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Video: Breaking Down the AFC South Thursday Night Colts and Titans Battle

Marcus Spears joins SportsCenter and weighs in on what the Colts will have to do to defeat the Titans in Week 10 of the 2020 NFL season.

The Colts come into Thursday’s game at 5-3, a game back of the Titans who come into play at 6-2.
Here’s what to look for in Thursday’s game.

A Couple Key Colts Banged Up as Practice Begins for Sunday’s Game in Cleveland

The Colts will take their 3-1 record into the Dawg Pound on Sunday, as the team will travel to Cleveland to take on the also 3-1 Browns.

While it looks like it’s going to be a great matchup of two up and coming AFC teams, the Colts might have some issues from the injury side according to Mike Wells, who tweeted on a couple banged up Colts on Wednesday.

While it’s only three players, it bears watching this week to see if these three players are able to take the practice field at all on Thursday or Friday before the team boards a plan to Cleveland.

Can Jonathan Taylor Pick Up the Running Back Slack for the Colts?

Next man up.

That’s got to be the feeling in the Colts front offices these days after Sunday’s season-ending injury to running back Marlon Mack in the team’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Colts drafting of running back Jonathan Taylor now looms to maybe be the biggest pickup for the team for the offseason, and no matter how many times you play at best online casinos, no one could have made that prediction even a few weeks ago.

But that is the reality of the situation, as Mack’s torn Achilles is going to keep him sidelined for the rest of 2020, and it’s now up to Taylor and the Colts offensive line to give him a chance to take advantage of it.

“Marlon is beloved in our locker room,” Colts coach Frank Reich said.

“[The team has] such an immense amount of respect and love for this guy. He’s a true Colt. He was looking so good in training camp and even in his few snaps [against the Jaguars]. Very unfortunate and very bad timing for him and his family.”

The first test for Taylor and the Colts run game will not be an easy one, as they go up against a stout Minnesota Vikings defense on Sunday at home in their home opener at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see Taylor go through a bit of a trial by fire, but the running back seems poised and ready for his big chance in the starting spotlight.

“Jonathan is ready,” Reich said Monday.

“He’ll step up and do a great job. … I think it’s a mindset that Jonathan has to come in and just take ownership of the position. We’re still going to rotate guys through, but Jonathan still has to be lead dog and have that mindset and confidence, and I know he’ll do that.”

The Colts run game against the Jaguars in their Sunday loss in Jacksonville saw them rush for less than 100 yards, putting up 88 yards total on 22 carries, nowhere near enough to be long term effective.

If the team is going to be competitive and make an impact in the AFC South, a lot of the momentum is going to have to fall on Taylor, who knows that quickly he won’t have to look over his shoulder at Mack, who is done for the season.

“I think coach Reich has done a great job, not only through training camp, but this started before training camp, making sure that I was up to speed as much as possible,” Taylor said.

“Not being able to have OTAs and not being able to have rookie minicamp, we had to try to do as many meetings as we could and also add on top of that throughout training camp to try to get me up to speed with those vets.”

Let’s see if Taylor’s words ring true on Sunday.

Wednesday’s Injury Report for the Colts Opener vs the Jaguars

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
 
Practice Report
  LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday LB Matthew Adams (ankle), S Julian Blackmon (knee), T Anthony Castonzo (oblique), C Ryan Kelly (knee), WR Dezmon Patmon (knee)
 
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
 
Practice Report
  DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
  Wednesday TE Tyler Davis (knee), TE Tyler Eifert (not injury related), RB Devine Ozigbo (hamstring)

Colts Signing Center Ryan Kelly to a Four-year Extension

The Colts are opening up their pocketbooks, as reports say the team is inking center Ryan Kelly to a four-year extension.

The deal according to Adam Schefter of ESPN is worth $50 million dollars, making him the highest paid center in the league.

The extension includes a whopping $34 million guaranteed.

Colts Center Ryan Kelly Offers Emotional Insight on Societal Unrest

This would have been the last season of Kelly’s rookie contract, but now with a five-year deal he’ll be linked with the Colts through the 2024 season.

“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Kelly said via the Indy Star. “It’s been a long process to get here, and to be honest, it’s kind of an emotional whirlwind.”

Longtime Colts O-Line Coach Howard Mudd Passes Away at 78

Howard Mudd, a former All-Pro lineman who coached in the NFL for 38 seasons, passed away Wednesday, his family announced. Mudd was surrounded by family after suffering multiple injuries from a motorcycle accident in late July. He was 78.

The Michigan native spent nearly 50 years in the NFL, breaking in as an offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers in 1964 and wrapping up his playing career with the Chicago Bears in 1970. In-between, he was a member of the 1960s All-Decade team after making the Pro Bowl three times and All-Pro twice.

His work on the offensive line was just getting started, however. Mudd served as an O-line coach for the 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. His 12-year tenure in Indianapolis was his longest, and it’s where he helped the franchise win Super Bowl XLI.

Colts Start the Gradual Process of Opening Up Their Team Headquarters

The Colts will begin the process of opening their team facility on Tuesday, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star reports.

But it’s not business as usual, at least not right away.

The Colts have “spent the entire quarantine period preparing to reopen,” but the plan is for the reopening to be “gradual and deliberate,” following in accordance with guidelines for the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, the NFL and the CDC. The team first closed its headquarters March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

That means there will be no coaches or players back in the building yet, save for players coming back from injury who needed to be in the facility for medical reasons.

“The guys who’ve been hurt have been coming in to the building, rehabbing,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “As soon as we can get more players in the building, we want that, because we have to make up for a little bit of lost time. The sooner we can get together and get out there working, the better it will be.”

Colts 2020 Schedule Released; One Prime Time Game at Tennessee

The 2020 Colts slate is out, and with it the team has just one prime time game, that being in Tennessee against the Titans.

The team will start the Jacksonville against the Jaguars. The Home opener will be in week two against Minnesota.

Sun., Sept. 13 — At Jacksonville, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Sept. 20 — Minnesota, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun., Sept. 27 — N.Y. Jets, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Oct. 4 — at Chicago, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Oct. 11 — at Cleveland, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

Sun., Oct. 18 — Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun., Oct. 25 — Bye

Sun., Nov. 1 — at Detroit, 1 p.m., CBS

Sun., Nov. 8 — Baltimore, 1 p.m., CBS

Thurs., Nov. 12 — at Tennessee, 8:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN/AMAZON**)

Sun., Nov. 22 — Green Bay, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sun., Nov. 29 — Tennessee, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Dec. 6 — at Houston, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sun., Dec. 13 — at Las Vegas, 4:05 p.m., (CBS)

Sat. or Sun., Dec. 19 or 20 — Houston, TBD (TV TBD)

Sun., Dec. 27 — at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m., (CBS)

Sun., Jan. 3 — Jacksonville, 1 p.m. (CBS)

(** NFL Network and Amazon simulcast subject to change)

Colts Reportedly Shopping Safety Malik Hooker Ahead of the Draft

There is news today that the Colts are shopping around safety Malik Hooker, which may give some indication of what they will be looking for in Thursday and Friday’s NFL Draft.

What Hooker is worth on the open market is anyone’s guess, but he was a first-round pick just a few years ago in 2017, so trading him now one would think the Colts could get a second or third round pick at worst for his services.

It is also being reported that the Colts may be seeking a trade partner for cornerback Quincy Wilson, again to try and get more picks in the Thursday and Friday Draft.