The Indianapolis Colts will play the New England Patriots tonight in the AFC Championship game, and they will be without the players that they used their first round pick on in each of the last two seasons. Both Trent Richardson and Bjoern Werner are inactive for the Colts, the latter of which was a big surprise. Here's the full list of inactives for the Colts against the Patriots, with some notes to follow:
WR Griff Whalen
RB Trent Richardson
CB Sheldon Price
OL Xavier Nixon
OL Jonatthan Harrison
OLB Bjoern Werner
DL Zach Kerr
A few notes:
- Trent Richardson did not travel with the team to New England and missed Saturday morning's walkthrough due to a "very serious family emergency," Richardson told ESPN's Mike Wells Sunday morning. Regardless, it was expected that he wouldn't play anyway, as he was a healthy inactive last week and played just one snap the week before. So his absence won't be missed on the field, but obviously our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family in whatever situation they are dealing with.
- Xavier Nixon, who was likely to be inactive anyway (he was the last two weeks as well), missed the flight to New England and he won't play either.
- Wide receiver Griff Whalen is inactive after being signed to the active roster earlier in the week, and that's no surprise. What's good for him, though, is that he got to travel with the team to New England for the AFC Championship game and get the roster bonus for vein on the team as well.
- Obviously, the big surprise is with Bjoern Werner being inactive. He was the Colts' first round pick in 2013 and has struggled, but for a team that has struggled to get pass rush overall it's a bit of a surprise that he's a healthy inactive for the AFC Championship game. I think this really shows a lot of confidence in Jonathan Newsome (who's a better pass rusher than Werner period) and a lack of confidence in Werner, who hasn't done much since coming into the NFL.
- It'd be easy to bash Ryan Grigson again for the moves to acquire Trent Richardson and draft Bjoern Werner, but I'll go a different route here: I'm glad the Colts are finally doing what's best for the team and not being stubborn. In recent weeks they've really done what's best for the team overall and what gives them the best chance to win, even if it meant benching Richardson and today benching Werner, and I think that's a good thing.
- Here are the Patriots' inactives: <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Patriots inactives: DL Chris Jones; DE Zach Moore, WR Brian Tyms; WR Josh Boyce; C Bryan Stork, OL Jordan Devey; RB James White.</p>— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/556936352512888832">January 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
- Jonas Gray is active tonight for the Patriots.
- The Patriots have just three wide receivers active tonight. I bet they'll be running the ball...