INDIANAPOLIS – Frank Reich’s appreciative mindset flowed past the quality time spent with his family on Thanksgiving.
For a second consecutive week, his Indianapolis Colts are heading into a game – Sunday versus defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay at Lucas Oil Stadium – with a relatively healthy 53-player roster.
“I can tell you I’m thankful for a second straight week we’ve got no one to report to be ruled out for the game,’’ Reich said Friday. “I’m thankful for that.’’
Two players who’ve been dealing with ankle issues were full participants Friday: left guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard.
“We’ll see how they respond tomorrow, but fairly optimistic,’’ Reich said.
Nelson’s status was most definitely in doubt.
The three-time first-team All-Pro selection exited last Sunday’s win at Buffalo after aggravating an injury to his right ankle in the third quarter. He first sustained a high sprain to the ankle week 3 against Tennessee and would miss the next three games.
This week, Nelson did not practice Wednesday and did not participate in a Thursday walkthrough.
Reich admitted Nelson is on a “short list’’ of players capable of playing with little or no practice time because of the way he “dials in.’’
“We have a general philosophy that we want to practice, we need to practice,’’ Reich said. “But Quenton has a way of getting himself ready.’’
No time to get complacent
It might have been human nature for the Colts to take more than the so-called 24-hour rule to enjoy last Sunday’s 41-15 blowout of the Bills. It was their fifth win in six games and pushed them over the .500 mark at 6-5 for the first time this season after their 0-3 start.
But the looming visit from the Bucs and Tom Brady demanded everyone’s undivided attention.
“No doubt,’’ Reich said. “We talked about that on Monday that (the team had) no opportunity to be complacent or get too high with the defending world champions coming in with the greatest player every to play coming in.”
“We know we’ve got to be at our best, so we’ve got to have a great week of practice to get ready to go. And I think we did that.’’
Including the playoffs, Brady holds an 15-4 record against the Colts, and it all came during his 20-year career with the New England Patriots.
The last time the Colts whipped Brady: week 10 of 2009, or the legendary fourth-and-2 game. It was Indy 35-34.
He’s won eight straight against the Colts.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.