INDIANAPOLIS — The word "depth" was thrown around, in a good way, to describe the Indianapolis Colts' defensive line heading into the 2016 season.
But, as many who follow the league know, it doesn't take long for that depth to be tested — as was the case up front for the Indy defense throughout the year.
Key injuries and an early-season suspension tested the Colts' defensive line, which had its ups, as well as some downs, in 2016.
Here's a position-by-position review of the play of the Colts' defensive linemen in 2016:Defensive end
Kendall Langford had been Mr. Durable throughout his entire NFL career, but a right knee issue that required minor surgery early during training camp put in doubt his return for the regular season opener.
But Langford fought through and eventually was cleared back to action for the start of 2016. It became obvious, however, that his knee just wasn't going to let him be the player he's capable of being when healthy, and after starting the first seven games of the season, the Colts shut Langford down for the rest of the year.
His 135 career regular season consecutive starts streak — the longest among all NFL defensive linemen — would end. He had just 10 tackles (two for a loss), one quarterback hit, a fumble recovery and two passes defensed in 2016, a year after the best season of his career.
Rookie Hassan Ridgeway would pick up the slack from there, and showed a good amount of production and development in his first year of NFL action. In all, Ridgeway, who started five games and played in all 16, had 21 tackles (two for a loss), 1.5 sacks, five quarterback hits and a pass defensed.Nose tackle
David Parry, once again, was a solid anchor straight up the middle for the front of the Colts' defense in 2016, starting all 16 games at nose tackle.
He did his job well, by plugging up certain gaps and allowing the linebackers behind him to get to the ballcarrier, as well as make plays in the backfield himself.
Parry finished 2016 with 47 tackles (four for a loss), three sacks and eight quarterback hits.Defensive tackle
The defensive tackle spot was tested early when Arthur Jones was suspended for the first four games of the season, giving Zach Kerr a chance show what he could do. Kerr would once again show an ability to make plays in the backfield, finishing with 16 tackles (four for a loss), with 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and a fumble recovery in 12 total games with four starts.
Jones would return Week 6 (he was inactive Week 5) and ended up starting eight games before he was placed on IR the final couple weeks of the season. He finished with 30 tackles (one for a loss) on the year.
Also making a return in 2016 was Henry Anderson, who was a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate in 2015 before suffering a season-ending knee injury during the team's ninth game. Anderson would be brought back into the mix slowly in 2016, starting two times at defensive tackle (and playing in 11 games overall) and had 12 tackles, two passes defensed, five quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.Other notes
We can't forget about T.Y. McGill, who didn't make any starts in 2016, but was certainly an important part of the Colts' defensive line rotation.
He would end the season with six tackles — two of them for a loss — and had two sacks, nine quarterback hits, a pass defensed and forced a fumble. With disruption like that in limited playing time, one can imagine McGill could be a major factor moving forward.Number to remember
32: The number of consecutive starts at nose tackle for David Parry to begin his NFL career. He has been the Colts' starting nose tackle since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2015.
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