According to head coach Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts will continue monitoring the status of their starting offensive tackles, Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith, while both starting safety Khari Willis and rookie wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. have entered the league’s concussion protocol (via The Athletic’s Zak Keefer):
Colts injury updates—— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 28, 2020
Anthony Castonzo: team will know more later in the week
Braden Smith: Covid list; if close contact can return Weds
Khari Willis and Michael Pittman: in concussion protocol
Obviously, the status of the Colts’ bookends along the starting offensive line is a key concern heading into Sunday’s must-win game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While Castonzo’s replacement, Will Holden, held his own on the blindside before leaving the game with an ankle injury, ‘the next man up’, veteran J’Marcus Webb struggled—albeit on presumably limited practice reps (having been a recent practice squad promotion), surrendering the game-ending pressure on 4th down (and a total of 2 QB pressures).
Smith’s replacement on the right side, Chaz Green, fared much worse, especially in the first half—allowing at least 2.0 sacks to T.J. Watt (one in which was a strip-sack that led directly to a touchdown, although Mark Glowinski was also to blame) and 4 total QB pressures during Sunday’s loss.
Without their formidable tackle pair holding down the edges, the Colts offensive line surrendered 5 sacks and 8 total QB hits against the Pittsburgh Steelers pass rush, and when the unit fails to consistently protect veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, the offense significantly bogs down.
It did in the second half.
Meanwhile, safety Khari Willis suffered the concussion injury on Sunday and was forced to leave the game—as he entered the team’s blue tent along the sideline. His replacement, veteran safety Tavon Wilson, had some significant struggles in coverage.
Pittman’s concussion was initially undisclosed, but like Willis, he’s also now entered the league’s protocol.
The Colts will be hoping that all of these key players can return in time for Sunday’s desperation game against the Jaguars.
Update (8:57 PM EST): The IndyStar’s Joel Erickson has reported via a source that Colts offensive tackle Will Holden, who started at left tackle last weekend before leaving with an ankle injury, is likely unavailable for this Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Will Holden's ankle injury likely means he'll be unavailable this week, a source says, although it's not too serious.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) December 28, 2020