We got some nice news yesterday afternoon: Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney are ready to play. Sadly, because it is kind of my job to relay all kinds of information to you (the loyal readers of Stampede Blue), I must now act as the bearer of bad news.
The Colts are hurt. Like, a lot.
I just finished listening to Colts Friday Night on Colts.com, and Bill Polian sounds like he just got back from a funeral. The cause of his sadness is the Colts could have as many as 10 players unable to play tomorrow; and with the first roster cutdown coming, Bill Polian is openly kicking himself for agreeing to have the Colts play in the Hall of Fame game (an extra pre-season game). In fact, Polian is even calling it the worst decision he's made.
Well Bill, you know I love you, even though you act like a guy who needs a good slap across the face. We Colts fans love you, even though you sometimes treat us like small children. But agreeing to the HoF game wasn't your worst mistake. I can think of so many more (Corey Simon, Mike Wells, Jeff Burris, pretty much anyone you drafted on defense from 1998-2002, Vic Fangio, and probably a few more if I think long enough).
Polian says the Colts defense is "decimated" with injuries. Defensive players who will not play are Tyjuan Hagler, Ed Johnson, Marcus Howard, Curtis Johnson, Freddie Keiaho, and Raheem Brock. Eric Foster is also a little hurt, but he will play. As many as 4 DEs will not play, and with Freeney playing very limited snaps, we may even see (gulp!) Jordan Senn at DE on Sunday. Oy vey.
On offense, there will be no Peyton Manning, Ryan Lilja, Tom Santi, or Mike Pollak. With Pollak now hurt, it's pretty much a given Charlie Johnson is now the starting OG. Suposedly, Santi is ready to go, but with so many injuries, the Colts will likely put him on the inactive PUP list (which means Santi can come back and play in 6 weeks). So, basically the main players we want and need to see (Howard, Santi, Curtis, Pollak, Peyton) will not play.
So much for this pre-season game as a dress rehearsal.
Don't be surprised to see the Colts pull "starters" after a few series. With this many guys hurt, it is just not smart to play starters well into the third quarter. Most of these injuries have occurred in practice, which makes me wonder again just how good the Colts training staff is. Dungy keeps his practices light. So, how are these guys getting hurt? Freddie KO, Big Ed, Pollak, and Brock were all hurt in the last few days.
I guess we should just roll with it and enjoy seeing The Lube on the tube. The stadium does indeed look beautiful.