The Colts head to the Bay Area to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football this weekend. Check out what questions fans had ahead of the game in this week's Colts Mailbag. JJ Stankevitz
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Let's get after this week's questions:
Christopher White, Fort Wayne, Ind.: How does losing Julian Blackmon affect the Colts secondary? Follow up question, who steps into the role?
JJ Stankevitz: Losing Blackmon to a torn Achilles' suffered in practice on Wednesday was a gut punch this week, no doubt about it.
"He was playing at a high level," linebacker Darius Leonard said. "For a freak accident like that to happen in practice, nobody wants to get hurt in practice. If you do get hurt, you want to get hurt in a game, leave it out on the field. That's what sucks. Hopefully just talking to him he's in good spirits and he comes back even stronger, even better and continues to be that ballhawk that he is."
The Colts will now have to replace a ballhawking second-year safety who was coming into his own as one of the better all-around safeties in the NFL (entering Week 7, Blackmon was ranked among the top 10 run defending safeties this year by Pro Football Focus). So who's the next man up? The Colts' options on their roster for Week 7 are:
Andrew Sendejo, a 12-year veteran with 77 starts (including two this year for the Colts in place of Khari Willis); Sendejo missed Week 6 with a concussion and was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday George Odum, a 2020 first-team All-Pro special teamer who only played 39 snaps on defense over the last two seasons but started three games for the Colts in 2018-2019 Josh Jones, a 2017 second round pick of the Green Bay Packers who started 13 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and was signed to the practice squad this week
One of those guys, most likely, will be counted on to be the next man up in place of Blackmon starting this weekend.
Brandon Hedges, Indianapolis, Ind.: Do you think Dayo will have a chance to play this year? What do the next few weeks look like for him?
JJ Stankevitz: So here's the deal with Odeyingbo. The Colts designated him to return to practice on Wednesday, which opened a 21-day window for him to be activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. In previous years, players on Reserve/NFI were required to miss a minimum of eight games, but that changed in 2020 to six games. So there are no restrictions on when the Colts can activate Odeyingbo other than it has to be in this three-week window.
So, yes, Odeyingbo not only has a chance to play this year, but he has a chance to play the majority of the Colts' games in 2021.
"I want to get out there as soon as possible," Odeyingbo said. "Obviously the trainers and coaches want to be smart with it and I do too so we're not going to rush anything but when I feel ready and they feel like I'm ready, I'll be out there."
Eric Melanson, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada: Hi guys, wondering when Quenton Nelson is set to return? #ForTheShoe
JJ Stankevitz: Stay tuned over the next 36 or so hours, I would say. We'll see if head coach Frank Reich has any update on Friday afternoon. The Colts could also activate him from injured reserve on Saturday, as they did with T.Y. Hilton last week. Or Week 7 could be too early for Nelson to return. We'll see.
Luke Broderick, Danville, Ind.: Do we expect to see more of Chris Reed becoming a permanent staple in our starting O-line?
JJ Stankevitz: Not necessarily starting, but you're right to note Reed's strong play. The Colts did, too: When Nelson does return, Reed will begin rotating at right guard with Mark Glowinski.
That rotation has nothing to do with Glowinski's play and everything to do with how impressed Reed has been filling in for the Colts' three-time All-Pro left guard.
"Glow has earned that spot and he's playing well, but we think Chris Reed is playing really well also," head coach Frank Reich said. "So we'll just let those guys alternate at some level."
Reed started 14 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2020 after spending time with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-2019) and Miami Dolphins (2019).
"He's played great for us," offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said. "He's done a great job filling in for Q. The biggest thing is when you're watching film is you hope you don't notice your o-line. So, we haven't noticed him as far as in a negative light. Obviously, there are corrections that everybody can get better at, but he's done some really good things for us. He's been solid in protection, been solid in the run game, been very physical. He's been a great presence for us."