NFL training camp updates - Colts' Reich addresses calls for Foles; Hurts' highs and lows, more

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ESPN 04 August, 2021 - 05:43pm 40 views

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Wednesday's 2021 NFL training camp practices were highlighted by quarterbacks.

Colts coach Frank Reich had a message for fans calling for Indy to sign Nick Foles from the Bears. Jalen Hurts showed he can learn from mistakes. Aaron Rodgers is truly spoiled for choice at the wide receiver position. And In Minnesota, starter Kirk Cousins (COVID-19 list) is expected back at practice on Thursday.

Here's what you need to know and see from camps across the league:

The reigning MVP talked about how important it was to stay in touch with Jordan Love during his offseason absence, said he and coach Matt LaFleur have picked up where they left off last year and revealed that receiver Randall Cobb moved in with him after last week's trade.

Yet when it came to general manager Brian Gutekunst -- a man he's known longer than any of the aforementioned -- he called their relationship a "work in progress, for sure."

Tampa Bay is giving Bowles a new contract that keeps him as the NFL's highest-paid defensive coordinator, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Bowles had one year left on his current deal, but this contract replaces that and doesn't preclude him from taking another head-coaching job.

Colts coach Frank Reich doesn't mind saying it: He's a huge a Nick Foles fan. But Reich also has a message for those clamoring for the Colts to acquire Foles from Chicago.

"This is Carson's team," Reich said in reference to injured starter Carson Wentz. "He's our quarterback... When we brought him here, we brought him here for one reason. He's coming here to lead this football team."

Wentz is out five to 12 weeks after having foot surgery, and the Colts lack experience behind him at the position on the roster. Second-year player Jacob Eason is currently the starter. Foles replaced Wentz (knee) late in the 2017 season and led Philadelphia to the Super Bowl. The offensive coordinator on the Eagles at the time? Reich. That's where the connection lies.

"I love Nick Foles," Reich said. "I think he's a great player. He's proven that. He's certainly a guy who fits our culture. But he plays for the Chicago Bears. We're glad we have the guys we got." -- Mike Wells

Jalen Hurts had his best and worst moment of camp in back-to-back plays. First came the bad -- a throw over the middle right into the hands of linebacker JaCoby Stevens for an interception -- followed by a beautiful toss down the left sideline to John Hightower, who made a fingertip grab. Hurts has dazzled at times over the past week, but needs to be more consistent. -- Tim McManus

Travis Kelce today on the 17-game schedule and whether he'll ask Andy Reid to lighten his workload to compensate pic.twitter.com/Fp41hakpIC

Travis Kelce said he's not a fan of the NFL's 17-game regular season, but like everyone else will try to make the best of it.

"I wasn't for it but I can see it's happening,'' said Kelce, who turns 32 in October. "It's happening so I'm rolling with it. I don't think it really switches up anybody's mentality. Coach [Andy] Reid is a great leader so he'll take care of us and make sure we're not only ready for the game physically but ready for the game mentally.''

Kelce said he won't ask Reid to lighten his workload to compensate for the 17th game.

"I actually asked him if I could get more reps,'' Kelce said. "I need to get better. I've got to get more reps out here.'' -- Adam Teicher

An All-Pro in Davante Adams. A deep threat in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. A healthy Allen Lazard. The return of Devin Funchess, plus the addition of slot receivers Randall Cobb and Amari Rodgers. What does it all add up to?

"I think we've got the best receiver room in the league. Easily," Lazard said Wednesday following a closed practice.

If the first week or camp has revealed anything about the Packers' offense, it's that Aaron Rodgers should have plenty of weapons and those weapons have plenty to play for. -- Rob Demovsky

Bill Belichick had two guests for Wednesday's practice -- Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin and former Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli (2000-2008).

