INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NFL lowered the boom on Indianapolis Colts rookie guard Quenton Nelson, who lowered his head and lowered the boom on Jacksonville safety Barry Church.
The prevailing question in the aftermath of the $26,739 fine for Nelson violating the league’s helmet rule: did the video of the play that went viral impact the decision? The team doctored the video to include Nelson screaming as he bore down on Church.
“We were questioning if he would have been fined had it not been out there so much,’’ left tackle Anthony Castonzo said.
The FedEx envelope from the NFL arrived Friday, and Nelson was not pleased.
“Yeah, just ‘cause it’s five days late,’’ he said. “It’s a Friday and I didn’t get a flag on the play.’’
He clearly didn’t agree with the decision.
“No, I don’t,’’ he said.
That Nelson learned of the fine Friday is in keeping with how the NFL alerts players. It’s always late in the week.
As for whether the viral nature of the video impacted the league’s decision, that apparently isn’t the case. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network and NFL.com, the league already was considering a possible fine before the video went viral.
The NFL announces fines Saturday afternoon; Nelson’s was widely reported on Twitter.
One fine that should be forthcoming is for Myles Jack. The Jacksonville linebacker was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for lowering his head and driving into Colts’ wideout Dontrelle Inman in Sunday’s game. Inman was wrapped up by Telvin Smith and D.J. Hayden, and Jack arrived with a vicious hit.
“Dirty play,’’ Inman said.
Coach Frank Reich ruled three players out of Sunday’s game with Tennessee: cornerback D.J. Killings (ankle) and tight ends Erik Swoope (knee) and Ryan Hewitt (ankle).
Safety Malik Hooker (hip) did not practice all week, and will be a game-time decision. Thus far this season, no player has played in a game after not practicing that week.
In what seemed like a bit of a surprise, Reich had the team practice outdoors Wednesday even though the next two games are home, and indoors. The temperature was in the mid-30s.
“We’ll continue to do that,’’ Reich said. “Obviously number 1, for the legs as far as Astroturf versus grass (outside). I like grass. Number 2, it’s my job to think of everything.
“I just like being out in the cold. You end up playing sometimes later in the year out in the cold and you just want to get a few practices out there. I especially like the skill guys practicing out in the cold, throwing and catching the ball.’’
Reich admitted his philosophy can be traced to his days as a backup quarterback with the Buffalo Bills. The team had an indoor facility, but it included a 50-yard practice field. The Bills almost exclusively practiced outdoors.
“I think it makes a difference,’’ he said. “When you practice outside, you get used to it. You figure it out and you gain confidence that it’s not a big deal.’’
Reich gradually has tapered practices – about 10-12 minutes already have been cut from the daily routine – to provide players with additional time to recover from the previous weekend’s game.
The objective: keep players as fresh, healthy and strong as possible in November and December.