INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts will be without kicker Adam Vinatieri and Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton this weekend at Tampa Bay.
Vinatieri was limited in practice Wednesday and didn″t work out Thursday or Friday because of a left knee injury. The NFL’s career scoring leader has missed 14 kicks this season — eight field goals and six extra points.
The Colts (6-6) claimed kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers this week and he’ll will replace the 46-year-old Vinatieri.
Hilton will miss his fifth game in six weeks.
Starting cornerback Kenny Moore II also has been ruled out by coach Frank Reich. Moore has an injured ankle.
Reich also said starting running back and USF star Marlon Mack and rookie receiver Parris Campbell are expected to return from hand injuries soon.
Jordan Wilkins eagerly embraces playing a bigger role in the Indianapolis Colts’ offense.
The second-year running back has gotten his chance.
“More than likely that’s how it will play out, Jonathan and Jordan will split that role but we love Nyheim (Hines) running the ball, too,” he said. “We’ll miss Marlon. Obviously, he’s having a great year, but we like all three of those guys.”
Meanwhile, the Bucs had plenty to say about the game.
Head Coach Bruce Arians
“[There is] not a lot more to add from what I saw last night. Again, I love the effort. We can communicate better defensively, especially some of those young guys that came in. Offensively, I thought it was one of our better ball games. We did have a communication on one sack that we didn’t get done, but I thought we ran the ball well [and] we protected well. I thought our special teams, especially T.J. Logan in the return game – but I think our special teams have been better and better. I knew the 50-yard field goal [prior to halftime] was going to be huge at the end of the game, and it was. But [I was] happy that the guys who stepped in stepped up, but again, I think the injuries – when you start having those pulled muscles in games and pregame – the travel finally caught up with us a little bit. Shaq [Barrett’s] numbers [and] JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul’s) numbers went way up in the ball game and hindered them as far as staying fresh in the pass rush.”
(On how RB Ronald Jones II handled being given 18 carries)
“I think he handled it really well. He’s been consistent [and] he’s been more explosive. It’s not that Peyton [Barber] did anything wrong. I think RoJo (Ronald Jones II) has earned the right to play a little bit more and start the ballgame. Then, again, nickel – that’s always going to be either T.J. [Logan] or Dare [Ogunbowale]. All those guys I thought had a really solid ball game.”
(On how to keep the rookies on defense positive)
“I think Sean Murphy-Bunting played really well – maybe the best of anybody in the secondary. Mike Edwards needs to tackle a little bit better – he missed a tackle. Devin [White], I think, is back to full speed since the knee injury. He had a really solid game. Jamel [Dean] got thrown in there. He won some, he lost some – just technique stuff down in the red zone. He had a tough matchup, but I think he’s a guy that’s got enough confidence that he’ll bounce right back. I think he’s going to have a hell of a career in front of him. Losing Carlton [Davis III] pregame hurt, but he jumped out there and held his own for a while.”
(On if CB Ryan Smith was a viable option to replace CB Jamel Dean on Sunday)
“No – when he came back from suspension, it was more special teams stuff. He’s the fourth or fifth guy, but he is working a lot at nickel now, so we’ll see if that’s a viable option in the future.”
(On if the best way for the young players to learn will be through making mistakes)
“Yeah – I think Todd [Bowles] had a really simple game plan and we still didn’t execute it like we should because we’re young at times, but that’s really not an excuse. We’ve got to be able to play the last five minutes of ball games better, because we’re there to win games. Like I told them today, there’s nobody left on our schedule we can’t beat, and there’s nobody that can beat us, if we finish ball games.”
(On if the game plan was affected by not having tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate)
“No, not at all. We used a tackle at times – Josh Wells went in and did some good things in the run game. Antony Auclair, I thought, played a heck of a ball game. We’ll see – he’s got a bad turf toe. We’ll see where that’s at. Cam sucked it up [and] gave us some snaps. Tanner [Hudson] I thought had a chance for another touchdown. I’ve seen him catch that ball every time in practice and he didn’t pull it down. O.J. should be ready to roll this week and we should get him back.”
(On how much losing two outside linebackers played into them blitzing more often)
“It had a big one. We had to get pressure. When you get up into the 70s as a pass rusher, that’s a lot of snaps and [we] tried to create some pressure other ways. But yeah, it hurts. We’re not going to dress more than four normally anyway, but when guys go down in the same position, like tight end and outside linebacker, it’s tough.”
(On if any of the players who were injured during the game could miss the Week 10 game)
“It’s still too early to see. You get off the flight, the swelling and everything – we’ll see where the MRIs come out today.”
(On having a home game for the first time since September 22)
“Yeah, it’s been a long time. It’ll be fun to get home this week, and like I said, once we start winning, I think we’re going to get on a roll and obviously having these home games should help a bunch.”
(On if his mindset changes from focusing on the next game when the team is 2-6)
“No, never. It’s all about winning this week. Everything that we do is about winning this week. I can’t play any more younger players – they’re all playing now.”
Outside Linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul
“It came obviously unexpected, but two guys went down and we had to get the job done. It felt good, though.”
(On who would’ve been next to fill in at outside linebacker after Carl Nassib and Anthony Nelson went down, leaving the team with just two active outside linebackers)
“I don’t know. This is the game of football. Opportunities are made and given, so the next guy up will have an opportunity to showcase his talent. That’s what the game is about.”
(On what he said to the young players on defense after the game)
“Stuff like that is going to happen. I’ve seen it, I’ve been in it – I’ve been in the game 10 years now and stuff like that just happens. You’ve got to just move on. At the end of the day, it’s still a fight. [It’s] too bad we didn’t win the game, but that just goes to show you what type of team we’re capable of being if we [minimize] the mistakes – the offsides, the false starts and special teams – and it showcased yesterday. That was a very good team out there. You guys know that too. We’re looking forward. That games over, next one up – [Arizona]. They’ve got a running quarterback as well.”
(On how excited he will be to play in Raymond James Stadium for the first time this season)
“It’s going to feel great. Family, friends – I’ve got a lot of support coming, so it’s going to feel good. [It’s my] first home game and hopefully we pull this win off. That’d be even better.”