The funk of bad news regarding injuries was temporarily lifted yesterday when the Indianapolis Star reported that starting corner Jerraud Powers expects to play against the Bengals this Sunday. Powers has been bothered by a chronic foot injury that has plagued him since last year. However, his value to the team is quite high as he is, currently, the best corner the Colts have (even though he makes a fraction of the dough Kelvin Hayden makes).
Speaking of Hayden: Is he even starting caliber anymore?
With Justin Tryon also returning this week, one has to wonder if the Colts aren't considering benching Hayden, who has not played up to the five-year, $43 million contract he signed last year. For much of 2010, Tryon has outplayed Hayden, and if we continue to see this trend, I don't want to hear Colts brass laud how 'only the best players play' regardless of draft stock, contract, etc. Kelvin Hayden has played poorly all season, and yet is still starting. Going out on a limb and saying that the only reason he is still starting is because Jim Irsay is paying him $43 mill.
The return of Tryon and Powers will aid a very battered Colts secondary that has shown a tendency to give up big plays. Remember, the #1 priority of a Tampa-2 defense is to not surrender the big play. But, with Larry Coyer's 'tweaks,' we have seen more big plays given up this season than in the previous two.
My hope is Hayden can somehow turn it around, because a healthy CB crop of Hayden, Powers, Tryon, and Lacey is a good one. What is vital moving forward is that NO MORE INJURIES! Seriously, this has gotten ridiculous.
With the secondary, a healthy group of corners can assist in masking the awful safety play of Aaron Francisco. I'm not going to jump all over Francisco because, let's face it, the guy really should be out of football. He's a nice special teams player, but he has no business playing safety in the NFL. He's bad in run support. He's late with help over the top. He doesn't tackle particularly well.
In essence, he's a warm body out there.
Francisco is the fourth player to man the strong safety position this year after the Colts lost Melvin Bullitt and Jamie Silva for the 2010 season. Bob Sanders, who started Week One at safety, has been out since then with a biceps injury. The Colts are banking on Sanders to return in early December. They know, full and well, that this team has no shot to make or win in the playoffs without better safety play.
They are beating on Sanders returning and making an impact. If he does, the Colts are contenders. If he doesn't, we either miss the playoffs or are one-and-done.
But, for right now, the good news is Powers could be back, and getting our DBs healthy is a big step forward.
[UPDATE]: Phil Wilson Tweeted recently that despite Tryon's intentions, he likely will not play Sunday.