Colts: Losing Quenton Nelson to injury could be a death knell

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quenton Nelson #56 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quenton Nelson #56 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts have been getting beat up during the start of their 2021 season, but the play of Quenton Nelson is not one of the reasons for that, as the three-time All-Pro guard has continued to rank among the best players at his position despite facing players like Aaron Donald in his first few games.

Nelson, who the Colts acquired with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after the Jets foolishly gave up a ransom in order to move up in the draft for Sam Darnold, has been named a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro in each of his first three seasons, creating a huge gap between himself and the league’s second-best guard.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone so well for Nelson and his teammates this season. While Eric Fisher, Julien Davenport, and the rest of the offensive line have not protected Carson Wentz adequately. Keeping Wentz upright just got even harder now that Nelson is confirmed to have suffered a serious injury.

Week 4’s game against Jacoby Brissett and the Miami Dolphins will be the first game Nelson has missed in his career. Indianapolis placed him on injured reserve due to ankle and knee injuries, meaning that he will be out for the next three games. This is the worst-case scenario for a beat-up roster.

The Colts will have to play without Quenton Nelson.

Nelson will be out for the Miami game, and they won’t have his services when they travel to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Texans aren’t particularly good, but they’ve shown some fight, and giving a division rival a boost like this is not optimal for Indianapolis.

Frank Reich might’ve been trying to get Jonathan Taylor going and return to a more balanced offense, but with arguably the best run-blocker in the game on the sideline, there is a chance that Taylor’s big day gets postponed.

Chris Reed is the most likely candidate to fill in for Nelson in his absence, and while he did an admirable job last week, it’s clear to see that he is not the same type of player Nelson is. That gulf in talent could manifest once again in the Dolphins game against a defensive line that is hungry to prove itself.

Nelson is a singular talent in this league, and the offense could be thrown into a state of complete turmoil without his protection at their disposal. Missing the Baltimore and Houston games on top of Week 4 makes this a code red situation.