The Indianapolis Colts have downgraded outside linebacker Trent Cole’s status from doubtful to out for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, as he didn’t travel with the team.
Cole didn’t practice at all this week due to a back injury, so while it shouldn’t be a surprise that Cole won’t play, we now know for sure. That brings the number of Colts players already ruled out for Sunday’s game up to five, as Cole joins cornerback Vontae Davis, cornerback Patrick Robinson, safety T.J. Green, and defensive lineman Henry Anderson.
The loss of Cole is an absence at the weakest position on the Colts’ roster: pass rush. Cole has been disappointing since he signed in Indy, but he still is their second-best pass rushing outside linebacker behind Robert Mathis. Last year, he recorded 32 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and three passes defensed in 14 games for the Colts, and in week one this season he he recorded two tackles and a tackle for loss but didn’t register a quarterback hit.
With Cole out, it places even more pressure on Robert Mathis - who was hampered by a foot injury this week and is listed as questionable. Erik Walden, Akeem Ayers, and Curt Maggitt are the other outside linebackers on the roster, and it’s likely that Ayers in particular will see an increased snap count this week in Cole’s absence.
The loss of Trent Cole likely won’t be a huge difference-maker in this game, but it doe just further highlight the massive defensive injury questions. Consider: the players listed as questionable or worse for the Colts this week include their top four cornerbacks, two of their top three safeties, three of their top four defensive linemen, and their top two rush linebackers. Not all of those players will actually miss the game, but still... it’s not pretty for the Colts defense right now.