The Indianapolis Colts received some good news on Tuesday, as prized rookie center Ryan Kelly returned to practice from a shoulder strain that kept him out during last week’s training camp.
To make matters worse, last year’s starting nose tackle David Parry was not practicing on Tuesday, meaning the Colts were forced to play a patchwork 1st team defensive line of Zach Kerr, T.Y. McGill, and Hassan Ridgeway–missing all of last season’s starting line.
Fortunately, this was one of the deeper units on the Colts roster, but already with Art Jones‘ 4-game suspension and Henry Anderson rehabilitating from a torn ACL, the team’s depth is starting to get very thin in the trenches these days.
Both Zach Kerr and T.Y. McGill have shown flashes of potential and have been productive as rotational defensive lineman, but will need to bring it more consistently if called upon as starters. Meanwhile, promising 4th round pick Hassan Ridgeway has the size and talent to earn immediate reps, but may still remain a bit raw as a rookie.
Otherwise, head coach Chuck Pagano has mentioned 3-year veteran Ricky Lumpkin as another defensive lineman of interest and has spoken glowingly of young undrafted rookie defensive lineman Sterling Bailey and Delvon Simmons.
It’s not time to panic yet, but injuries are starting to build upon the Colts defensive line, and it could eventually become a bigger concern–especially if Langford is not ready by the regular season opener.
As it relates to other injuries, OG Hugh Thornton (ankle), CB Tevin Mitchel (hamstring), OT Joe Reitz (groin-but hopeful for Wednesday), OLB Robert Mathis (knee, rest), WR Marcus Leak (quad) are all day-to-day, while Pagano delivered this nugget of information on punter Pat McAfee–who’s also day-to-day:
"Jun 7, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee (1) walks off the field after finishing practice during mini camp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports“Pat McAfee tweaked his knee in practice, so we just err on the side of caution with him, that’s why we brought in (Michael) Palardy, as far as if we had to play the (Hall of Fame) game,” said Pagano on Tuesday regarding McAfee’s injury. “He (Palardy) would’ve been the punter, kickoff guy. He’s (McAfee’s) day-to-day.”"
The Colts signed punter Michael Palardy last week, as most people speculated it was primarily for another training camp leg and to play in preseason relief of McAfee and possibly Adam Vinatieri–as Palardy has handled field goal, kickoff, and punting duties in the past while at the University of Tennessee.
However, it appears that there’s more to the matter than that.
While McAfee’s injury doesn’t appear to be overly serious, the Colts All-Pro punter did have earlier minor offseason surgery on his non-kicking knee. It makes sense that the Colts are clearly being cautious with his current knee tweak (although it’s unclear which knee) because minor leg injuries can escalate into more serious injuries if not dealt with properly from the get-go–especially for one whose profession purely relies on its legs.