INDIANAPOLIS – Just hours before the Colts head to London, they still aren't 100 percent sure how they will fill their final open spot on the 53-man roster.
The Colts were back outside for a practice on Thursday, a day that felt like fall in Indianapolis.
The team then packed things up and headed to the airport for an eight-hour, non-stop, flight to London
Here is the Thursday notebook for the Colts with a look at a healthy defense, and a jumbled offensive line situation:**
- CB-Darius Butler (hamstring): It's a week-to-week timetable for Butler after he suffered a grade one hamstring injury against Denver. Butler did not practice again on Thursday.
- T-Denzelle Good (back): The starting right guard was limited at Thursday's practice. His status is up in the air for Sunday.
- C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness): Harrison had an emergency appendectomy earlier this week and will be OUT for Sunday. The timetable is a bit unknown for Harrison's return. It could be a week to two weeks.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Moncrief is one week into a recovery that is expected to keep him out four-to-six weeks.
- OT-Joe Reitz (back): The starting right tackle was limited at Thursday's practice, just like Good. Reitz's status is up in the air for Sunday.
- CB-Patrick Robinson (concussion): Robinson has been cleared through the entire concussion protocol. He will return to action on Sunday, after two missed weeks.
Chuck Pagano on cornerback Patrick Robinson being cleared for game action:
"He was cleared (Thursday) to fully participate. He's gone through the whole protocol."
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts' entire starting defense should be on the field together in Week Four. Such a statement would have been laughable about a month ago. It's reality though now. With starting cornerback Patrick Robinson finished with his concussion protocol, the expected starting defense coming into 2016 is now healthy.
Like defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said on Wednesday, this really opens up the playbook for him. He can use more man coverage, which should provide extra resources to the pass rush. With Robinson back, Monachino now has some options in how he wants to use his corners, too. Will Monachino opt to keep Vontae Davis/Antonio Cromartie starting outside, and then use Robinson in the slot, a place he thrived in last year with San Diego?Chuck Pagano on the "illness" to Jon Harrison:
"Jon is out for this game. He came in the other day, complaining of some soreness in his stomach.
"He ended up having an emergency appendectomy."
Bowen's Analysis: So, how might this offensive line actually look come Sunday? This is a question that will be monitored over the next 48-to-72 hours. Starters at right guard (Denzelle Good) and right tackle (Joe Reitz) are both limited with back injuries and now are traveling eight hours on a transatlantic flight. Pagano hopes that Good and/or Reitz will be ready for Sunday, but that's clearly up in the air right now.
If those guys can't go, the Colts will likely start rookie Joe Haeg at one of those spots. How the Colts would handle the other right side position is a little murky. Would the right guard position go to seventh-rounder Austin Blythe, who has position flex in the interior but didn't play any right guard in the preseason? Or would the right tackle position be for third-round pick Le'Raven Clark, who was still in the developmental stages during the preseason? If Good/Reitz can't go Sunday, the Colts will be starting some combination of three rookies at center, right guard and right tackle in Week Four.
Chuck Pagano on getting division play started this weekend:
"We understand the ramifications."
Bowen's Analysis: It should not be forgotten that first AFC South game of 2016 is indeed Sunday for the Colts. The Colts will actually play three divisional games over the next four weeks, all away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
The next phase of the Colts' Week Four prep now begins. That means sleep, sleep and more sleep on the eight-hour flight to London. Then once the team lands in London early on Friday morning, naptime will not be on the schedule. The team will practice Friday and stay up throughout the day to adjust bodies to being on London time. Sunday's kick will be at 2:30 local time in London (9:30 a.m. ET).
Here is Thursday's injury report:
-DNP: CB-Darius Butler (hamstring), C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness), WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder), OLB-Erik Walden (rest)
-LIMITED: T-Denzelle Good (back), OT-Joe Reitz (calf, neck)
-FULL: RB-Frank Gore (rest), WR-T.Y. Hilton (knee), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (rest), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), CB-Patrick Robinson (concussion)