The Indianapolis Colts were forced into an unfortunate position with the announcement that All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard would miss the rest of the 2022 season. With one of their biggest defensive playmakers on the shelf, the team turned to a former division rival for help.
Shaq’s season over https://t.co/qA5hzjmasU — Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) November 15, 2022
Colts Defense – Life Without Leonard
It was announced today that Leonard had undergone a season-ending back surgery. This will be the second surgery this year, as Leonard previously went under the knife to address disk and nerve issues that were causing pain and limiting the strength of his left leg. This surgery caused Leonard to miss three games to start the season.
Upon his return, the Pro-Bowler suffered a broken nose and concussion against the Titans in week four, causing additional delays. As a result, Indianapolis limited his snaps against the Commanders and Patriots (24% and 34%, respectively) before missing the game against the Raiders.
Next Man Up For The Colts Linebackers
Although no team wants to be without one of its best players, this team can hang its hat on the fact that they’ve been just fine when Leonard has missed time this year. Zaire Franklin and Bobby Okereke are both top-ten in the league in combined tackles, with Franklin trailing only Jordyn Brooks for the league’s lead. Add the stout performances from DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart up front, and this unit can hang with virtually any front seven in the league.
However, with Leonard now known to be out for the remainder of the season, the Colts felt it was time to add some depth to this group and did so by adding a player with lots of AFC South experience.
The Indianapolis Colts Sign Tyrell Adams
The Colts added Tyrell Adams to their practice squad, releasing Tight End Darrell Daniels. Adams, an undrafted rookie, signed with the Raiders in 2016 to begin his career. The West Georgia alum spent the 2018 offseason training camp with the Colts before ultimately signing with the rival Texans later that year. In 2020, Adams started 12 games for Houston and put up solid numbers at Right Inside Linebacker. He tallied 125 combined tackles, 76 solo, five tackles for loss, four passes defended, three quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovered.
We have signed LB Tyrell Adams to the practice squad and released TE Darrell Daniels from the practice squad. — Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 15, 2022
The following season, Adams split his time between the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Fransisco 49ers. Unfortunately, he could not capture the magic from the previous year and only combined for four tackles in seven games in 2021.
The Colts will likely lean heavily on Franklin, Okereke, and EJ Speed before relying on Adams, but the team now has the bonus of another high-volume tackler in the locker room.