The Indianapolis Colts have been getting beaten up on the back end for a good chunk of the 2021 season. They went into the year with the idea of Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis leading the secondary from the safety position, but that appears to have fallen at the first hurdle.
Blackmon is out for the rest of the season with an injury, and a cornerback room that came into the year with some hype has been torn apart. If Indianapolis is serious about making a playoff push in a wide-open AFC, they need their defensive backs to start playing much better football.
Willis hasn’t played a snap in November, as the defeat against the Titans was the last time we saw the Michigan State product on the field. Luckily, Frank Reich doesn’t think that it will be much longer before he gets to put on that No. 37 jersey and get back to Matt Eberflus’s secondary.
Reich claimed that he is “hopeful” Willis can return from IR in Week 12. Considering they are facing off against Tom Brady and an elite Tampa Bay Buccaneers passing attack, they need all the help that they can get.
The Indianapolis Colts may get Khari Willis back soon.
Willis has not had the best start to the season. On top of injuries, he was relegated to the bench at one point in favor of Andrew Sendejo. However, due to the Blackmon injury and more of the same lackluster play that we saw from Sendejo, Willis may give this team a spark after he returns.
Willis’ coverage skills can be suspect at times, but with the lack of depth on this roster at the moment, he’ll bring a combination of experience within the system and hitting power that is missing right now. Chris Ballard’s vision of a young defense led by Blackmon, Willis, Kwity Paye, and Dayo Odeyingbo is starting to come to fruition.
In three of the next four games for Indy following a scheduled tussle with the Bills, they will take on Brady’s Buccaneers, Mac Jones’ Patriots, and Kyler Murray’s Cardinals. To keep pace with the rest of the contenders in the AFC, the Colts need to hope Willis gets back to full strength.
Jonathan Taylor and the offense have been moving along just fine in recent weeks, meaning that it’s imperative Eberflus get this defense working. Getting Willis back could be a big step in the right direction.