The Indianapolis Colts have already ruled out the following five players ahead of Sunday’s pivotal matchup against the Houston Texans, which includes four starters: safety Clayton Geathers (neck), offensive guard Denzelle Good (concussion), defensive lineman Zach Kerr (concussion), outside linebacker Robert Mathis (bicep), and cornerback Patrick Robinson (groin).
While Geathers and Mathis being declared ‘out’ isn’t necessarily a shock, it is a bit surprising to see another defensive starter, Robinson, be ruled out. Head coach Chuck Pagano said that Robinson was “doing better” earlier in the week, and the cornerback was able to practice on a limited basis for consecutive days Wednesday and Thursday.
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Nov 6, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) can’t reach a pass against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin (30) and safety T.J. Green (32) in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
In Geathers absence, expect to see rookie T.J. Green starting alongside veteran Mike Adams at safety–with nickelback Darius Butler being potentially deployed as a safety in obvious passing situations.
Geathers’ loss is also significant though because it prevents the Colts from utilizing the hard-hitting safety as a situational hybrid inside linebacker, which could’ve helped mitigate the blow of losing starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson to a 4-game suspension.
Veteran outside linebacker Trent Cole should once again fill in for Mathis, as he played really well last Monday in relief during limited snaps.
Regarding Robinson, backup cornerback Rashaan Melvin will presumably start on the other side of Vontae Davis with Butler covering the slot–just like last week.
Otherwise, in order to replace Good, veteran Joe Reitz should make a spot-start at right tackle with impressive rookie Joe Haeg sliding over to starting right guard.
Losing Kerr obviously hurts the Colts rotational defensive line depth, but the team still has other young quality backups such as rookie Hassan Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill that can assume a larger amount of in-game reps.