton at quarterback on 2nd and Goal from the 1 and Burton was able to punch it in for the touchdown.
Then, last Sunday against the Lions, Burton did it again; lined up as the quarterback in the wildcat formation, Burton, on 2nd and Goal from the two-yard line, used a little RPO action on a keeper to get into the end zone again, becoming the third tight end in NFL history and the first since 1968 to have consecutive games with a rushing touchdown.
Sirianni said Burton is "just a good football player," which is "one of the best compliments you can say to a guy." Accordingly, the Colts want to get the football in Burton's hands as much as they can.
"He is going to make plays when he has the opportunity to make plays," Sirianni said. "Like all our playmakers, we're just looking for ways to get him the football, and he can do it in a lot of different ways. He can do it in a variety of ways. We're excited obviously to have Trey on this football team and will look for ways for him to make plays each week. Our confidence in him just continues to grow with him through each practice that we have and through each game that we have. So we'll just continue to use Trey the way we see fit for that week because he is a great playmaker and he takes advantage of the opportunities that he gets."