Week 3 has arrived, and the Indianapolis Colts have their most difficult test of this still young season. Colts travel to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. The Ravens come in at 2-0 and look like a Super Bowl contender in the AFC. They have been riddled with injuries this week and we won’t know the final numbers until this weekend, but it appears they will be without multiple starters.
As for Indianapolis, it appears Indy will be starting Gardner Minshew with Richardson out with a concussion and center Ryan Kelly appears to be out as well. With injuries piling up on both ends, the next-man-up mentality is alive and well. Let’s dive into who the Colts will need to rely on to get a Week 3 victory in Baltimore.
CB Darrell Baker Jr
It has been a difficult start to the season for Darrell Baker Jr. Both Calvin Ridley and Nico Collins have feasted on DBJ the first two weeks. Ridley accrued 101 yards in Week 1 and Collins accrued 146 yards. The status of Odell Beckham Jr. is still up in the air but if he is active, it won’t be any easier for DBJ this week. Beckham is a superstar wide receiver that has a wide catch radius and can burn you deep or make the catch over the middle. He is a complete receiver in every sense of the word.
This will be DBJ’s third NFL start and will need to keep OBJ at bay. Keeping him contained and under 100 yards receiving will be the game plan for the week, otherwise the Colts could struggle in the secondary again.
Center Wesley French
While not yet confirmed but it appears that starting center Ryan Kelly will miss this week with a concussion. That means third-string center Wesley French will make his first NFL start. Backup center/swing Guard Danny Pinter is on IR with a season ending ankle injury. Along with French making his start, he will have to work with backup Gardner Minshew as well.
We all know the importance of the center position in the NFL. Not only does he snap the ball to the quarterback, but he is responsible for calling out protections and blitzes. There are multiple factors that could wreak havoc for him including his minimal experience, potentially poor weather, and handling the always physical defensive front of the Ravens. How French handles the elements and the overall pressure of his first NFL start will be imperative to the success of this football team this weekend.
Running back committee (not named Zack Moss)
The injury to Ryan Kelly and the lingering injury to Pro Bowl guard Quenton Nelson might cause some issues on the interior blocking schemes. Zack Moss is a between the tackles type of back, not one that typically gets to the outside. How the Colts handle this will be interesting this week. Whether we see Jake Funk handle the outside runs or will they rely on bubble screens and jet sweeps with Isaiah McKenzie for that outside the numbers football.
Could we see the debut of recently signed RB Trey Sermon instead of Deon Jackson? Sermon could be that change of pace back that is needed right now with the injuries to both the running back room and offensive line. I think we will see Steichen really use some creativity with both the back and gadget receivers this week to battle this beat up Baltimore defense.