Danny Pinter

Colts Move Roster To 53

Some higher-profile Colts news has overshadowed their roster construction, but the Jonathan Taylor drama factors into Indianapolis’ roster construction. Here is how the team moved down to 53:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Placed on reserve/PUP:

Placed on reserve/suspended list:

While Funk could be a practice squad candidate, Indianapolis’ 53-man roster includes three running backs: Deon Jackson, Zack Moss and fifth-round rookie Evan Hull. Moss is rehabbing a broken arm and looms as a candidate for in-season IR. The Colts released late-summer pickup Kenyan Drake recently. The Taylor move sidelines the disgruntled All-Pro for the first four games.

Smith, Rodgers, Strachan and Winfree moving off the roster leaves only four receivers (Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, Josh Downs and Isaiah McKenzie) on the active. It seems likely another will be added before Week 1. Even with Brown gone, Indy’s 53-man roster houses five tight ends. Jelani Woods, Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, fifth-round rookie Will Mallory and Drew Ogletree, a second-year sixth-rounder, comprise that group. This would seem to be a place the Colts would be willing to cut into, should they be awarded any players on waivers before Wednesday’s 11am CT deadline.

The Colts added Harrison this offseason, signing the former Browns safety after the Browns brought in 2022 Colts cog Rodney McLeod. It should be expected Harrison, who is going into his sixth season, lands somewhere soon. Teams can keep up to six vested veterans on their respective practice squads, leaving the door ajar for Harrison — who only signed with the Colts on Aug. 14 — to stay. The 26-year-old defender has 45 starts on his resume.

Colts C Danny Pinter Out For Season

Colts center Danny Pinter suffered a broken left ankle during the team’s preseason win over the Eagles on Thursday, as Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes. Pinter has been placed on injured reserve, and his season is over.

Pinter, a 2020 fifth-round choice, has appeared in 46 games (seven starts) in his first three professional seasons. He opened the 2022 campaign as Indianapolis’ starting right guard but was benched for poor performance after just three games. He handled the bulk of the snaps at center in relief of an injured Ryan Kelly in the Colts’ Week 5 win over the Broncos, was relegated to reserve duty when Kelly returned the following week, and scarcely saw any action the rest of the way.

This season, Pinter was penciled in as Kelly’s primary backup at the pivot. Pinter started three games at the position in 2021 and received a strong 78.4 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus for his work, though his subpar 46.0 pass-blocking mark left much to be desired. The Colts did, however, win all three of those contests, and the club values Pinter’s ability to line up at multiple positions along the O-line.

“Danny is a really good player for us,” head coach Shane Steichen said. “To lose a guy like him is very unfortunate for us.”

2022 UDFA Wesley French and 2023 waiver claim Dakoda Shepley are the top internal options to fill the backup center role. However, French has yet to take a regular season snap in the NFL, and Shepley’s only non-special teams action came with the Cowboys last year, when he took eight snaps at center and six at right guard.

Steichen did not commit to either player at this point, saying, “[we’re] working through all of that right now. There are a couple of guys we’re looking at.”

It is possible that the Colts look for external reinforcements with cutdown day looming, especially since they will be starting rookie Anthony Richardson at quarterback.

Latest On Colts’ Offensive Line Changes

For years, the Colts deployed one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. The holdovers from those years have since been rewarded with top-market extensions. This season’s Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski replacement options have helped lead to a regression, inviting questions about the highly paid unit.

Early-season starters Matt Pryor and Danny Pinter have been either relocated or benched. The Pryor-at-left tackle experiment is over, and although the Colts did not see great returns from the Bernhard Raimann-vs.-Bradley Chubb matchup in Week 5, they are turning to the third-round rookie full-time on the blindside.

We just think he has the makeup; he has the physical talent,” Frank Reich said, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson. “We understand — like a lot of our young players — it’s a process. You look at Alec [Pierce], you look at Jelani [Woods], they get better fast, the more they play. … So we’re just going to put him in there, and we’re going to play.

We feel like he’s got a lot of upside. Right now, I’d be willing to tell you we think that’s going to be our left tackle.”

Raimann seizing the blindside reins would be a welcome sight for the Colts, who have seen this position go through some turbulence since Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement. The team signed Fisher last year, but after his Achilles tear in the 2020 AFC championship game, the longtime Chiefs starter was unavailable to start last season. The Colts used Julie’n Davenport at the marquee O-line spot to start last season and did receive 15 Fisher starts once he was healthy. But the Colts did not re-sign Fisher, who remains a free agent. They tried Pryor at left tackle to start the season, working in Raimann off the bench. Now, it will be Raimann playing throughout.

