INDIANAPOLIS – The arrival of Week 1 in the NFL brings depth charts for every team.
With the Colts releasing theirs on Monday evening, ahead of Sunday’s regular season opener in Jacksonville, there are a few key things to note.
Here’s a look at that depth chart, with some analysis below:
Quarterbacks: Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Jacob Eason*
Running Backs: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor*, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins
Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman, Dezmon Patmon
Wide Receiver: Parris Campbell
Wide Receiver: Zach Pascal, Ashton Dulin
Tight End: Mo Alie-Cox, Noah Togiai
Tight End: Jack Doyle
Left Tackle: Anthony Castonzo, Chaz Green
Left Guard: Quenton Nelson
Center: Ryan Kelly, Danny Pinter
Right Guard: Mark Glowinski
Right Tackle: Braden Smith, Le’Raven Clark
-How big is that gap from Mack down to Taylor? Fantasy owners are dying to know. That will be a very fluid situation with game flow likely dictating how the Colts handle those carries.
-Michael Pittman being listed as a ‘backup’ doesn’t surprise me. For one, I really think the Colts will rotate wideouts 2-4 (Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman) a good amount. With Campbell being the main slot guy, he brings a pretty specific role compared to the other wideouts. For Week 1, the Colts probably do ‘trust’ Pascal a tad more at this point. But I still expect Pittman to play a good amount.
-I view Le’Raven Clark as the swing tackle at both left and right. Remember, you are likely to dress just 7 offensive linemen on game days. That would place Clark and Danny Pinter as the game day backups, in my opinion.
-As stated above, I look at Danny Pinter as the backup at the three interior spots. Pinter never played in the interior of the offensive line during his days at Ball State. Seeing Pinter line up as a jumbo tackle in some 6 offensive lineman packages is something to expect.
Defensive End: Justin Houston, Ben Banogu
Defensive Tackle: DeForest Buckner, Tyquan Lewis
Nose Tackle: Grover Stewart, Taylor Stallworth, Eli Ankou
Defensive End: Denico Autry, Al-Quadin Muhammad
WILL Linebacker: Darius Leonard, Matthew Adams, Jordan Glasgow*
MIKE Linebacker: Anthony Walker, Zaire Franklin
SAM Linebacker: Bobby Okereke, E.J. Speed
Cornerback: Rock Ya-Sin, T.J. Carrie
Cornerback: Xavier Rhodes
Nickel Cornerback: Kenny Moore, Isaiah Rodgers*
Strong Safety: Khari Willis, Tavon Wilson
Free Safety: Malik Hooker, George Odum, Julian Blackmon*
-It looks like Denico Autry will get the starting defensive end job, opposite Justin Houston, that we previously saw Jabaal Sheard hold. But expect Al-Quadin Muhammad to rotate in a good amount, and possibly be the guy on third down. It will be interesting to note how Matt Eberflus handles the playing time along the defensive line.
-Anthony Walker remains the starting MIKE, and we will see if he maintains that throughout games when the Colts go into sub packages. E.J. Speed and Matthew Adams flipping SAM and WILL duties is interesting, considering they were originally thought to be the opposite of that in prior seasons.
-With the Colts showing a nickel cornerback, they aren’t tipping their hand of the cornerback pairing when a base defense is used. I still think Kenny Moore is too valuable to only play in the slot. Pushing him outside in the base package, could send Xavier Rhodes to the bench during that personnel grouping.
-The Colts have stated several times that they will ease Julian Blackmon into things. That’s evident on the depth chart. It remains to be seen just when Blackmon will make his NFL debut.
Specialists: K-Rodrigo Blankenship*, LS-Luke Rhodes, P-Rigoberto Sanchez,
Kick Return: Nyheim Hines, Isaiah Rodgers
Punt Return: Nyheim Hines, Isaiah Rodgers
Special Team Notes:
-It’s a clean sweep for Nyheim Hines in handling the return duties. And the rookie Isaiah Rodgers, who had plenty of return history in college, is the backup. Given the importance of having Parris Campbell involved in the offense quite a bit, going with Hines at both return spots makes sense.