Behind Enemy Lines

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Behind Enemy Lines: A Quick Look at the Indianapolis Colts

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NASHVILLE – The Titans travel to Indianapolis this weekend to face the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here's a quick look at the Colts:

Record: 3-4.

Points for/against: 24.1/21.3.

NFL RANKINGS

Offense: 14th overall, 357.1 ypg (9th rushing, 24th passing).

Defense: 15th overall, 354.1 ypg (14th rushing, 13th passing).

TEAM LEADERS

Head coach: Frank Reich.

Offense:

QB: Carson Wentz (141-of-219, 1,695 yards, 11 TDs, 1 INTs, 102.8 rating).

Top RBs: Jonathan Taylor (105 rush, 579 yards, 5 TDs), Nyheim Hines (34 rush, 115 yards, 1 TD).

Top WRs: Michael Pittman (35 catches, 508 yards, 2 TDs), Zach Pascal (21 catches, 219 yards, 3 TDs).

Top TE: Jack Doyle (11 catches, 123 yards, 0 TD).

Defense:

Sacks: DL DeForest Buckner (3), DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (1.5).

Leading tackler: LB Bobby Okereke (55).

Interceptions: LB Darius Leonard (2), SS Khari Willis (2).

Take/Give: +9 (16/7).

Kicker: Michael Badgley (2-of-2 FGs, 7-of-7 PATs).

Punter: Rigoberto Sanchez (46.3, 42.0).

Last meeting: September 26, 2021: Titans 25, Colts 16.

Of note:

-Colts tight end Jack Doyle was originally signed by the Titans as a rookie free agent in 2013. Doyle attended Western Kentucky.

-Colts receiver Zach Pascal spent most of the 2017 season on the Titans practice squad.

-Colts assistant offensive line coach Kevin Mawae played for the Titans from 2006-09.

-Colts kicker Michael Badgley played in the season opener for the Titans this season.

-Colts director of player engagement David Thornton played for the Titans from 2006-2010.

-Former Titans defensive lineman Denico Autry played three seasons with the Colts (2018-2020) before joining the Titans.

-Titans safety Matthias Farley spent his first three NFL seasons with the Colts (2016-2018).

-The Titans have won three of their last four games since their Week 3 loss to the Titans.

-Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has 1,748 career rushing yards since entering the league as a second-round draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, only Derrick Henry (2,876) and Dalvin Cook (1,923) have more.

Injury Report

CB BoPete Keyes (hamstring) is OUT. WR T.Y. Hilton (quad), CB Xavier Rhodes (calf) and T Braden Smith (foot/thumb) are questionable. RB Nyheim Hines (ribs), RB Jonathan Taylor (ribs), DE Kemoko Turay (groin) and CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) and RB Jordan Wilkins (illness) were all full participants on Friday and they're all good to go.

Titans HC Mike Vrabel

(on putting an extra emphasis on taking care of the football because of the Colts ability to force fumbles)

That is something that they have been known for. They do a fantastic job. (Darius) Leonard is outstanding at it and the rest of the unit looks like they are all looking for opportunities. Whether they get them or not, they have gotten a lot, leading the league. We understand how critical that is going to be is to be able to take care of the ball but also be able to run with it. You can't run with two hands on it and roll it over the entire time. We are going to have to try to be aggressive with it but also take care of it.

(on how important it is to shape the game for the pass rush to work)

That would be until you get the game situation that would dictate a team that would have to throw. They have three amazing backs. (Jonathan)Taylor is probably going to get the bulk of that, but (Nyheim) Hines goes in and has his plays and (Marlon) Mack has been able to go in there and spell those guys. They have done such a great job of being able to run the football that the play action pass would complement that. They hit shots downfield, or they have gotten long defensive pass interferences penalties.

(on what makes Colts running back Nyheim Hines problematic)

He is just not a receiving back. They will run their offense with him, they will run the football with him. They find ways, creative ways to get the football to him. He is a good player. He is a good returner, punt returner. He is a skilled athlete, he catches the ball easy, runs really good routes and he is always giving us problems.

(on Colts quarterback Carson Wentz and how different it will be facing him this time opposed to Week 2)

Obviously much more effective. He is doing a really nice job. I think his health probably has a big reason to do with that. Also, their ability to improve as the season has gone on, this is a much better football team in all phases than the one we saw and that was a difficult test then. They are essentially 4-0, they won four games in a row. I know they lost to the Ravens, but they played outstanding. They just unfortunately ran into a tough night with how Lamar (Jackson) played there in the second half.

(on the Colts getting guard Quenton Nelson back into the lineup and how he changes their offensive line)

He brings demeanor and attitude. He is a Pro Bowl player, he is a captain, so it looked like it gave them a shot of energy and physicality. You see him finishing and trying to move people off of the line of scrimmage.

(on the improvement of the offensive line and not giving up as many sacks as earlier on in the season)

We touched on this. We are focused on the Colts. It is going to be a huge challenge to protect these guys. They have a bunch of edge guys that play hard, that rotate in there. (DeForest) Buckner is a very gifted and long player. Right now our focus is on improving. To your point, we have improved in that area. It starts with the protection, it starts with guys getting into their routes, recognizing man or zone, being open when the quarterback needs to throw the football. All those things we are going to need to do this week to try to help slow some of that pass rush down.

(on if he talks about being able to take control of the division with a win or if they are just focused on the task at hand)

We are focused on improving. We are focused on improving each week. We are focused on fundamentals. We are focused on the matchups that we are going to have in the game against the Colts. We understand the magnitude of division games, especially on the road and how challenging that will be. I don't know if we have talked about the impact or anything past this week.

(on the Colts ability to draw penalties down the field)

We all saw them and watched them. They hit a lot of those plays down the field, they have gone and caught them whether that be (Michael) Pittman (Jr.) or T.Y. (Hilton). A lot of it was the ball was underthrown. Sometimes when the ball is underthrown and you are not playing the football and the receiver does a nice job of going back and attacking the football, they get those calls. That is something we have tried to follow, the trend around the league is trying to play the football. Trying to understand where the ball is. Then you run into the ball is not overthrown and you are looking back for the ball, and they get separation. I think there is a fine line but our ability to play the football while it is in the air is something that has to continue to improve. It hurt us early in the year and it will be huge on Sunday. It is something that cost us early and hopefully we learn from it.

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