Colts catch big break vs Lions due to COVID-19 protocols
By Jerry Trotta
COVID-19 protocols will give the Colts a big break in Week 8 against the Lions.
The Indianapolis Colts’ upcoming foe, the Detroit Lions, made the biggest trade of the deadline sweepstakes on Tuesday when they struck a deal with the Dallas Cowboys for veteran defensive end Everson Griffen.
To say that acquisition fills a glaring need for Detroit would be an understatement as the team currently ranks 27th in the NFL with just 1.3 sacks per game. At 32 years old, Griffen isn’t quite the force up front he was during his prime, but it goes without saying that he will serve as a significant upgrade in comparison to what the Lions have been rolling with through the first seven weeks of the season.
Luckily for Indianapolis, however, Griffen won’t be available for Sunday’s showdown due to the fact that he has to clear COVID-19 protocols first.
Talk about catching a break. By no stretch of the imagination was Griffen having a spectacular season with Dallas after inking a one-year, $6 million contract in the offseason. Through seven games, the former fourth-round pick has racked up 20 tackles (three for loss), 2.5 sacks and six QB hits with a pedestrian 56.6 pass-rushing grade from Pro Football Focus.
With that being said, however, Griffen was hitting his stride over the last two contests and is still more than capable of completely altering the complexion of a game. Who’s to say he wouldn’t have done that against the Colts? After all, there’s been at least one player each week this season who has absolutely popped off against head coach Frank Reich’s side.
The reason Griffen won’t be on the field on Sunday boils down to the fact that he has to test negative for five days before he can enter Detroit’s facility. Assuming he left Dallas as soon as possible (who wouldn’t?), the earliest he could begin working with the Lions would be Sunday — assuming he doesn’t test positive — and he obviously wouldn’t play without practicing.
Instead of adding Griffen to the mix in a huge matchup, Detroit will continue rolling with a front seven that features the likes of Jamie Collins, Trey Flowers and Danny Shelton, all of whom have combined to register just three sacks and seven QB hits between them. For context, Colts DT DeForest Buckner has compiled 2.5 sacks and 13 QB hits by himself this season.
In other words, Indianapolis offensive line should be able to hold their own (and then some) against Detroit on Sunday afternoon.