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Previewing the Jets opposition: Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The Jets try to string together back-to-back good performances as the Indianapolis Colts come to town on Sunday. The 1-4 Colts might be better than their record suggests, as they haven’t played any bad teams yet and have been competitive in nearly all of their games, including an impressive road win in Washington. However, they have an extensive injury list, so the Jets will be looking to take advantage of some key absences.

Let’s review how their roster shapes up:


Andrew Luck is finally back for the Colts following an extended absence through injury and, while there have been some questions over his arm strength, he’s looked like being back to something like his best over the past two weeks with 829 yards and seven touchdowns. He has, however, thrown five interceptions and been sacked 10 times so far this season.

Jacoby Brissett, who did a creditable job filling in for Luck last season, remains on the roster as his backup. He was sacked 52 times in 2017, which led the NFL.

Offensive line

The Colts injury issues have ravaged their offensive line, although there’s good news for them this week as their best lineman, Anthony Castonzo, has recovered from a hamstring injury and will make his season debut.

That’s about where the good news ends though, as Matt Slauson became the third Colts lineman to go onto injury reserve after suffering a serious back injury. He joins J’Marcus Webb and Joe Haeg, each of whom started the opener, on injured reserve.

The Colts will also be without Denzelle Good, who is currently listed as their starting right tackle. Good will be absent for personal reasons following the tragic death of his brother. Second round rookie Braden Smith - who is actually listed as the starter at right guard - filled in at right tackle for Good last week, becoming the fourth different starter at that position in five games.

If Smith remains at right tackle, the recently signed Evan Boehm is expected to slide in at right guard. Boehm had been on the Rams’ practice squad after being released in final cuts by Arizona.

There’s at least some stability on the interior, as center Ryan Kelly and guard Quenton Nelson - this year’s sixth overall pick - have played every snap. However, Kelly is also listed as questionable.

On the bench, the Colts have Le’Raven Clark - who had been starting at left tackle with Castonzo out - and former Seahawk Mark Glowinski.

Running Backs

Starting running back Marlon Mack is also making his return this week, having missed three games with foot and hamstring injuries. He was held to 34 yards on 10 carries in his only game of the year, although that was the Colts’ lone win.

With Mack out, rookie Jordan Wilkins has been starting and leads the team with 175 yards at 4.0 per carry. However, fellow rookie Nyheim Hines has been creating more buzz. He has 29 pass receptions, putting him on track to break Reggie Bush’s NFL record for rookie running backs.

Veteran Robert Turbin provides depth off the bench but hasn’t played much yet.


Injuries are a problem for the Colts’ pass catchers too. Receiver TY Hilton and tight end Jack Doyle, who led the Colts in receiving yards and receptions respectively last year, have both been ruled out.

The other starting tight end, Eric Ebron, has been having a productive season but he’s banged up too, as he’s listed as questionable with ankle, shin, knee and quad issues. The Colts like to play two tight end sets, so they’ll have to rely on Erik Swoope and Ryan Hewitt to step up. Hewitt is mostly a blocker, but Swoope has five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Colts also recently elevated Mo Alie-Cox from their practice squad.

At wide receiver, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers have been productive, as each has 24 receptions on the year. However, they’ve accounted for just 446 yards and one score between them so far.

Youngsters Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson have showed some potential off the bench. Pascal caught six passes, including a touchdown, against Houston and was rewarded with his first career start last week.

Defensive line

As Jets fans are well aware, the Colts switched from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme this year, which rendered Henry Anderson expendable. The defensive line has been one of the Colts’ strengths this year, but their depth is pretty thin here too, due to injuries.

Denico Autry and Margus Hunt have both been ruled out. The pair had each been playing both on the inside and on the edge and performing well. Hunt has four sacks.

At defensive end, Jabaal Sheard - who led the Colts with 5.5 sacks last year - is their most productive pass rusher. Rookie Kemoko Turay has shown some promise though, including a couple of sacks. Recent addition Carroll Phillips provides depth.

The Colts may be wishing they hadn’t been so hasty to let Tarell Basham go because they probably could have used the newest Jet on Sunday.

Inside, Al Woods is a 330-pound space stuffer. With Autry and Hunt unable to go, Grover Stewart or Jihad Ward will have to fill in alongside Woods.


At linebacker, rookie Darius Leonard has been a bright spot. He leads the team with 54 tackles and is tied for the lead with four sacks. Leonard is also listed as questionable though.

The other two starters are Anthony Walker and Najee Goode. Walker was a fifth round pick last year but Goode is more experienced.

Their bench comprises three rookies, Matthew Adams, Skai Moore and Zaire Franklin. Of the three, Franklin is getting the most reps right now.

Defensive backs

There’s more injury issues at safety where starter Clayton Geathers has been ruled out and number three safety Matthias Farley was just placed on injured reserve. However, Geathers’ banged-up partner Malik Hooker should be good to go.

The Colts added some reinforcements when they signed veteran Mike Mitchell a few days ago and he was slated to start on Sunday, but he’s already suffered a pectoral issue and is listed as questionable. Rookie George Odom and the slightly more experienced Corey Moore are on stand-by.

At cornerback, Kenneth Moore and Nate Hairston are the starters and Pierre Desir is the primary nickelback. Quincy Wilson - a second round pick last year - remains on the bench after a rocky start to his career. Chris Milton is also available in reserve.

Special teams

Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri set the all-time field goal record a few weeks ago but has missed two field goals so far this year. Punter Rigoberto Sanchez is off to a solid start though.

In the return game, Pascal has been fielding kickoffs and Rogers has been handling punts. Of the two, Rogers has looked the more dangerous.

In kick coverage, Frankin, Milton and both Moores are among their most productive players.