The Indianapolis Colts will be without quarterback Andrew Luck this weekend, but they have some other notable names on their injury report. The San Francisco 49ers face plenty of challenges this week, but there are a couple areas where the Colts strengths have been blunted.
We discussed Jack Doyle’s injury, and that is arguably the most high profile after Luck. The offense will be without one of Frank Gore’s backups, rookie Marlon Mack. On defense, they’ll be without nickel back Nate Hairston, and there are questions surrounding cornerback Rashaan Melvin.
Stampede Blue writer Jake Arthur offered up some insight into the Colts injury report, and the impact on both sides of the ball.
Marlon Mack's return is huge for a backfield averaging just 3.0 yards per carry, which ranks 31st in the NFL. Frank Gore and Robert Turbin are between-the-tackles runners while Mack really brings some playmaking ability to the outside. He's got multiple 20-yard plays in the two games he's played, so they know they've got a playmaker in him. The return of center Ryan Kelly will also help the entire run game.
Although just a rookie, Nate Hairston has been among the better nickel defenders in the league, according to PFF. He's also got 2.0 sacks this year, so he's a dynamic guy. Luckily for the Colts, Darius Butler was one of the league's best nickels before he converted to safety. He's a great option there and to whom they should probably look. Pierre Desir is an option as well.
The likelihood of not having Rashaan Melvin is bittersweet. He's been a consistent defender for the Colts and probably their best all-around defensive back to this point. However, they did just get Vontae Davis back last week and get Quincy Wilson back this week. If they were going to not have Melvin, this looks like a good week for it.
Tight end Jack Doyle being out is the other big piece of news. He had a pretty poor game last week by his standards with a couple of drops, but he has proven to be the dependable security blanket for Colts quarterbacks in Andrew Luck's absence. They'll miss his ability to find soft spots in the zone to move the sticks, as well as his blocking. Brandon Williams, who will start, is known for his blocking and has shown a new-found prowess at pass-catching. It'll hurt not having Doyle, but Williams and Darrell Daniels are both capable of filling in.
Colts final injury report
Out: TE Jack Doyle (concussion, neck), CB Nate Hairston (quadricep), QB Andrew Luck (right shoulder)
Doubtful: RB Matt Jones (knee)
Questionable: CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring, ankle), WR Chester Rogers (hamstring)