Belichick spent a lot of time talking on the field with Corbin, a New England native who has built a powerhouse at Vanderbilt. On the field, CB J.C. Jackson, who was second in the NFL in interceptions last season (9), had his first pick of camp. -- Mike Reiss

This day had a little bit of everything, from rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn breaking out his college "seatbelt'' celebration after breaking up a touchdown pass, to a short scuffle between wide receiver Robby Anderson and corner Troy Pride Jr. But the highlight came when the entire first-team offense jogged at least 100 yards each way to touch the new "DBO'' sign that means "Don't Beat Ourselves.''

It happened after a motion penalty on the first play of red zone drills. Touching the sign is all about accountability. It appears to have replaced running a lap for a mistake. Coach Matt Rhule calls it one of his "first tenets to winning.'' -- David Newton

First-round draft pick Payton Turner has stood out with a series of impact plays over the past two days in Saints camp. The 6-foot-6 defensive end batted down a pass in full-team drills Tuesday, then he got into the backfield for two or three potential sacks Wednesday (hitting the QBs isn't allowed). Turner has gotten plenty of work with the starting units while veterans Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport took turns getting a day off. -- Mike Triplett

Washington has been pleased with running back Antonio Gibson, who is coming off a turf toe injury late last season. He admitted it was still not 100 percent in the spring, but he and the coaches both say it's no longer a problem.

On Wednesday, Gibson showed burst. He has worked more in the pass game than last year, when the team wanted him to focus on learning to play running back after being mostly a receiver in college. In fact, Gibson said his adjustment is still more to playing running back than catching passes or running routes. Still, coaches have used him in more alignments in the pass game, testing what he can do. -- John Keim

This is not something specific to Wednesday. But, every day at Falcons practice cornerback A.J. Terrell does something to stand out in training camp. Whether it's a lockdown pass breakup or an interception, the second-year cornerback out of Clemson has looked every bit capable of being a No. 1 corner in the league. If Atlanta is going to be successful this season, it's going to need growth out of Terrell. -- Michael Rothstein

Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams dislocated his left pinky on Tuesday, but was back on the field Wednesday with two of his fingers bandaged. He anticipates being able to take off the hard wrap in a couple of days, saying he'll "be fine." Fellow wideout Kalif Raymond was also spotted limping to the locker room following the end of the practice session.

Detroit Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo and center fielder Derek Hill were also in attendance. -- Eric Woodyard

Lots of questions surrounding tackle Bryan Bulaga, who left practice early Tuesday and was having his arm looked at. On Wednesday, coach Brandon Staley said it had been a planned day off for Bulaga, and called the hand/arm injury "just typical O-line stuff." He will be assigned to protect Justin Herbert's blind side this season. -- Shelley Smith

The Lions started practicing with pads for the first time, which had first-year coach Dan Campbell like a kid in a candy store. He opened the day by sharing a funny story from his rookie season about his first day in pads, which ended in a brawl. Although he hoped that wouldn't happen in Detroit, he encouraged that level of intensity. "I want to see them go all the way to the point to where it is almost an all-out brawl," Campbell said. Rookies Amon-Ra St. Brown and Ifeatu Melifonwu got into a scuffle that had to be separated by teammates after a drill, and St. Brown said he enjoyed the physical interaction. -- Eric Woodyard

The Chiefs have struggled in recent years to find linebackers who are capable in both running and passing situations, but Willie Gay and Nick Bolton have been encouraging to them in that regard so far in training camp. Gay, a second-round draft pick last year, has broken up a number of passes, and Bolton, a second-round pick this year, had an interception against Patrick Mahomes for the second day in a row on Tuesday, when the Chiefs practiced in pads for the first time.

"They're making plays," coach Andy Reid said. "I was curious to see how they would do with pads on with the running game coming at them, and they did a nice job with that. Good instincts. I like what I've seen." -- Adam Teicher

Defensive end Calais Campbell certainly flexed his strength in the first full-padded practice of training camp. Getting in the backfield by pressuring inside and on the edge, Campbell beat up a makeshift offensive line that was playing without three starters. He would've had a handful of sacks if tackling were allowed.

