INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts today officially began on-field preparations for Sunday's Week 4 contest against the Chicago Bears. What were some of the top takeaways on the day?
Here is today's injury report, the first of the week for the Colts:
After missing the last two games, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin was back on the practice field for the Colts on Wednesday.
Others who made their returns to practice Wednesday included tight end Trey Burton and defensive tackle Sheldon Day, both of whom started the season on injured reserve; the team now officially has 21 days to decide whether to place either player on the active roster or revert them to IR for the rest of the year.
Ya-Sin was a last-minute addition to the Colts' inactives list just before kickoff of their Week 2 contest against the Minnesota Vikings; the second-year Temple product was evaluated at a local hospital and underwent a procedure after being diagnosed with a non-football illness, according to head coach Frank Reich.
Ya-Sin missed practice all of last week and sat out his second straight game last Sunday against the New York Jets. Reich had said on Monday he expected Ya-Sin to return to practice this week, but it was too early to tell if he'd be available for this Sunday's game against the Bears.
The Colts' cornerbacks group has excelled in Ya-Sin's absence the last two games, combining to intercept five passes, two of which last week were returned for touchdowns by T.J. Carrie and Xavier Rhodes, who today was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for Week 3.
Rhodes, Carrie, Isaiah Rodgers and Tremon Smith are all options at the cornerback position opposite starter Kenny Moore II should Ya-Sin be limited in, or sit out, Sunday's game against the Bears.
Campbell to undergo surgery; Pittman Jr. update
In other Colts injury-related news, Reich said wide receiver Parris Campbell was expected to undergo surgery to his knee today.
The second-year Ohio State product suffered injuries to the MCL and PCL in his left knee early in the Colts' Week 2 matchup against the Vikings; he has since been placed on IR.
Reich had said Monday that the Colts weren't prepared to officially rule Campbell out for the year, however.
"We're just looking forward to him having a good procedure and begin the recovery process," Reich said of Campbell today.
The Colts have had to scramble at the wide receiver position of late; Campbell went down in Week 2 and is out indefinitely, and 2020 second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr. last Sunday night underwent surgery to relieve the pressure in his leg after he was diagnosed with compartment syndrome. The Colts haven't specified a potential return date for Pittman Jr., but expect him to at least miss this Sunday's game against the Bears.
Reich said today that Pittman Jr. is "healing well … so we'll obviously keep a close eye on him, but all things are going well."
With Campbell and Pittman Jr. out of the lineup, the Colts will turn to Ashton Dulin, Daurice Fountain and Dezmon Patmon to take on a bigger load at receiver alongside starters T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal. Indy also has three wide receivers — DeMichael Harris, Krishawn Hogan and Marcus Johnson — on its practice squad if needed.
Foles a 'cool customer'
The Bears, the Colts' opponent this Sunday at Solider Field in Chicago, had a sudden change at the quarterback position last week when they replaced starter Mitchell Trubisky with veteran Nick Foles in the second half of their game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Foles would spark a 20-point fourth quarter comeback effort by Chicago, which ended up defeating Atlanta, 30-26. Head coach Matt Nagy announced earlier this week the team was going with Foles as its starting quarterback moving forward.
Reich is very familiar with Foles, having served as the Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator the year Foles, replacing an injured Carson Wentz, led the team to victory in Super Bowl LII over the New England Patriots.
The Colts also took on Foles last year when he was the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback Week 11 in Lucas Oil Stadium; while Foles had a solid performance, completing 33-of-47 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns to one interception, Indy was able to come away with a relatively easy 33-13 victory.
The Colts' defense has tons of confidence heading into Sunday's game against Foles and the Bears, as Indy is, by most accounts, the top-ranked unit in the league through three games and has picked off a combined six passes (two returned for touchdowns) and forced two safeties the last two weeks, but Reich knows Foles can do a lot of damage on any given day, especially with the deep ball.
"Nick is a very cool customer," Reich said. "He's unflappable. He is an elite deep-ball thrower. He's a great feel player; he's got great instincts and a great feel for the game. Nick is fearless in the pocket. He's one of those quarterbacks who stands in the pocket and the rush doesn't bother him; he'll stand there until the last second, 'cause he sees something coming open down the field and he knows he can make the throw, like he did last week. That's just been indicative of him his whole career.
"So it'll be a good challenge for our defense," Reich continued. "They'll challenge us with the deep ball 'cause that's what he likes to do. He likes to throw the ball deep."