Something had to change for the Colts, so Sio Moore, Antonio Cromartie are gone

Photo of Antonio Cromartie

Photo of Antonio Cromartie

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In a bottom-line numbers game, the Indianapolis Colts are taking an addition-by-subtraction approach with their unreliable defense.

Gone in a flurry of Tuesday roster moves are two starters: inside linebacker Sio Moore and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Each started the first four games.

Jettisoning Moore and Cromartie are admissions by the team it whiffed on a pair of recent personnel moves, and comes in the wake of Sunday’s 30-27 loss to Jacksonville in London after which several players, including quarterback Andrew Luck, indicated a lack of focus contributed to the third loss in four games.

“We’ve got to be more professional as players and understand our role, our job, and do our job,’’ he said.

Tight end Dwayne Allen seemed to agree with the conclusion of Albert Einstein, who reasoned the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

“Maybe we need to tighten up practice,’’ Allen said. “Maybe we need to change pregame. Maybe we need to do something.

“Something will be done.’’

Tuesday, something was.

And not surprisingly, it impacted the defense which largely was unreliable over the first month of the season. It ranks No. 24 in yards allowed (382.8 per game) and No. 30 in points (31.25). The 125 points allowed are tied for the third-most over the first four games in team history. Also, the team has given up at least 30 points three times, tying a team record for the first four games of a season.

Something had to change, and that meant getting rid of Moore and Cromartie.

General manager Ryan Grigson signed Cromartie to a one-year, $3 million contract Aug. 22 in what amounted to a desperation move. Injuries had decimated the position, and the Colts hoped Cromartie, 32 and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, could offer immediate help.

That never materialized and Cromartie suffered through an especially poor game against the Jaguars. On one series near the end of the second quarter, he twice was beaten for receptions by Allen Robinson, and was penalized once for interference and another time for holding. In the first quarter, Cromartie was beaten badly by Robinson on a 3-yard touchdown pass.

Cromartie made headlines when he took a knee and raised his fist during the national anthem before September 25 game against the San Diego Chargers.

Grigson acquired Moore from the Oakland Raiders in a September 2015 trade that cost him a sixth-round draft pick. Moore led the defense with 28 tackles, but has been inconsistent, suffered too many missed tackles and been a liability in coverage.

Moore’s release further weakens the Colts at inside linebacker, a regression that included the salary cap-related decision during the offseason not to re-sign Jerrell Freeman and the release of Nate Irving in September.

The remaining inside linebackers on the roster include veteran D’Qwell Jackson, Josh McNary, Edwin Jackson and rookie Antonio Morrison.

Another option is rookie Trevor Bates, who was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad.

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