INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts picked things up on Wednesday in holding their first true practice of Oakland week.
Remember, the Colts will play on Saturday this week, with the bulk of the NFL moving games to Christmas Eve.
From a record standpoint, the Raiders (11-3) will easily be the best team the Colts have faced in 2016.
Here is the Wednesday notebook with coordinators Rob Chudzinski and Ted Monachino meeting the media:**
- G-Denzelle Good (concussion): Good is back progressing through the concussion protocol. Good was a full participant at Wednesday's practice.
- QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder, right thumb): We saw Luck don the right glove at Wednesday's practice. Luck said on Sunday that the glove was for a cut on his throwing hand. Luck wore the glove during the second half from last Sunday.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (hamstring): As expected, Donte Moncrief returned to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday.
- OT-Joe Reitz (back): Reitz was limited on Wednesday. Both Good and Reitz missed last week's game against the Vikings. It will be interesting to see if the Colts shift things again up front, if either/both of these guys are able to return to the field this weekend.
Rob Chudzinski on T.Y. Hilton's Pro Bowl season:
"He's made crucial, critical plays for us.
"I think he's expanded what he can do on the field. The thing that I've gotten to know about T.Y. is he's extremely smart and knows the game so well."
Bowen's Analysis: With two weeks remaining in the regular season, T.Y. Hilton is five yards behind Julio Jones (1,253) for the NFL lead. Hilton might not be a prototypical No. 1 receiver in size, but he certainly is in production.
Chud has seen Hilton evolve into a complete receiver, whether it's doing the ugly things by catching a ball over the middle, or doing the leading in the meeting room. Hilton isn't just primarily a deep ball receiver any more. He's having a career year in his fifth NFL season and has done it without his No. 2 receiver (Donte Moncrief) for half of the season.Rob Chudzinski on Mo Alie-Cox:
"I'm happy for him because of what he's put into it."
Bowen's Analysis: Erik Swoope said that he had a touchdown dance planned for his first ever score (at any level of football) last Sunday but forgot to do it once his teammates mobbed him in the end zone. The Colts now feel they can really rely on Swoope in both the pass and run game, something they couldn't previously say.
What a journey for Swoope since joining the Colts in the spring of 2014. From learning elementary terms about the game of football, Swoope is now contributing on Sunday's for an NFL team. Chud told a story on Thursday about Swoope asking special teams coach Tom McMahon how to properly tackle, now that the young tight end is dressing and playing on game days. Swoope is a restricted free agent for the Colts in 2017 and is part of the deepest position group on the roster.Ted Monachino on his young defense coming together:
Bowen's Analysis: The oldest healthy defensive lineman for the Colts right now is 26 years old. Ted Monachino's starting inside linebackers are Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison. Half of his starting secondary is now on injured reserve.
Yet, the Colts have given up just two defensive touchdowns the last three weeks. As Monachino pointed out at the start of his Thursday press conference, it's a "tremendous challenge" for his defense in Week 16. Oakland's offense is much more potent than any of the three the Colts have already seen in December. The early returns this month for the Colts have led to some interesting off-season decisions coming on defense (i.e. the immediate future at ILB, Darius Butler re-signing/moving to safety and how the Colts will handle all the free agent pass rushers in 2017).**
Here is Wednesday's injury report:
-DNP: S-Mike Adams (rest), ILB-Chris Carter (shoulder), CB-Vontae Davis (rest), RB-Frank Gore (rest), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest)
-LIMITED: QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder & right thumb), CB-Rashaan Melvin (knee), WR-Donte Moncrief (hamstring), OT-Joe Reitz (back)
-FULL: OG-Denzelle Good (concussion)