The Indianapolis Colts announced their inactive players ahead of Sunday’s 1 PM EST showdown against the Houston Texans, which includes:
Center/offensive guard Austin Blythe, outside linebacker Lavar Edwards, safety Clayton Geathers (neck), offensive guard Denzelle Good (concussion), defensive lineman Zach Kerr (concussion), outside linebacker Robert Mathis (bicep), and cornerback Patrick Robinson (groin).
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Obviously, having four starters out, as well as a key rotational player in Kerr isn’t ideal in a must-win AFC South matchup facing the Texans.
Oct 23, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis (98) returns a fumble by Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (not pictured) for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Nissan Stadium. The Colts won 34-26. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
In Geathers’ absence, expect rookie T.J. Green to start alongside veteran safety Mike Adams–with nickelback Darius Butler potentially being deployed as a safety in obvious passing situations.
However, with Robinson’s injury and being more shorthanded at cornerback, the Colts may not have this luxury as much today, as the defense may be forced to keep Butler in the slot.
Specifically, backup Rashaan Melvin will already be starting on the other side of Vontae Davis, which means the Colts cornerback depth will already be significantly tested.
Geathers’ absence also hurts especially today because the Colts are already without starting inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson due to a 4-game suspension–meaning that the hard-hitting safety can’t play some situational hybrid-inside linebacker to help mitigate the veteran’s loss.
Oct 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) walks off the field after sustaining and injury against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Otherwise, another veteran Trent Cole figures to start in the place of Mathis, as the 34 year old played well in limited snaps last week after returning from the team’s injured reserve.
Along the offensive line, veteran Joe Reitz will presumably start at right tackle with rookie Joe Haeg replacing Good at starting right guard.
Kerr’s loss clearly hurts the Colts defensive line depth, but the team will just have to rely more heavily on some of its other younger defensive lineman such as Hassan Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill for more extended reps.
The Colts did receive some positive news though, as rotational pass rusher Curt Maggitt was not among the team’s inactives, and it looks as though the rookie cleared the league’s concussion protocol–especially considering fellow outside linebacker Lavar Edwards is a healthy scratch.