Colts’ notebook: Denzelle Good back in the mix; Marlon Mack iffy for opener
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Auditions have been on-going as the Indianapolis Colts attempt to solve their right tackle dilemma.
That will continue Saturday afternoon in their third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium, and include a heretofore idled Denzelle Good.
A 19-game starter along the offensive line the past three seasons, Good returned to practice this week after battling a lingering hamstring injury throughout training camp. He won’t be in the starting lineup against the 49ers – coach Frank Reich won’t reveal which player gets that honor – but the plan is for Good to get approximately 20 repetitions with the second unit.
“That’s based on where we think he is physically . . . 20 plays is a good dose,’’ Reich said Thursday.
The edges of the offensive line have been in flux since the start of camp. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo has been out since aggravating a hamstring injury Aug. 3, and right tackle has been a case of weekly auditions.
J’Marcus Webb started the preseason opener at Seattle and rookie Braden Smith stepped in Monday night against Baltimore. Reich was elusive when asked who’s third in the pecking order, but ruled Smith out. The second-round draft pick is going back to right guard.
Next in line to start might be Austin Howard, who signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract in the offseason. Or Joe Haeg.
Good brings a decent resume to the mix. The 2015 seventh-round draft pick has started 19 of 24 games: eight at right tackle and 11 at right guard.
“He’s going to get a good shot,’’ Reich said. “He’s going to have to earn it.’’
A byproduct of Good missing so much practice time is the fact he’ll see extensive action in the Aug. 30 preseason finale at Cincinnati.
Ideally, Reich wants the uncertainty at right tackle resolved after the 49ers game.
“We’re closer than we were two weeks ago, but we’re not there, yet,’’ he said. “This game will weight in heavily and I would anticipate that the decision will be made after this game.
“Right now, it’s still open. No one’s out of the picture.’’
Good considers himself the frontrunner, based on his three-year experience. He’s simply eager to get back out on the field.
“I hated watching guys work,’’ he said. “I mean, I’ve seen everybody get better at camp up in Westfield and I was just getting jealous. I just feel like I didn’t really get my fair chance, but now I need to make up for the time I lost and catch up with these guys.’’
Mack no ‘slam dunk’
The medical update on running back Marlon Mack wasn’t overly encouraging. The projected starter hasn’t returned to the practice field since suffering a hamstring injury at Seattle.
Will be available for the Sept. 9 opener against Cincinnati?
“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk that he’s ready, but we’re hopefully that he’ll be ready,’’ Reich said.
The key is whether Mack is ready for a full week of practice leading up the Bengals game.
“He’s going to need to practice,’’ Reich said. “We certainly don’t like playing guys without a whole week of practice.’’
Complicating matters is Robert Turbin will serve a four-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Plan for the 49ers
Reich insisted he’ll be “fluid’’ with the playing time for his starters against San Francisco. The normal routine involves front-liners playing at least a half, maybe even into the third quarter.
The vast majority of starters will not play in the preseason wrap-up at Cincinnati.
“It is the final tune-up, no doubt,’’ Reich said. “I don’t pigeonhole us into ‘it has to be a half or come out for the third quarter.’ You want to end on a good note. You want to get a rhythm. You want to score some points.
“When you feel you’re kind of hitting a high note, just say, ‘OK, that’s good. Let’s keep rolling with the next group.’’
Several players were held out of Thursday’s practice. The list included: cornerbacks Quincy Wilson (hand), Nate Hairston (hamstring) and D.J. White (groin); defensive lineman Denico Autry (lower leg); defensive end Tarell Basham (knee) and linebacker Jerimiah George (back).
All are considered day-to-day.
Luck on Ramsey
Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey recently caused a stir when he offered assessments on several of the NFL’s quarterbacks in the August edition of CQ Magazine.
His take on Andrew Luck: “I don’t really think he’s that good.’’
Luck’s response: “Glad to be included. I was shown (the comments), and I have no comments about the comments.’’
End of the non-story.
Until later in the season, that is. The Colts entertain the Jaguars Nov. 11, then visit Jacksonville Dec. 2.