Last week saw an amazing win over the Seahawks for the Colts, who are now proving they are a contender. The rookie class is still yet to really take off, even though Hugh Thornton has become an important player on the offensive line. Here;s your weekly breakdown of the Colts rookies and their performances.
The first round pick remains sidelined through injury, though head coach Chuck Pagano said his situation is improving. Pagano expects Ricky Jean Francois and Laron Landry to be back for the Broncos game in a week, but with no expected return date for Werner announced yet, it seems he's still a few weeks away from aciton.
Thornton continues to have an up-and-down season, which is to be expected of a third round rookie thrust into a starting role. Pro Football Focus gave Thornton a -0.6 grade, which is a big improvement on his week five grade against the Jaguars. Thornton continues to flash ability as a starting guard, which is not only encouraging with the absence of Donald Thomas, but also with hopes of the Illinois becoming the right guard of the future for the Colts.
“It’s going to be a while before it's where I want it to be,” said Thornton recently. “(I’m) just kind of getting a feel for the NFL and this league, playing next to the guys. I’m just looking to get better each and every day.”
“One of the biggest challenges is just the speed of the defense and how quick things show up, how savvy some of these defenses are in disguising blitzes and disguising coverages,” said Thornton. “There’s just a lot more that you need to know at the offensive line position at this level of the game.”
The play below shows Thornton's contribution to the touchdown scored by T.Y. Hilton in the third quarter against the Seahawks last Sunday. Lined up at left guard, Thornton is up against Michael Bennett, who is usually a defensive end but in this play, is lined up at the 3-Technique position.
Whilst Thornton gets pushed back initially, he managed to regain his balance and lock arms with Bennett, who can't disengage from Thornton's grasp. In doing so, Thornton causes Bennett to lose his balance and effectively end the battle there. Thornton winning his matchup gives a clean pocket to Andrew Luck, who had the time to look off the safety, and fire a perfect ball over Brandon Browner and into the endzone for Hilton.
Holmes was active again, but didn't take a snap as Joe Reitz was once again the sixth man on the offensive line. It seems the Colts are going to ease Holmes into action after a troublesome anikle injury, which is the best approach to take.
Montori Hughes remains a regular gameday inactive, whilst Kerywnn Williams was cut despite Ahmad Bradshaw's season ending injury. Undrafted free agent TE Jack Doyle saw six snaps against the Seahawks, earning a -0.1 grade from PFF, though it's a very small sample size. Offensive tackle Xavier Nixon was inactive, whilst Justice Cunningham, Sheldon Price and Da'Rick Rogers remain on the practice squad.