INDIANAPOLIS – The tweet came a little less than 90 minutes before kickoff on Oct. 30, announcing something that had never been seen before in the NFL.
After 135 straight games played, the most of any active defensive lineman, Kendall Langford was inactive.
Langford had never missed a game in more than eight NFL seasons, such a feat defensive lineman hopelessly dream about, with little shot at reality.
The Colts were already dealing with Henry Anderson, arguably their best defensive lineman, working back from a serious injury, and Langford was eventually headed for injured reserve.
When Anderson and Langford were "healthy" last season (for a combined total of 18 games) the defensive line was still without truly disruptive presences from two normal starters.
Healthy returns of Anderson and Langford should do wonders for the first level of defense.
"Huge," Chuck Pagano says of having Anderson and Langford back healthy. "If we can get (Langford) back the way he was playing in '15, it's going to be major. Henry, two years removed from the knee, it's confidence. Even though the doctors say they are healthy, they are a year out from an ACL. Especially the position that he plays, it takes a year and a half, two years to have full confidence in that knee.
"Those guys are going to play a major role in the success of our defense. Having them healthy is going to be a huge factor in that."
From a names and body standpoint, the defensive line makeup for the Colts hasn't really changed too much over the past year.
But Anderson and Langford should be looked at as almost new pieces, with the Colts hoping to get the 2015 versions of both defensive linemen.
That would make defensive coordinator Ted Monachino sleep easier at night.
"It's a known fact that this league has become a passing league," Monachino begins. "But I know this, if we can't be better stopping the run a year from now than we were in 2016, everything becomes more and more difficult.
"Having those guys healthy, having them both on the roster and contributing on game day, that's going to make a huge difference. Both of those guys are talented in different ways. Both of them have a skillset that we use each week."
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