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INDIANAPOLISHe has been the most durable player for the Indianapolis Colts over the last two years.


Will that continue to begin the 2019 regular season?


Jabaal Sheard has been in the starting lineup for the Colts in all 32 games over the last two seasons.


Next up on that list are T.Y. Hilton (30 starts) and Anthony Castonzo (27 starts). The next defender(s) on that list (still with the Colts) are Malik Hooker, Margus Hunt and Kenny Moore, all with 20 starts.


What Sheard has provided the Colts, at an incredibly physical and taxing position of defensive end, is more than noteworthy.


But a health concern for Sheard is now here in 2019, with a murky situation regarding when he might return to the field.


Frank Reich said a knee injury for Sheard will cause the 30-year-old to ‘miss some time’ after he injured himself at the Colts’ first practice of the 2019 Training Camp at Grand Park.


Whether that vague phrase of ‘will miss some time’ means Sheard might not be ready for the season opener on September 8th or not, the Colts are currently trying to see what they have without their reliable left defensive end.


Over the last two years, Sheard has recorded 5.5 sacks in each season, but he’s best known for his prowess in defending the run on early downs.


“You just can’t replace a guy like Jabaal,” fellow defensive end Justin Houston said this week. “He’s awesome to me. The way he plays the run, the way he sets that edge, he plays with so much power and force. It’s hard to replace a guy like that.


“But he’ll be back soon and we’ve still got plenty of time for him to get healthy. I just want him to take his time, get healthy and be ready to go.”


If health cooperates, the Colts are expected to start Justin Houston opposite Sheard this season.


So, for now, let’s take a look at the other options at defensive end:


-Al-Quadin Muhammad: This has been the guy starting in place of Sheard since the veteran injured his knee last Thursday. Muhammad was a 2018 waiver claim by the Colts at the end of last year’s preseason and he went on to start 4 games in his maiden season in Indianapolis. Muhammad, 24, showed he could be effective last year in a pinch and looks to be the most likely option to replace Sheard, if need be. On Tuesday, Frank Reich had some high praise for Muhammad filling one of the Colts’ key defensive requirements.


-Kemoko Turay: The second-year pro missed the first two days in full pads this camp due to a shoulder injury. After some nice promise early in his rookie season, Turay tapered off last year in hitting the ‘rookie wall.’ Maintaining weight and Turay having a strong presence on run downs is a real concern if the Colts want to turn to him in trying to fill in for Sheard. Turay’s strength is more as a speed rusher off the edge (from the right defensive end position) and not the tough rush defender.


-Ben Banogu: First, the rookie has worked exclusively at defensive end this camp. And he’s often been at the ‘left end’ spot, although down on the depth chart. Similar to Turay, you would have questions about how effective of a run stopper Banogu can be. Through the first handful of practices, Banogu still appears to be a ways down the depth chart.


-Gerri Green: Another youngster on the list, Green is the oft-forgotten 2019 draft pick (6th round) out of Mississippi State. Green is listed at 6-4 and 252 pounds, which is a nice frame, but he mainly played linebacker during his collegiate days, before moving to D-end last fall. Green just earning a roster spot remains a question, before he’s viewed as a serious candidate atop the depth chart.


-Tyquan Lewis: Now, since Sheard has been out, we haven’t seen Lewis move from his more natural defensive tackle spot. Lewis looks to be the third defensive tackle (behind Margus Hunt and Denico Autry). But he did start at defensive end for 6 games last season, opposite Jabaal Sheard. If Sheard is out for a while, would the Colts feel more comfortable shifting Lewis back to D-end, or do they like their current setup with him staying at defensive tackle, and Muhammad answering the starting call at DE?

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