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Practice Notebook: With Jonathan Taylor out, Colts confident Zack Moss can get the job done – again

Moss enters Week 13 10th in the NFL in rushing yards and ninth among running backs in yards per carry. 


The Colts re-convened at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Wednesday with some bad news sandwiched between two pieces of good news.

The first bit of good news: The Colts currently hold spot in the AFC playoff picture. The bad news: Star running back Jonathan Taylor will miss time with a thumb injury that will require surgery

But the last slice of good news is the Colts can replace Taylor with the NFL's 10th-leading rusher in Zack Moss. 

"Obviously losing JT hurts," linebacker Zaire Franklin said, "but man, having Zack don't hurt."

While head coach Shane Steichen didn't have a timetable on when Taylor may return, he did say a trip to injured reserve – which would rule Taylor out for a minimum four games – was not being considered. Still: No matter how long Taylor is out, the Colts have plenty of confidence in Moss' ability to carry their run game in his absence. 

"I've already kind of done it before," Moss said. "Now's the time to do it again. That's why you prepare every day — you never know what's going to happen in this league."

After missing Week 1 with an arm injury, Moss started the Colts' next five games and totaled:

Table inside Article
Stat # NFL rank after Week 6
Attempts 96 T-7th
Yards 466 2nd
Yards/Attempt 4.8 8th
Rushing TD 4 T-4th
Explosive (10+ yard) runs 13 T-2nd
Missed Tackles Forced 23 5th

"When he's, like, really playing, he's leading the league," quarterback Gardner Minshew II said. "One of the best in the league, can make guys miss, getting some really hard yards you wouldn't expect. Excited to get him rolling again."

As Taylor increased his workload in late October into November, though, Moss' workload decreased: Over his next five games, Moss carried 45 times for 206 yards (4.6 yards/carry) with one touchdown. 

But Moss' mentality didn't change even as he saw fewer attempts over the last five games. 

"The way he prepares every week is awesome," Steichen said. "He's a great teammate, great in that running back room." 

Now that Moss will again take on a heavy workload for however long the Colts need, he'll have a legitimate opportunity to cross the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Entering Week 13, Moss has 672 rushing yards (10th in the NFL) and is averaging 4.8 yards/carry (9th among running backs). If he keeps that same yards per carry average, he'd need about 69 carries to reach 1,000 yards.

Moss, though, isn't thinking about reaching that mark – even with him slated to be an unrestricted free agent following the 2023 season. 

"It's out there but I think all those type of things come with team success," Moss said. "Right now it's about handling this week."

So as the Colts begin awaiting Taylor's return – "hopefully we'll have him back sooner than later," Steichen said – they'll do so without worrying about their run game struggling in the middle of a playoff run thanks to the presence of Moss. 

"Love giving him the ball," Minshew said. "He's been on my fantasy team all year – it's been great, so happy for me. Love Zack, excited to get him really rolling again."

Wednesday's practice report

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