Trying to guess who the Colts will have available in the front seven of the defense on Sunday is like solving a 1,000-piece puzzle.
Inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Kavell Conner, defensive end Cory Redding and nose tackle Antonio Johnson are the four players in the front seven who have been in the starting lineup for each of the Colts five games this season.
After those four, it has been a wait and see approach week-to-week for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
For the second straight week, the Colts will be without defensive tackle Fili Moala.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis is hoping to return to the lineup after missing the Jets game with a knee injury.
Redding’s status is up in the air after leaving the Jets game in the first half.
Inside linebacker Pat Angerer is looking to see his first action of the season as a foot injury during the preseason has sidelined the Colts leading tackler from last season.
The Colts are already without nose tackles Brandon McKinney and Martin Tevaseu.
Defensive linemen Ricardo Matthews and Drake Nevis have seen action in every game this season and their health has been critical among a defensive front that has seen its fair share of fronts.
Currently three Colts defensive linemen on the active roster have been in Indianapolis for less than two weeks (defensive end Clifton Geathers was signed on Oct. 3, nose tackle Antonio Dixon was signed on Oct. 9 and defensive end Lawrence Guy was signed on Tuesday).
Offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t know who will be out there on Sunday, but can’t thank his staff enough for dealing with so many new faces.
“It’s a credit to the coaching staff to do what they’re doing. Our backup defensive line right now has a cumulative after today 10 practices. So, that’s a lot of new.”
“(Defensive line) Coach (Gary) Emanuel is earning his paycheck and he’s doing a heck of a job and we’ll see how it goes. We might get fortunate enough to get a couple guys back and they won’t have to play. But we’ll get ready for them to play and we’ll see how it goes.”
Freeman, the Colts leading tackler, hasn’t been in the NFL for more than a year but even he admitted that it seems like he’s introducing himself on a daily basis.
“New guys coming every day. That’s just the nature of this business,” Freeman said. “People come and go all the time. I just have to do what I can to keep my spot, keep my position.”
The middle of the front seven has remained intact (Johnson, Freeman and Conner) through the first five games but it’s the outside that has needed to be reshuffled.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney missed two of the first three games of the season and the Colts are still waiting to get their Pro Bowl duo on the outside together for longer than one game.
Mathis considers himself a fast healer and while he is hoping to play this weekend, he knows whoever is on that active roster must accomplish the task they were brought in to do.
“Whoever’s out there has to do their job. Everybody is here because they are special in some way. If you are on the field, you have to do your job, whether it’s pass rushing, defending passes, or throwing passes. You just have to get the job done.”
Tags: Antonio Dixon, brandon mckinney, bruce arians, Clfiton Geathers, cory redding, Dwight Freeney, Fili Moala, gary emmanuel, Greg Manusky, Jerrell Freeman, kavell conner, Lawrence Guy, Martin Tevaseu, pat angerer, robert mathis
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When Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden greet each other on the field Sunday morning, it won’t be the first time the two have crossed paths on the gridiron this season.
Luck’s and Stanford fell to Weeden’s Oklahoma State Cowboys 41-38 in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2012.
It took a while, but the shootout between the two future first round quarterbacks lived up the hype.
Compared to the rest of the game, the first quarter had minimal fireworks with Luck providing the lone touchdown.
Cardinal wide receiver Ty Montgomery hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Luck in giving Stanford a 7-0 lead after one quarter.
Stanford running back Jeremy Stewart added a touchdown run early in the second quarter and it appeared the Cardinal were in control.
However, Weeden proved why he set a plethora of school records with a splendid quarter.
Weeden would get the Cowboys on the scoreboard with a 67-yard touchdown pass to fellow future first round draft pick Justin Blackmon.
Stanford answered behind a perfect 5-of-5 drive for 60 yards by Luck. Running back Stepfan Taylor capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown run to give the Cardinal a 21-14 lead late in the second quarter.
With 2:25 left in the first half, the Cowboys were able to use up almost the entire first half clock as Weeden scored from two yards out on a third-and-goal to tie the score at 21 at halftime.
The third quarter was quiet compared to the previous stanza with Luck throwing the only touchdown of the frame.
Tight end Zach Ertz scored on a 16-yard touchdown to regain the lead for the Cardinal.
Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharp would add a field goal late in the quarter cutting into the Stanford lead 28-24, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cardinal knocked in a field goal of their own on the second play of the fourth quarter pushing their lead back to a touchdown.
However, Weeden and Blackmon continued their stellar evening with another touchdown, this one from 17 yards out to tie the game.
Stanford and Oklahoma State would trade rushing touchdowns on the next two possessions with the Cardinal looking to win the game with the scored tied at 38 and 2:35 remaining.
Luck and the offense drove all the way down to the Cowboys 17-yard line but kicker Jordan Williamson missed a game-winning field goal and the teams headed to overtime.
In overtime, the Cardinal struggled to move the football and Williamson’s 43-yard field goal was no good.
Weeden drove the Cowboys down to the Cardinal five-yard line and Sharp connected on a 22-yard game-winning field goal to bring the Fiesta Bowl Trophy back to Stillwater, Okla.
For the game, Luck was 27-of-31 for 341 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Weeden was 29-of-42 for 399 yards, four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing), and one interception.
Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur evaluated the game film from the Fiesta Bowl shootout and saw two quarterbacks he believes will flourish in the NFL.
“It was obvious early on in that game it was going to come down to one of the last possessions,” Shurmur said. “I watched that game and said, both these guys are going to be playing on Sunday and be playing, hopefull,y on Sunday for a long time.”
Tags: Andrew Luck
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The Indianapolis Colts today signed defensive end Lawrence Guy from the Green Bay Packers practice squad to the active roster.
Guy, 6-4, 300 pounds, was originally selected by the Packers in the seventh round (233rd overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, but spent the entire season on Injured Reserve. Guy was waived on August 31, 2012 and signed to the Packers practice squad on September 3.
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