Indianapolis Colts starting defensive end Kendall Langford will be ‘shut down for a little bit’, as the 9-year veteran is still suffering from lingering effects as a result of an offseason knee surgery:
"“You guys watched him play, and we watched it and he’s been battling through that thing and just never really got right,” said his head coach Chuck Pagano on Friday. “He’s a tough, tough guy. He’s an ironman. He’s a warrior. He wants to play. He wants to be out there. You know that. I know that. His teammates know that.”“But finally, we just said, ‘Let’s shut him down for a little bit’ and get that thing totally healed and calmed down to where he can get back to playing winning football … We’ve just got to give him some time to let that thing heal.”"
The 30 year old initially had a clean-up knee surgery for a ‘chondral defect’ this past offseason, but only missed the preseason for the Colts.
However, having returned, he hasn’t been the same high impact player that the defense saw last season, when he tied for a team high 7 sacks and was arguably the team’s most valuable defensive lineman.
Specifically, per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Langford has just a +38.8 grade overall among “interior defensive lineman” through 7 games, which ranks 117th among 121 qualifiers.
Currently, there’s no definite timetable for Langford’s return, as Pagano didn’t have an answer of whether Langford is ‘week-to-week’:
"“I really don’t know the answer to that,” responded Pagano on Langford’s injury classification."
For the Colts defense, it couldn’t come at much more of an inopportune time.
Currently, fellow starting defensive end Henry Anderson is already out with his own knee injury, meaning the Colts will be heavily relying on 7-year veteran Art Jones, as well as key young rotational defensive lineman such as Zach Kerr, T.Y. McGill, and Hassan Ridgeway–facing a red-hot Kansas City Chiefs rushing attack led by running back Spencer Ware.
Still, there’s no question that this diminished version of Langford wasn’t exactly helping the Colts defense by being anything more than a warm body along the defensive line.
Compared to what we saw last season, he’s been a shell of his former self, so it’s important that the Colts try to get Langford’s knee back to being right, so he can be an impact player defensively in the trenches once again.
Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of Langford’s consecutive game streak of 135 regular season game appearances, which was the longest active streak among NFL defensive lineman.