All week long it seemed unlikely that Colts starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) and starting defensive lineman Arthur Jones (ankle) would play against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday, and we now have confirmation: neither will play. In addition, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said today that linebacker - turned fullback - turned linebacker Mario Harvey (hamstring) is out as well and will also miss the game.
For Freeman, it will be the third straight game he has missed after starting the first 33 of his NFL career. He didn't practice at all this week. For Jones, this will be the second straight game he has missed after suffering a high ankle sprain in week two. While the absence of those two will be big ones for the Colts, they weren't unexpected and they don't come as a surprise.
Perhaps of bigger concern right now for the Colts is the status of starting right guard Hugh Thornton, who is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. That designation almost always means the player won't be playing, and listening to Pagano talk today it would seem to suggest that will be the case. In the likelihood that Thornton can't go, Pagano said that Joe Reitz, Lance Louis, and Jonotthan Harrison are all options to fill in, though the coach wouldn't give inside information as to who it would be getting the start.
Reitz suffered a high ankle sprain in preseason and missed the first three games, but this week he has been a full participant every day and it sounds like he will go this Sunday. If he really is healthy, I think he is the best option to replace Thornton at right guard. Last week, Lance Louis was a healthy scratch despite the team knowing Reitz wasn't ready to return yet. While he is an option, I don't think him being a healthy scratch last week inspires confidence in him starting this week - or in the coaches naming him the starter. Also, keep in mind that last week when Thornton went down, center Jonotthan Harrison came in for eight snaps. Granted, neither Reitz nor Louis was available in-game, but Pagano still says that Harrison is an option. I would guess that it'll be Reitz starting Sunday, but that's dependent upon how truly ready the coaches consider him to be. At this point, it sounds like he indeed is ready to go.
And here's just some pure speculation for you to consider: if the coaches like Harrison better at guard than Khaled Holmes, and since A.Q. Shipley has already been named the starting center, plus considering the fact that Harrison can be a backup at center as well, could it be possible that Khaled Holmes might be an inactive in his first game truly being healthy? Do you think that Holmes would be active ahead of Joe Reitz, Lance Louis, Jonotthan Harrison, or Jamon Meredith? It's certainly possible, but it's in no way guaranteed. Just an interesting thought, that's all.
Lastly, safety Colt Anderson and linebacker Andy Studebaker are both questionable, per Chuck Pagano. Both are backup players at their respective positions but are big contributors on special teams. Their absence, if they can't go, would be felt most in the area of special teams coverage.
Listed as probable for the Colts are: CB Darius Butler, CB Vontae Davis, WR T.Y. Hilton, OL Joe Reitz, CB Greg Toler, and OLB Erik Walden. They will play on Sunday.
And as a bit of Titans news, it sounds very likely that we'll see Charlie Whitehurst instead of Jake Locker this Sunday.
Jake Locker hasn't played well last two weeks. Makes absolutely no sense to play him with very little practice time this week #Titans— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 26, 2014
If you have Titans QB Charlie Whitehurst on your fantasy team, I'd say it's safe 2 put him in lineup. Only 0.1% own him in league I'm in tho— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 26, 2014
One final thought on Jake Locker: If he plays Sunday, I'll discard my white Dodgers visor. And I love my white Dodgers visor— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 26, 2014
Jim Wyatt is as good of a reporter as there is covering the Titans, so there's no reason to doubt him.