5 Colts defenders that must step up during Isaiah Rodgers Sr.’s looming suspension

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With cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. likely to be suspended all of the 2023 season, here are five Indianapolis Colts defenders that must step up.

The NFL still hasn’t dished out a punishment for Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr., after it was reported that he was under investigation for possible violations of the league’s gambling policy. Although the league is still investigating, Rodgers has already apologized and taken responsibility for his actions, so a suspension seems inevitable.

Based on how the NFL has been handling these type of violations, Rodgers will likely be suspended for at least a year. That means the Colts will be without their top corner for all of the 2023 season. While Indy will likely add a veteran corner, there are other Colts that need to step up to make up for Rodgers’ absence.

Indianapolis also traded Stephn Gilmore this offseason, so the team will be without both of its top corners from last season. Covering up losing a team’s top cornerbacks isn’t as simple as just replacing the guys; it’s a team effort. Let’s take a look at five defenders that will have to step up so the Colts can get by in the secondary while Rodgers is suspended.

5. Shaquille Leonard must return as The Turnover King

Indianapolis needed Shaquille Leonard to return to the field in his true Maniac form regardless, but that’s especially the case now with so many questions at corner. One of the best ways to cover up any defensive issue is by taking the ball away; that’s exactly what Leonard is great at.

In case anyone forgot since Leonard pretty much spent last season on the sideline, he’s the NFL turnover king. Leonard has an uncanny ability to take the ball away from the other team. In 2021, when Leonard played in 16 games, he led the league with eight forced fumbles, and also had four interceptions and three fumble recoveries.

There’s no telling what the quality of Indy’s secondary is going to be, specifically the corners. However, if it is bad, a way for the defense to overcome that is by simply taking the ball away. That can somewhat negate the yards the defense gives up as long as touchdowns aren’t being scored. Leonard can lead that charge and make the Colts one of the league’s best takeaway defenses again.