Colts Nate Irving: ‘When It’s Time to Strap Up, I’ll Be Ready”


According to recently signed Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Nate Irving, he’ll be ready to go come the start of this year’s regular season (via’s Kevin Bowen):

The 5th-year veteran is still rehabilitating from a torn ACL that he suffered in early November with the Denver Broncos. His knee injury clearly didn’t scare off the Colts though, who signed him to a 3-year, $9.25 million dollar contract this offseason.

Oct 23, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos middle linebacker Nate Irving (56) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

While it was initially thought that Irving could potentially start the season on PUP, it looks as though the 26 year old inside linebacker is confident that he’ll be ready to for Week 1.

The Colts could certainly use his run-stuffing prowess at inside linebacker, as both D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman clearly struggled in that area last season. According to ProFootballFocus (subscription), Irving’s +5.9 grade against the run was the 12th best among all inside linebackers.

In 8 starts last season for the Broncos, Irving recorded 46 tackles and 1 sack. With incumbent Colts starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman sitting out OTA’s because of an unresolved contract, it’s possible that Irving could challenge the former for the other starting inside linebacker spot alongside D’Qwell Jackson, assuming he’s fully recovered.

At the very least, one has to wonder if the Colts could see a platoon system at one of the inside linebacker spots. That is, having Irving in there situationally on running downs, while Freeman plays on passing downs. Irving is stout against the run, but struggles a bit in coverage, while Freeman is typically at his best in coverage. By pairing the two together in a platoon, the Colts could theoretically get the best of both worlds. It makes for an interesting thought.

Regardless, it’s encouraging news to hear that Irving believes he’ll be ready to go for the start of the regular season, as he can certainly help the Colts defense against the run, even if it’s in a situational role.

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