The Indianapolis Colts have injuries at the inside linebacker position heading into Sunday night's game against the New England Patriots, leading them to make a roster move earlier this morning. The Colts promoted inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera from the practice squad to the 53-man active roster, and to make room for him they waived return specialist Marcus Thigpen.
Herrera was drafted by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Georgia, where he played in 54 games (43 starts) and recorded 334 tackles (21 for loss), 3.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 11 passes defensed, and three interceptions. He impressed during preseason, and he was a player that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky praised as a player he could trust with the calls on the field. Herrera was good enough in preseason that he earned a spot on the 53-man roster after final cuts, but he was waived a day later. Since then, he has been on the Colts' practice squad for the first five weeks of the season.
Starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been dealing with a groin injury that caused him to miss last Thursday's game, and he is officially questionable for this weekend's game. Another inside linebacker, Nate Irving, is listed as questionable with a knee injury. That left just D'Qwell Jackson, Josh McNary, and Sio Moore at inside linebacker, so the signing of Herrera gives the team depth at the position and a player who is familiar with the system. We still don't know whether Freeman or Irving will be able to play, but you have to think that the signing of Herrera isn't a great sign that they will be ready.
Marcus Thigpen was signed earlier this week by the Colts as a return specialist, which was initially a confusing move. Griff Whalen was coming off of his best career game as a returner and had proven to be a solid, reliable guy in the return game - not a dynamic guy by any means, but someone who wouldn't mess things up. It seemed as if the Colts wanted something more than that, however, which led to the signing of Thigpen. It was a signing that was confusing even to members inside the Colts organization, it seems, as the Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder reported that there were people with the Colts who didn't even know they were bringing in Thigpen. Regardless, injuries at the inside linebacker position necessitated adding more depth, and Thigpen was the logical choice to be waived to make room for Amarlo Herrera.