According to his defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, Indianapolis Colts defensive end Ben Banogu has been a healthy scratch on consecutive gamedays because of his recent practice performance—and perhaps, the lack thereof:
Asked about why second-year DE Ben Banogu has been a healthy scratch the past few weeks, Matt Eberflus says it comes down to practice. “Then you have to produce in the game,” Eberflus adds.
Banogu fighting for snaps in a crowded DL room. Hasn’t flashed much this season.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 17, 2020
The former 2019 2nd round pick of the Colts was always regarded as a bit raw as a developmental pass rusher coming out of TCU—with some unrefined, but intriguing physical tools and production.
That being said, in his 2nd-season, Banogu hasn’t consistently translated those tools to the football field—team practice or the game day turf for that matter.
During 23 career games, the 6’3”, 252 pound defensive end has 2.5 sacks, 17 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a pass defensed.
However, it’s not time to declare Banogu a bust yet—a label which is too quickly thrown around.
If the 2020 season has taught us one thing, it’s that defensive linemen can take a little more time to develop—as 3rd-year pro (and former 2018 2nd round pick) Tyquan Lewis has ‘flipped the draft flop label’ en route to becoming an impactful rotational defensive lineman for the Colts with 3.5 sacks on the season (2nd most on the team).
While it was first thought that Banogu was inactive because the Colts were playing some power-heavy running games—namely the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, and the team didn’t have a real need for another backup speed rusher (preferring power off the bench instead), it appears there’s more to it than that.
Banogu still has a chance to re-write his young career arc here, it’s just a matter of stepping up on the practice field and having that improved performance translate elsewhere.
The rest will take care of itself for the young pass rusher.