Indianapolis Colts Rumors & News

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/26/17

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

NFL Waiver Priority Now Based On 2017 Record

We’re coming up on Week 4 of the NFL season and that means that waiver claim priority will be based on the current league standings instead of last year’s. Of course, waiver priority is based on the inverted NFL standings, which have built in tiebreakers to sort out the many logjams that naturally occur.

Throughout the offseason and the first three weeks of the regular season, the Browns enjoyed top priority thanks to their 1-15 finish last year. Now, we have a brand new pecking order. Here is a full rundown of the current waiver claim priority, which will change from week to week (Twitter links via Field Yates of ESPN.com):

T-1. Bengals

T-1. Browns

T-1. 49ers

4. Giants

5. Chargers

6. Colts

T-7. Texans

T-7. Seahawks

9. Cardinals

10. Jets

11. Saints

12. Bears

13. Dolphins

14. Buccaneers

15. Ravens

T-16. Panthers

T-16. Cowboys

T-16. Rams

T-16. Steelers

T-20. Broncos

T-20. Lions

T-20. Packers

23. Vikings

T-24. Bills

T-24. Jaguars

T-24. Patriots

T-24. Raiders

T-24. Eagles

T-24. Titans

30. Redskins

31. Chiefs

32. Falcons

 

Latest On Andrew Luck

Following a report that quarterback Andrew Luck could return to practice this week, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano gave reporters, including Mike Wells of ESPN.com, a clouded answer regarding his signal-caller’s health. “Andrew is progressing well, getting stronger and there might be chance,” Pagano said. “He might be able to start some practice this week, but I’m not guaranteeing nothing, so don’t write anything. There’s a possibility. When our doctors and our trainers tell me that he’s at a point where he can get back out there to begin to practice then I’ll be able to tell you for sure.” Luck is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but has no restrictions on his timetable given that Indianapolis did not place him on the physically unable to perform list to begin the season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/25/17

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: LS Taybor Pepper
  • Signed off Cardinals‘ practice squad: OL Ulrick John
  • Placed on IR: LS Brett Goode

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

Andrew Luck Could Return By Week 6?

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck could potentially return to the field for Indianapolis’ Week 6 matchup against the division-rival Titans, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).Andrew Luck

Indianapolis opted not to place Luck on the physically unable to perform list to start the season, as that designation would have forced the 28-year-old signal-caller to miss the first six weeks of the year. Luck hasn’t given anyone in the Colts’ organization any doubt that he’ll be able to play in 2017, per Rapoport.

Indeed, Luck is expected to begin practicing as soon as this week, reports Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com, who adds there is “zero thought” that Luck will remain sidelined for the entire season. Luck will likely require a two-to-three week ramp-up period, meaning he could target Weeks 5-7 as possible return dates, per Mortensen.

Already sitting at 0-2 on the season, the Colts face the Browns, Seahawks, and 49ers over the next three weeks before heading to Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Could Colts Fire Pagano If They Fall To 0-3?

DeShone Kizer will surely see his fair share of struggles during his rookie campaign, similar to his four-turnover performance last weekend. However, the Browns are seemingly willing to be patient with their signal-caller, and this sentiment was emphasized by head coach Hue Jackson.

“He’s playing with a bunch of men,” said Jackson (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “He’s 21 years old. He’s leading an organization that hasn’t been what it needs to be. He’s surrounded by a ton of guys who, we haven’t won a ton of games, and he’s trying to uplift everything. There’s a lot of pressure. Let’s just be honest — it is.”

In two NFL starts, Kizer has completed 57.4-percent of his passes for 404 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. He’s also collected 43 rushing yards and one touchdown on 10 attempts.

“Like many rookies, I can name many guys in this league who have thrown three interceptions in a game, four interceptions in a game and came back the next week and played their tails off,” Jackson said. “That’s going to happen. I don’t like it. Nobody does. But hopefully he will keep growing from it and keep getting better.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…
  • Texans left tackle Duane Brown is the lone veteran to continue his hold out into the regular season. Former NFL agent Joel Corry notes that his team could certainly use some reinforcement on the offensive line, although precedent says Brown won’t receive his desired contract. Not only is the organization reluctant to hand out extensions during the regular season, but they also don’t want to find themselves in similar situations in the future. Ultimately, Corry believes there’s little incentive for Brown to sit out the entire regular season, so he ultimately thinks the Texans will win the stalemate.
  • The cash-strapped Ravens cleared $2.66MM in cap space today, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The organization converted Tony Jefferson‘s $1.96MM salary and Justin Tucker‘s $1.79MM salary into signing bonuses, leading to the additional cap space.
  • Could the Colts be eyeing a coaching change if they fall to 0-3 this weekend? ESPN.com’s Mike Wells isn’t sure, although he says a loss to the lowly Browns wouldn’t be a good look for head coach Chuck Pagano. For what it’s worth, owner Jim Irsay has never fired a coach during the regular season, and Pagano can use the excuse that he’s been without his franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck. However, if the team doesn’t put up a fight at home, Wells believes the hot seat will certainly get warmer.
  • Impending free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler has struggled through the Patriots‘ first two games, writes CSNNE.com’s Mike Giardi. In fact, the coaching staff knocked the former Super Bowl hero out of the starting lineup last weekend, replacing him with Eric Rowe. Trade rumors surrounded Butler throughout the offseason, and he watched as the team handed a hefty payday to a cornerback from another organization (Stephon Gilmore). While Butler presumably isn’t happy with his current situation, the writer believes it’s up to the player to turn his season around.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/22/17

