INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni today spoke to reporters via video conference. What did he have to say about Parris Campbell's strong 2020 debut, rookie Jonathan Taylor's opportunity now as the starting running back, the play of the offensive line in Week 1 and more?
You can catch that entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Sirianni loved what he saw out of Parris Campbell in the season opener: Campbell, who was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, never really got the chance to get any sort of momentum going his way his rookie year, which was deterred by several injuries. But the speedy wideout was able to provide a few flashes here and there — enough to get the coaching staff very excited about his prospects now that he's fully healthy heading into Year 2.
Campbell had a very productive Week 1 outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars: he had six receptions for a team-high 71 yards and also added a rushing attempt for nine yards. Among his receptions were chunk plays of 21, 18, and 17 yards, respectively.
Sirianni said it was a solid performance on which Campbell can build some momentum heading into this Sunday's Week 2 contest against the Minnesota Vikings.
"He did play a heck of a football game," Sirianni said. "He looked fast, he looked explosive — everything we've seen at practice that he necessarily hasn't been able to show in games due to some things; obviously some injuries that happened last year.
"So it was great to get him out there and see those things, and let the country see those things, of what he can do," Sirianni continued. "Because obviously he's a big-time playmaker."
» Sirianni is looking forward to seeing how Jonathan Taylor responds to being the starting running back moving forward: The unfortunate injury news coming out of the Colts' Week 1 loss to the Jaguars centered on starting running back Marlon Mack, who was really rolling coming out of the gates before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury midway through the second quarter.
There were tons of high hopes for Mack, who was coming off his first-career 1,000-yard rushing season, and his ability to mesh with the talents of the rest of the players at his position to create perhaps one of the best running back groups in the NFL.
Fortunately for the Colts, they made sure to move up three spots in the second round of this year's NFL Draft to select another big-play workhorse back in Taylor, who finished his college career at Wisconsin sixth all-time in rushing yards in NCAA history — in just three years played.
Head coach Frank Reich confirmed Monday that the rookie Jonathan Taylor will be the Colts' starting running back moving forward, and that he'll count on Taylor and third-year veterans Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins to pick up the slack moving forward.
Taylor had an impressive NFL debut against the Jaguars, with nine carries for 22 yards and six receptions for 67 yards. Now the Colts will see how he handles a much larger role moving forward.
"He's fast, he big, he explosive," Sirianni said of his first impressions of Taylor after watching the Jaguars game film. "Like, man, he got out in the open field a couple times two days ago, and he's pulling away from known fast guys. Myles Jack is a fast player — he's a fast linebacker — and I saw him a couple of times just pull away from him. And then also just some of the times where he was really getting in there with the football and lowering his shoulder when a DB was trying to tackle him. And he was obviously very productive with the football in his hands, especially in the pass game."
» Sirianni thought the Colts' pass protection effort against the Jaguars was "one of the best I've ever been a part of in the NFL:" While both Reich and Sirianni have said they would've liked to have seen a little bit more production out of the Colts' run game in the opener against the Jaguars — Indy finished with just 88 total rushing yards, with an average of four yards per attempt — Sirianni today praised the entire work put in by the offensive line.
Starting quarterback Philip Rivers, who was not sacked once, threw the ball 46 total times and was pressured just six times (the Jaguars did register one sack on backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who attempted a zone-read play on a 2nd-and-Goal play from the 2-yard line and was stuffed for a loss of six).
What also helps: Rivers' average time to throw — the time elapsed from the snap to the throw on every pass attempt — was 2.34 seconds, tied for the second-fastest in the league in Week 1, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
"A strength of our team is our offensive line, and they just played a great game," Sirianni said. "I mean, the pass protection on Sunday was outstanding — one of the best I've ever been a part of in the NFL. They just did an outstanding job."