"He is flashing a lot," coach John Harbaugh said after practice. "He's a big, powerful guy." Campbell is coming off a season in which he only had four sacks, his fewest since his rookie season in 2008. -- Jamison Hensley

On the bad-news front, receiver Jalen Guyton spent most of practice in the trainer's tent and tackle Bryan Bulaga left during the last field sequence. No word from the team yet on either player's injury or availability. -- Shelley Smith

First day in pads -- first bigtime highlight from first-round pick Kyle Pitts. As part of an overall productive day, Pitts had the catch of training camp so far, watching a tipped pass float in the air in the end zone and then concentrating enough to come down with it as defenders were draped all over him. It was the high-effort, eye-popping athletic play Pitts made often at Florida and appears to be translating well to the NFL. He's going to be a big part of the Falcons' success (or failure) in 2021. -- Michael Rothstein

After the illegal hit by J.T. Ibe that resulted in the rookie safety being released from the team and receiver Keith Kirkwood being hospitalized (he was released with a concussion), the Panthers did continue practicing after a lengthy period of eerie silence.

Right tackle Taylor Moton got some snaps at left tackle during the first practice in pads. It's not a surprise, but it will be if this continues a week or two from now. Coach Matt Rhule is pleased with the play of left tackle Cam Erving, clearly the starter for now. But Rhule is still giving left-side reps to Moton. Some of this is to have Moton ready in case of injury to Erving. Some of this is because the Panthers clearly aren't sold that Erving will be the player to protect Sam Darnold's blind side, which is a priority.

"A lot of it depends on how he looks," Rhule said of Moton on the left side. "If he looks great we'll give him more reps." Stay tuned. -- David Newton

Wide receiver Christian Kirk wasn't at practice for a second straight day. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Kirk was out with something "minor" but was expected back soon. With rookie Rondale Moore impressing thus far in camp and Andy Isabella returning from the COVID-19 list right as Kirk went out, Kirk's time away might end up being an issue if it's for longer than Kingsbury presumes. -- Josh Weinfuss

The 49ers' quarterback situation continued to heat up Tuesday. Rookie Trey Lance put up another solid performance, this time with pads on for the first time in more than 300 days. He was 13-of-14 (unofficially) during team drills and continued to give the defense headaches with his running ability.

Two things of note: Lance got his first rep with the starters, a designed run play that coach Kyle Shanahan said he wanted to see every offensive line combination block (and that wouldn't be run with any other quarterback) and he completed the most impressive throw of practice. As the pocket collapsed around him, Lance broke away to the left side and while on the move lofted a perfectly placed throw of about 50 yards to receiver Trent Sherfield for a would-be touchdown.

Shanahan kept perspective after the practice, noting that Lance's day doesn't change his perception of when Lance might push for regular reps with the starters. "I don't really look at it like that," Shanahan said. "I thought he had a decent day. I thought he did good with his reps, not perfect, but we're just evaluating everybody right now." -- Nick Wagoner

On the first day of pads the offense came out hot, highlighted by Baker Mayfield's TD pass to KhaDarel Hodge, who faked out the secondary with a double move. But the defense responded, dominating the rest of the day with a series of pass breakups in red zone drills, followed by Mack Wilson's leaping interception of Mayfield. -- Jake Trotter

Quarterback Mason Rudolph will get the start in the Steelers' Hall of Fame game Thursday, but Dwayne Haskins has already been tabbed as the first-half closer by coach Mike Tomlin. To prepare, Haskins led one of two two-minute drills, culminating with a beautiful touchdown pass over the middle.

Haskins, a former first-rounder, believes he has a shot in an open competition for the No. 2 job with Rudolph, and eventually hopes to compete for the starting job.

