The Indianapolis Colts will be kicking off the 2021 season against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts certainly don’t have an easy matchup to begin the year. All sides of the ball will need to play well if they want to start the season 1-0, something this team hasn’t done since 2014.
There has been some uncertainty surrounding certain players throughout training camp on their status for Week 1. With this week’s practice sessions now in the books, who will be taking the field for the Colts on Sunday?
QB Carson Wentz (Foot)
Head coach Frank Reich announced on Friday that Wentz would start for the Colts against the Seahawks after practicing in full the past three days.
Wentz had surgery to remove a bone from his left foot just a little over five weeks ago. It’s pretty remarkable the recovery that he has made for an injury that could have sidelined him up to 12 weeks.
There is still some concern with how Wentz will perform on Sunday. Because of the injury to his foot and missing time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Wentz has less than 10 practices with his new teammates. He is also learning an offense that while similar to what he ran in Philadelphia, has much different verbiage.
However, Wentz still gives the Colts the best chance to win. The Carson Wentz era in Indy will officially begin on Sept. 12.
OT Eric Fisher (Achilles)
Julién Davenport will be the starter at left tackle because Fisher will not be out there. Fisher is still recovering from a torn Achilles that he suffered in the AFC Championship game in January.
While he may not be out there this week, he is not far from returning. Fisher practiced in a limited capacity all week and the Colts believe he is very close to being 100%. The Colts have not ruled him out for Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams.
Fisher was brought in to be the left tackle after Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement. If Fisher, a former Pro Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs, can come back and play at the level he did in Kansas City, the Colts will once again have one of the best offensive lines in the league.
CB Xavier Rhodes (Calf)
The loss of Rhodes is probably the biggest one for the Colts this week.
According to Reich, Rhodes injured his calf last week and it was initially thought to not be serious. However, the injury has lingered throughout the week and Rhodes was not able to practice. He will be evaluated again next week to see where he is at.
With Rhodes out, the Colts will more than likely turn to T.J. Carrie to take his spot at the outside cornerback position. Carrie was the primary backup last year for the Colts at cornerback and played well. Coming off a knee injury in the preseason, Carrie will need to step up as both Seahawks wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett can make defenses pay.
DE Kemoko Turay (Groin)
Turay was not 100% healthy throughout his entire 2020 campaign. He was still trying to recover from a devastating ankle injury he suffered in 2019 but was never quite himself. After having a very nice training camp, his 2021 debut will have to wait.
Turay was unable to practice this week with a nagging groin injury. The fourth-year player out of Rutgers is looking to show that he can stay healthy and be someone the Colts can rely on to bring consistent pressure on the quarterback.
Look for Ben Banogu to get the reps that Turay would have gotten this Sunday. Banogu is another pass rusher who had a solid training camp after an abysmal 2020 season. The pressure is on Banogu to perform, as he will come in on passing downs to try and put pressure on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
G Quenton Nelson (Foot, Back)
Nelson also had to undergo the same surgery on his right foot as Wentz with the procedures happening on back-to-back days. Nelson also has made a full recovery from the surgery and has no lingering issues.
The bigger concern with Nelson is a flare-up in his back. He has had some back issues before and has been able to play through them. The All-Pro has trended in the right direction all week after not practicing on Wednesday.
The Colts officially have Nelson listed as questionable after practicing in full on Friday. As long as his back does not flare-up, he should play Sunday. Nelson always plays a pivotal role for the Colts’ offense, but even more so this week as he will help out Davenport, the starter at left tackle.
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