The Indianapolis Colts were dealt some significant injury blows, as both superstar quarterback Andrew Luck and emerging young star safety Clayton Geathers are in the league’s concussion protocol with their availability for Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in serious doubt.
It’s speculated that Luck was concussed on this early 4th quarter sack–when his helmet violently snapped back to the turf, while Geathers suffered his own head injury on a game-saving final 4th down stop of Titans running back DeMarco Murray.
In Luck’s place, the Colts are planning on starting backup quarterback Scott Tolzien, whose last career start actually came on November 24, 2013, while with the Green Bay Packers–exactly 3 years to the day if he starts on Thanksgiving.
Despite Tolzien’s limited amount of playing time in recent seasons, his head coach Chuck Pagano remains confident in his ability to fill in admirably for Luck–if it actually comes to it:
"“He’s got a limited amount of exposure, but he’s a pro,” said Pagano on Tolzien. “Again, if he has to roll and be the guy, he’ll do a great job. He prepares really well, every single day.”"
Otherwise, the Colts should fare much better at safety than quarterback. While Geathers has been arguably their best defensive player in recent weeks, the Colts will presumably start rookie T.J. Green alongside veteran Mike Adams, which isn’t nearly the downgrade as at quarterback.
Geathers potential loss will no doubt be felt though, especially with the 6’1″, 225 pound Le’Veon Bell looking to power-run the football for Pittsburgh.
On the coverage side, it’s quite possible that the Colts could deploy Darius Butler at safety on obvious passing downs facing a prolific Pittsburgh passing attack under Ben Roethlisberger that features superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Meanwhile, Colts Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis was held out of Monday’s practice as purely a rest precaution for his ankle. Joining him was backup cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who apparently was resting a lower back injury.
The Colts will definitely need Davis, as there’s a decent chance he could spend the evening shadowing Brown in coverage.
Certainly, Melvin has played a pivotal role in their secondary in recent weeks too, having held his own in consecutive starts at cornerback.
The encouraging news of the afternoon is that fellow starting cornerback Patrick Robinson, who missed last weekend’s game with a groin injury was a full participant in practice on Monday and appears like he’ll be ready to go for Thursday’s game.
Veteran defensive lineman Art Jones was a limited participant with a knee and ankle injury, but it doesn’t appear overly serious.
Lastly, pass rusher Robert Mathis, who had a sack this past Sunday, was given ‘veteran’s rest’, but that’s simply routine for the 35 year old these days.