Colts GM Ryan Grigson announced that safety Delano Howell will be seeing a specialist this week for his neck injury. The injury could potentially end Howell’s season and will likely force changes to the roster.
Colts fans are well-versed in just how serious neck injuries can be (see 2011 season). Howell missed the majority of last season due what sounds like a similar neck injury.
“Anytime there’s anything with a neck, you’ve got to cross your t’s and dot your i’s,” Grigson said. “That’s a serious area. It’s something that’s been nagging him.
“He’s going through the whole entire process of seeing multiple people so he can formulate that opinion with his wife and his agent, himself and all of us and make the decision that’s best for Delano. He’s seeing another specialist so we can pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Hopefully he’s back out there playing for us soon.”
Grigson wouldn’t comment on how long Howell would be out and didn’t say if it was a season- or career-threatening injury.
Safety was a big area of need for the Colts in the off season and the team did nothing to address the issue. They assumed that the bench would produce a player and that mediocre veteran Mike Adams could fill in when needed.
LaRon Landry appears to have the strong safety spot locked up and that basically leaves either Adams or Sergio Brown to play the other spot. None of those combinations are good enough going forward and the safety spot is now a huge liability.
This loss could, and likely should, force the Colts to make a move to find a safety. This isn’t like looking for a running back, and it wouldn’t be an over-correction to trade a draft pick for a young player to plug in next to Landry.
Grigson has been mismanaging this roster for awhile now. The Trent Richardson trade was horrible (worse than not resigning Donald Brown when you have two guys returning from IR). He continues to overpay mediocre talent and now he’s failed to address one of the weakest spots on the roster.
Grigson passed up a lot of talented players in this year’s draft, one that saw 56 defensive backs taken (the most ever), and did an equally poor job in free agency.
If the Colts decide not to make a move at safety, they’ll be expecting the front seven (linebackers and defensive line) to be extraordinary. That means constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks and exceptional run defense.
While those players have looked good, they haven’t utterly dominated the first two preseason games. They’ve also faced two lackluster offenses.
Whoever starts at safety will be tested starting week one. Peyton Manning (Master Level Safety Manipulator) will make the duo of Adams and Landry look like freshmen in college (especially without Robert Mathis providing pressure).
This position has been an issue since the Colts let Antoine Bethea was allowed to leave in the spring, and its past time to find a better solution.