Colts reveal why Nick Cross didn’t play against the Chiefs

Jaleel Grandberry
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 20: Nick Cross #20 and Tony Brown #38 of the Indianapolis Colts break up a pass intended for Trinity Benson #17 of the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - AUGUST 20: Nick Cross #20 and Tony Brown #38 of the Indianapolis Colts break up a pass intended for Trinity Benson #17 of the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Nick Cross didn’t play much for the Indianapolis Colts against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3 and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley explained why.

The most impressive rookie for the Indianapolis Colts has been safety Nick Cross. The fourth selection for Indianapolis in the draft, Cross has been flashing his talent since the first day of training camp. That quickly earned him a starting role and many fans became enamored with his potential.

After starting against the Houston Texans in Week 1 and playing 100% of the defensive snaps, Cross started again in Week 2 and played 65% of the defensive snaps. That’s why it came as a surprise to see that Cross didn’t start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3. Not only did he not start, but Cross only played one snap— even with Julian Blackmon leaving the game with an injury.

However, the Colts had a good defensive performance. They were able to contain an explosive Kansas City offense, and Cross’ replacement, Rodney McLeod, was in the right place at the end of the game to make a victory-sealing interception. Despite the quality performance, everyone still wanted to know why Cross wasn’t on the field.

Why didn’t the Colts play Nick Cross in Week 3?

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley revealed the reasoning for Cross’ lack of snaps, saying, “It really wasn’t anything he did. We just felt like in the situation we were going into with the communication that needs to take place that maybe Rodney’s (McLeod) experience might help us a little bit more.” Considering that Indy was going up against Andy Reid and the Chiefs offense that’s an understandable personnel decision.

Although McLeod and the defense played so well, Bradley made clear that Sunday’s outcome doesn’t mean we will see less of Cross moving forward. Bradley explained, “It’s kind of game-to-game, we evaluate what’s best. Nick has got a really good skill set. He’s an elite athlete. It’s just about gaining that confidence to play in, play out with the unit.” In other words, the snap distribution for Indy’s defensive backfield will continue to vary by the week.

That’s a good sign for the Colts because it means they have depth at defensive back and several talented players that deserve to play. That was evident when fans and players were demanding that  Isaiah Rodgers get some defensive snaps. Rodgers finally got his first defensive action of the season, playing 24 snaps against the Chiefs.

As long as all of these guys are producing through the rotations, the Colts should continue to roll out whatever combinations are best for the given game.

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