The Colts were without seven starters in Thursday’s practice and the news got worse on Friday as right tackle Braden Smith and cornerback Xavier Rhodes were both ruled out for Sunday’s contest hosting the Los Angeles Rams.
Officially ruled out for Sunday’s game vs. the Rams: Braden Smith, Xavier Rhodes.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 17, 2021
Eric Fisher could make his Colts debut. Team will decide in the next 48 hours after seeing how his Achilles responds and watches his practice tape.
Indianapolis is hoping for the return of left tackle Eric Fisher, but as we saw with Taylor Lewan of the Tennessee Titans in his Week 1 performance of helping allow five sacks to Chandler Jones, it’s not necessarily easy to return from injury without a few warmup games. (Lewan tore his ACL in 2020.)
Now the Colts know for sure that they’ll be without right tackle Smith, likely the better of their two starting tackles. Indianapolis struggled at left tackle with Julie’n Davenport filling in for Fisher and having a tough time against the Seattle Seahawks probably-league average pass rushers.
Left guard Quenton Nelson, perhaps the best offensive lineman in the entire NFL, is expected to play but has missed practice this week with injury too.
The bigger concern than Smith might be Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes, also ruled out for Sunday’s contest on Friday. Rhodes enjoyed a career rebound in his first season with the Colts in 2020, making the Pro Bowl and serving as Indy’s top corner, but now that title may go to Kenny Moore II. He will have to be on Sunday with Rhodes out. T.J. Carrie is the other starter, with Rock Ya-Sin and Isaiah Rodgers, a sixth round pick in 2020, serving as depth. BoPete Keyes, a waiver pickup from the KC Chiefs, is also on the roster.
That’s not a lot of depth or experience to face off with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
The LA Rams have been much luckier this week, with the only potential ongoing injury situation being with Sebastian Joseph-Day, and his status was upgraded to limited on Thursday.
Hopefully both teams go into and come out of the game in great health, but Indianapolis has some issues they know they’ll have to overcome this weekend.