Our first round pick finally got his first full sack in the NFL! Admittedly, he was unblocked on the play, but had a decent day overall. According to Pro Football Focus, Werner had another two quarterback pressures, as well as two tackles. Head coach Chuck Pagano also praised the pass rusher, insisting that the German has improved recently.
Pagano: OLB Bjoern Werner had his best day as a Colts. He's missed time, he's a rookie and it's hard to be a standout right away.
— Phil Richards (@PhilRichards6) December 16, 2013
The third round pick landed on the injury report yesterday, and did not practice at all on Wednesday. He got a -0.5 grade from PFF for his performance against the Texans, with the majority of that grade down to his poor play in the run game. Against JJ Watt, I think we all expected this grade to be a lot lower, but his injury may thrust Samson Satele back into the lineup…which nobody wishes for.
Holmes was active after a number of injuries on the offensive line, and Andrew Luck was even taking snaps from Holmes on the sidelines. However, even when Joe Reitz went out of the game with a concussion, the Colts turned to undrafted free agent tackle Xavier Nixon over Holmes, which, as Bob Kravitz said, says a lot about how they rate Holmes right now.
Hughes was in on just over a third of the snaps on Sunday (23/67), mostly playing defensive end in Ricky Jean Francois' absence. PFF gave him a -0.5 grade, his second consecutive negative grade at defensive end, whereas his games at nose tackle were +1.2 and +0.8. With Aubrayo Franklin a free agent and approaching 34 years old, the Colts may choose to go with Josh Chapman and Hughes as their nose tackles in the future.
Da'Rick Rogers' impressive display against the Bengals earned him more playing time against the Texans, taking the field on over 80% of the team's snaps. But this week was slightly tougher on the undrafted rookie, who had an early drop and ran a really poor route on the Andrew Luck intereception. He has all the physical tools needed to succeed, but will require some refining to become everything that he promises to be.
Xavier Nixon saw some playing time after the injury to Joe Reitz, and played 63 snaps at right guard. Unfortunately for the former Florida Gator, he had a torrid time, giving up three QB hits and two more hurries. Samson Satele appears to be on his way back from injury, but with no word on Joe Reitz's concussion, Nixon may be forced into action again against the Chiefs.
Whilst Nixon had the worst grade on offense, the second worst went to UDFA rookie tight end Jack Doyle, who scored -3.4 on Pro Football Focus. His poor play in the run game again brought him a terrible grade, and it's possible that the tight end out of Western Kentucky is missing his opportunity to impress, with Dwayne Allen's injury opening up a spot for him.
Linebacker Josh McNary saw more snaps this week, and his steady improvement through the weeks is encouraging for the Colts. He scored 0.7 on PFF against the Titans, 0.8 against the Bengals and now 0.9 against the Texans. McNary had two QB hits and a tackle on Sunday, as the former military man looks to get himself a spot on the roster next season.