INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said today that tests confirmed starting running back Marlon Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Sunday's Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"That's unfortunate," Reich told reporters today. "He was just looking so good in training camp and even in his few snaps yesterday, he just looked like lightning out there. It's very unfortunate — very unfortunate timing for him and his family."
The fourth-year veteran out of South Florida, who was entering a contract year in 2020, was off to a solid start in Sunday's contest in Jacksonville, with four rushing attempts for 26 yards (6.5 avg.) and three receptions for 30 yards, when he went down grabbing his foot in the second quarter after hauling in short pass over the middle from quarterback Philip Rivers.
Initially ruled questionable to return with an ankle injury, Mack was eventually downgraded to out just before halftime.
Indy would roll with Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor the rest of the way at running back; in all, the Colts, who finished seventh in the league in rushing yards a season ago, finished with 22 rushing attempts for 88 yards (4.0), with Hines scoring from 12 yards out on the game's opening drive.
The Colts would ultimately lose to the Jaguars, 27-20.
The Indy offense will now have to figure out how to move on without its starting running back in Mack, who posted his first-career 1,000-yard rushing performance a season ago and has been lauded for his all-around efforts in the backfield not only as a runner, but also in pass protection and as an improving receiving threat.
The rookie Taylor could be in line to pick up much of the slack. The Colts' second-round pick out of Wisconsin, where he became the NCAA's sixth-leading rusher of all-time in just three seasons, said after Sunday's game he feels confident if his role were to increase thanks to the diligence of running backs coach Tom Rathman as well as veterans like Mack, Hines and Jordan Wilkins in the meeting room and on the practice field — this despite not having the luxury of an on-field offseason workout program or preseason reps this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Not being able to have OTAs and not being able to have rookie minicamp, I mean, we had to try and do as much meeting as we could, and then also, kind of add on top of that throughout training camp in order to try to get me up to speed with those vets," said Taylor, who had nine carries for 22 yards and six receptions for 67 yards Sunday in his NFL debut. "I know that whatever happens — I don't know the full status yet — but I know that Marlon … he's not only going to be in my ear, but the rest of the backs … in order to make sure we can uphold his part and make sure that the running back group, there's not a drop-off."