The Indianapolis Colts defense will be without many of their key players on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately for the Colts, the injury bug has hit all three levels of the defensive unit.
The defensive line will be without not just their heart and soul, but the entire defense’s heart and soul in Cory Redding. He injured his leg late in the first quarter last week against the New York Jets. He tried to return to the game, but was just too hobbled. He will miss his first full game as a member of the Colts and it could be costly.
Without Redding, the defense had no answer to the Jets’ rushing attack as they allowed Shonn Greene to have a career day, gaining nearly 200 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
The line is already thin with injuries and the loss of Redding doesn’t help. They also will be without defensive end Fili Moala and defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu. Both were out last game as well and have played a pretty big role in the teams success this year. Without them and Redding we saw how difficult of a time the line has at stopping the run.
The Colts will have to rely on Drake Nevis, Antonio Johnson, and Ricardo Matthews on the front line on Sunday.
That’s not the only unit unfortunately that’s banged up. The linebacking core is just as bad as they will be without Robert Mathis this week again as he’s still suffering from a knee injury suffered in the Green Bay Packers game. Mathis, has 23 tackles and five sacks so far this season so his loss is definitely missed. He’s another reason the Colts gave up so much on the ground last week and lacked a pass rush.
The Colts do get back Pat Angerer for this week, but head coach Bruce Arians said today he will only play in base formations and isn’t near healthy enough yet. He will joined a hobbled Dwight Freeney in the linebacking spots and both aren’t anywhere near healthy to lean on for Sunday.
The final guy out for Sunday on the defense is Darius Butler. Butler, hasn’t played much this year and isn’t as big as a loss as the others, but still it thins out the secondary.
Even with all of these injuries on the defensive side of the ball I still feel the Colts will win on Sunday. If this was a mediocre team I’d say they’d probably lose, but reality is the Browns are bad. The only guy that could hurt them on offense is rookie Trent Richardson, but he’s hurt himself and won’t see much time due to his rib injury.
The Browns rank 27th on the ground and will have to rely on Montario Hardesty and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden to beat them. I just don’t see that happening this week. The Colts are banged up, but they play so well at home. If they can get by this week and get Mathis, Redding, Moala and Tevaseu back healthy for next week’s game at Tennessee, they should be fine.