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Colts vs. Steelers: Bjoern Werner once again inactive; Colts shuffle offensive line

Here are the Colts' inactives for tonight's game versus the Steelers.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach kickoff for tonight's game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers, both teams have released their list of inactive players for the contest.

The majority of the list for the Colts is filled with injured players who were ruled out on Friday, as five of the seven inactive players are dealing with injuries.  Of the two healthy scratches, however, the most notable one is again outside linebacker Bjoern Werner, who is inactive for the third straight game.

Here's the full list of inactives for the Colts, followed by some comments and then the Steelers' inactives:

Andrew Luck, QB (kidney/abdomen)

Phillip Dorsett, WR (ankle)

Josh Thomas, CB

Jerrell Freeman, ILB (hamstring)

Hugh Thornton, G (elbow)

Anthony Castonzo, T (knee)

Bjoern Werner, OLB

Obviously, the fact that the Colts will be playing without four starters is significant, as Luck, Freeman, Thornton, and Castonzo will all be out, while Dorsett will miss yet another game.  In place of Luck, Matt Hasselbeck will make his third straight start and his fifth of the season, and he has done a good job filling in during the franchise quarterback's absence.  A report this morning from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport indicated what we have thought all along: that Luck is expected to return either in week 15 against the Texans or in week 16 against the Dolphins.

As for the starting offensive line tonight, the Colts are forced to change things up once again due to injuries.  Last week with Anthony Castonzo out, they moved starting right tackle Joe Reitz to left tackle and inserted rookie Denzelle Good in the lineup at right tackle, and they will do the same thing again tonight.  Jack Mewhort will stay at left guard and Jonotthan Harrison will stay at center, but they will have a new starting right guard due to Thornton being out.  Lance Louis will get the start there, leaving Todd Herremans and Khaled Holmes (who was questionable for the game but is active) as the depth linemen tonight.  An interesting note is that the starting five tonight will feature a different starter at all five positions from the lineup the Colts entered the season with.

Then there's Bjoern Werner, who is inactive for the third straight game.  The fact that he's one of just two inactives tonight says a lot, and it's beyond clear at this point: the Colts are done with their former first round pick.  Fans have seen for a while that the move was a bust, and it looks like the Colts finally realize that as well.  Werner simply has not produced and the Colts have decided not to dress him on gameday recently as a result.  Head coach Chuck Pagano said the reason is because Werner can't contribute on special teams like other backup linebackers can, and that's true - but the team's actions also show very clearly that they've given up on Werner.

One last interesting thing to note is that cornerback Josh Thomas is inactive, leaving only four active cornerbacks tonight for Indy: Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler, and D'Joun Smith.  Considering the fact that they're going up against one of the league's best and most dangerous passing offenses, that's an interesting move.  With Mike Adams returning to the starting lineup at safety (that's good news for the defense), we could possibly see Clayton Geathers get more work in a nickel or dime role.

Here are the Steelers' inactives for tonight's game:

Mike Vick, QB

Sammie Coates, WR

Jordan Todman, RB

Sean Spence, LB

Byron Stingily, T

Heath Miller, TE

L.T. Walton, DE