Marlon Mack will be a part of the Colts run game -- but will it be a big part? After taking a back seat for much of last season and then undergoing shoulder surgery, Mack finds himself working in a new scheme under a new coaching staff that believes in utilizing many people as part of the run game. That much was evident during the early days of training camp when rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines along with veterans Robert Turbin and Christine Michael saw first-team snaps. This doesn't mean Mack doesn't have potential to be a dynamic running back, just that his chances to prove it won't be plentiful. Last season Mack got 10-plus carries twice and never landed more than 14 touches in a game. He hardly worked the goal line and seemed to fare better as a receiver (10.7 yards per reception) than as a rusher (3.8 yards per carry). A strong showing in the preseason should land him at least a dozen touches per week, but ineffective play will send him to the bench quickly. Optimistic Fantasy owners will go after Mack as soon as Round 6 while those who are risk-averse won't consider him until Round 8. Pairing him with Wilkins (Round 10-plus) is probably the best plan if you'd like to invest in this backfield.
Mack is expected to miss a few weeks due to a hamstring strain, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Mack limped off the field during Thursday's exhibition at Seattle, but the injury isn't considered to be serious. With the Colts' expected No. 1 back out of commission, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines and Robert Turbin (suspension) will work with the first-team offense for the rest of the preseason.
Mack left Thursday's preseason game against Seattle with a hamstring injury, Mike Chappell of Fox 59 News Indianapolis reports. Mack limped off the field grabbing the back of his leg during the first quarter, so it looks like it could be more than a minor ailment.
Colts owner Jim Irsay said Mack could be a star in the Indianapolis offense this season. "Depends on how many times you want to feed him the ball,16-20 touches on the ground (a game) and I could see him approaching 1,500 yards (for the season). I really could," Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. "He is just better than you think he is every time you watch him." Take this with a grain of salt, as Irsay has been prone to having a rosy outlook for his team and players. However, his praise of Mack may be reflected in the coaching staff's opinion of his talent. While there's been talk of a committee approach at running back with both Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines likely figuring into the mix, Mack could command a greater share of touches with some early success this season.
Mack has been the first running back to take reps with the starting offense at training camp practices, Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan reports. This isn't to say Mack is dominating first-team reps, but rather that he's been the first player through the rotation, with Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines and Robert Turbin (suspension) mixing in thereafter in some order. Mack had offseason surgery to repair the torn shoulder labrum he played through for most of his rookie campaign, returning at full strength for the start of training camp after missing the entire offseason program. He's a clear favorite for the Week 1 starting job in what should be a vastly improved Colts offense, but expectations should be kept in check unless new head coach Frank Reich deviates from his stated intention to deploy a committee in the backfield.
General manager Chris Ballard indicated Friday that Mack (shoulder) has received full medical clearance, and the running back will be ready for the start of training camp, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star reports. Mack, who was unavailable for the Colts' offseason workout program, is bouncing back from shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum that he played through for most of his rookie season. Now healthy, Mack will open training camp as the team's No. 1 running back, though he'll need to fend off rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins in order to remain atop the depth chart. Robert Turbin is also around, but he's suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/05||@New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|6||10/14||@New York Jets||24||18.50|
|16||12/23||New York Giants||21||17.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||93||358||3||21||225||1||81|