INDIANAPOLIS – It’s anybody’s guess how the Indianapolis Colts’ offense will operate Sunday with Jacoby Brissett at the controls.
Therefore, it’s also anybody’s guess how the Los Angeles Chargers will choose to defend it.
It’s reasonable to assume the Chargers will want to affect Brissett’s thought process and keep him from getting into a rhythm.
Recent history suggests they won’t do that by mixing up coverages throughout the game in a fashion similar to the way the Green Bay Packers attacked Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on Thursday night.
L.A. has been a predominantly Cover 3 team the past few seasons, and it plays that scheme very well.
So perhaps, with pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram among the most disruptive duos in the league, the Chargers will choose to pressure Brissett solely with a four-man front and flood the passing lanes with seven defenders.
That could force the quarterback to hold onto the ball and disrupt the rhythm of the passing game.
Unless the Colts go with a heavy dose of rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell. That’s not a common decision with a young player who missed three weeks of training camp nursing a hamstring injury, but head coach Frank Reich makes it clear he doesn’t consider Campbell to be a common player.
“It feels like he has been practicing the whole time,” Reich said. “I know he has only been out here for a few practices, but I feel like if we needed to play him 50 plays in a game, he could play 50 plays. I doubt he will play 50 plays in the game, but I think he is ready to go.”
Campbell worked hard to stay up with the playbook while he was sidelined, and he feels fully recovered from a health standpoint.
In his short time on the field, the second-round pick has displayed a unique ability to create separation within a very small space. That skill could be especially useful if Brissett is looking to get rid of the ball quickly while facing tight passing lanes.
“We’ve been preparing the right way, and we know what their defense brings,” Campbell said. “We’re gonna do what we do best, and that’s get the ball out quick. We’re gonna be aware of (Bosa) at all times, but we’ve just gotta do our job.”
Campbell was primarily used out of the slot at Ohio State, but the Colts envision a more well-rounded role in Reich’s offense.
Those plans were stalled a bit by the receiver’s extended training camp absence, but he retains the full faith of the coaching staff.
Like Brissett, who will be making his 18th career start, all that’s left for Campbell is to prove his talent on the field.
It’s something he’s been preparing to do for the majority of his 21 years.
“I’m super excited. I really can’t wait,” Campbell said. “It’s been a dream of mine to play in this league for a long time, and now that I’m actually living the dream, it’s time to go prove it and earn my spot and my right to be here.”
MUDD STEPS DOWN
Reich opened his Friday news conference with a surprise announcement.
Senior offensive assistant Howard Mudd has decided to step down after six months of helping to oversee the transition to new offensive line coach Chris Strausser.
“What was great about it is there was no set timeline. There was no set timeline,” Reich said. “It was just kind of, ‘Hey come on back, help us out. Let’s make sure it fits what your expectations, how you see at this point in your career and life.’ One thing about Howard, he was all in.
“It was tremendous in every way. Had a lot of energy, passion, a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience in those meetings. It was a lot of fun for our guys, especially our younger guys, to get a chance to rub shoulders with Howard.”
Mudd has a long history with Strausser.
Reich discovered their friendship during the vetting process after former offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was fired in the offseason.
Talks between Mudd and the Colts began simply as research on Strausser, and it grew into a relationship that led to the consulting role.
Now Mudd is stepping down on his own accord.
“He was really physically, I thought in great shape, and his mind is still as sharp as ever,” Reich said. “Man, that guy’s mind is unbelievable.”
Defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) and running back Jonathan Williams (rib) are the only players ruled out for Sunday’s opener.
Defensive end Kemoko Turay (neck) and running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle) are listed as questionable. Turay did not participate in Friday’s practice after being limited Thursday. Wilkins was a full participant Friday.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess (back) and cornerback Kenny Moore (thumb) are expected to play against the Chargers.