INDIANAPOLIS — The hits keep coming for the Indianapolis Colts, especially on offense.
Wide receiver Chester Rogers, who also serves as the team’s punt return man, was placed on injured reserve Monday, ending his season after he suffered a fractured knee during Sunday’s 31-17 loss against the Tennessee Titans.
Rogers becomes the third pass catcher to head to IR since the regular season started, joining wide receiver Devin Funchess (clavicle) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankles) on the sideline.
The Colts still are sorting through their options for a replacement. Primary candidates could include Chad Williams — a former third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals who is on the practice squad — and veteran free agent Dontrelle Inman, who caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games with Indianapolis last year.
“We’re working through some options (with) what we have,” general manager Chris Ballard told team play-by-play voice Matt Taylor on Monday during his quarterly appearance on “Colts Roundtable Live.” “We have some players we like on the roster and on the practice squad. And, look: one thing we will never do is make excuses.
“It’s our job as a personnel staff to give our coaches good enough players to win, and we have to be able to do that. And our roster understands that if you’re on the 53-man roster — really, the 63-man roster — you have to keep yourself ready to go because each week it’s gonna be your opportunity to play, and when that opportunity comes, you’ve gotta be able to produce.”
Head coach Frank Reich expects a corresponding roster move to be announced soon and echoed Ballard’s sentiments about the roster depth.
It’s been a very difficult season at the offensive skill positions.
The Colts started Sunday’s game with just four active wide receivers – Rogers, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Ashton Dulin.
Pascal caught a team-high seven passes for 109 yards, and tight end Jack Doyle chipped in with six catches for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Eight different players had at least one reception, and quarterback Jacoby Brissett finished 25-of-40 for 319 yards and one score. But he also threw a pair of second-half interceptions as Indianapolis failed to hold on to a 17-7 lead.
“I know how Jacoby feels because he feels the same way I felt whenever I played – the way that any quarterback feels, and that is, ‘My guys are my guys, and we are going to win with whoever we have,’” Reich said. “And our guys are good and our guys made a lot of plays on Sunday. We lost the game, and we take ownership of that. That was hard.”
The Colts have hope rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell can return this week against Tampa Bay. He’s missed the last four games with a fractured hand.
The way Campbell responds in practice again will determine his availability, as it did last week.
“I mean, we are optimistic, but I was optimistic last week to be honest,” Reich said. “I was hoping he was going to get there last week, and we didn’t quite get there. So that would make you believe that there is a pretty good chance this week.
“We’ve said this many times, until you actually get out there and practice – especially, like we said, for a younger guy, we need to see it all three days out there — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — that he is ready physically and mentally to go, and hopefully he is, but it is too early to tell.”
Starting running back Marlon Mack missed his second straight game with a fractured hand Sunday. And the rushing attack suffered.
Indianapolis gained just 82 yards on 24 carries, and Jordan Wilkins was the leading rusher with 47 yards on 11 attempts.
Fourth-string running back Jonathan Williams had 14 yards on eight carries and did not play in the second half after posting 100-yard games in each of the previous two weeks.
“There were multiple factors that went into that,” Reich said. “We love Jonathan. I mean, Jonathan is awesome. It was kind of a little bit hot hand and so on and so forth. There were one or two factors – more than one factor – that went into it, but nothing negative in terms of any general feeling that we have about Jonathan.”
Mack was seen working on the side of the practice field Friday, suggesting he’s progressing through his rehab. But it’s far too soon for the team to make any decision about his availability this week.
“We’re definitely going to have to monitor him,” Reich said. “(We) felt like he was making good progress last week, but I just knew last week was out of the question, so it wasn’t even in my mind. So we’ll just monitor him this week and see how it goes.”