"I feel like that was the first day I got here," he said when asked if Thursday's game will be his first tryout to become the next franchise QB. "I've been told certain things, and that's between me and the coaches. I've got to go out there, show that and prove I can play." -- Brooke Pryor

With the Cowboys opening the preseason Thursday at the Hall of Fame Game against Pittsburgh, Tuesday's practice was about 30 minutes shorter than normal and players were not in full pads. That being said, receiver CeeDee Lamb still had a highlight with a long touchdown catch from Garrett Gilbert. The practice started with players going through what will be their pregame warm-up routine for Thursday. With four preseason games, coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys' dress rehearsal will be their Aug. 21 meeting against Houston. -- Todd Archer

Rookie offensive tackle Sam Cosmi has struggled at times as he adjusts to the NFL. He has been working with the starters at right tackle and gets quite a workout facing ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young. Cosmi's technique needed a lot of work entering the NFL, and that will continue. But his physical ability also is obvious. Tuesday, Cosmi did a nice job in one-on-one blocking drills against Young. The rookie will have some issues in full-team work, but coach Ron Rivera said the organization is thrilled with his development. They love his demeanor and approach. -- John Keim

Rookie RB Michael Carter on learning his playbook: "I study like crazy. This is what college should've been like. I get to major in football." #UNC #Jets pic.twitter.com/VTYuKVaVSQ

RT this if you enjoy football. 😍 pic.twitter.com/IQBraY8RZ5

"I'm mobile, agile, hostile!" 🔥@CalaisCampbell mic'd up for the first week in pads pic.twitter.com/pDaOvaKmTG

Court doing Court things. 👀@SuttonCourtland x #BroncosCamp pic.twitter.com/IbYkJ6X8dp

In The Bay we dance a lil different.@TalanoaHufanga #RookieHypeMachine 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5WPQFaebWY

Read full article at ESPN

Tokyo Olympics - Preview: USA stand in the way of Australian target | Football | News | Women's Olympic Games 2019

The Athletic 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

Ibaraki: Australia’s Tokyo Olympics women’s football odyssey will come to an end on Thursday, with the result of their match against the United States to determine whether the Matildas depart Japan with their nation’s first ever football medal at the Games.

Tony Gustavsson’s side had their sights set on gold after their epic 4-3 quarter-final victory of Great Britain, but a hard-fought 1-0 defeat to title favourites Sweden means they must now conquer the reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup winners to avoid leaving empty handed.

For different reasons, both sides are somewhat unexpected participants in the battle for bronze.

Australia came into the tournament out of match practice, and without a win from five friendly matches under Gustavsson, who took over the coaching reins in January.

Making their task even more difficult was their place alongside the United States, Sweden and New Zealand in the tournament’s “group of death”, from which three of the four teams in the medal round have arrived.

But, with star striker and captain Sam Kerr contributing five of their eight goals, the Matildas have been competitive every step of the way.

They defeated New Zealand in their opener, lost 4-2 in a seesawing encounter against the Swedes, then sharing the spoils in a 0-0 draw against the Americans before their triumphant night against Great Britain.

If Australian fans are pleasantly surprised to have reached this stage, the Games of the 32nd Olympiad have been a decidedly unpleasant experience for the world’s number one side, who have won just one of their five matches.

The Americans were soundly beaten in a 3-0 opening day loss to Sweden, and only really got going in a 6-1 thrashing of New Zealand, with penalties coming to their rescue after a quarter-final draw against the Netherlands before Monday’s 1-0 semi-final defeat to Canada: their first loss to their neighbours in 20 years.

Despite their poor run in Japan, Vlatko Andonovski’s side come into this match as they do in almost every match – as favourites.

“They’re just a different kettle of fish when there’s a medal at stake. They’ve always shown up,” Kerr said following her side’s semi-final defeat.

“They’re a really, really good team and they’ve got amazing players. We’ll play the underdog very well, like we always do.”

Adding a layer of intrigue to Thursday’s clash is the personnel issues each side will need to navigate.

