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Colts Thursday Notebook: T.Y. Hilton Knows What To Expect From A Chuck Pagano Defense; Titans' COVID-19 Situation A 'Wake-Up Call'

The Indianapolis Colts on Thursday held their second of three days of on-field preparations for Sunday’s Week 4 contest against the Chicago Bears. What were some of the top takeaways on the day? Here’s today’s Colts Notebook.


INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts on Thursday held their second of three days of on-field preparations for Sunday's Week 4 contest against the Chicago Bears. What were some of the top takeaways on the day? Here's today's Colts Notebook.

Injury report

Here is the Colts' Thursday injury report:

— Some good news on the injury front, as cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and running back Nyheim Hines, both of whom were limited in practice on Wednesday, were able to be full participants on Thursday. Ya-Sin has missed the last two games with a non-football illness, while Hines is listed with a shoulder injury.

— Something to keep an eye on: veteran T.J. Carrie was added to the injury report today, as he was limited with a hamstring injury. Ya-Sin's emergence this week could definitely help if Carrie is either limited or can't play Sunday against the Bears.

Familiar with Pagano

T.Y. Hilton and Chuck Pagano each got their big breaks in the NFL together in 2012, with Pagano being hired as the Colts' head coach, and Hilton being selected by the team in the third round of that year's NFL Draft out of Florida International.

Hilton would play the first six seasons of his NFL career under Pagano, and still holds him in very high regard now as he prepares to take on his old head coach for the first time Sunday when the Colts travel to battle the Bears and Pagano, now in his second season as defensive coordinator.

"He's a great leader," Hilton said of Pagano. "I know he's going to get those guys ready, get them up. He's playing against the Colts, the team he coached, so I know they're going to bring it. They're gonna want to win for him, so we're going to have to match the energy."

Hilton, more than anybody, knows what to expect out of a Pagano-led defense, which means nothing will come easy on Sunday at Solider Field.

"These guys, they disguise a lot of stuff," Hilton said. "They play some man, play some zone — a lot of zone — but they like to get up in your face, get physical and let their pass rushers get home. So we've just gotta play all-around Colts football on offense and we'll be fine."

Go ahead and (don't) jump

The last two weeks we've seen an opponent try to completely hurdle over a Colts defender and instead get met with not-so-great results for the ballcarrier.

Two weeks ago against the Minnesota Vikings, it was running back Alexander Mattison who tried to hurdle Julian Blackmon, and he was promptly met with a hard hit from the rookie safety and slammed to the turf.

Last week, New York Jets running back Kalen Ballage tried to hop over cornerback T.J. Carrie, which opened him up to huge shots from both Carrie and linebacker Darius Leonard.

Leonard had some thoughts on the subject today.

"In all honesty, I think it's stupid to jump," Leonard said.

The third-year linebacker said a defender really has to be careful not to be tempted to lay too big of a hit with a ballcarrier completely in the air, but it can be difficult at times with the aiming point of the offensive player changing so quickly.

"You've got to be careful, because your aiming point for a runner is his belt buckle and below, and him jumping, (with) his head and everything, you don't want to get a penalty there, so you've really got to take your time and really focus in on the hit," Leonard said. "But I really think it's very stupid to jump when you've got 11 guys running at you."

Keeping an eye on Tennessee

After several weeks of extremely successful efforts fending off the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL is currently experiencing its first major challenge with the virus.

The league has postponed the Tennessee Titans' Week 4 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers indefinitely after five players and six staff members, all with the Titans, tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Fortunately, there have been no positive tests for the Minnesota Vikings, the Titans' opponent last Sunday.

While the Colts have taken their COVID-19 protocols very seriously, they also knew that positive tests around the league were just going to be a reality from time to time. The situation in Tennessee has given the Colts the opportunity to revisit their responsibilities as a team this week.

"We talked about it Day 1, it's all about accountability and putting the team before everything," Leonard said. "And we have a lot of selfless guys in that locker room that's willing to put (themselves) last instead of going out, and putting the team first. And that's one thing I commend about this locker room: everybody wants to go out, but we know that we have one common goal, and that is to win the Super Bowl, and we can't win the Super Bowl with COVID in the house. So we're definitely taking the right precautions there."

Leonard said the Tennessee development this week was a bit of a "wake-up call."

"We haven't talked about COVID for a long time, and then now that it hit, you say, 'OK guys, make sure you're still doing it (following protocols), because sometimes you can get lackadaisical about it because it's not happening," Leonard said. "It was definitely a wake-up call — not just for Tennessee or the Vikings, but the whole NFL."

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