The Indianapolis Colts announced on Friday that the team has ruled out safety Khari Willis (concussion), cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (concussion), and offensive tackle Will Holden (ankle) ahead of Sunday’s must-win game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The team also signed OG/OC Joey Hunt from the practice squad to the active roster, as he had previously been on the Practice Squad/COVID-19 list.
Losing Willis is a big blow for the Colts starting secondary, as he has been really good helping solidify their backend at safety—featuring all-around coverage skills, effective tackling, and instinctive overall play.
It also hurts that his replacement, veteran safety Tavon Wilson, struggled in coverage last weekend in relief against the Pittsburgh Steelers—albeit in limited snaps.
Otherwise, 2nd-year cornerback Rock Ya-Sin has had a ‘rocky’ season with the Colts and essentially has been splitting snaps with veteran cornerback T.J. Carrie along the outside.
Expect Carrie to assume full-time cornerback duties on the other side of Xavier Rhodes.
Lastly, Holden’s loss is a significant one too. He held his own last weekend at starting left tackle—filling in for Anthony Castonzo, before he was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury.
His replacement, J’Marcus Webb, really struggled in pass protection along the blindside.
While Holden’s injury isn’t serious, and he could be back for a potential playoff game—as soon as next weekend, the Colts don’t have a clear ‘Plan D’ right now—as the options include starting Webb, having All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson moonlight at left tackle again, starting the recently signed veteran Jared Veldheer, or flipping starter Braden Smith from right tackle.
Which brings me to the last point, if the Colts were to start Nelson at left tackle, it could be the recently promoted Joey Hunt, who could receive the start at the vacant left guard spot.
After all, it was Hunt, not rookie Danny Pinter, who received the nod when Nelson last moonlighted at left guard during Week 14 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
If nothing else, Hunt should provide additional interior offensive line depth to the Colts. In order to promote Hunt, the Colts placed Castonzo on season-ending injured reserve.