Colts make statement with latest practice squad additions
By Jerry Trotta
When you couple their unforgiving early-season schedule and how many key players suffered injuries, it’s really no surprise the Indianapolis Colts started 1-4.
While their schedule lightens up significantly for the rest of the season, the Colts can’t seem to shake the injury bug.
Speaking strictly in terms of the secondary, TJ Carrie is still on injured reserve with an unspecified ailment and Rock Ya-Sin has been in and out of the starting lineup over the last month with an ankle injury.
Beyond that duo, Xavier Rhodes and Kenny Moore, the Colts’ most dependable cornerbacks, have both endured forgettable starts. Rhodes, after missing the first two games, is looking like he did before he arrived in Indy, and Moore, well, he’s coming off his best game of the season in Week 6, so maybe he’s turned the corner.
It’s easy to see why the Colts have been shuffling their secondary around all season, and more moves might be on the horizon after they signed cornerback Darqueze Dennard and safety Josh Jones to the practice squad.
The Colts bolstered their secondary with a pair of signings.
This is what we’re talking about.
Assuming that one (or both) of Dennard and Jones are promoted to the active roster, they will serve as much-needed depth pieces.
A lot of fans were unhappy when the Colts waived camp preseason standouts Marvell Tell and Andre Chachere in favor of BoPete Keys and Chris Wilcox, and rightly so. However, these are two moves they should sign off on.
Dennard is a former first-round pick of the Bengals. He’s appeared in 85 career games (30 starts), across which he’s posted 287 tackles, 27 passes defended, four interceptions, three sacks, and two forced fumbles.
The 30-year-old hasn’t quite lived up to his first-round billing, but he’s a solid depth signing for a Colts secondary that can’t afford to keep trotting out Keys and Anthony Chesley at cornerback.
Jones, meanwhile, is a former second-round pick of the Packers in 2017. The Colts are incredibly thin at safety behind Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis, the latter of whom has really struggled in coverage this season.
Veteran backup Andrew Sendejo just isn’t cutting it and George Odum is an All-Pro on special teams for a reason. He shouldn’t see the field at safety.
Green Bay waived Jones in the third year of his four-year rookie contract with a non-football related illness. He ultimately landed on his feet in Jacksonville after a brief pit stop with the Cowboys’ practice squad.
Jones started 13 games for the Jaguars last season, so he’ll bring a little familiarity and insight into the Colts’ AFC South rivals.
Dennard is obviously the big get here — don’t be shocked if he’s active for Sunday — but Jones could carve out a role as the third safety behind Blackmon and Willis while also earning some potential snaps on special teams.
Simply put, these are moves that teams with real aspirations make. Enough of trying to find diamonds in the rough. The Colts need players who can make an immediate impact in their secondary, and Dennard and Jones fit that bill.