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Four Colts Starters Out on Thursday, Rookies will be Featured in Secondary vs Rams

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYER PRACTICE STATUS AND GAME STATUS PROJECTIONS

Veteran running back Frank Gore joined starters Andrew Luck, Vontae Davis, and Ryan Kelly sitting out of Thursday practice. The good news is that this is nothing more than the traditional rest day for aging vet Gore.

Others missing practice include offensive lineman Ian Silberman and Chester Rogers. This is unfortunate news for Rogers because it all but guarantees that he won’t see the field this weekend.

With Rogers and Swoope both out, the Colts will be missing two of their top five projected receiving targets heading into the summer. Without those two, the Colts will likely have to play with receivers T.Y. Hilton. Donte Moncrief, and Kamar Aiken, along with tight end Jack Doyle as their primary options.

The good news for Colts fans is that while three of the biggest players on the roster will miss Week 1, Adam Schefter confirmed today that Aaron Donald is officially expected to miss Sunday’s game. This will help even the playing field as Donald is the Rams best defensive player.


ROOKIE ROLES IN THE COLTS DEFENSE

The offensive and defensive coordinators had the opportunity to speak with the media on Thursday. While no decisions were made about which of the Colts rookies in the secondary will be starting this weekend, Ted Monachino made it clear that all of the rookies can expect to see significant playing time.

Regarding first round rookie safety Malik Hooker and whether he will start, Monachino said:

He’ll be out there as a starter in certain packages. It all depends on who trots out there the first play of the game for them offensively and how we match it. That’ll determine whether he goes out there or not.

When asked similar questions about whether rookie corners Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston will start or play a significant role, Monachino said:

.... it’s the same thing as with Malik (Hooker). I don’t know exactly where we’ll start. I know that those guys, to go back to the previous question, those guys still feel like they’ve got a lot of work to do, and the competition is still alive. Both those guys will have roles – Quincy (Wilson) and Nate (Hairston) will both play.

On where the rookies are in their development for the start of the season, Monachino said:

We are certainly not a finished product there with any of those three guys, but I will tell you, it’s not for lack of work. They’re here extra, they’re here early and they stay late and they’re watching as much tape as they can. I think all of them need a haircut just like I do, because they’re here too late for business hours.

One final note for the defense was acknowledging that with only three safeties on the current roster, the defensive formations would be limited. In particular, we can expect to see very little of the dime formation.


COMMENTS ON THE COLTS PRESEASON OFFENSE

On the other side of the football, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was asked about the preseason offense was limited:

Yeah, we were very basic in the preseason and purposely so. I don’t think T.Y. (Hilton) got a handful of reps. He didn’t play an awful lot. You kind of go through and there are certain guys in that same situation that didn’t get a lot of reps – some from injury or some from purposely just holding them back and so forth. We were basic, but we’ll have more game plan and do more game plan things. That always helps.

While this is certainly not big news for anyone who has watched more than one preseason, it is worth noting that the Colts offense will likely look quite a bit different than it did during the preseason. Whether that is different for the better or a more elaborate version of not very good is yet to be seen.