The Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder is reporting that the Indianapolis Colts have been awarded veteran pass rusher Shaun Phillips off waivers today. The 33-year old pass rusher was released by the Tennessee Titans yesterday afternoon. The 11-year veteran pass rusher has 19 tackles and 2 sacks on the season in 11 games. He is 58th on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 81.5 career sacks. He is also a former Purdue Boilermaker, having been originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 4th round of the 2004 NFL Draft:
Yesterday, I expressed my opinion that Shaun Phillips doesn’t make much sense because he’s been widely ineffective as a pass rusher and doesn’t offer much of anything else:
"According to the advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus, Phillips has an overall grade of -6.6, which places him 43rd of the 48 outside linebackers that have played at least 25% of their team’s defensive snaps. Even worse, his pass rush grade is -7.1, which ranks 46th of the 48 outside linebackers that meet the aforementioned criteria. That pass rush grade is behind Erik Walden (24th), Jonathan Newsome (25th), and Bjoern Werner (30th)."
Shaun Phillips of the Denver Broncos sacks Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 20, 2013 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
However, the Colts clearly believe he has something left in the tank as a pass rusher and is worth the gamble. Per Holder, “The Colts assume the balance of Phillips’ two-year, $5 million contract. But the Colts could get out of the contract after the season because much of its guaranteed money has already been paid.”
It looks like a low-risk, high reward proposition. If it doesn’t work out, the Colts could be left with a player that is a one-trick pony, who hasn’t done that particular trick all that well this season in rushing the passer. However, it only looks to be a one-year commitment financially.
Still, Phillips is coming off a recent double-digit, 10 sack season with the Denver Broncos in 2013, so it could’ve just been that he wasn’t properly utilized by the Tennessee Titans’ defensive scheme. A change of scenery from an AFC bottom feeder in the Titans to a playoff team in the Colts could bring out the best in the veteran Phillips once again. Potentially playing for a Super Bowl can sometimes have that effect.