The Indianapolis Colts have declared their inactive players for today’s AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots:
- Griff Whalen, WR
- Bjoern Werner, OLB
- Zach Kerr, DL
- Xavier Nixon, OT
- Sheldon Price, CB
- Trent Richardson, RB
Of course, none of the aforementioned players come as a surprise with the exception of Bjoern Werner. The 2nd-year outside linebacker was not listed on this week’s injury report and is consequently a healthy scratch.
Nov 30, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner (92) runs onto the field during player introductions before playing against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
After a largely underwelming regular season, Werner has struggled even more in recent weeks. According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), in the team’s last two playoff games, he has registered overall grades of a -3.3 (Den) and -2.6 (Cin) respectively. It looks like the team has finally pulled the plug on their former 2013 1st round pick for this year, and this will likely serve as a major wake-up call for him to start performing better going forward. On the season, Werner had 50 tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in 15 starts.
It also shows the confidence that the team has in rookie outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome, who has clearly outplayed Werner this year and has 6.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles on the regular season. Not to mention, he had a pivotal sack and forced fumble last weekend against Peyton Manning in the team’s Divisional round win.
Otherwise, Whalen was just signed back to the active roster earlier this week and will receive a considerable pay raise for being on the roster during the AFC Championship game. Zach Kerr and Sheldon Price have been inactive for several weeks as of late. Xavier Nixon missed the team’s plane and was promptly declared “out”. While Trent Richardson missed the team’s walk-through because of a reportedly very serious “family issue” and is also inactive.
Overall, it looks like the Colts brass is no longer concerned with saving face in regards to certain players, but rather looking to place their most effective players out on the field. While both Werner and Richardson played extensively during the regular season, the Colts brass is now primarily concerned with winning a championship as their utmost priority and ultimately admitting to some of their mistakes in the process.
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner (92) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports