Due to the short week last time, here is a bumper two-week rookie watch for both games against the Rams and Titans. There is still a limited impact so far, but part of that is on the coaches. Particularly in the cases of Khaled Holmes and Montori Hughes, I think they're afraid to use them and I can't quite figure out why, especially with Hughes impressing in patches. Anyway, let's get started with our first round pick…
Werner is back from injury, and with Erik Walden's suspension, has the chance to play as a starter against Arizona on Sunday. With just 30 snaps against St. Louis and Tennessee, it's hard to really be too critical of the first round pick as he comes off a length absence, but he continues to be a better run defender than pass rusher. Not what the fans were looking for, but probably exactly what Pagano was looking for.
Thornton has really struggled of late, allowing a bunch of sacks, hits and hurries. As I've repeatedly said, it's tough for a rookie offensive lineman to come and impress, especially for a mid-round pick like Thornton, but with just three positive grades from Pro Football Focus all season (which is not the oracle, by the way), there is an increasing level of concern amongst fans about the former Illinois guard.
Holmes was back to being inactive against the Rams and Titans, but what is most perplexing is that Chuck Pagano said Holmes is more than capable of playing – but they haven't needed him too. Now, I'm no offensive line expert, but if you don't think there is a need on our line then I think you're crazy. Can Holmes really be as bad as Satele or McGlynn?
So after a decent game against Houston, Hughes saw more snaps against the Rams, and again flashed some ability as a run stopper. And then he was inactive again for the Titans game. They have predominantly been using Hughes as a nose tackle, and with Aubrayo Franklin and Josh Chapman on the roster, Hughes isn't always needed, but at Tennessee-Martin he played defensive end too. I'd say he's shown more in limited snaps than Ricardo Mathews has this season, who continues to get more playing time.
DA'RICK IS FREEEEEEEED! If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I've been long campaigning for UDFA wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers to make the active roster over players like Griff Whalen and David Reed. With Whalen now cut, it seems Rogers is ready to become a part of the offense. Colour me excited.
“Mr Irrelevant” Justice Cunningham is back on the active roster having been promoted from the practice squad. I don't quite understand the move, with Coby Fleener, Weslye Saunders and Jack Doyle all currently active at tight end. Cunningham replaced wide receiver Griff Whalen, where the Colts are already short of bodies…maybe just another arm of Pep Hamilton's “run to win” mantra.
Speaking of Doyle, the rookie out of Western Kentucky had a really good game in run blocking against the Titans, and and is gradually seeing an increased role as the weeks go by. With Doyle blocking, it often frees up Coby Fleener to work as a receiver, as we saw against the Titans.