INDIANAPOLIS – Thursday was a much more promising day in the Colts' injury department.
Both Vontae Davis and T.Y. Hilton returned to practice on Thursday as the Colts picked up their preparation for one of the most difficult challenges they will encounter in 2016.
Here is the Thursday notebook with offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Ted Monachino meeting the media:
- S-Mike Adams (groin): Adams played through a groin injury on Sunday. Adams, a very durable safety, has missed the first two days of practice and is certainly an injury to watch on Friday.
- TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle): For the first time in two weeks, Allen is back to practice. He's practiced both days this week.
- DE-Henry Anderson (knee): Could Anderson be returning for the first time in two weeks? Anderson has practiced each day this week.
- CB-Vontae Davis (concussion): The team's No 1 cornerback is in the concussion protocol, but progressed enough to practice in a red jersey on Thursday. Davis has had concussions before in both 2014 and 2015.
- OG-Denzelle Good (knee): While Jack Mewhort and Joe Reitz remain OUT, Good was back to practice on Thursday.
- WR-T.Y. Hilton (hamstring): Hilton did practice on Thursday, as a full participant, which is a very positive step after he missed Wednesday's practice.
- DE-Kendall Langford (knee): The Colts are shutting Langford down for a period of time.
- OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle): Maggitt has practiced on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
- G-Jack Mewhort (tricep): After practicing last Wednesday, Mewhort has missed the last four practices. Chuck Pagano has not given a timetable for how long he thinks Mewhort will be out.
- OT-Joe Reitz (concussion): Reitz is in the concussion protocol after leaving Sunday's game early. He has not practiced this week.
- WR-Chester Rogers (hamstring): Rogers, if healthy, is this team's punt returner. Rogers has returned to practice this week.
Ted Monachino on the work Vontae Davis got in Thursday:
"He's not getting the total number of snaps he would normally get. He's not getting snaps in all periods, but I do think Vontae showed (Thursday) that he's prepared to run around, and he's prepared to cover.
"We've still got to continue to evaluate him as we go through the week because he's not completely off the protocol."
Bowen's Analysis: This was a pretty encouraging report on Davis, who was in a red jersey at Thursday's practice. The next (major) step for Davis will be if he's cleared for contact and can get into a normal color jersey for the final practice of the week.
Having Davis on Sunday would obviously be an extreme benefit to Ted Monachino's game plan against Aaron Rodgers. On Thursday, Monachino spoke to how important it is for the Colts to keep Rodgers within the confines of the pocket on Sunday, thus limiting the quarterback's ability to play "recess" in keeping plays alive for 10 seconds when scrambling.Rob Chudzinski on the play of the offensive line:
"In that (Chiefs') game there were certainly some breakdowns we had, some mental, some physical.
"I see progress overall with those guys. There's going to be ups and downs but we've got to put together a better performance than what we did last week."
Bowen's Analysis: The juggling up front continues. It's looking like the Colts will start their sixth different offensive line group of the season on Sunday. Jack Mewhort and Joe Reitz remain out. With those two sidelined near the end of the Chiefs' loss, the Colts used a line like this: LT-Anthony Castonzo, LG-Jonotthan Harrison, C-Ryan Kelly, RG-Denzelle Good and RT-Joe Haeg.
Chud also spoke on Thursday about how he would like to give Frank Gore more work than the nine carries the running back got last week. Gore is going to see a very stout Green Bay run defense this weekend. The Packers' front really excels in stopping the run, but can still apply plenty of pressure when the pass rushing situations arise.T.J. Green on the safety position differing from the base defense versus the dime package grouping he's mostly played in:
"It's the same thing. You have to know the same things."
Bowen's Analysis: On Sunday we could be seeing T.J. Green get his second NFL start. We saw Green start for Clayton Geathers in Week One. Now the Colts could be calling on Green to replace Mike Adams (groin).
When the Colts have used Green this season, it's pretty much been exclusively in their dime package, as a safety, when Clayton Geathers slides down into the box. So if Green is needed to start Sunday it's not like he's all of a sudden having to learn different material from how the Colts are currently using him. Still, it's a lot to ask for a rookie to go in there and play 60-70 snaps against one of the league's greatest quarterbacks of all time. But the Colts might not have any other choice with Adams missing Wednesday and Thursday's practice.**
Here is Thursday's injury report:
-DNP: S-Mike Adams (groin), OLB-Chris Carter (hamstring), WR-Jacoby Brissett (rest) ILB-D'Qwell Jackson (rest), DE-Kendall Langford (knee), G-Jack Mewhort (tricep), OT-Joe Reitz (concussion)
-LIMITED: TE-Dwayne Allen (ankle), CB-Vontae Davis (concussion), QB-Andrew Luck (right shoulder), OLB-Curt Maggitt (ankle)
-FULL: DE-Henry Anderson (knee), OG-Denzelle Good (knee), RB-Frank Gore (rest), WR-T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), WR-Chester Rogers (hamstring, foot)