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Anthony Walker ready to take advantage of extra reps Sunday against Lions

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason the Indianapolis Colts knew that there was a real need for improvement from the inside linebacker corps. Snatching up Jon Bostic and Sean Spence in free agency and adding Anthony Walker in the fifth-round of the draft was necessary to add to the existing talent in order to find legitimate starters for the upcoming season.

Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson accumulated some valuable experience last season, and despite underwhelming at times, some young competition was set into motion for training camp this summer. Injuries have again begun to take their toll on the team and has forced many starters and immediate backups to sit out multiple practices at several positions.

The inside backers are no different. Both Bostic and Morrison have been out of practice most of this week and per Chuck Pagano neither will play Sunday against the Detroit Lions in the first preseason game for the team.

You’d expect it anyhow, but with the two starters sitting out Sunday there’s no question that Walker will be seeing a litany of quality snaps. Walker sees not only the benefit to his game that these opportunities will provide, but to the benefit of the defense as a unit as well.

Colts rookie Anthony Walker at Colts/Lions joint practice Friday
Colts.com

Friday after practice Walker stated “you will never get these reps back. So, while they are getting better and getting healthy, I’ll take advantage of these reps. When they get back we’ll have a strong core ready to go, so anybody can step in and make plays.”

Walker did miss some of the offseason training program due to fulfilling his schooling responsibilities, so the extra time he gets on the field will be a way for him to catch up on what he missed in terms of the playbook and getting a better feel for his role. Walker says he’s been digging in to his playbook ever since, but will soak in all he can learn on the field.

Walker continued, “You try to memorize it [playbook] in your head and everything, but you can never simulate actual reps in a game and how the offense is actually going to play out. So, definitely getting these reps here and all the reps I have been getting throughout the whole summer have been really big for me and my development.”

Walker will have a great opportunity to make a name for himself this Sunday. He’s been somewhat plugged as primarily a special teams contributor this season by most of us who cover the Colts, but we all know how the preseason works. Sean Spence will be trying to get himself noticed as well after being very quiet during practices.

While these two are working together on the field Sunday, as well as when getting mixed in with Jackson and Luke Rhodes, will have every chance he could hope for to make some strides up the depth chart. He feels that he’s already taken some big steps since joining the team saying “I came in and just I know the scheme a little bit – Not where I want to be right now, but definitely I took a huge step I believe from when I first got here to now.”

Aside from it being due in large part to injuries, I’m glad we get to watch more of these young players like Walker to gauge for ourselves what we have in our draft picks and other new additions. Sunday could make for a very productive day for a handful of them, and for that I can’t wait to watch.