The Indianapolis Colts have ruled four players out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, as head coach Chuck Pagano said today that right guard Denzelle Good, defensive lineman Art Jones, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and right tackle Joe Reitz will all be out.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that these guys are out, as they missed practice time this week with their injuries. Good returned on a limited basis on Wednesday but was out after that, which wasn’t a good sign as he was going through the concussion protocol. Moncrief missed all week with a hamstring injury suffered last week, and then Reitz missed all week with a back injury. Jones appeared on the injury report yesterday as he missed practice with a groin injury.
The most significant aspect of these injuries pertains to the offensive line, which will see major changes this Sunday as they’ll be without three “starters.” Left guard Jack Mewhort was placed on IR with a knee injury this week, right guard Denzelle Good is out with a concussion, and right tackle Joe Reitz is out with a back injury. That leaves a couple of holes along the offensive line. Anthony Castonzo will still start at left tackle, Ryan Kelly will still start at center, and Joe Haeg will still start somewhere. It’s likely that Jonotthan Harrison will get the start at left guard, which is where he came in to play last week after Mewhort got injured. That leaves questions about the right side, and we know that Haeg will get one of those two spots. He’s settled in to starting at right guard it seems, but keep in mind that the last time the Colts had a similar situation on the right side they started Haeg at tackle and Austin Blythe at guard. Blythe struggled, but they were more confident in him at guard than Le’Raven Clark at tackle. Has that changed? Clark has played hardly any snaps this year, but the Colts could choose to start him at right tackle if they wish to keep Haeg at guard. The best option (though none are ideal), though, seems to be the one that doesn’t have Clark starting.
It’s also very significant for the Colts to lose Moncrief for the game, as he’s a capable receiver and a huge red zone threat. He’s caught 28 passes for 227 yards and six touchdowns this year in eight games, and the only two games in which he hasn’t caught a touchdown are the two in which he left early with an injury. Moncrief is a good player, but losing him also means that Phillip Dorsett will be the number two wideout this week, which most certainly isn’t a great situation for the Colts. After that, they’ll have Chester Rogers and Devin Street. In other words? Expect a lot of T.Y. Hilton (who’s only 51 yards away from passing Julio Jones for the NFL lead in receiving yards this year with Jones not playing this week) and the tight ends (Jack Doyle and Dwayne Allen) in the passing game.