Indianapolis Colts: What Suspension of Erik Walden Means to the Team
During the second quarter, Walden and Titans tight end Delanie Walker got into a minor scuffle. During the scuffle, Walker’s helmet was knocked off. After that, Walden proceeded to headbutt Walker while wearing his helmet despite Walker not having any protection on his head.
Walden was penalized but not ejected from the game. No one knew what to expect this week as we definitely knew at least a fine as coming, but the suspension is considerably worse as he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Now, what does this mean to the team? It’s certainly a loss. The Colts are pretty thin at the outside linebacking position and Walden has 28 tackles and two sacks. They will have to go to first-round draft choice Bjoern Werner to start in place , and he will be earning his first career NFL start on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Werner missed quite a few games earlier this year and didn’t come back until after the bye week. He has eight tackles and 0.5 sacks this year and will be leaned upon heavily. The only other player in that spot is Andy Studebaker. They could move Cam Johnson to fill in there too, but he’s the only backup to Robert Mathis on the opposite side of the field.
Luckily for the Colts, Arizona struggles on offense. They rank 23rd in points per game with 21.4 and 25th on the ground, averaging just 85.6 yards per game. The Colts’ veterans like Mathis, Cory Redding and others will have to step up, but it shouldn’t be too big of a problem on Sunday.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru