Thursday’s practice was less about who participated or who didn’t and more about what the coordinators had to say about key players. On the injury front, John Simon and Rashaan Melvin were non-participants. Simon has been described as week-to-week with a stinger, which makes his status no surprise. However, Melvin entered the week in the concussion protocol and the likelihood that he takes the field dropped significantly after missing practice today.
Frank Gore had his standard Thursday rest day and Andrew Luck continued with his scheduled week off. T.J. Green, Darius Butler and Ryan Kelly all returned to practice on a limited basis. While it appears likely that Green and Butler will play, keep an eye on Kelly’s status tomorrow. When the Colts added another center on Wednesday, it certainly gave reason to doubt his status for the weekend.
Also on the list was Anthony Walker, who was a full participant for the first time in two weeks. Vontae Davis also was a full participant after his rest day on Wednesday. Finally, Jacoby Brissett still is listed with a thumb injury but was not limited in practice.
One roster move is that outside linebacker Joshua Perry was added to the active roster from the practice squad. No word yet on who he is replacing but he will backup Barkevious Mingo while John Simon is out.
COLTS OC ROB CHUDZINSKI ON QB JACOBY BRISSETT
To say that the Colts coaching staff has been under fire from fans and the media would be an understatement. It also would be fair to say that there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the football. The offense has been unable to score points and the defense has made costly errors that have resulted in big plays.
One of the most important topics for the offense is a discussion about Jacoby Brissett’s progress and some of the struggles he’s had in getting the ball out quickly — making life more difficult for an injury-riddled offensive line. On what might be perceived as a dip in play for Brissett, Chudzinski stated:
I think it’s part of that natural process of the ups and downs of a new player, young player. I think he’s learning every week. You see the strides that he makes, and you see those at different times whether it’s at practice, some in games. And I think this last game was a great learning experience for him. I’ve seen a difference in him in practice this week playing against the defense in those situations where they know you’re throwing the ball. You have to get it out and anticipate and play that way. So, I think that those experiences you see him learning from, and that’s what’s encouraging, the signs that are encouraging to me.
I think it’s fair to suggest that there will be ups and downs for a young quarterback like Brissett in a new system. It is pretty standard for quarterbacks, even really good ones, to come out and look good out of the gate while opponents don’t have any film on them and don’t really know what to expect. After a few games, and sometimes after a whole season, there is more film available and teams can exploit weaknesses — and not just for the young quarterback but for the entire offense.
There is always a competing influence when it comes to taking sacks. The offensive line has a responsibility to provide enough protection for the quarterback to get through his reads and find an open receiver. However, the quarterback has to be able to quickly identify those receivers and get the ball out of his hands.
When quick completions start stacking up, when the quarterback identifies check downs and starts punishing aggressiveness, pass rushers start backing off. It is a dance and Matt Danely has done a great job breaking down a lack of confidence and anticipation that is making matters worse for Brissett.
The media also asked Chudzinski about the awful 4th and 2 play near the goal line. He said:
Yeah, I’m not going to get too much into the x’s and o’s and the scheme of it. It was a check. We didn’t execute that very well, and ultimately that falls on me.
Just to clear this up — it was not Rob Chudzinski’s fault in terms of the check. Jacoby Brissett saw what he thought was a prime opportunity to sneak off of the right hip of his center. Where Chudzinski might deserve some blame is for making sure his offense got set with enough time to make the check, allow the defense to adjust, and check back out if necessary.
So, clock management should be a shared responsibility with a larger portion of blame on the coach coming out of a timeout. The check was all Brissett.
COLTS DC TED MONACHINO SUPER CANDID ON CB QUINCY WILSON
There is no hiding the fact that Colts fans have been frustrated that second round rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson has not been a bigger part of the defensive game plan. It has been shocking to see Wilson spend multiple weeks inactive as a healthy scratch given the promise he showed in his early action, particularly against the Arizona Cardinals.
To this point, there has been very little explanation on why Wilson has been held out. The original story was that Wilson offers little on special teams and is therefore getting passed over for other players who have a more diverse skill set, and for those who make a bigger special teams impact. Less was said about his inability to play his position.
That changed today when Monachino issued some challenging words about Wilson:
When Quincy practices and plays better than the other guys, he’ll be up and he’ll be playing. He played in the Arizona game and played very well. We’re not at all worried about putting Quincy in the game. He’s got to practice and prepare well. That’s part of him being young and it’s also part of him being a little immature. It’s also a function of he’s got guys that are pretty good pros that are working their tails off to keep him where he is right now. I think that hopefully that’s a motivator for him, just to hear me say that. When he practices better and prepares better, he’ll play more.
It’s very interesting to hear that Monachino acknowledges Wilson’s ability to play during games. He says that he and the coaches are not worried about putting him into games. Yet, something that he’s doing in practice is keeping him out of the games. Of course, it’s difficult to expect that you’ll get specifics but Monachino continued:
Quincy – he gives effort. He plays what we ask him to play. When he gets exposed are the things when he doesn’t have the whole defense at his disposal. When we’re playing regular defense and they’re moving the ball down the field even, we’re in and out of man and zone and pressure and all kinds of things. But when we’re out here at practice, he’s got to know that every down counts. When we’re playing in those windows where we’re getting very focused work in a certain area, he’s got to understand that that’s the area that we’re defending against. If it’s third down and medium, he’s got to play tight coverage. If he can’t, then he can’t be out there. It’s not a matter of effort with Quincy and it’s not even a matter of intelligence or want-to. He just has to show us on the practice field that he is dialed in and ready to go and mature enough to never take a down off mentally. That’s where he is right now.
The best I can take away from this statement is that Monachino and the defensive coaching staff does not like what they see from Wilson from a technical standpoint as it relates to practicing in certain types of coverages or utilizing specific techniques. If Monachino’s words are to be taken literally, when the action is live and Wilson is simply reading and reacting the team has confidence in him. They are concerned that if he needs to do something specific, in a specific down and distance, or at a specific spot on the field, he does not show that he is able to do those things.
The whole situation still is confusing but it seems quite clear that if Monachino is willing to be this candid about Wilson and his ability to take the field, there is something the coaches are seeing in practice that they really don’t like. Let’s hope that those things get cleared up soon.