On Monday, the hot rumor was that Adam Vinatieri was retiring from the NFL after a rough first two weeks to his 24th season in the league.
The Indianapolis Colts' kicker has missed three extra points and two field goals in the first two games. He biffed two PATs in Week 2, although Indianapolis overcame them for a 19-17 win at Tennessee that leveled its record at 1-1.
But Colts coach Frank Reich has made one thing clear since the win in Nashville: Vinatieri is not retiring, and the team is not changing kickers just yet.
"Adam's our kicker," said Reich, whose team hosts the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. "We have zero concern. He's not only our kicker, he's an instrumental leader on our team. When we talk about toughness and what we're all about as a team and a program, there's probably no one who epitomizes that more than Adam."
Vinatieri's Hall of Fame resume has likely played a part in the team's reticence to part ways. No player in NFL history has scored more points (2,605), kicked more field goals (583) or participated in more wins (216).
"I guess like golf, if you're out there and you hook a couple of balls, you're thinking about it til you get it figured out," Vinatieri said. "I'll get it figured out."
Atlanta (1-1) got things figured out just in time during the Sunday night game with Philadelphia. A perfectly-executed 54-yard screen pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones with 2:10 left gave it a 24-20 lead, and Keanu Neal and Isaiah Oliver stopped Zach Ertz a half-yard shy of the first down on a fourth-down play inside the 10-yard line to preserve a badly-needed result.
It would have been a potentially crushing loss for the Falcons, who were drilled in Week 1 at Minnesota and play only twice at home in the first six weeks. Instead, they avoided the dreaded 0-2 start and suddenly have an opportunity to make hay in an NFC South with Drew Brees (New Orleans) out six weeks or more and Cam Newton (Carolina) aggravating his foot injury.
"You never want to see guys go down," Matt Ryan said of the Saints' and Panthers' quarterbacks. "So you hate seeing that for them, but that's part of it in this league.
"... We're just trying to get wins each week and keep stacking them up. And then at the end of the year, we want to be on top of the division."
To string together consecutive wins, Atlanta must contain the Indianapolis running game that's tied for second in the league with 185 yards per game. Marlon Mack has 225 yards through two weeks, 174 coming in a Week 1 overtime loss at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mack missed practice Wednesday with a calf issue. Also sitting out was linebacker Darius Leonard, who was concussed against the Titans.
Missing Falcons practice on Wednesday were rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary (knee) and punter Matt Bosher (groin), who both fought through their injuries during the win over the Eagles. Safety Keanu Neal was limited with a groin injury.
--Field Level Media