Ted Monachino On Colts Defense: "We Haven't Played Winning Football Enough"

Intro: Mother Nature sent the Colts indoors on Thursday for their second practice of the week. Were there any improvements on the Thursday injury report?

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INDIANAPOLIS – A rainy Thursday in Indianapolis forced a rare practice indoors for the Colts.

At that practice, we continued to see several starters/key contributors miss time, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Here is the Thursday notebook with some coordinator chatter from Ted Monachino and Rob Chudzinski:

INJURY NOTES

  • TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle): It's a week-to-week injury for Allen.
  • DE-Henry Anderson (knee): A knee injury on Sunday didn't force Anderson out of the game. However, he's now going to miss some time because of it. This is not the same knee that Anderson tore his ACL in last season.
  • CB-Darius Butler (calf, hamstring): While his hand is taped up due to a fractured finger, the veteran nickel corner did get banged up late in Sunday's loss. Butler has not practiced on Wednesday or Thursday.
  • WR-Jacoby Brissett (foot, hamstring): It's a day-to-day timetable for Dorsett. The speedy receiver has yet to practice this week after leaving Sunday's game early due to the hamstring injury.
  • S-T.J. Green (knee): We saw Green get hurt late in Sunday's game, but he did return to action. Green got back to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday's session.
  • DT-Zach Kerr (ankle): Chuck Pagano was hoping Kerr would do some individual work at Wednesday's practice. But Kerr has yet to practice this week.
  • OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle): It's a week-to-week injury for the undrafted outside linebacker who left Sunday's game early.
  • G-Jack Mewhort (tricep): Mewhort played the entire game on Sunday, but has missed the first two practices of this week. This is something to monitor as Mewhort has been the team's best offensive linemen this season. In the preseason, a knee injury forced Mewhort to miss two weeks.
  • WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Moncrief is still not practicing. He's now five weeks into a recovery that was expected to keep him out four-to-six weeks.
  • CB-Patrick Robinson (hip): After missing last week, Robinson has been full in each of the two practices this week.

Ted Monachino on the play of the defense through six weeks:

"We are nowhere where we need to be.

"We haven't played winning football enough."


Bowen's Analysis: Monachino is always very direct in the evaluation of his defense. He talks specifics and paints a very clear picture of the good and the bad going on within his unit. Monachino wishes he was talking about more good, but his unit, which played so well for three-ish quarters on Sunday, struggled with their tackling and lack of pressure in trying to close out Sunday's game in Houston.

With Henry Anderson (knee) and Zach Kerr (ankle) missing practice this week, this is a defensive line group that will need to clean up the leakage in the run game as of late. Monachino described the unique challenge that is at hand this weekend with the Titans' run game. Discipline within the entire unit is an absolute must this week in facing Tennessee's zone/read option scheme.

Frank Gore on needing inexperienced skill guys to emerge this week:

"We are banged up outside so some guys that we brought up are going to have to make plays.

"The way they've been working this week I don't doubt they will make plays."

Bowen's Analysis: Titans head coach Mike Mularkey believes the Colts will be leaning a lot on the legs of Gore this weekend. Of course, that belief comes from the Colts having Dwayne Allen, Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief still out.

Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski spoke to the media on Thursday and touched on the challenges of all the new skill guys being worked in this week. Chud said at the end of the Houston game, he only had one personnel grouping (two WRs: T.Y. Hilton and Chester Rogers, two TEs: Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox) to work with for Andrew Luck. That's impossible to prepare for when you lose three skill guys during one game. If there is some good news (and 'good' probably isn't the right term), Chud has known all this week about the current state of the skill guys going into Sunday's contest in Nashville. He can now prepare the likes of Swoope, Rogers, Devin Street and Tevaun Smith for the bigger roles that are coming this weekend.

Rob Chudzinski on the play of rookie center Ryan Kelly in 2016:

"He has had some ups and downs in every game.

"(But) I can't say enough, what a great job he has done. There are a lot of things that you want to clean up as a coach but if you look at the big picture, I think he has come in and done everything that was asked of him to do."


Bowen's Analysis: We have seen some awkward timing snap wise on a couple of occasions this season. But, like Chud says, Kelly has been really solid and showed why the Colts felt him worthy of a first-round pick.

Right now, the Colts have four offensive line starters all under the age of 25 (to go with left tackle Anthony Castonzo). Talking with Frank Gore on Thursday, the veteran running back was his typical candid, insightful self. Gore was comparing the current building of the Indy O-line to what he experienced out in San Francisco. Gore was steadfast on Thursday in saying he believes it takes two full years to truly build a line. He thinks the Colts have the right guys in place up front to build a strong unit. Gore could see more of the benefit in building that group next season, as he is under contract through 2017.**

INJURY REPORT**

Here is Thursday's injury report:

-DNP: TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle), DE-Henry Anderson (knee), CB-Darius Butler (calf, hamstring), WR-Phillip Dorsett (foot, hamstring), WR-T.Y. Hilton (hip), ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (rest), DT-Zach Kerr (ankle), OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle), G-Jack Mewhort (tricep), WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder)

-LIMITED: C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder, ankle)

-FULL: S-Mike Adams (rest), CB-Vontae Davis (rest), RB-Frank Gore (rest), S-T.J. Green (knee), DE-Kendall Langford (rest), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), CB-Patrick Robinson (hip)

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