INDIANAPOLIS – Another primetime game in Houston appears on the Colts schedule this week.
The Colts (2-3) will take on the Texans (3-2) on Sunday Night Football this week, with the winner taking the early lead in the AFC South.
Wednesday we saw a banged up secondary have several key guys miss practice.
Here is the Wednesday notebook with a look at the first injury report of the week below:
- CB-Darius Butler (hand): Butler had an "uneventful" surgery on Tuesday for his fractured finger. Butler is listed at day-to-day. The Colts will evaluate how Butler does at practice with a cast for his finger.
- C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (appendectomy): Harrison remains out.
- DT-Zach Kerr (ankle): Kerr was in a walking boot on Wednesday after the injury appeared to be more serious than the team previously thought. Kerr will be week-to-week. Henry Anderson will likely see his playing time rise with Kerr out.
- ILB-Josh McNary (shoulder): The "stinger" that forced McNary out of Sunday's win kept him limited at Wednesday's practice.
- WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder): Moncrief is still not practicing. He's now four weeks into a recovery that was expected to keep him out four-to-six weeks.
- CB-Patrick Robinson (knee, groin): Robinson did not practice on Wednesday. He's listed at day-to-day.
- RB-Robert Turbin (shoulder & wrist): After missing Sunday's game, Turbin returned to practice---a very good sign for his availably for this week.
Chuck Pagano on the possibility of having Vontae Davis shadow Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins:
"Would you like me to just call (Texans) coach (Bill) O'Brien and tell him?"
Bowen's Analysis: As you would expect, Chuck Pagano isn't showing anyone his cards outside of the meetings rooms and practice fields on West 56th street. The Colts know how dynamic of a player Hopkins is (in last year's road meeting versus the Colts, Hopkins had a career-high 11 catches) and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has said this week that the offense must target their Pro Bowl receiver at a higher rate.
For the Colts, using Davis as a shadow is something they experimented with a bit last season. Having Davis in that role on Sunday makes sense at first glance, given Hopkins' pedigree. But it could also depend on just what the Colts have opposite Davis this week. Will Patrick Robinson and/or Darius Butler be ready to go this week? Houston does have a very explosive No. 2 wide receiver in rookie Will Fuller. Chuck Pagano on shuffling the right side of his offensive line:
"Nothing like continuity. Everybody is healthy and nothing like continuity."
Bowen's Analysis: Just like the question above, Chuck Pagano wasn't going to bluntly state how the offensive line will look this Sunday. However, the continuity angle of his answer is something we heard Jim Irsay mention when the Colts were over in London. In Sunday's win, the Colts had Denzelle Good at right guard and rookie Joe Haeg at right tackle, thus moving Joe Reitz to a reserve roll.
One odd sight for the Colts offense this week in prepping for Houston has been watching film without J.J. Watt on the screen. Rob Chudzinski won't have to scheme his blocking plan towards the game's most disruptive defender. That's important for several reasons, one being that the Colts need their full allotment of skill players out on passing routes as they still try to make up for Donte Moncrief's production. Houston has felt the loss of Watt on a variety of defensive statistical categories. Former No. 1 overall pick DE-Jadeveon Clowney does lead the NFL with eight tackles for loss this season.T.Y. Hilton on the importance of this week:
"Must-win game. We know what's on the table.
"They are the defending champs in the division, so we've got to go get the crown back. And it starts with us big game on the road."
Bowen's Analysis: The Texans have won six straight games against the AFC South, since the Colts beat them in Week Five of 2015. A win on Sunday for the Colts would give them and Houston the same record, but Indy would have the early tiebreaker. A loss on Sunday would give Houston a two-game cushion over the Colts and the early tiebreaker.
For the second straight year, the Colts will have their first three divisional games all away from the home. After playing at Tennessee next Sunday, the Colts will finish up their divisional slate with three AFC South home games, beginning on Nov. 20. This marks the fourth straight primetime game the Colts have had in Houston, with the visitors winning three consecutive one-possession contests.
Here is Wednesday's injury report:
-DNP: S-Mike Adams (rest), WR-Quan Bray (shin), CB-Darius Butler (hand), CB-Vontae Davis (rest), RB-Frank Gore (rest), C/G-Jonotthan Harrison (illness), WR-T.Y. Hilton (hip), DT-Zach Kerr (ankle), DE-Kendall Langford (rest), OLB-Robert Mathis (rest), WR-Donte Moncrief (shoulder), CB-Patrick Robinson (knee & hip)
-LIMITED: ILB-Josh McNary (shoulder)
-FULL: RB-Robert Turbin (shoulder & wrist)