The Indianapolis Colts announced their final injury report Wednesday and both starting quarterback Andrew Luck and safety Clayton Geathers have officially been ruled ‘out’ for Thursday evening’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While neither player being declared inactive comes as a surprise–given the short timeframe to clear the league’s concussion protocol, one interesting injury development is that starting wide receiver Donte Moncrief (hamstring) is listed as ‘questionable’, having only been able to practice this week on Wednesday in a limited basis.
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Nov 20, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (82) catches the ball and is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) in the first half of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Otherwise, starting cornerback Vontae Davis (ankle) is also listed as ‘questionable’, as like Moncrief, he was able to practice Wednesday on a limited basis as well.
Without Luck, the Colts will be starting backup quarterback Scott Tolzien, who has 2 prior career starts–the most recently being 3 years ago exactly to the day on Thursday, while as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
Meanwhile, expect rookie safety T.J. Green to start in the absence of Geathers, while the Colts could potentially deploy nickelback Darius Butler at safety in obvious passing situations as part of a platoon at the position.
If Moncrief is unable to go–which I think he’ll start, Phillip Dorsett would presumably assume the starting wide receiver position on the other side of T.Y. Hilton–with Chester Rogers being elevated as the team’s 3rd wide receiver.
Dec 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) makes a catch as Indianapolis Colts strong safety Mike Adams (rear) and cornerback Vontae Davis (21) defend during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Defensively, the Colts could sorely use Davis at cornerback, as the team faces a prolific passing attack led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that features Antonio Brown and has simply dominated their secondary in the past.
Davis is no doubt the Colts best cornerback, but if he’s unavailable Thursday, the Colts would likely turn to returning starter Patrick Robinson and key backup Rashaan Melvin to fill the void along with Butler at nickelback.
It would eliminate any possibility of Davis being able to shadow Brown–which seems like an idea that the Colts may otherwise utilize defensively at times.
Obviously, it’s not an ideal injury situation for the Colts with their franchise player Luck already out–not to mention Geathers, as well as a number of their other best players’ availability also up in the air respectively.