It’s safe to say that the Indianapolis Colts desperately miss starting nose tackle Grover Stewart, who is the anchor of the team’s run defense—which the wheels have clearly come off of in his absence.
Of course, Stewart is still serving the last four games of his six-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Prior to his suspension, Stewart was ranked by ESPN analytics as the 6th best defensive tackle in run stop win rate. Big Grove had a run stop win rate of 43%, despite being double-teamed 51% of the time.
Per PFF, his run defense grade of 77.2 remains 9th best at his position.
In his absence, the Colts have been gashed in the opposing run game:
- Week 7, Cleveland Browns: 33 carries for 150 rushing yards (4.5 ypc. avg.) and 3 TDs
- Week 8, New Orleans Saints: 36 carries for 161 rushing yards (4.5 ypc. avg) and 3 TDs
Right now, the Colts don’t have anyone remotely on the defensive roster who can replace Stewart’s ability to be a run-stopping force in the ground game—and it clearly shows.
So why am I telling you this?
To depress you?
It does mean better days are ahead when Stewart returns for this Colts run defense, and if this in fact was an accidental substance/product intake regarding his suspension, the upcoming free agent (and fan favorite) should be in-line for a lucrative multi-year contract extension.