Starting American goalkeeper and penalty shootout hero against the Netherlands in the quarter-final, Alyssa Naeher’s tournament is over after she was injured in the semi-final, while Australia’s Ellie Carpenter is suspended after being sent off against Sweden.

Carpenter’s absence will hurt the Matildas.

Not only has the 21-year-old Olympique Lyonnais star’s pace and energy been a crucial part of Australia’s improved defence, but she was shown her red card for one of the very last acts of the semi-final, with her foul committed in the sixth minute of second half injury time.

“I am so proud to be a part of this team and playing for Australia,” Carpenter said via social media on Tuesday.

“I left it all out there last night and I am so heartbroken I will not be able to be on the pitch for the bronze medal match, but I have 100% belief in this team; I always have and always will.”

Veteran stopper Clare Polkinghorne looms as the obvious candidate to replace Carpenter in the Australian back three, with Laura Brock another option despite having played just seven minutes of football in the tournament.

The match will be played at Kashima Stadium, which may prove to be a good omen for the Matildas.

They played out their goalless group stage draw against the Americans there before knocking out Great Britain at the same venue, while the home of the Kashima Antlers was also the scene for the world champions’ semi-final defeat to Canada.

Copyright © 2017. The Asian Football Confederation. All rights reserved.

'I love Nick Foles': Frank Reich gushes about Bears QB after question about Carson Wentz's backups

Yahoo Sports 04 August, 2021 - 01:53pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

You Pod to Win the Game

And the feeling is mutual. The Indianapolis Colts head coach positively gushed about Foles on Wednesday after being asked a question that wasn't about Foles at all. Carson Wentz, meanwhile, is recovering from foot surgery and can't seem to get Foles out of his life. 

Reich coached Foles when they were both on the Philadelphia Eagles together, which resulted in Super Bowl rings for both of them. The experience with Reich had a positive effect on Foles, and with Wentz recovering from surgery, Chicago's third-string QB was asked about a possible reunion with his beloved coach. 

"Listen, Frank Reich is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, coaches of all time. He understands me as a player," Foles said via NFL.com. "He understands me as a person. But you know, I haven't had any talks with them. I'm a Chicago Bear right now. But he knows me, he understands."

Reich apparently saw Foles' comments, which became clear on Wednesday. He was asked about his confidence in Wentz's backups, but ended up bringing Foles into the discussion. And he didn't just bring up Foles — he positively gushed about him. 

— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 4, 2021

"This is Carson's team, first of all. He's our quarterback. We're excited about having him. He knows that and this team knows that. When we brought him here, we brought him here for one reason. And it wasn't to compete. It was he's going to come in here and lead this football team. I don't mind talking about Nick Foles . I love Nick Foles. He plays for the Chicago Bears and I haven't talked to him. But I think he's a great player. I think he's proven that. I think he's a great teammate. There's nothing about Nick Foles I don't like. I think he's a winner. He's certainly a guy who fits our kind of culture, but he plays for the Chicago Bears."

You might have noticed that Reich didn't answer the question that was asked, which was about his confidence in Wentz's backups. He did say that it was "Carson's team," but followed that by saying Foles "fits our culture" and "there's nothing about Nick Foles I don't like" (while steering clear of anything that could be considered tampering).

Wentz had to watch Foles complete the Eagles' 2017 season and win the city's first-ever Super Bowl after he injured his knee, meaning that he would be connected to Foles forever and would never stop hearing about him. In Indy, away from Philadelphia, he had a chance to escape the constant Foles comparisons. But now his new coach — who he also shares a deep connection with — is bringing up Foles when he's not even being asked about him. 

Though Reich didn't say anything about whether his confidence in Wentz's backups is why they haven't gone out and gotten a big name backup QB, it's possible that the backups won't even matter. In an interview with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Reich detailed Wentz's recovery timeline. While it could absolutely change depending on the condition of his foot, it's clear they're aiming for Wentz to start Week 1 if at all possible. 

