INDIANAPOLIS – A trade Marlon Mack requested never materialized, leaving him as the odd man out.
In the two games after the NFL’s trade deadline closed – 4 p.m. Nov. 2 – the Indianapolis Colts have made their veteran running back a healthy inactive.
That’s no reflection on Mack.
“I’ve said this and I’m going to continue to say it: I believe in Marlon Mack,’’ coach Frank Reich said Wednesday. “I believe he’s a really good player.
“I believe he’s going to make a splash again somewhere, some time . . . here, somewhere else, however it plays out. I believe he’s that kind of player and person.’’
However, barring an injury to Jonathan Taylor or Nyheim Hines, it isn’t like to be with the Colts.
“You’ve got to do what’s best for the team,’’ Reich said. “We’ve gotta get JT the ball.’’
He reiterated Mack’s role is as No. 3 back.
“That third back has to contribute on special teams and Deon’s doing that right now,’’ Reich said.
Since the team released veteran back Jordan Wilkins, Deon Jackson has settled in as the third back/special teams cog. He’s been on the field for 13, 15 and 13 special teams plays the past three games.
Mack has stepped on the field once in the last three games – in Week 8 against Tennessee – and been given just 59 snaps in his six appearances this season. He dabbled in special teams as a rookie – 24 total snaps in ’17 – but not since.
The erstwhile feature back – 908 rushing yards in 2018, 1,091 in ’19 – before suffering a torn Achilles in the ’20 opener and the arrival of Taylor has 101 yards on 28 carries along with two receptions for 8 yards.
“I’m just being patient,’’ Mack said late last month. “Just working, being myself. I know it’s a business, but I’ve just been working. I don’t try to be a negative as much around the guys.’’
Reich has had face-to-face conversations with Mack regarding his situation.
“He’s not happy about it, but he’s not a distraction,’’ he said. “He’s a great pro. He’s a great teammate. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard to do what we’re doing.’’
Making Mack a game-day inactive, Reich added, “is painful. Every week I’ve had to make him inactive I don’t like doing it. But you’ve got to do what’s best for the team.
“It’s a weird situation . . . get behind the hottest back in the NFL who never gets tired and who never needs a break. That’s hard.’’
As Reich mentioned, decisions are made that are best for the team on a weekly basis.
The Colts sought a trade partner for Mack, but found no suitors. Now, it makes no sense for them to release him so he perhaps can be a factor elsewhere.
Imagine releasing Mack, then having Taylor or Hines suffer an injury.
Sticking with Badgley
Rodrigo Blankenship is back kicking after suffering a hip in the Week 5 game at Baltimore, but only on the sidelines during practice.
For now, that’s how it’s going to be.
“Rod’s still continuing along the process as far as gaining full strength and stamina back,’’ Reich said. “Could he kick? Yes.
“But we’re going to go with Badgley right now.’’
The Colts turned to Michael Badgley when they placed Blankenship on the injured reserve list Oct. 16.
In five games, Badgley’s been perfect: 7-for-7 on field-goal attempts, with a long of 42 in the driving rain against San Francisco, and 19-for-19 on PATs.
On the season, Blankenship is 11-of-14 on field-goal attempts and 7-of-8 on PATs. After injuring his hip in pregame warm-ups against the Ravens, he missed a PAT, had a 37-yard field goal attempt blocked and was wide left on a 47-yard attempt.
“It’s pretty similar to any position, right?’’ Reich said. “A guy gets hurt and somebody comes in and playing at a very high level.’’
So, is the kicking job Badgley’s to lose? Even when Blankenship to 100%.
“It’s competition. It’s the NFL,’’ Reich said. “We’ve got to do what we think is the right thing for the team.
“It’s really nothing against Rod. We love Rod. We love Rod, everything about him.
“But Badgley’s playing very well.’’
Blankenship, meanwhile, will remain on IR. Once the team designates him to return to practice, it has 21 days to active him or leave him on IR.
“There’s no sense in starting that clock until you have to,’’ Reich said.