Friday’s workout updates (Twitter links via Howard Balzer):

Cleveland Browns

  • LB Austin Calitro

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

Frank Gore Could Be Playing Final Season

Frank Gore

The 2017 season represents Colts running back Frank Gore‘s age-34 campaign and a contract year. Given those two realities, the 13th-year man realizes he could be approaching the very end of his illustrious NFL career.

Looking ahead to the offseason, Gore told Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star: “I will really think about how I feel after the season and how I feel I played this year. If I feel good, a team wants me and I wanna play? Then I’ll play. But if I can’t do it no more, I won’t do it no more.”

Gore is one of only six NFLers still around from the 2005 draft, notes Keefer, who adds that he has outlasted the five running backs who went ahead of him that year by at least four seasons apiece. The former Miami star joined the 49ers as a third-round choice (65th overall) and evolved into one of the premier players in the franchise’s storied history. Gore spent a decade in San Francisco and totaled 11,073 rushing yards, nearly 4,000 more than second-place Joe Perry, on 4.5 yards per carry and made five Pro Bowls.

Gore left the 49ers in 2015 to sign a three-year, $12MM deal with the Colts, who had Super Bowl aspirations at the time. Unfortunately for the Colts and Gore, though, they haven’t made the playoffs with him in the fold and, at 0-2 and with Andrew Luck injured, look likely to extend their postseason drought to three years this season. Still, Gore doesn’t regret making Indianapolis his second (and potentially final) NFL stop.

“If I had to do it again, I still would make the same decision,” Gore said. “Things just didn’t go our way the last two years, starting with our leader. He got hurt. I’ve played with, what, five quarterbacks?”

Gore has played with six quarterbacks in Indianapolis, to be exact, including the uninspiring duo of Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett this year. While Gore still managed at least 260 carries, 957 yards and four rushing touchdowns in each of his first two seasons as a Colt, they’ve scaled back his workload in 2017. He only has 24 carries through two games, putting him on pace for 192 (which would be his fewest since a 127-attempt rookie season), and 88 yards.

Despite his slow start this season, Gore’s overall output as a Colt has helped him vault into eighth on the all-time rushing list, 10th in carries and a 23rd-place tie in ground TDs, and he could ascend to the top five in each of the first two categories by year’s end. That wouldn’t be a bad way to exit for Gore, who already has a plan for the next chapter of his football life.

“I want to help in the front office,” he revealed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Promote RB Matt Jones

Matt Jones is back on with the varsity team. The Colts have elevated Jones from the practice squad, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. To make room, guard Ian Silberman has been waived. Matt Jones (vertical)

Jones was once primed to be the main ball carrier in Washington, but the Redskins informed him this offseason that he would not be a real part of their plans. He pushed for a trade out of D.C. for months, but a deal never materialized. Finally, on Sept. 2, the Redskins waived him, allowing the Colts to add him to the roster. He was dropped just prior to the season opener, but was quickly re-signed to the practice squad. Now, he’s back on the 53-man roster in advance of Sunday’s game against the Browns.

There’s no word yet on whether Jones will be on the active game day roster this week. But with Marlon Mack nursing an injured shoulder and Christine Michael on IR, he’s a good bet to dress. He’s expected to slot behind Frank Gore and Robert Turbin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Which 0-2 Team Is Likeliest To Rebound?

Nearly three-quarters of NFL teams are in the win column this year while nine teams still in search of their first W. However, starting out 0-2 is not a death sentence. In each of the last four seasons, at least one 0-2 team has made the playoffs. In 2015, two teams (the Texans and Seahawks) both made the postseason, despite an 0-2 start to the year.

