INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich spoke to the media on Monday via video conference. What's the latest on the team's approach heading into its bye week, injury updates on potential post-bye week returnees Michael Pittman Jr. and Kemoko Turay, and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» The Colts players are staying in Indy during their bye week: In any normal year, players get a chance to head out for a few days during their bye week, perhaps recharging their batteries in their hometowns or catching a game at their alma mater. But 2020 has certainly not been a normal year, and as such, the Colts players will be required to stay in Indianapolis for daily COVID-19 testing at the team facility throughout the rest of the week.
Understandably, Reich said the players weren't too happy when they first learned that news a couple weeks back, but they also understand the responsibilities and expectations that come with staying as healthy as possible during a global pandemic.
"I think there was about a 10-minute period where everybody was upset about it and probably still not happy about it, but everybody knows we're in a unique year," Reich said. "It's just a unique year so everybody is just biting the bullet and saying, 'All right, so we're staying here.'"
The Colts are having more of a normal Tuesday, in which they'll review the film from Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and then Wednesday is scheduled to be more of a self-scout opportunity to go over general strengths and weaknesses to this point, before the players get the rest of the week off.
"Even though it's our bye week, we're not on vacation," Reich said. "It's a bye. So we still have our guards up. We're still learning, growing, thinking – getting our bodies right, minds right, but you do get more rest."
» Injury updates on Michael Pittman Jr., Kemoko Turay, others: The bye week will also give a few banged-up Colts players a terrific chance to get healed up and ready to go for the remainder of the season.
Whether it's a couple players currently on injured reserve that could return after the bye — like wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (lower leg) or linebacker Matthew Adams (ankle) — or injured players who sat out Sunday's game against the Bengals — including tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee), tackle Chaz Green (back) and linebacker Darius Leonard (groin) — Reich said "they've all been making good progress."
"Hopefully we get a few of the guys coming back," said Reich, who did not have any major injuries to report coming out of the win over the Bengals. "Hopefully most, if not all, of those guys will be ready to go versus Detroit (in Week 8)."
Then there's defensive end Kemoko Turay, who entered the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list as he continues working his way back from a brutal ankle injury suffered Week 5 last season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Entering the season on the PUP list means a player must sit out at least the first six games of the year, which means Turay technically could return after the bye week for the Colts' Week 8 matchup on the road against the Detroit Lions.
But Reich wasn't quite ready to declare one way or another if Turay — who is perhaps the Colts' top speed rusher off the edge — would be available starting next week or not.
"(He's) making good progress," Reich said of Turay. "We'll see after the bye whether he's ready for Detroit or not. I'm not sure about that yet, but he's making good progress."
» Reich loves his tight ends group, not only as playmakers but as teammates: Whether it's Jack Doyle, Trey Burton or Mo Alie-Cox, or even the undrafted rookie Noah Togiai, Reich said he feels a genuine connection between the guys at one of his most important offensive positions at tight end.
"They are all great football players meaning they are just instinctive and they're tough and they're great teammates," Reich said. "That group – you love it when you see them celebrating each other's successes and you know it's genuine. It's not like, 'Oh man, I wish I was (succeeding).' I'm sure there are those thoughts that creep into all of us, right, but I think these guys genuinely root for each other."
On Sunday, it was Trey Burton's turn to make big plays at tight end, as he finished the win over the Bengals with four receptions for 58 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter, as well as a one-yard rushing touchdown earlier in the period that helped spark the Colts' 21-3 run to get back into the ballgame after trailing 21-0 early.
Jack Doyle also was able to recover from a lost fumble on Indy's second play from scrimmage to haul in a diving 14-yard touchdown reception in what ended up being the game-winning score in Indy's 31-27 Week 6 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Reich on Monday talked about what Doyle, Alie-Cox and Burton all bring to the table as players, and how their skillsets make the Indy offense so hard to defend.
"They are all really talented, but they all have different skillsets," Reich said. "Jack is just Mr. Reliable. He can do it all. He can run block, he can run great short intermediate routes. Jack is an excellent route-runner. Not a good route-runner, he's an excellent route-runner. He's really nifty and understands space and leverage really well in the short intermediate range.
"Mo is a big, long guy, so more Gronk-like," Reich continued. "He runs the more power routes. You get a crossing route to Mo, and people are afraid to tackle him. You get him more vertical down the field because of his length and his size, he can make those big plays down the field.
"Trey is like a receiver. Trey has wide receiver skills," Reich said. "Trey is one of the best route-runners on the team, period. I've been with Trey for a long time and he just has incredible skills and ball skills – route-running skills, ball skills and is very instinctive, very instinctive football player. Those, as you can see in describing those three gift-sets, are all different, and that's how the complement each other."