The Colts will be without two of their top three cornerbacks on Monday night as they play the Jets, as head coach Chuck Pagano announced today that Darius Butler and Greg Toler are both ruled out. Furthermore, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and outside linebacker Robert Mathis are both questionable for the game.
When it comes to Hilton, however, Chuck Pagano is even more optimistic that the receiver will play. "He looked good," Pagano said, according to FOX59's Mike Chappell. "Still got two days." In fact, Pagano is optimistic enough that Hilton will play that he said today that he expects Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis to shadow the Colts' top wideout around the field. If it's at all possible that Hilton could play, simply drawing Revis in coverage and leaving others to not be covered by the star corner would be a big contribution.
For the second straight week, Robert Mathis is expected to be a game-time decision. It seems as if there's a much better chance of seeing Mathis out there on the field this week than there was a week ago, if only as a situational pass rusher on a very limited snap count. Hopefully, he'll be out there as the Colts return to Lucas Oil Stadium for their home opener.
The biggest concern, however, is the cornerback position. They obviously still have Vontae Davis, who is a shutdown corner and might shadow Brandon Marshall, but after that? Greg Toler, the number two starter, is still out with his neck injury. Darius Butler, the number three corner who started last week in place of Toler, is out this week with a hip injury. And D'Joun Smith, the likely number four corner, was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return yesterday after undergoing a surgical procedure on his knee. So that leaves training camp standouts Jalil Brown and Sheldon Price to step up, as well as Eric Patterson, who was signed to the active roster yesterday. That's a very underwhelming group, outside of Davis.