The first roster cuts of the season are just a few days away, as teams must have their rosters cut down from 90 players to 75 players by 4:00 p.m. next Tuesday, August 30. Normally, these cuts are the easier ones, with the tougher decisions coming a few days later with the final cutdown to 53 players due by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 3.
While there are always some difficult roster decisions, things are made more complicated for the Indianapolis Colts this year due to injuries. Consider: Henry Anderson, Kendall Langford, Vontae Davis, Clayton Geathers, Sio Moore, Joe Haeg, and Hugh Thornton are among the Colts players dealing with significant injuries, so if all seven made the roster then the Colts would need to keep certain players based on depth at those positions. Now, some (like Kendall Langford) may be back in time, another could wind up on IR with a designation to return, and Hugh Thornton may very well be cut anyway. So none of this is set in stone, but you at least get the idea of how the Colts’ roster decisions will be heavily impacted by injuries.
“Yeah, absolutely,” head coach Chuck Pagano agreed on Tuesday. “You would like to have 53 guys that are all available. We know right now, for instance, the defensive line we know that there are two players there, one doesn’t count because he is going to miss four games because of a suspension so you can carry an extra guy. But, Henry [Anderson] is in the same boat, he may not be ready by Week 1 probably but you still carry him so you are down to 52 so to speak. You look at the corner situation, you can look at any situation like that, but it is what it is and we’ll make do.”
Here’s how it could really affect things, using the defensive line as an example. Though Kendall Langford hopes to be back by week one and things sound optimistic on that front, if both Langford and Henry Anderson are in danger of missing the game the Colts might have no choice but to carry another defensive lineman past final cuts. Otherwise, they might only have David Parry, Zach Kerr, T.Y. McGill, and Hassan Ridgeway in week one, which leaves the group very thin. So it may be that a roster spot somewhere else is lost because the team needs to carry an extra defensive lineman, and you can find other examples on the roster too.
Injuries are an unfortunate reality of the NFL, and they can have a big impact on a team. For the Colts, they’ll see that impact very clearly as they attempt to cut down their roster to 75 players and then to 53.