A 25-year-old prospect out of Central Michigan, Raimann committed four holding penalties in the Colts’ overtime win last week. He has not been charged with any sacks allowed yet; Pryor has given up five, leading to questions about his starter status going forward. A 2020 fifth-round pick, Pinter did not start in Week 5 but replaced an injured Ryan Kelly. Indy’s Pro Bowl was back at practice this week.

It remains to be seen how the Colts will play it on the right side. Citing run-blocking aid, the Colts shifted longtime right tackle Braden Smith to right guard during the Denver outing. Smith has been Indianapolis’ right tackle since October 2018, shortly after the team drafted him in Round 2, and signed a four-year, $70MM deal to man that spot. That contract sits fourth among right tackles, in terms of AAV. If the Colts are planning a longer-term Smith guard foray, their guard commitments — headed by Quenton Nelson‘s position-record $20MM-per-year pact — reside on their own cost tier.

The Colts shifted Pryor to right tackle in Week 5, but the move did not work out. A veteran backup who re-signed with the Colts (one year, $5.5MM) this offseason, Pryor rates as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-worst-graded tackle. This performance has contributed to Matt Ryan‘s 11 fumbles — the most through five games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger — and 21 sacks taken.

Indianapolis has Dennis Kelly as another right tackle option. Kelly, 32, has 51 career starts — mostly at right tackle. He started 16 games for the 2020 Titans at that position. The 11th-year blocker missed time this summer due to knee surgery and has not played an offensive snap this season. The Colts viewed Kelly as a swingman upon signing him for no guaranteed money. Kelly, understandably, said (via Erickson) he wants a chance to start again.

As he was coming off of his injury in training camp, you can see him getting more and more physically comfortable, comfortable in the system,” Reich said. “Love that he’s here, and we’ll continue to evaluate.”

Colts’ Bernhard Raimann Could Become Week 1 LT Starter

New Colts quarterback Matt Ryan will operate behind a number of top-tier blockers in 2022, including All-World performer Quenton Nelson at left guard, three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kelly at the pivot, and Braden Smith — who signed a four-year, $70MM extension one year ago — at right tackle. The left tackle and right guard spots, however, remain up for grabs.

Of course, the LT job is the most important one on the line, and Matt Pryor is currently penciled in as the Week 1 starter on Ryan’s blindside. The problem is that Pryor, a 2018 sixth-round pick of the Eagles, has just one start at left tackle in his career, which came in the penultimate game of the 2021 season as an injury replacement for Eric Fisher. Indianapolis acquired Pryor in a minor trade in advance of final cutdowns last August, which is indicative of his generally underwhelming performance during his two-year stint in Philadelphia.

On the other hand, Pryor demonstrated marked improvement in an admittedly small sample size with the Colts last year. In 438 offensive snaps, the TCU product did not allow a sack and earned a strong 76.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked him as the 25th-best tackle in the game — he also saw time at right tackle as a fill-in for Smith — and gave him high marks for both his pass-blocking and run-blocking acumen. The Colts were sufficiently impressed to re-sign Pyror to a one-year, $5.5MM contract this offseason, while Fisher remains a free agent.

Indianapolis did, however, select Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, a First-Team All-MAC left tackle last year, in the third round of April’s draft. Per Mike Chappell of Fox59.com, Pryor will open training camp with the first-stringers, but Raimann, who is viewed as the long-term solution at LT, will be given “every opportunity” to win the job.

It’s not difficult to see why the Colts are so optimistic about Raimann. Even though he began his collegiate career as a tight end and just converted to tackle in 2020, Lance Zierlien of NFL.com says the Austrian native is much more developed as a technician than one might expect. That technique combined with a tight end’s athleticism make Raimann an intriguing prospect, and while he still has plenty of work to do to reach his ceiling, it sounds as if he has a good chance to step right into a starting role as a rookie.

If that happens, then Pryor — who saw time at guard with Indy last year and whose work with the Eagles came on the interior of the line — could compete with 2020 fifth-rounder Danny Pinter for the RG gig.

“We’ll get the best five [O-linemen] on the field,” GM Chris Ballard said. “Whatever the coaches think are the best five, we’ll get them on the field.”