INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts’ confidence in rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship hasn’t wavered, but that didn’t stop them from adding reinforcements.
Matt Gay, a 2019 fifth-round draft pick of Tampa Bay who was waived earlier this month, was signed to the practice squad.
The rationale? Be prepared . . . for whatever.
Frank Reich said he hasn’t talked with Blankenship after he converted 38- and 25-yard field goals and two PATs but glanced a 30-yard attempt off the left upright in Sunday’s loss at Jacksonville.
Heading into the game, Reich’s message to the team’s undrafted rookie was simple: Be yourself.
Wednesday, Reich addressed Blankenship’s debut and the addition of Gay.
“This is the NFL,’’ he said. “He knows the pressure. Every player, every coach knows the pressure of performing in this league.’’
Reich added he and Chris Ballard have talked about adding an extra kicker to the practice squad after it was expanded to 16 players. That makes sense in this COVID-19 environment. If Blankenship – or any position player – tests positive heading into a game, his replacement is on the roster.
“It’s pretty common,’’ Reich said. “I think there is probably about half the teams in the league that have an extra specialist on their roster.
“So I just thought it was the best thing to do for our team.’’
The Minnesota Vikings, who visit Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, have veteran kicker Dan Bailey on the active roster and Chase McLaughlin on the practice squad. Blankenship beat out McLaughlin during the Colts’ training camp.
Three players were held out of Wednesday’s practice: tight end Jack Doyle (ankle/knee), wideout Zach Pascal (ankle) and safety Malik Hooker (illness). Pascal was working on the side with the training staff.
Also, rookie safety Julian Blackmon (knee) was limited.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.