Sun Aug 11 3:37pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) The Indianapolis Colts' offense needs a jump start.
Indy's defense has largely held the upper hand in practice and in Thursday's preseason loss the Colts produced only two first downs in their first seven possessions.
Yes, it's early, Andrew Luck remains out with a strained left calf and nobody at training camp is panicking. But the Colts need to find a fix - and quickly.
''I think we started off kind of rough in the run game today,'' left tackle Anthony Castonzo said after Sunday's workout in full pads. ''I thought we came back, doing the things we're supposed to do with our hands and feet and we were playing better football at the end.''
The Colts understand things must change.
In Luck's absence, Jacoby Brissett has been working with a starting unit that has rarely been at full strength.
The coaches kept Castonzo, starting center Ryan Kelly, receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron on the sideline Thursday night. They also put Hilton and Castonzo on a lighter training camp schedule in hopes of keeping two of their oldest and most consistent veterans healthy and fresh for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Kelly, Doyle and Ebron, have all been hurt.
Ebron missed the past week with a foot-ankle injury, Doyle has battled an oblique injury since coming back from offseason hip surgery and Kelly finally made it back to practice Sunday after a shoulder injury kept him out since July 31. Getting Kelly back could be just what the Colts need considering the vital role he played in last season's offensive line turnaround with the first 16-start season of his career.
''Ryan is a special player, so having him back in there helps,'' Castonzo said. ''I will say Josh Andrews got in there and did a good job, but it's good to have Ryan back.''
Indy can't afford to blame all of the problems on missing pieces - especially with the Cleveland Browns coming to suburban Indianapolis for two joint practices this week.
Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni makes no secret about his desire to produce a top-five rushing offense this season behind incumbent starter Marlon Mack. So far, though, not much has gone right.
Mack also sat out Thursday when quarterback Chad Kelly led the Colts with 53 yards on four carries. Kelly is in a battle for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart with Phillip Walker.
''There's been things that have been good at camp and things that we saw that have been bad at camp, and I think what we saw (in Buffalo) is that we've still got a little ways to go,'' Sirianni said. ''We definitely want to run the ball better and make the plays that are out there to make. I thought we missed a couple throws, dropped a couple balls, we were in the wrong spots so we've just got to tighten things up a little bit.''
Nobody knows when Luck will be back, either.
On Friday, coach Frank Reich said the star quarterback would miss three more practices before he's evaluated on Tuesday when the Colts are off. With joint practices scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, another off day Friday and the game Saturday, it's unlikely Luck practices this week.
The bigger concern might be Luck's inability to get in sync with newcomers Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell or emerging playmakers Deon Cain and Daurice Fountain, who have impressed coaches with an asssortment of big plays in practice. Luck's injury forced him to miss all of the Colts' offseason workouts and cancel the usual West Coast work he does with receivers, too.
But the Colts have continued to see good things out of Funchess, Cain and Fountain.
''Deon had a huge day,'' Reich said after Saturday's light workout. ''I don't know how many deep balls he caught today but usually in practice if you catch one deep ball, you feel great about it. I think he caught three or four. That's a massive day for a receiver out on the practice field.''
They're just hoping the rest of the offense gets it going, too.
''Our defense is posing problems for us, we have to really work,'' Sirianni said. ''We want to clean things up but we also understand that the competition is only going to make us better and we've got good guys on our side of the ball, too.''
NOTES: Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, the Colts former vice chairman, attended practice Sunday. Former defensive end Dwight Freeney attended Saturday's workout. ... The Colts signed cornerback Isaiah Langley and waived tight end Zach Conque.
The Green Bay Packers Defense recorded one sack and allowed 37 points in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers steamrolled past Green Bay's unit for 285 rushing yards and four rushing scores. To make matters worse, they couldn't generate much pressure or any turnovers. Despite the disappointing end, the Packers defense was much improved from last year, ranking 15th in sacks with 41 as well as third in interceptions with 17. They may not be among the top defenses drafted in 2020, though they should be on every fantasy managers' radar.
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham caught four of five targets for 59 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Graham was a big disappointment this season in a year filled with disappointing tight ends. The 33-year-old put up the lowest numbers since his rookie season and never really put together a good stretch of play until very recently. Graham has one year left on his contract worth about 7.5 million dollars. Given how much of a bust he was, perhaps Green Bay cuts ties with him and goes younger at the position in 2020.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison caught two of three targets for eight yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There were big expectations for Allison heading into 2019 in both the real and fantasy football worlds. Unfortunately for him, he lived up to neither, failing to eclipse 50 receiving yards in all but one game all year. Green Bay, who is in desperate need of another receiver behind Davante Adams, will have a decision to make about the 25-year-old, who is an unrestricted free agent. It's hard to see Allison being back in Green Bay in 2020.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard caught three of four targets for 36 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Lazard may not have made much noise in the two playoff games but flashed some potential in the regular season, including his first career 100-yard game. Rodgers started to develop a little chemistry with the 6-foot-4 wideout late in the season, as he looked his way 17 times in the last two contests. It would be surprising if Lazard were the number-two receiver for the Packers next year, though it still makes sense for them to bring him back in some capacity. Lazard has some sleeper potential if he's catching passes from Rodgers in 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' 87 passing touchdowns in his first 35 games, including playoffs, are the most in NFL history. His 11 passing touchdowns and 142 pass attempts without an interception to begin his playoff career are both the most on record, and he is one of just two players to have at least 250 passing yards, three or more passing touchdowns and at least 50 rushing yards in multiple career playoff games.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19, becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught nine of 10 targets for 138 yards in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Adams operated as Rodgers' safety blanket yet again, capturing 79 more receiving yards than the Packers' next leading receiver. When healthy, this is what the 26-year-old did all year, as he compiled double-digit targets in all but four games, including the playoffs. Despite missing five games, Adams still almost put up a 1000-year season. It would behoove Green Bay to put together a stronger receiver group behind the star receiver. Even if they don't, a healthy Adams should be back in the discussion as an elite fantasy wideout in 2020.
Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams picked up just six rushing yards on three carries and caught two passes for one receiving yard in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Williams had a disappointing end to his season, as he failed to register at least 40 rushing yards in his last three games after eclipsing the mark in his previous three. The 24-year-old did show flashes at times of being the perfect complement to Aaron Jones. Still, it will be interesting to see if Green Bay hands the reins to Jones next year or continues to spell him with Williams. For now, consider Williams more of a handcuff option than a complement heading into 2020.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed six of his eight passes for 77 yards in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19. RB Raheem Mostert rushed 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns and caught two passes for six yards, and RB Tevin Coleman rushed six times for 21 yards. WR Deebo Samuel caught two passes for 46 yards and rushed twice for 43 yards, TE George Kittle caught his only target for 19 yards, and WR Emmanuel Sanders was held without a catch on one target. DE Joey Bosa and DL Arik Armstead both recorded a sack.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones carried the ball 12 times for 56 yards and a rushing touchdown along with five catches for 27 yards and a receiving score in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Jones was running well and would have been able to do more damage on the ground if not for the 27-0 deficit at the half. The 24-year-old finished the year tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns with 19, then added four more scores in the playoffs. He (likely) won't score this many times next year, though Jones proved he's more than just a touchdown machine, racking up career-highs in both rushing and receiving yards. He'll be among the best options in 2020 for fantasy backs in all formats.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. At first glance, Rodgers' stat line doesn't look so bad, though the first half was a complete struggle for him and the offense. Down 27-0 at the half, the veteran signal-caller effectively used up garbage time to post these numbers. It's a disappointing end to the season for Rodgers, though he still put up his eighth career 4000-yard season as well as his 10th season with at least 25 touchdown passes. The 36-year-old has plenty of juice left in his arm but will probably need another threat on the outside next year besides Davante Adams if Green Bay wants to make noise.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of his 39 passes for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and lost one of his three fumbles in a 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 19. RB Aaron Jones rushed 12 times for 56 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 27 yards and a score. WR Davante Adams caught nine of his 10 targets for 138 yards, TE Jimmy Graham hauled in four of his five targets for 59 yards, WR Allen Lazard added three catches for 36 yards, and TE Jace Sternberger caught two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown. LB Blake Martinez led the team with nine tackles, including six solo stops.
Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (thumb) has been ruled out for the remainder of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers RB Tevin Coleman (shoulder) has been downgraded to out after leaving in the first half of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers due to what is being called a shoulder injury.
Green Bay Packers S Adrian Amos (pectoral) suffered a pectoral injury in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19 and he will not return.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was not targeted often, but made it count when he was called upon. Robinson hauled in both of his targets for 31 yards during their victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. His first reception was a 24-yard catch that helped the Chiefs move upfield for their second quarter comeback. However, Robinson is normally an afterthought with Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce on the roster. He could have some cheap DFS value for Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was unable to make much of an impact during the AFC Championship game on Sunday. Hardman finished with one reception for eight yards. His reception was technically a jet sweep play that was a handoff on the second drive of the game. However, he drew a big defensive pass interference call that helped the Chiefs get into scoring position. Hardman is a fantastic special teams player, but won't bring much value to DFS contests for Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was able to find the end zone twice during Sunday's AFC Championship game. Hill caught five of his seven targets for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Tennessee Titans. His first score was a 10-yard jet sweep handoff that counted as a reception, but regardless it was a nice way for Hill to show off his ridiculous speed. The performance of Hill in Super Bowl 54 could help make or break plenty of DFS players.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was surprisingly held in check by the Tennessee Titans during Sunday's AFC Championship contest. He caught three of his four targets for 30 yards in the win over the Titans. Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins were the players making the splash plays in this game. DFS players shouldn't be worried as Kelce should see plenty of opportunities during Super Bowl 54.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams was able to find the end zone three times last week in the Divisional Round battle with the Houston Texans. Williams continued his strong play against the Tennessee Titans in Sunday's AFC Championship game. Williams rushed 17 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 44 yards through the air. Veteran back LeSean McCoy (illness) didn't play and rookie Darwin Thompson saw just one carry in this game. It's clear that the Chiefs trust Williams to be their lead back going forward. Look for him to make a significant impact in Super Bowl 54.