One of the biggest position battles that will take place during training camp for the Indianapolis Colts is at inside linebacker, where a starting spot is still vacant after the departure of Jerrell Freeman in free agency.
During the offseason program, Nate Irving and Sio Moore received the bulk of the reps at inside linebacker, as D’Qwell Jackson missed some time due to injury. It seems likely that the competition for the starting spot alongside Jackson will come down to either Irving or Moore, though we don’t know anything beyond that.
The Colts don’t either, but they appear confident in the talent they have to be able to handle filling the void left by the productive Freeman.
Well, the view is that we’ve got three really good players there,” defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said today. “And we’ve got a young player that’s going to come along and push those guys and we’ve got some guys that are down on the depth that have also earned the right to compete for those positions. Excited about where all three of those guys – I know you’re talking about Nate [Irving], you’re talking about Sio [Moore], and you’re talking about D.Q. [D’Qwell Jackson] – excited about where all of them are right now. I know that we’re nowhere near saying what our lineup is going to look like and where we’re going to be in five, six weeks from now.”
Those other depth players that Monachino mentioned include Junior Sylvestre (last year’s preseason standout) Antonio Morrison (this year’s fourth round draft pick), Amarlo Herrera (last year’s sixth round draft pick), Josh McNary (a guy who has started five games for Indianapolis over the past two seasons), and Edwin Jackson.
Though those players will be given a chance to compete, it’s likely to come down to Nate Irving and Sio Moore competing for the spot. The position will be one of the biggest things to watch in training camp and preseason, but it’s clear that the Colts’ new defensive coordinator is feeling good about the position. As Ted Monachino said, he feels like the Colts have three good inside linebackers to fill two spots. If that’s the case, it’s always a good problem to have.