Colts news: Latest injuries updates on Blackmon, Paye, Leonard, Taylor – IndyStar

  • October 15, 2022

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich calls it “juice.” Others may call it confidence or swagger.
Whatever the term, safety Julian Blackmon packs loads of it into his 6-foot, 187-pound frame.
After missing part of Indy’s Week 3 win over Kansas City and all of Weeks 4 and 5 with an ankle injury, the third-year safety is in line to return to the lineup Sunday after practicing in full Thursday and being listed as limited Friday.
Blackmon said his faith and family helps him stay upbeat and positive while dealing with numerous injuries dating back to his college days at Utah. Blackmon tore his left ACL in his final collegiate game, forcing his pro career to begin in rehab. He went on to play 15 games as a rookie. He played six games before tearing his Achilles in practice last October.
Returning to a defense that will be without emotional leader Shaquille Leonard (concussion/nose), Blackmon knows his teammates will feed off his energy. Edge Rusher Kwity Paye (ankle) will also be out Sunday. Reich added that Leonard had surgery to repair his broken nose. Jonathan Taylor was also a limited participant with Nyheim Hines and Tyquan Lewis full participants after missing Thursday’s game due to concussions.
“I try to keep a very positive outlook on things and that’s why a lot of the times, you see my teammates, they gravitate towards that because that’s the kind of energy that you need,” Blackmon said. “That’s the energy that I try to bring. I put it upon myself to be the kind of guy that keeps that consistent, positive energy. … That’s how I’ve always been. So Shaquille or no Shaquille, I’m gonna still be out there trying to give you more energy.”
Seventh-round rookie Rodney Thomas II entered for an injured Blackmon against Kansas City and made a key late-game pass breakup on a deep pass from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Thomas II recorded three tackles the following week against the Tennessee Titans and made two pass deflections and his first career interception last week against Denver.
Blackmon beams with pride when speaking about the former Yale standout. Blackmon said he considers Thomas II to be his little brother (they’re the same age) and he’s genuinely happy watching the rookie make plays in the secondary.
With Thomas II shining in his stead, Blackmon said the two weeks away felt like months. That passion and enthusiasm should lift a middling secondary currently allowing the 16th most passing yards per game at 216. Per Football Outsiders’ DVOA, the Colts pass defense ranks 11th.
With Blackmon back, the Colts could use three-safety formations featuring Blackmon, Thomas II and veteran strong safety Rodney McLeod. However the Colts man the backend against the Jaguars, Blackmon’s presence should provide a boost to the secondary.
“(Blackmon’s) a very emotional player, has a contagious enthusiasm and it’s really backed up by — he’s a playmaker,” Reich said. “He’s been here just a short time, obviously had a tough injury, but he’s just shown that he knows how to make plays at key moments. So that combination of emotional leadership and playmaking is something that every defense and every team can benefit from.”

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