Cornerback JuJu Brents will not practice ahead of the Colts' Week 9 game against the Carolina Panthers, head coach Shane Steichen said, as the rookie continues to work his way back from a quad injury sustained against the Cleveland Browns in Week 7.
The Colts turned to Darrell Baker Jr. in Brents' place in Week 7, then veteran Tony Brown started against the Saints last week.
"We'll evaluate all that stuff and we're going to put the best guy out here that we feel gives us the best chance to win," Steichen said.
Brown, per Pro Football Focus, allowed catches against New Orleans on all seven times he was targeted for 187 yards with a touchdown. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said this week not all of those catches and yards should be tagged to Brown, though.
Specifically, Bradley said there should've been safety help over the top on Rashid Shaheed's 59-yard touchdown in the second quarter, on which Brown was in coverage but not responsible for the deep middle of the field.
"You can see (Brown) kind of hesitate based on his read," Bradley said. "So it appeared like, 'Oh, that's Tony Brown,' when really Tony did what he was supposed to. I know there's been some questions about, 'Did you think about making a change right there?' Well, with that information that wasn't Tony. It appeared like him. Some of those things happen later on too."
While Brents is out, the Colts' options (when in nickel) at the outside corner spot opposite Jaylon Jones are Brown, Baker, Ameer Speed (who was claimed off waivers from the New England Patriots Oct. 20), Darren Hall (who's on the practice squad) and Kenny Moore II (who Bradley said last week the Colts aren't keen on moving outside on a more permanent basis).
As for Speed, who primarily played special teams after being selected by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Bradley said the Colts are working to get him ready if he needs to play.
"It's been like four days (of practice)," Bradley chuckled. "He's tall. He's long. He can run. We're trying to get him caught up. We've had extra meetings with him. We have a developmental period in practice where he got some reps last week. We're trying to get him caught up as fast as possible."
Wednesday practice update & practice report
The Colts conducted a walkthrough on Wednesday instead of a full practice, with Steichen opting to scale back his team's workload with an eye on this weekend's game against the Panthers.
"I just feel it's the best thing for our team right now, Steichen said. "I just wanted to make sure these guys are fresh for Sunday – be at their best physical ability come Sunday."
The Colts' bye week isn't until Week 11, and unlike some other teams that have later-season off weeks the Colts haven't had the additional rest provided by a "mini-bye" following a Thursday night game.
"We're eight weeks into this thing," Steichen said. "We've went four weeks straight (with) padded practices on Wednesday. I just felt that I want these guys to be at their best physical shape come Sunday."
Wednesday's practice report: