With a bevy of roster moves this week, it is probably best to look at them in a few different articles to give them the proper amount of analysis.
First, let’s take offense.
The Colts this week have sent OG Seth Olsen to Injured Reserve (with the “Designated to Return” label) and waived TE/FB Dominique Jones. Two players who have seen significant snaps and both started games for the Colts this season.
So, as we can see, it was all subtraction of personnel on the offensive side of the ball but let’s take a look at possible gameday adjustments that are likely to occur to help compensate.
With Olsen going to IR-DTR, he should be able to return to the active roster, provided he’s healthy, after 8 weeks on the shelf. The Colts apparently value his experience and ability to use this designation for him as they can only use this new roster management tool with 1 player per season.
It certainly seems the value him more than the internet community as Olsen has become one of the more prominent whipping boys of late.
To be blunt, Jeff Linkenbach looked like a significant upgrade when he played left guard during the win against the Packers this past Sunday.
With Link playing well and projected starter Joe Reitz to begin practicing this week, hopefully we’re going to regain some depth at guard in the short term, even with Olsen down for a bit. However, this move also indicates Ryan Grigson and the staff are counting on little to no contribution from rookie OG Justin Anderson after he is eligible to come off of PUP in the next few weeks, if he does at all.
Since the injuries along the offensive line have hit hard, maybe using it for the 3rd year veteran Olsen is an intelligent asset management decision, we shall see.
In tight end Dominique Jones, the team has a player that really seemed to shock and surprise. An undrafted free agent out of Shepherd University (where?), Jones was actually playing wide receiver in the Indoor league when Grigson signed him to compete in the Colts training camp.
He offered the type of flexibility the Colts wanted by being able to play in-line TE, H-back and possibly even fullback.
Jones started one game for the Colts in the regular season, but only contributed 1 catch for 8 yards according to the stats sheet. After clearing waivers, he was actually signed back to the practice squad, so we shouldn’t be surprised if he returns at some point.
With a player like Jones, not on the active roster and only 2 TEs currently available to the Colts in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, the Colts will have to get creative just to have enough bodies to do the types of things that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in Bruce Arians’ system.
Like we’ve seen in the past with former OG Jacques McClendon, we shouldn’t be surprised if one of the back-up offensive linemen are actually either wearing a different jersey number this weekend, or at least keep bugging the referees to report as eligible receivers.
The most logical candidates to do this would be OTs Tony Hills and Bradley Sowell. Both are good enough athletes that they could run a route and catch a ball if they had to. In fact, both players were recruited and/or played tight end early in their college careers. We saw the Colts do something similar with Reitz as a “Tackle-Eligible” during a heavy-set formation on the goal line in the pre-season.
Also, to fulfill the role of fullback, another indication we saw in the preseason, is that the Colts are actually somewhat comfortable with OC A.Q. Shipley taking snaps lined up in the I-formation.
(Writer’s note: This, of course, would likely only occur if regular starter Sampson Satele returns to action, which we have hope for given that he practiced fully on Wednesday this week. Hat tip to user “Payton.” – BCF)
By subbing in some of the back-up linemen, the Colts can manage with only 2 actual TEs on the active gameday roster since there are so many other spots on the roster that needed the healthy bodies.
Let’s just hope they’re not playing with fire by taking that risk.