Much of the attention surrounding injuries to key Colts players has been centered on the loss of Andrew Luck, which makes perfect sense considering he's the franchise player at the most important position in the game. That's the biggest story, but it's not the only one relating to injuries.
Rookie defensive end Henry Anderson suffered a torn ACL in the Colts' win over the Broncos that will end his season after a very impressive start to his career. Anderson recorded 31 tackles, a sack, and two passes defensed while starting all nine games for the Colts and was a major factor in the team's run defense. He helped quell the fears of losing Arthur Jones by stepping in and playing very good football as a part of an underrated defensive line featuring Kendall Langford, David Parry, and Anderson. Now, however, Anderson won't be around for the second half of the season, a loss that is a significant one for the Colts that they will now have to deal with and move on from.
If you remember, before the season began there were big questions about the defensive line and about how well they would be able to do particularly after the loss of Arthur Jones. Now, those questions seem to have emerged again at one of the positions along the line as Anderson will miss the remainder of the season.
"It's Billy Winn, Zach Kerr, and T.Y. McGill," head coach Chuck Pagano confirmed today when asked who will replace Anderson. "One of those guys will start at the three-technique and they're just got to rotate through and spell guys at the three, at the nose, at the five-technique."
Billy Winn has shown promise in limited playing time this year, while Zach Kerr and T.Y. McGill both have potential to be solid contributors as well. The Colts will now turn to those three to help fill in for the loss of a player who was likely to be in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
"It's next man up, between Billy, T.Y., and Zach," Pagano said last week before the bye week. "There are three guys that are more than capable and they've got to fill that role now. They've got to play winning football, they just can't come in and be a body in there. All those guys have ability, they love football and they can play. They can play at a high level. They've gone in and made plays before. Zach, you turn on that tape, and Zach did some really good things in the run game and got pressure and pushed the pocket inside. He's a big, athletic guy so those three guys have to step up and they'll step up and they'll meet the challenge."
It's unclear who will get the first shot to replace Anderson as the starter, but we should find out soon enough as the Colts prepare to take on the Atlanta Falcons on the road on Sunday. Whoever it is that winds up in the starting lineup, however, all three will see playing time as a part of a rotation.
The Colts have had questions along their defensive line before, but Henry Anderson, David Parry, and Kendall Langford stepped up to answer them. Now, questions are present once again, and the Colts will need someone else (or multiple players) to step up and answer them this time around. The loss of Anderson is a big one, to be sure, but the Colts hope that they have the talent in-house to fill in.