Last week in Colt-land, we saw a few guys go down during the Detriot Lions’ game that forced GM Ryan Grigson’s hand a bit with re-shaping the roster. With what looked like a pretty severe hamstring, back-up OLB Justin Hickman was sent to IR and replaced on the roster by 4th-year OLB Jamaal Westerman. With starting offensive linemen LG Joe Reitz and RT Winston Justice both sustaining concussions, it could be awhile before they are able to play again. Luckily for the Colts, OG Seth Olsen was eligible to return from the Injured Reserve-Designated to Return list. To gain an opening on the roster for Olsen, the Colts have once again waived TE Dominique Jones.
They also did some re-adjustment on the practice squad signing the aforementioned Jones after he cleared waivers along with RB Alvester Alexander for what I believe is now his third stint on the PS this season. To make room for these two, the Colts terminated CB Isaiah Green and TE Martell Webb’s contracts.
Let’s take a look at what these signings mean for the team and just who some of these guys are.
While Hickman had shown flashes here and there, he really has functioned quite a bit more as a special teamer and occasionally seeing some snaps on defense when the rush LB got gassed. In Westerman (6’3”, 260lbs), we basically have the same mold of player. The former undrafted free agent out of Rutgers played his first three seasons for the New York Jets and was signed this offseason by the Miami Dolphins. When he didn’t make the final 53 in Miami, he was claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Cardinals and played in 5 contests earlier this season but has been on the street since his release as of week 11.
Even though Westerman was dubbed the “Designated Pass Rusher” by Jets’ coach Rex Ryan during the 2011 season, he was only credited for 3.5 sacks. He did play through all 16 games last season with a torn groin that was much worse than he realized, drew some holding penalties, forced a fumble and overall caused a bit more chaos than his 3.5 sacks would indicate but this performance was not enough for the Jets to even tender him as a restricted free agent. That doesn’t always mean a team didn’t want to re-sign a player and questioning the Jets’ front office decisions is certainly a reasonable thing to do given the way their team has shaped up this year.
If the Colts are counting on Westerman to bring to the table what Hickman had been contributing, I think they signed a very capable replacement. Let’s hope he surprises everyone in a good way though.
Regardless of whether the Colts are lucky or just talented prognosticators, Olsen being available to return this week is a very fortunate outcome for the team since 2 of our starting linemen would likely be considered long shots to play this weekend against the Tennessee Titans.
Say what you will about Olsen’s play early in the year, but it’s a good thing to have an OG back who has started games next to the OC and LT ready to jump right back in if Rietz is unable to play this week.
OT Jeff Linkenbach is not necessarily a guy that the team wants starting on a regular basis, but you have to give him credit for what he did last week filling in at LG after Reitz went down and then bouncing over to RT after Justice was concussed. Link is an asset for the team with the ability to be that versatile on game day. Hopefully, against the Titans, Link can hold down RT if Justice takes this week off to get right after his most recent injury.
The team clearly likes what Jones could turn into or else they wouldn’t have re-signed him over other TEs that have been on the roster this season. So he’s back for more scout team work on the practice squad. Also, with RB Donald Brown now considered out for the week with an ankle injury, having Alexander on the PS gives the Colts a bit more insurance throughout the week if another injury were to occur or perhaps if his skills are desired for gameday we could see him brought up to the active roster.
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