Chappell: Jacoby Brissett’s availability unknown until later in week; Parris Campbell out
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As expected, we’re in wait-and-see mode with Jacoby Brissett.
The Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback was upbeat and optimistic Monday morning, less than 24 hours after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee during the second quarter of Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh.
“It’s one thing to come in today after the injury and feel (OK),’’ Frank Reich said. “I think in his mind he felt a little better than he expected to feel today, but that’s still a far cry from being able to play the game.
“You know Jacoby; he was pretty optimistic. But you’ve got to wait until Wednesday. You’ve got 48 hours to see how it responds, to see can you even start thinking about practicing and wrap your mind about playing on Sunday.’’
The Colts return to the practice field Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s meeting with the 1-7 Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium.
If Brissett is unable to play, Brian Hoyer will make his first 38th career start, but first since Oct. 15, 2017 against Washington when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. In that scenario, the Colts also would elevate Chad Kelly to the active roster from the practice squad.
Hoyer replaced Brissett in Sunday’s 26-24 loss to the Steelers and passed for 168 yards with three touchdowns and one interception that Minkah Fitzpatrick returned 96 yards for a touchdown.
“When you look back at the tape, Brian played really well,’’ Reich said. “Obviously the pick-6 was the big blemish on the quote-unquote scorecard. He’s really a smart player. He’s really assimilated well to the offense.’’
Most of the plays Hoyer ran against the Steelers were new to him. He was signed to a three-year, $12 million contract Sept. 2 and has almost exclusively handled scout team duties during practices.
“That’s pretty much standard protocol for all teams,’’ Reich said. “You’ve got to get good mental reps. He’s a pro. He does a good job at that. He was able to come in and make some plays.’’
A few other topics touched on by Reich after the Colts saw their three-game losing streak snapped:
Parris Campbell out: The second-round draft pick’s rookie season hit another obstacle in Pittsburgh when he fractured one of his hands. It was addressed with a procedure Monday and Campbell is “going to miss some time, not exactly sure how much,’’ Reich said.
There is no immediate plans to place him on what would be the season-ending injured reserve list.
Campbell missed games against Kansas City and Houston after undergoing hernia surgery.
“We’re all frustrated for him,’’ Reich said. “I understand his frustration. I think we saw a little taste of his explosiveness, just how raw he is. You can feel the energy when he has the ball and the explosiveness. I thought yesterday he did pretty well.’’
Campbell had five catches for 53 yards and added 27 yards on three rushes at Pittsburgh.
‘Fluke’ contributed to Vinatieri miss: Adam Vinatieri’s way-wide-left miss on a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal with just over 1 minute remaining was a rarity because of a contributing factor, according to Reich.
“I think we all saw it,’’ he said. “He got the laces and it was a fluke.’’
Reich insisted his snapper-holder tandem of Luke Rhodes and Rigoberto Sanchez is one of the best in the league, but Sanchez’s placement of the football resulted in the laces directly facing Vinatieri. Ideally, the laces are spun away from the kicker.
“I’ve held for a number of years,’’ Reich said. “I’ll just say this: it made it a lot tougher on Adam. There’s not many times you see a kicker actually kick the laces straight on. It just doesn’t happen very often.
“It was a fluke and unfortunately Adam had to kick the laces and that does play into it in my mind.’’
Reich insisted he still has a “lot of confidence in Adam,’’ and the team has no plans to change its kicking operation.
Vinatieri, 46, has missed 10 kicks in eight games – five field goals and a career-high and league-high five PATs. The 10 misses are the most in Vinatieri’s 24-year career since he missed 12 as a rookie with New England in 1996 (nine field goals, three PATs).
Along with yanking the 43-yarder against the Steelers, Vinatieri missed 46- and 29-yard field goal attempts and a PAT in the season-opening overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Offensive line concerns: The Colts’ offensive line suddenly has sprung a few leaks in pass protection. It has yielded nine sacks in the last two games against the Steelers (five) and Denver (four) after allowing seven in the first six games.
Reich was pleased with the o-line’s work in run blocking for Marlon Mack, who finished with 89 yards on 21 attempts against Pittsburgh’s No. 6-ranked run defense.
“If I was grading our run game performance,’’ he said, “we in many ways exceeded (expectations).’’
Pass protection, however, too often was substandard.
“We had a couple of stretches in the pass game where they got to us,’’ Reich said. “It wasn’t just any one person.
“But I’m not worried about our offensive line, I assure you that. We’ve all got to do better, all of us.’’
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