INDIANAPOLIS – For those looking into Shane Steichen comments on Anthony Richardson’s season being over, head here.
But the Colts (3-3) on Wednesday had several other newsy items ahead of this Sunday’s game with the Cleveland Browns.
What else did we learn from the Colts on Wednesday?
- Shane Steichen certainly stood by Grover Stewart on Wednesday in commenting on the 6-game suspension for the big defensive tackle. Steichen called it a “mistake and not malicious one” by Stewart. Here’s more from Steichen on Stewart: “Mistakes happen and it’s part of the game and, like I said, great character, great teammate. The team gravitates towards him. He made a mistake. He knows it. It’s disappointing. It is disappointing, but at the same time, we got his back. And when he comes back in six weeks, he’ll be ready to go.”
- Replacing Grover Stewart for the next 6 weeks isn’t easy. It’s not going to be one guy. The two names I’ll be watching most though are Taven Bryan and Eric Johnson II. Bryan is a former 1st round pick who actually started 16 games last year for Sunday’s opponent, the Browns. At 291 pounds though, Bryan has never been viewed as more of a run-stopper, but he’s listed as the starting nose tackle for Stewart on the Colts new depth chart. Johnson II is closer to Stewart’s body type, but still isn’t shown to be a true nose. Johnson was a 5th round pick in 2021. It took Stewart a few years before he really emerged in this league. Will the same happened for another Day 3 pick from a small school in Johnson II??
- The Shane Steichen answer on Wednesday was “we’ll see” when asked if Braden Smith (hip) will play this weekend. It goes without saying how vital Smith is when you are facing Browns stud rusher Myles Garrett and the best defense in the NFL.
- The corresponding roster move with Grover Stewart to the suspension list on Tuesday was the Colts bringing wide receiver Juwann Winfree back. Winfree spent the offseason/preseason with the Colts and is much more in the mold of a taller, outside wideout than some of the other receivers on the roster/practice squad. Is this an indication Alec Pierce (shoulder) is going to miss some time? Pierce did not practice on Wednesday. Again, outside wide receiver depth is a definite question. It’s why Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. hardly ever come off the field. Any missed time for Pierce will be felt and is not ideal for a guy in an important second NFL seasons.
- On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley shared some thoughts on Nick Cross potentially playing more moving forward. Head here for those. Since starting the first two games of his career, Cross has played 13 defensive snaps in the last 21 games.
- Has a Colts player ever been cut and re-signed more, mostly off and on the practice squad, than Phillip (now P.J.) Walker? The Colts cut Walker 14 different times from 2017-19, and now they might be facing him on Sunday. Deshaun Watson (shoulder) remains up the air for Sunday as he’s missed the last two games, which sandwiched a bye week. Walker joined the Browns on October 2nd, and is currently on the Cleveland practice squad. Walker has 7 career starts. He was 18-of-34 for 192 yards and 2 interceptions in last week’s win over the 49ers.
- The Browns might be the “Indianapolis Colts North” with an emphasis on the city/franchise. You have former Colts in LB-Anthony Walker (playing 63% of the defensive snaps this season, in concussion protocol) this week), S-Rodney McLeod (playing 54% of the defensive snaps his season, has started each of the last two weeks), LB-Matthew Adams (mainly a special teamer) and special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Bubba Ventrone. You have Indy natives in Ben Davis product OT-Dawand Jones (started each of the last 4 games at right tackle, taking over for veteran Jack Conklin who suffered a season-ending injury) and Warren Central product WR-David Bell (4 catches for 33 yards this season, has played 49 offensive snaps in 5 games).
- Remember Sunday brings the debut of the Colts “Indiana Nights” jerseys. So picture black helmets, black trim and two horizonal stripes on the shoulder areas for what the Colts are going to be donning this Sunday afternoon vs. the Browns.
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