The Indianapolis Colts announced on Friday afternoon that the team has placed starting DT/DE Denico Autry on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 List—and he’s going to miss Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers (per The Athletic’s Zak Keefer):
News— Colts will put DE Denico Autry on Covid-19 list, per Frank Reich, and he won’t play Sunday vs. Packers. ST coordinator Bubba Ventrone will also miss the game after testing positive.
Autry’s been really good lately, with 4 sacks in the last 3.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) November 20, 2020
Keefer also notes that Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone will also be held from the sidelines on Sunday—who’s coached one of the league’s best units this season. (Assistant special teams coach Frank Ross will primarily coach instead in relief of Ventrone with Director of Player Engagement David Thornton serving as additional aid.).
Obviously, Autry’s loss is a big one for the Colts defensive line—as he leads the defense with 6.0 sacks to go along with 24 tackles (15 solo and 7 tackles for loss) during 9 games (8 starts) in 2020.
Certainly hurting matters is that the Colts face off against superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, top wideout Davante Adams, and the Green Bay Packers’ prolific passing attack on Sunday—where generating consistent pass pressure will be pivotal.
Rotational defensive linemen Al-Quadin Muhammad or Tyquan Lewis will presumably receive the start in Autry’s absence, while Kemoko Turay is hopeful to make his much anticipated season-long debut off the edge—following a lengthy rehabilitation from ankle surgery.
It also means that backup speed rusher Ben Banogu may be active for the first time in three weeks—having been a healthy scratch recently for the Colts.
If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that the three defensive linemen that the Colts also held out of Thursday’s team practice for illness precautions: Grover Stewart, Muhammad, and Lewis were not placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List—along with Autry on Friday.
However, here’s wishing both Autry, Ventrone, and the rest of the Colts’ players/coaching staff increased positivity, health, and wellness.