INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts today officially began on-field preparations for Saturday's 2020 Wild Card Round contest against the Buffalo Bills. What were some of the top takeaways on the day?
Here's today's injury report, the first of the week for the Colts; the team held a walkthrough today, so the injury report is only an estimation of a player's participation if there was a practice:
Willis returns to practice field
While Tuesday's session was only a walkthrough, the fact safety Khari Willis was estimated as a full participant is potentially very good news for the Colts' defense.
Indy's starting strong safety suffered a concussion in the Colts' Week 16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was unable to play in last Sunday's 2020 regular season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Willis being labeled a full participant on Tuesday sets up the possibility of him being available for Saturday's Wild Card Round matchup on the road against the Bills, who have one of the top passing attacks in the league. Head coach Frank Reich said today he's remaining cautiously optimistic about Willis' prospects this week.
"(He's) still in protocol, making good progress," Reich said of Willis. "We feel good about the progress that he is making, but you know how these concussion things are, we just need to take it day-by-day, but making good progress."
Willis has been a solid contributor both in the box and in coverage for the Colts' secondary. The second-year Michigan State product this season, in 14 games, had a career-best 85 total tackles (three for a loss) with two sacks, four quarterback hits, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), six passes defensed and one forced fumble.
Willis in 2020 was one of six NFL safeties to collect at least 85 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions; he was one of just two to also have a pick-six.
Ninth-year veteran Tavon Wilson has played in Willis' place at strong safety the last couple weeks. Wilson this season has 26 total tackles (two for a loss) with one pass defensed and one fumble recovery. Wilson will also be counted on for his playoff experience; the Illinois product has played in eight career postseason games with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions, and won a world championship with the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
Other injury news
— Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin was estimated as a non-participant in Tuesday's walkthrough. The second-year Temple product also suffered a concussion Week 16 against the Steelers and missed last Sunday's Week 17 win over the Jaguars.
— New additions to the injury report Tuesday were cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle/shoulder) and running back Jonathan Taylor (shoulder), both of whom were estimated to be limited participants. Reich isn't scheduled to talk with reporters on Wednesday; the next time he's scheduled to address the media is Thursday, when he's expected to announce who's been ruled out of Saturday's postseason matchup vs. the Bills.