News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 6, 2011

With every loss, Colts less healthy

Defense takes big hit at New England

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Injuries, and losses, are piling up for the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts dropped to 0-12 for the season with a 31-24 loss at New England on Sunday, and things don’t get much easier this week as Jim Caldwell’s team travels to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to face the 9-3 Ravens.

The Indianapolis depth chart also took a hit against the Patriots as middle linebacker Pat Angerer (knee), cornerback Jerraud Powers (dislocated elbow) and cornerback Terrence Johnson (arm) all went down with game-ending injuries.

The Colts are getting thinner at several key defensive positions. Powers and Johnson were both placed on injured reserve Tuesday evening and are now done for the season.

Indianapolis has only Jacob Lacey, Kevin Thomas and Chris Rucker left on the active roster to play cornerback. The team is expected to scan the NFL’s waiver wire today and try to add some much needed depth.

Lacey, now in his third year with the Colts, began the season as a starter but was benched after inconsistent play. Thomas is in his second season and missed his first year with a knee injury. Rucker, meanwhile, is a rookie.

With Angerer sidelined against the Patriots, Indianapolis was down to its third middle linebacker this year (starter Gary Brackett incurred a season-ending shoulder injury in the 2011 opener with Houston). A.J. Edds took over in the middle against the Patriots and played most of the game there. Edds, though, suffered a foot injury later in the game.

Angerer and Edds could both be sidelined for an extended length of time. The Colts added former Tampa Bay linebacker Zac Diles to the active roster Monday evening. Diles,who had been waived by the Buccaneers, is an outside linebacker, which means that either Ernie Sims, Philip Wheeler or Kavell Conner could wind up moving inside to middle linebacker for the Ravens game.

Injuries or not, though, the Colts will begin preparing for Baltimore on Wednesday.

“There are going to be a few things that maybe you haven’t quite prepared for, particularly to lose a significant number [of players] at one spot,” Caldwell said during his Monday press conference. “It does make you go through adjustments, and often times, those have to happen during the course of the game.”

Facing the Ravens is just a continuation of a rugged schedule over the next few weeks. The Colts played AFC East leader New England on the road Sunday and go to AFC North leader Baltimore Sunday.

Indianapolis will then return to Lucas Oil Stadium to face a pair of AFC South rivals — Tennessee on Dec. 18 and division leader Houston on Dec. 22. Indianapolis will then close out the season Jan. 1 against AFC South member Jacksonville.

“We’ve still got a lot of football left to go, and I just think incremental and steady improvement is important for us. I think how we [play] in this next ball game, if we can improve a little bit more, I think we’ll be on a good course,” Caldwell said.

“We haven’t run into a team yet that hasn’t been hungry, even up to this point. The games are just so precious, and they’re so tough to win. Everybody that we face, certainly, presents a difficult task, and this [week] won’t be any different. This is a team that’s playing well, and they’re looking to keep that going. We’re a team that’s trying to, certainly, get our feet underneath us. So it should be a good battle.”