Today Indianapolis Colts fans learned that Robert Turbin will be sidelined with a suspension due to a PED violation to begin the 2018 season. Turbin took to social media in order to get his statement out before the media grabbed hold of it.
Turbin was a crucial part of the Colts backfield last season as Marlon Mack was allowed to grow as a rookie and Frank Gore handled the majority of the snaps on early downs. Turbin was a specialist on third- or fourth-and-short to go and was quite successful in getting the offense some first downs.
He was expected to fall into a similar role for the 2018 season and with Mack out for most of the offseason program, Turbin was utilized as the primary back. Dependent upon the appeal process, Turbin could be facing a 4-game absence, thus leaving the Colts backfield with very little experience returning from a year ago.
The Colts look even smarter for drafting two running backs in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, and will now open up the opportunity for each of them to earn a great deal more snaps. While Turbin is definitely out for the first portion of the season, whether or not he remains on the roster is still very much in the air.
Christine Michael and Josh Ferguson are also on the roster, and will now use this situation to gain the attention of the coaching staff, but neither of them really fit the mold as a replacement for Turbin’s role if we’re being honest.
This may result in another move from Chris Ballard to acquire an available short-yardage back to complement what they currently have, but more importantly this should light a fire under Mack to polish up his game as a pass protector. If Mack hopes to establish himself more as a feature back in what looks to be a ‘by committee’ approach, it’ll be necessary.
But, is he really cut from that cloth? We should all hope so.