INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts unfortunately continue to drain most of the suspense out of one of the pre-game personnel rituals: the seven-player inactive list.
Injuries have filled the bulk of the list the first two weeks, and will do so again.
Six players have been ruled out of Sunday’s meeting with the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium: quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder), center Ryan Kelly (foot), wide receiver Chester Rogers (hamstring), linebacker Anthony Walker (hamstring), running back Marlon Mack (shoulder) and cornerback Quincy Wilson (knee).
Cornerback Vontae Davis (groin) and safety Darius Butler (hamstring) were limited participants all week, and their status might not be determined until Sunday. Davis has missed the first games and Butler was sidelined last Sunday.
“You deal with injuries,’’ Chuck Pagano said Friday. “The expectations are what they are for everybody.
“We’re going to need ‘em all.’’
Wilson suffered an unspecified knee injury after making his first career start in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Cardinals.
If Davis is cleared to play, there’s no problem. His limited participation in Friday’s practice consisted of 18 plays.
“He’s had a good week,’’ Pagano said. “He’s making good progress. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and go from there.’’
If the team decides to give Davis another week to heal, more scrambling will be required. Maybe rookie Nate Hairston makes his first career start. Or safety/cornerback T.J. Green is back in the picture at corner. He started and played 62 of 65 snaps against the Rams, but then was on the field for just one defensive snap against the Cardinals.
“He’s going to have to know both and play both,’’ Pagano said of Green. “It’s all hands on deck.’’
And since we’re talking about injuries, Pagano reiterated Rogers’ aggravated a hamstring injury during practice last Friday.
“The setback obviously was a little bit worse than anticipated,’’ he said.
- Roster move coming: With Mack out, the Colts elevated running back Matt Jones to the active roster from the practice squad and waived offensive lineman Ian Silberman.
- Passing TDs missing: A glaring deficiency through the first two weeks of the season? Touchdown passes from Colts quarterbacks.
Scott Tolzien delivered two in the opening debacle in Los Angeles, but both went to Rams’ cornerbacks. Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett have yet to hook up with a friendly face for a passing TD.
It’s much too early to panic, but the TD-less streak to start a season already has reached semi-historic proportions. The last time the Colts opened a season without a TD pass in consecutive games was in 1997 when Jim Harbaugh failed to toss one in the first three games. The only other time since 1984: the first three games of ’86 when Gary Hogeboom and Jack Trudeau came up empty.
Andrew Luck has endured a two-game TD-less streak only once in his 70-game career: games 5-6 of 2012, his rookie season.
- Tight end dependent?: It’s still a small sample size and the necessary move from Tolzien to Brissett is a factor, but the Colts’ numbers in the passing game point in a definite direction.
Towards the tight ends in general, and Jack Doyle in particular.
Through two games, Tolzien and Brissett have combined for a 53.4 passer rating. A target-by-position breakdown, though, is startling.
Colts QBs have a 25.6 rating when targeting wide receivers (15-of-37, 209 yards, three interceptions) and a 115.3 rating when targeting the tight ends (11-of-12, 140 yards). Doyle has 10 catches and 120 yards on 11 targets and Brandon Williams 1 target, 1 catch and 20 yards.
Doyle has picked up where he left off. His stats since the start of 2016: 69 catches on 86 targets (80.2 percent), 704 yards, 5 TDs, 2 interceptions. That’s a 110.5 passer rating when targeting the former Cathedral High School standout.
“He’s sneaky in a way,’’ Pagano said. “He’s reliable as heck.’’