The Colts have declared ILB Jerrell Freeman and DE Arthur Jones as out for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. The latter was assumed, given how severe Jones’s ankle injury looked on Monday night. However, Jerrell Freeman is still nursing a sore hamstring and at least had a shot, but apparently, it’s still not in good enough shape to go.
It’s a significant blow for the defense, as both are two of the unit’s better players. Freeman is the Colts’ best linebacker in coverage, and in his absence on Monday Night Football, the Colts’ defense allowed Eagles’ RB Darren Sproles to shred them for 152 yards receiving on 7 receptions. A coverage assignment that Freeman would’ve been assigned to often. His replacement, Josh McNary struggled in coverage on Monday night, as Eagles’ QB Foles finished the night 9 for 9 for 176 yards and a QBR of 118.8 targeting him.
While the Jaguars’ primary running back, Toby Gerhart, is strictly a downhill runner. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Jaguars take some chances with some screens, and perhaps using Denard Robinson as a scat-back with no Freeman in the middle.
Jones had played well for the Colts so far, but the team is fortunate to have Ricky Jean-Francois (RJF) as its 3rd defensive end. He will likely fill-in for Jones, and while there may be a slight drop-off , RJF has been very good and the defensive line shouldn’t lose a beat. The advanced stats provided by ProFootballFocus (PFF) have him as the 14th best 3-4 DE through two games, even ahead of Arthur Jones.