The Indianapolis Colts’ pass rush could be short-handed for Sunday’s game at Tennessee after outside linebacker Trent Cole suffered a knee injury during practice.
Head coach Chuck Pagano advised Friday the 32-year-old linebacker is questionable. The 11th-year pro with 85.5 career sacks in 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles has yet to register one for his new team and has five tackles. He signed a two-year, $14-million contract in the offseason.
The Colts (0-2), who have only one sack, should have an opportunity to get after Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has been sacked nine times.
If Cole, 32, can’t play, it’s possible outside linebacker Robert Mathis could get the nod after playing in his first game in more than a year on Monday night. The franchise’s all-time sack leader had one tackle and one quarterback pressure.
If not Mathis, then second-year outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome would get the nod after missing the last game with a hamstring issue. Newsome led the team with 6.5 sacks as a rookie.
Pagano said Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis will play although listed as questionable after being cleared as part of the NFL’s mandatory concussion protocol.
The Colts shuffled their depleted secondary again by re-signing rookie cornerback Eric Patterson from the practice squad and placing Sheldon Price on injured reserve due to an ankle injury. Cornerbacks Greg Toler (neck) and Darius Butler (hip) will not play. Rookie cornerback D'Joun Smith (knee) is on injured reserve with a designation to return.
Butler could be close to returning.
“I think we’re hopeful that he’s back next week,” Pagano said of the nickel cornerback, who started the opener for Toler and allowed a 51-yard touchdown pass. “Those corners are special, special players. They’re special athletes. They’re like Maseratis so to speak. D-linemen, you got the old Fords and Chevys and pickups. They turn over every morning. Those Maseratis, sometimes they spend a little bit of time in the shop. It’s hard to get parts in. It takes a long time to get the parts in and find the right guy to fix them. If you can’t run and you can’t flip, it’s not him.
“He’s grinding his tail off to get back. When you’re dealing with groins and hips and soft tissue stuff with those guys that have to run and cover, it’s a tough deal. He’s straining. He’s doing everything he possibly can to get back.”
Cornerback Jalil Brown is expected to start his second consecutive game. The fifth-year pro made his third career start against the Jets.
Tight end Dwayne Allen will miss the game with an ankle injury that forced him out of the last game in the second quarter. Allen has missed 18 games due to injuries in the past two seasons.
His absence leaves the team with just two tight ends, Coby Fleener and Jack Doyle, on the active roster. It’s possible Sean McGrath, signed this week to the practice squad, could be promoted before the game.
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