According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, Colts’ defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said that although LaRon Landry won’t start for the defense, that he’ll play in a “couple of packages” come Sunday night:
"“Sergio is gonna start and then we’re going to just substitute Landry in,” Manusky said. “We’ve got a couple packages for him. We’ll see how that goes and as the game goes and proceeds, we’re just going to sub them in and out.”"
Sep 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts defensive back Sergio Brown (38) against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
What those packages may pertain to remains unclear. However, this much is certain. Landry has missed the last 5 games because of a PED suspension, and his replacement, Sergio Brown, has clearly outperformed him in those 5 starts, winning the job outright. While Brown isn’t perfect, he’s a far better option in coverage, and with the Patriots running a “bunch-heavy” passing attack, he’s the clear choice right now.
Still, Landry has always been a true “in-the-box safety”. He may be able to provide a physical presence near the goal line or in situational run defense. However, he really has no business being in there on obvious passing downs. Landry may be able to help in certain roles, but shouldn’t be forced into the lineup just for the sake of the Colts getting their high-priced safety back in there to save face.
This is a contending team afterall, and Sunday night’s outcome between the Colts and Patriots could prove to be pivotal in determining potential AFC playoff seeding and the homefield advantage that goes along with it. The Colts need to put their best defense on the field, all politics and salary cap considerations aside, unless they truly want to play in a blizzard in Foxborough come January.
However, per Holder, Landry has also been working with the special teams kick-off unit, showing that he’s still willing to help in any capacity he can, despite the apparent demotion:
"“He’s willing to do whatever he has to do to get out on the field and perform at a high level,” Manusky said."
While Landry’s play this season has drawn some angst among fans, it’s a bit refreshing to see that he’s still a willing team player.