As Indianapolis prepares to travel to New England for the first post-Peyton Manning era match-up between the Colts and Patriots, the front office has had to juggle some roster spots. This week, the Indianapolis Colts have sent starting CB Jerraud Powers and reserve DE Drake Nevis to injured reserve. Taking their spots on the active roster are 1st-year TE Kyle Miller, who was brought up from the practice squad and rookie 5th-round draft pick NT Josh Chapman who was activated off of the Non-football injury list.
With OG Hayworth Hicks being signed off the Colts’ practice squad last week by the New York Jets and Miller going to the active roster, the 2 open practice squad spots were filled by rookie ILB Shawn Loiseau and 1st-year TE Martell Webb.
Read on for a breakdown of these moves.
Unfortunately for Powers it looks like a seemingly insignificant toe injury turned out to be a bigger deal than most of the internet community originally speculated. It’s also unfortunate that his injury comes in a contract year. Powers has started in every game that he has played for the Colts since being drafted in the 3rd-round of the 2009 draft. He has however, missed time in each of those seasons, with now his third trip in four years to season-ending IR.
Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reported this summer on SiriusXM NFL radio that the Colts had approached Powers about a contract extension which Powers did not accept, instead betting on himself to get paid when he hit the 2013 free agency market.
Since Powers has started a number of games in the NFL, is a fantastic locker room presence and has played at an above-average level it is likely he’ll earn a reasonable contract. But a player who has difficulty staying on the field becomes one that front offices are weary to award with lofty amounts of guaranteed dollars.
You have to wonder if Powers has played his last down as an Indianapolis Colt.
I certainly hope he has not. Though Colts’ General Manager Ryan Grigson made it pretty clear that injury-prone players brought in by former Colts General Manager Bill Polian were not welcome, the fact that they approached Powers about a contract prior to the 2012 season means they saw him as a part of the long-term plans. Of course, landing on IR again can change opinions pretty quickly, but we shall have to wait and see.
For Drake Nevis, a hand injury has shelved him for the remainder of the 2012 season. Being a high-motor, shorter defensive lineman, there were questions coming into the season if he could even be utilized in the Colts’ new 3-4 defense when he so clearly fit the mold of the past regime’s under-sized 4-3 alignment. Well, Nevis actually got his chance to prove that he could play under Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky regardless of his pedigree. When starting RE Fili Moala went down to injury, it was Nevis who got the start. He filled in for Moala for 3 games as a starter and registered his first sack in the NFL. Unfortunately, perhaps Nevis is going to fall into the same “injury-prone” category as he was limited to 5 games after suffering a tailbone injury during the 2011 NFL season.
To be honest, I think we could see Nevis as trade bait for the wheeling-and-dealing Grigson during the 2013 offseason, if a 4-3 team that was high on him before the 2011 draft comes a-calling. He can be a good player, but similarly to Glenn Dorsey in Kansas City, they are likely miscast as 3-4 defensive ends.
This becomes even more likely when considering how much depth the Colts now boast on the defensive line with health (knock on wood) on our side. Lawrence Guy impressed interim head coach Bruce Arians early and Clifton Geathers hasn’t looked clueless. In fact, I would say one of the biggest factors in our 4-game winning streak has been the Colts ability to stop the run. Yes, Chris Johnson got 99 yards but in that game CJ(He’s back)2k only averaged 4.7 yards against the Colts. I can say “only” because that game is sandwiched between games in Buffalo and Chicago, where CJ averaged 10.8 and 8.8 yards respectively. The other games in that 4-game stretch saw the Colts shut down, and actually out-perform their opponents in the run game.
Wait, aren’t I forgetting something about defensive line health? Greg Cowan is glad I bring this up.
Colts Authority’s own Greg Cowan has already declared recently activated rookie NT Josh Chapman as the next Ted Washington, a future Hall of Fame inductee, savior of the season and just barely less deserving of NFL Rookie of the Year than Colts rookie QB Andrew Luck.
In all seriousness, getting Chapman on the field this season is a bit incredible and could be a huge asset for the team. He was recently touted by Grigson as someone who likely would have been drafted in the 2nd-round of the draft, had he not suffered a torn ACL, that HE PLAYED ON almost the entire season of his senior year at Alabama. Helping his teammates and coaches play for and win a national NCAA championship on one leg was more important to him that getting his knee right for draft preparation. This is what led to him being available in the 5th-round when the Colts drafted (read: stole, right Greg?) this prototypical nose guard, who was affectionately referred to as a “Fire Hydrant” by some in the draft community.
With Coby Fleener still nursing his shoulder injury, Kyle Miller, who has some similar attributes – being more of a "move" tight end, was brought up from the practice squad. He played collegiately at D-III powerhouse, Mt. Union, which has produced legit NFL skill players the likes of former-Colt and current Washington Redskin WR Pierre Garçon as well as Jacksonville Jaguar WR Cecil Shorts, who is single-handedly responsible for the Jags' one win this season which they stole from the Colts earlier this year. Miller was around all offseason and has spent the first 10 weeks on the practice squad. He should certainly know the offense by now, but will likely be a special teams contributor if he’s active on game day.
Filling up the practice squad is undrafted rookie free agent ILB Shawn Loiseau (6’0”- 239 lbs), who spent the offseason with the AFC rival Houston Texans and 1st-year TE Martell Webb (6’3”- 276 lbs) who originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after the lockout in 2011 and had practice squad and offseason rosters stints with Tampa Bay, the New York Jets and most recently Arizona. Both are interesting athletes, with Louisa earning small-school accolades like Northeast-10 Defensive Player of the Year and First-Team All-Conference performer at Merriam College and Webb, a three-time team captain at Michigan clearly possessing formidable size for the tight end position.