In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we want to know which team you think will turn over a new leaf starting in Week 3. Here’s the rundown:

Chicago Bears

The Bears took the defending NFC champion Falcons to the brink in Week 1, and though Week 2’s contest against the Buccaneers wasn’t as close, Chicago has shown signs of life. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen has emerged as a threat in the passing game following injuries to wideouts Cameron Meredith and Kevin White, and he could potentially former a thunder-and-lightning combination with Jordan Howard. Signal-caller Mike Glennon is 18th in quarterback rating and 22nd in adjusted net yards per attempt, so the calls for No. 2 overall selection Mitch Trubisky could come quickly.

Cincinnati Bengals

Moreso than any other team on this list, the Bengals have acted quickly to rectify their early-season woes, firing offensive coordinator Ken Zampese after they failed to score a touchdown in either of their first two games. Things won’t get any easier when Cincinnati travels to Green Bay in Week 3, but perhaps new offensive play-caller Bill Lazor will further implement rookies John Ross and Joe Mixon into the club’s gameplan. Additionally, Lazor will reportedly seek to install a quicker offense that will alleviate the Bengals’ offensive line concerns.

Cleveland Browns

2017 had always been viewed as another rebuilding season for the Browns, but Cleveland has been relatively competitive through two games (especially in Week 1, when it lost to Pittsburgh by only a field goal). A supposedly revamped offensive line still ranks near the bottom of the league in both run blocking and pass protection, and the Browns will need continued improvement from quarterback DeShone Kizer if they hope to compete this year. A broken hand for Corey Coleman — and a disappointing start by veteran pass-catcher Kenny Britt — aren’t helping matters, but a return from No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett could spark Cleveland’s defense.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck won’t practice this week, and although the Colts had been eyeing an early October return for their star quarterback, it’s beginning to seem like it could be longer before we see Luck back on the field. If Indianapolis continues to struggle, will the Colts even bother with putting Luck back into the lineup? General manager Chris Ballard made a handful of low-cost defensive additions this offseason, and if No. 1 cornerback Vontae Davis gets healthy, the unit could mesh. But nothing will matter unless Luck can supplant Jacoby Brissett within the next few weeks.

Los Angles Chargers

The Chargers got smashed this week for being unable to fill a soccer stadium for their season opener. We’ll admit that it wasn’t a good look, but things will improve if they start winning and there is reason to believe that can happen soon. The Chargers are winless, but they lost to the Broncos and Dolphins by a combined total of five points. If rookie kicker Younghoe Koo had connected on one of his two missed attempts against Miami or if his 44-yard try against the Broncos was not blocked, the Chargers wouldn’t be on this list.

New Orleans Saints

A top-ten offense and a bottom-two defense by DVOA? We must be talking about the Saints. New Orleans hasn’t started out the season with the easiest schedule in facing the Vikings and Patriots, but improvement on the health front could help their offense in the coming weeks. Left tackle Terron Armstead is reportedly ahead of schedule, and his return could allow rookie Ryan Ramczyk to move to the right side to cover for the injured Zach Strief. Receiver Willie Snead, too, will come back in Week 4 following a suspension. Solutions on defense are less obvious, but development from young players such as corner Marshon Lattimore and linebacker Alex Anzalone is a start.

New York Giants

The Giants have limped out of the gate and head coach Ben McAdoo may be thinking about giving up play calling duties. That’s not the only change that could be coming on offense. Second-year pro Paul Perkins has been averaging just 1.9 yards per carry and the Giants could shake things up by handing things over to Orleans Darkwa, who has 5.2 yards per attempt in a smaller sample size. In theory, that could spark Eli Manning and the passing game, but the offensive line will have to do a better job of protecting its quarterback in order to move the chains.

New York Jets

Wait, wait – hear us out. Yes, the Jets are behind the 8-ball after losing wide receiver Quincy Enunwa for the season and cutting valuable vets like Eric Decker and David Harris. However, they kept the score close in their Week 1 game against the rival Bills and things didn’t get too out of hand against the Raiders until a muffed punt late in the first half. Next up, the Jets have a home date with the Lawrence Timmons-less Dolphins followed by a pair of (dare we say) winnable games against the Browns and Jaguars. We know you won’t pick the Jets, but we hope we at least gave you something to think about.

San Francisco 49ers

Brian Hoyer has been dreadful in his first two games under center for SF and the Niners are hoping that he’ll do better on Thursday night against the Rams. If San Francisco is lucky, defensive tackle Aaron Donald will still be shaking the rust off on national television. However, even if they are able to avoid an 0-3 start, the odds are probably still against this rebuilding club in 2017.

So what do you think? Which of these nine clubs has the best chance to rebound from its poor start in order to earn a postseason berth? Vote in the poll below!