The Indianapolis Colts have four games left to play as of this Saturday, and they are effectively out of contention for the playoffs.
The club should make an attempt to discover what they have in some of its younger assets even if interim head coach Jeff Saturday claimed the squad is focused on winning now rather than analyzing for the future.
The Colts should at least start rotating some of their younger, rising stars into greater roles. Forcing a guy to see starter snaps would be an unreasonable situation.
Following are four Colts who should get greater playing time in the last four regular-season contests:
Jelani Woods, TE
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Snap share during the season: 23.5%
This season, Woods has had a number of sparks that ought to have led to him securing a larger position. His impressive performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 when he caught eight passes on nine targets for 98 yards was the most recent instance.
Despite the significant increase in output, Woods only participated in 21% of the plays in Week 13’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Why Woods didn’t get more chances in that game after his breakthrough escapes Jeff Saturday’s grasp.
It would make sense if Woods were lagging behind other productive tight ends in this situation. However, starting wide receiver Mo Alie-Cox has the same (17) catches and fewer receiving yards (185) than Woods this year.
In the hopes that he would develop into the starting Y tight end, the present administration utilized a third-round selection on Woods. Time to test his suitability for that position.
alongside Nick Cross
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Share during the season: 13.9%
For Cross, his first season has been very peculiar. He tore it up throughout training camp and the preseason, showcasing his exceptional athleticism and adept ball handling, which generated a lot of excitement. Cross was virtually benched for the rest of the season on defense after making his debut in Week 1.
Continuing the story
Cross has seen a staggering total of only two defensive snaps in the 11 games that have come after playing a combined 116 defensive plays over the first two games. He has participated in 48% of the special teams snaps, it should be mentioned.
Rodney McLeod, a seasoned player, and rookie seventh-round choice Rodney Thomas II have both produced well for the Colts, particularly Thomas II when Julian Blackmon was out with an injury.
Cross has to be included more, however. Being just 21 years old, he is still very young and requires playing experience to improve his growth. It would be wise for the Colts to make the most of him during these next four games since players with his athletic profile and ball abilities don’t come around very often.
Alec Pierce, WR
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Snap share during the season: 59.7%
Pierce has taken more offensive snaps than any other rookie, but it’s still not enough. The second-round selection saw a severe slump in performance throughout the month of November, but he demonstrated in Week 13 how much he can expand the offensive with a career-high 86 yards and a touchdown reception.
The Colts are not expected to switch Parris Campbell’s starting position. All things considered, his season has been rather strong. Pierce needs to spend more time on the field than he has been. Although Matt Ryan is frightened of what may occur if a seven-step drop is called, the Colts must continue to develop their young wideouts because he is the only reliable deep threat this offense has.
Getting Peirce and Michael Pittman Jr. on the field together as much as possible should be a goal since there’s a potential Campbell finds a new home in free agency this summer.
Curtis Brooks, DT
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0% season snap share
Fans of the Colts haven’t heard this name in a while. From Cincinnati, Brooks was selected by the Colts in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft as a possible steal. It was understandable why the Colts kept him on the practice squad the whole time since he hardly made any noise throughout training camp or the preseason.
From a production and athletic perspective, Booth Brooks was a promising young athlete. Giving Brooks a greater role does not guarantee that he will play 25% of the defensive snaps each week, but Brooks may get some of the defensive snaps that go to Byron Cowart, who has played 18% of the defensive snaps.
The Colts may still investigate if they may have a hidden gem in Brooks despite Cowart’s influence and position. This doesn’t mean the Colts were incorrect to retain him on the practice squad; it’s reasonable that not all rookies grow at the same pace.
However, Brooks’ potential was fascinating enough to merit some further playing time in the closing stages.