The Colts took a gamble on Xavier Rhodes. Was it worth it?
Xavier Rhodes had a nightmare 2019 season with the Minnesota Vikings, which resulted in the team straight up cutting him. Once one of the best defensive backs in the game, Rhodes’ fall from grace has arguably been among the worst seen this decade.
However, many viewed 2019 as an outlier when you look at his success from 2013-2018, which included two Pro Bowls and a First-Team All-Pro selection. Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard was likely one of those people, and he decided to take a low-risk, high-reward move in signing Rhodes to join the team’s struggling secondary.
It certainly wasn’t a dumb move, but after Week 1, it just looks like the “high-reward” part of this isn’t going to pan out. There’s still plenty of time, since Rhodes has likely yet to master the defensive scheme and get comfortable with his new teammates, but it’s hard to look worse than he did against the Jaguars. It looked like 2019 all over again.
One could assume Rhodes was tasked with covering Keelan Cole there once the motion man went across the formation. If that was indeed the case, Rhodes took it upon himself to bite on the play-action worse than you could ever imagine and allow his man to get a free release, resulting in a touchdown. We get that the Colts mostly run a zone scheme, but this is unacceptable for an eight-year veteran (who also recently claimed to be loving his new scheme!).
And this isn’t anything new. A lot of his issues in 2019 with Minnesota involved getting absolutely torched, whether it was bad decision-making or poor technique. Now that he’s not strictly playing man-to-man, like he was with the Vikes, he has the liberty of peeking into the backfield in zone, and it’s clear that could be another problem.
If he’s grading THIS poorly against one of the worst offenses in the league, how can he be trusted for the rest of the way against teams like the Vikings, Packers, Texans, Steelers and Titans?
We’re not sitting here diagnosing how Rhodes will perform for the rest of the way, but for a veteran player who was excited to execute his job in this new scheme and BADLY needed a promising start against one of the worst teams in the league, the start of this experiment doesn’t have Colts fans feeling optimistic.
Perhaps a matchup against his former team and then the lowly Jets can turn things around.