INDIANAPOLIS – It's never easy, and the health situation for the Colts right now didn't make things any easier for final cuts in 2016.
But the Colts do have their roster down to the mandated number of 53.
-How did they get there?
-Who earned one of the final roster spots?
-Which injuries will be monitored leading into next Sunday's regular season opener?
Here is a 53-man roster analysis:
Quarterback (3): Andrew Luck, Stephen Morris, Scott Tolzien
Bowen's Analysis: Stephen Morris proved this preseason that if you make plays, the Colts are going to find a way to keep you. The Colts did indeed keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, something that wasn't really expected given the injury situation.
Running Back (4): Josh Ferguson, Frank Gore, Jordan Todman, Robert Turbin
Bowen's Analysis: The running back room got crowded real quick with the addition of Stevan Ridley earlier this week. But Ridley had just 11 rushing yards for nine carries in Thursday's preseason finale. The Colts were always high on Josh Ferguson and he carries the lineage of undrafted guys making the roster in Indianapolis. Four running backs makes sense when you consider the special teams impact Jordan Todman can have on this team.
Wide Receiver (5): Quan Bray, Phillip Dorsett, T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Chester Rogers
Bowen's Analysis: It will be undrafted Chester Rogers and return man Quan Bray rounding out the wideout group. Rogers, who hails from Grambling, showed playmaking on offense and special teams this preseason. Bray's presence as a return guy is even more important this season with the new touchback rule likely leading to more returnable kickoffs.
Tight End (4): Dwayne Allen, Chase Coffman, Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope
Bowen's Analysis: You knew Allen and Doyle were going to be the top two tight ends in 2016. But credit Swoope for seizing the No. 3 tight end role. Swoope had 10 catches for 103 yards this preseason. Two years after having never played football in his life, Swoope has made a 53-man roster. Veteran Chase Coffman, who joined the Colts at the start of Training Camp, also had a very nice finish to the preseason.
Offensive Line (9): C-Austin Blythe, T-Anthony Castonzo, T-Le'Raven Clark, T/G-Denzelle Good, T/G-Joe Haeg, C/G-Jonotthan Harrison, C-Ryan Kelly, G-Jack Mewhort, G/T-Joe Reitz
Bowen's Analysis: Even with the injuries up front right now to Jack Mewhort and Joe Haeg specifically, the Colts didn't feel the need to keep an extra body. That's good news for the health in the offensive trenches.. If Jonotthan Harrison is indeed the guy at left guard to start the season, then seventh-round pick Austin Blythe is the main backup at the interior positions. We haven't seen Hugh Thornton (ankle) practice or play in a month, hence the reason for him going to injured reserve.
Defensive Line (6): DT-Henry Anderson, DE-Kendall Langford, NT-Zach Kerr, DT-T.Y. McGill, NT-David Parry, DT-Hassan Ridgeway
Bowen's Analysis: The Colts chose to keep just six defensive linemen. That should be good news for getting Kendall Langford and/or Henry Anderson back to full health soon. In Week Five (Chicago), this group will also have the services of Arthur Jones returning from his four-game suspension.
Linebacker (9): OLB-Trent Cole, ILB-D'Qwell Jackson, ILB-Edwin Jackson, OLB-Curt Maggitt, OLB-Robert Mathis, ILB-Josh McNary ILB-Sio Moore, ILB-Antonio Morrison, OLB-Erik Walden
Bowen's Analysis: Nate Irving was thought to be the starter at inside linebacker with Sio Moore (hamstring) still on the mend. Will that spot now go to fourth-round pick Antonio Morrison? Curt Maggitt continues the undrafted legacy in Indianapolis. The Colts have now had a rookie undrafted free agent on their Week One roster in 18 straight seasons, the longest such streak in the NFL. Special teams certainly played a role in how this group was assembled.
Cornerback (6): Jalil Brown, Darius Butler, Antonio Cromartie, Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, Frankie Williams
Bowen's Analysis: This position was anyone's guess to how the makeup would look. They've kept six guys, with injuries to Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson, Jalil Brown and Darius Butler still up in the air. Undrafted free agent Frankie Williams (Purdue) was a rookie mini-camp tryout guy back in May. That meant he was outside the 90-man roster. Now, he's on the 53. The Colts kept four undrafted guys on their 53-man roster (Ferguson, Rogers Maggitt and Williams)
Safety (4): Mike Adams, Clayton Geathers, T.J. Green, Winston Guy
Bowen's Analysis: How the Colts were going to handle Clayton Geathers was the major storyline for this group. The Colts have kept Geathers on their 53-man roster after he spent all of camp and the preseason on the non-football injury list. Geathers is progressing, but still hasn't practiced since injuring his foot in early July. It is likely going to be second-round pick T.J. Green starting next to Mike Adams in Week One.
Specialists (3): P-Pat McAfee, LS-Matt Overton, K-Adam Vinatieri
Bowen's Analysis: Yawn. There has been no debate over this trio since Matt Overton won the long snapping job over Justin Snow back in 2012. What a luxury the Colts have not to worry about their specialists, who form one of the best trios in the entire league.
*On Saturday afternoon, the Colts made a variety of roster moves to trim things from 75 guys to 53.
To get down to 53 players, the Colts made the following roster moves on Saturday:** waived defensive end Sterling Bailey, inside linebacker Trevor Bates, safety Alden Darby, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright, safety Lee Hightower, safety Stefan McClure, wide receiver MeKale McKay, cornerback Christopher Milton, guard Kitt O'Brien, outside linebacker Earl Okine, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, guard Adam Redmond, wide receiver Tevaun Smith, tackle Mitchell Van Dyk and tackle Jeremy Vujnovich.
The team also released inside linebacker Nate Irving and running back Stevan Ridley.*
The Colts placed cornerback Tevin Mitchel, outside linebacker Ron Thompson and guard Hugh Thornton on the Injured Reserve list.