While the Colts offense continues to deal with critical injuries to key personnel, the defense seems to be getting healthier.
At his Monday press conference following the team’s bye week, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said that rookie linebacker Bjoern Werner will practice this week on a limited basis and could be ready to play Sunday when the Colts (5-2) face their divisional rivals, the Texans (2-5). Werner practiced on Monday, but was indeed limited.
Pagano's comments on Werner, via Mike Wells of ESPN:
"We’ll see how he comes in (Tuesday)," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He felt good with what he did leaving the practice field and hopefully he comes in (Tuesday) morning and feels great and then amp it up a little more on Wednesday. Always see the glass half full on that kind of thing."
Drafted with Indy’s No. 24 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Werner has played in only 4 games this season, earning 4 total tackles and half of a sack. He suffered a torn plantar fasciitis in his foot during Indy’s dominating 37-3 win over the Jaguars back in Week 4, and has been out since.
Luckily, the Colts defense hasn’t missed Werner all that much. Indianapolis has 8 sacks in 3 games, including 4 from fellow outside linebacker Robert Mathis, who has a staggering 11.5 for the season thus far. Mathis’ previous career high for a single season? 11.5 back in 2008.
If Werner returns against the Texans, the Colts defense could be as healthy as it’s been all season. Good timing, especially considering the offense is without Reggie Wayne for the reminder of the year. Wayne tore an ACL in Indy’s thrilling Week 7 win over Denver. Even if general manager Ryan Grigson swings another in-season trade, losing Wayne will dramatically affect Indy’s offensive productivity.
This means they will need to lean more on their defense, a defense that is currently ranked 28th against the run and 12th against the pass.