Here’s my interview with #Colts coach Frank Reich, who details the timeline on QB Carson Wentz after foot surgery: Two weeks of rest, then another week or two of rehab that’ll reveal how soon Wentz can return. Week 1 remains in play. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/ySChLd9g7d

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 4, 2021

If Wentz is ready Week 1 or even Week 2, then signing or trading for a different backup quarterback would be silly. And if it takes longer for Wentz to heal and the Colts decide they do need to acquire a new backup, under no circumstances should it be Nick Foles — at least for Wentz's sake. He's already been down that road. Don't make him travel it again. 

“I was so in the moment, I didn’t even realize it. ... It wasn’t intentional at all and I’m praying he’s OK.”

Instead of griping about what might have been a disappointing finish, Lyles again used his platform to address self-care.

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Colts’ Frank Reich addresses possibility of trading for Nick Foles

Yahoo Sports 04 August, 2021 - 01:18pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

You Pod to Win the Game

Even though the Colts shouldn’t be looking to spend more draft capital in order to bring in a veteran quarterback, that hasn’t stopped the masses from suggesting the Colts should trade for Foles, who is currently the third-string quarterback with the Chicago Bears.

On Wednesday, head coach Frank Reich addressed the idea of bringing in Foles to be the replacement until Wentz gets healthy.

“This is Carson’s team, first of all. He’s our quarterback. We’re excited about having him. He knows that and this team knows that,” Reich said Wednesday. “When we brought him here, we brought him here for one reason. And it wasn’t to compete. It was he’s going to come in here and lead this football team.”

With all that said, Reich didn’t mind sending heaps of praise Foles’ way.

“I don’t mind talking about Nick Foles. I love Nick Foles. He plays for the Chicago Bears and I haven’t talked to him. But I think he’s a great player. I think he’s proven that,” Reich said. “I think he’s a great teammate. There’s nothing about Nick Foles I don’t like. I think he’s a winner. He’s certainly a guy who fits our kind of culture, but he plays for the Chicago Bears.”

Nothing is outside the realm of possibilities. Trading for Foles doesn’t seem like a move that would elevate the Colts to a point that would make a massive difference, but we’ve seen teams make moves like this all the time.

As it currently stands, the Colts are rolling with second-year quarterback Jacob Eason to replace Wentz until the latter returns. It shouldn’t be expected that the Colts trade for Foles but given the history between he and Reich, nothing should be ruled out completely.

With Colts quarterback Carson Wentz sidelined potentially 12 weeks following surgery to remove a loose bone in his left foot, there’s been a lot of speculation that Indianapolis could trade for Nick Foles. Currently, Foles is the third-string quarterback in Chicago. But Foles and Reich won Super Bowl LII together with the Eagles, when Reich [more]

There hasn’t been much good news for the Colts on the injury front as of late. But head coach Frank Reich did have something positive to share on quarterback Carson Wentz on Tuesday. Wentz underwent surgery on Monday afternoon to remove a loose piece of bone in his left foot. According to Reich, the operation [more]

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Colts’ Frank Reich addresses possibility of trading for Nick Foles

NBC Sports 04 August, 2021 - 01:18pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

You Pod to Win the Game

Even though the Colts shouldn’t be looking to spend more draft capital in order to bring in a veteran quarterback, that hasn’t stopped the masses from suggesting the Colts should trade for Foles, who is currently the third-string quarterback with the Chicago Bears.

On Wednesday, head coach Frank Reich addressed the idea of bringing in Foles to be the replacement until Wentz gets healthy.

“This is Carson’s team, first of all. He’s our quarterback. We’re excited about having him. He knows that and this team knows that,” Reich said Wednesday. “When we brought him here, we brought him here for one reason. And it wasn’t to compete. It was he’s going to come in here and lead this football team.”

With all that said, Reich didn’t mind sending heaps of praise Foles’ way.

