Nate Irving’s Return Still Unclear for Training Camp
According to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, the debut of new Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Nate Irving is still uncertain for training camp:
"“Yeah with Nate, we’ll see how it goes,” said Manusky. “He’s still got a couple of days. I know we’re not doing anything today, but tomorrow, talking with the trainers, training staff, and with the head coach, we’ll figure out the best time frame for him and whenever he comes back, he’ll be great for us.”"
The 5th-year veteran is still rehabilitating from a torn ACL he suffered last November as a member of the Denver Broncos. Despite the significant knee injury, the Colts were confident enough in his recovery to give Irving a 3-year, $9.25 million contract earlier this offseason.
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Nate Irving (56) reacts after his sack in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
While veteran pass rusher Robert Mathis has drawn the majority of headlines regarding his murky return, Irving is also rehabilitating from his own significant injury. The latter has said that he’ll be ready to go by the start of the regular season, but that ultimately could end up being overly optimistic.
Like Mathis, Irving could be a serious candidate to start training camp on PUP.
When healthy, the 27-year old inside linebacker figures to upgrade the middle of the Colts often suspect run defense. Per ProFootballFocus (subscription), his +5.9 grade in run defense was the 12th best among all inside linebackers last season. Even with his struggles in coverage, Irving could be a strong asset for the Colts defense if used situationally against the run.
Last season, in 8 games, Irving recorded 46 tackles and a sack before suffering a season-ending torn ACL.
With the Colts, he figures to spell either of the incumbent starters in D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman in run defense upon his return.
It’s still up in the air though of when that return will actually be.
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