Colts: Should fans be concerned about Julian Blackmon?
By Jerry Trotta
The Indianapolis Colts have already seen two key members of their offense, Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson, go down with foot injuries that required surgery, so they can ill afford for the same thing to happen to one of their starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Luckily for Matt Eberflus, the Colts’ defense has escaped the first 10 days of training camp without any significant injury news.
While it hurts that Darius Leonard, who just became the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history this weekend, isn’t practicing while he recovers from a minor ankle procedure he underwent in June, there really isn’t a level of concern regarding his long-term availability.
Having said that, should fans be worried about Julian Blackmon? The budding safety hasn’t participated in the last few practices, albeit for precautionary reasons, due to a knee injury, and we’re a little concerned he’s feeling the effects from ACL surgery.
Should Colts fans be concerned about Julian Blackmon?
It’s worth noting Frank Reich didn’t reveal which knee is limiting Blackmon, so there’s a chance it isn’t the one tore up in his final college game for Utah.
That injury saw Blackmon fall to the third-round of last year’s draft, where the Colts happily scooped him up and he rewarded their faith with a truly impressive rookie season, tallying 42 tackles (three for loss), two interceptions, six passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Blackmon got off to a roaring start, but tailed off in the latter stages of the campaign, and it ultimately became clear that was attributed to knee fatigue, which is understandable for a player coming off ACL surgery who started 14 games and played 89% (!) of the defensive snaps.
The Colts were limited at safety and Blackmon displayed remarkable consistency for a rookie defensive back, so it’s easy to see why they played him as much as they did. We just hope his fatigue and being held out of practice isn’t the result of him being overworked.
The good news? Despite not practicing, Blackmon was heavily involved in Indy’s 7-v-7 drill on Sunday, studying the play sheet while calling out audibles and instructions.
That’s a great sign, and suggests Blackmon’s absence was merely precautionary.
However, we’d feel a lot better about his outlook for the preseason, and eventually the regular season if he got in a few practices before Sunday’s preseason opener vs the Panthers.
Since it’s only training camp and Blackmon jumped right into action last year without a full offseason or preseason slate and performed well, we aren’t too concerned … though we’d check back in a week or so if he’s still not practicing. In that case, we might start worrying.