“I don’t mind talking about Nick Foles. I love Nick Foles. He plays for the Chicago Bears and I haven’t talked to him. But I think he’s a great player. I think he’s proven that,” Reich said. “I think he’s a great teammate. There’s nothing about Nick Foles I don’t like. I think he’s a winner. He’s certainly a guy who fits our kind of culture, but he plays for the Chicago Bears.”

Nothing is outside the realm of possibilities. Trading for Foles doesn’t seem like a move that would elevate the Colts to a point that would make a massive difference, but we’ve seen teams make moves like this all the time.

As it currently stands, the Colts are rolling with second-year quarterback Jacob Eason to replace Wentz until the latter returns. It shouldn’t be expected that the Colts trade for Foles but given the history between he and Reich, nothing should be ruled out completely.

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Down Three Starters, Colts’ Offensive Line Depth Will Be Tested in a Major Way

Stampede Blue 04 August, 2021 - 07:00am

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Darius Leonard has missed the first week and a half of training camp as he recovers from an ankle injury, Xavier Rhodes was placed on the team’s COVID reserve list prior to camp starting and has yet to be activated, and left tackle Eric Fisher, who the team brought over by way of free agency, is still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered back in January’s AFC Championship game with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Now, not even two full weeks into camp, the Colts are down even more starters. Center Ryan Kelly, who injured his elbow, will miss 2-3 weeks. Quarterback Carson Wentz, who injured his foot during last Thursday’s practice, had surgery to remove a piece of bone that had broken loose in his foot and will miss anywhere from 5-12 weeks, according to multiple team reporters. Guard Quenton Nelson also suffered a foot injury during Monday’s practice, and he’ll miss 5-12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a similar injury to that of Wentz’s.

That’s now a total of five starters which the Colts have lost in less than two weeks of training camp. And while, yes, there’s a lot of pressure on Frank Reich and new starting quarterback — who’s practically a ‘rookie’, in Jacob Eason, Indy’s offensive line faces an immense amount of pressure, too.

For the last three seasons or so, the Colts’ offensive line hasn’t just been one of the NFL’s best, but they’ve also been one of the healthiest units as well. With a real possibility of being down both their starters at left tackle and left guard entering the 2020 season, we’ll now get to see how GM Chris Ballard’s depth investments along the offensive line will perform throughout the next several weeks.

Veteran guard Chris Reed will likely slide in place for the injured Nelson. Of all the offseason signings Ballard made over the last several months, the signing of Reed, who started 14 games for the Carolina Panthers last season, has a chance to be one of his best.

Sure, hindsight is always 20/20, but the signing of Reed looks even better now than it did when Indy originally signed him back in April. Reed, who played very well for the Panthers last season, has more experience than most backup guards in the NFL and gives the Colts a very strong replacement until Nelson can return to the starting lineup.

Second-year center Danny Pinter will take the place of the injured Kelly. Pinter started one game for Indy last season against the Tennessee Titans and played fairly well. Now, the 25-year-old has the chance to step in and, if anything, take some valuable reps with the starters.

In place of veteran left tackle Eric Fisher, the Colts are currently having an open competition between veteran Sam Tevi, who spent last season as the Los Angeles Chargers’ starting left tackle, and Will Holden, who filled in for Anthony Castonzo during a few games last season.

Left tackle, next to quarterback and defensive end, is one of the most important positions on an NFL roster. What’s also noteworthy is, unlike Wentz, Eason doesn’t extend plays nearly as well because he’s not as mobile, meaning that protecting the near-stationary quarterback becomes even more of an importance for the Colts.

The small silver lining — if there even is one in all of this — is the regular season doesn’t start until September 12, so each backup turned starter has a solid chunk of time to learn their roles within the offense.

Indy’s offensive line is now down three starters and is facing a ton of pressure moving forward. Combine that with the toughest five game stretch of any NFL team to start the 2021 season, and it pretty much goes without saying that the Colts need their depth investments along the offensive line to step up in a major way for them.

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