Why Did The Colts Let Nate Irving Go?

Intro: It was a day of work on Labor Day for the Colts. Chuck Pagano’s bunch was back on the practice field Monday morning. What did Pagano have to say to the media getting ready for the regular season opener this Sunday?


INDIANAPOLIS – The jerseys were not as abundant at Monday's practice and the temporary lockers have also been removed.

Those signs on Monday indicate we are less than one week away from kicking off the 2016 regular season.

Sunday's regular season opener is a 4:25 p.m. kick against the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts will take their mandatory off day on Tuesday, before getting into a normal regular season schedule, with practices running Wednesday-Friday.

On Monday afternoon, Chuck Pagano met the media following the first practice of Lions' week.


**The first official injury report of 2016 will not come until Wednesday. However, this is what was observed during the media portion of Monday's practice, along with Chuck Pagano's thoughts from his press conference.

  • TE-Dwayne Allen (hip): Allen was back practicing when the media was present on Monday.
  • DE-Henry Anderson (knee): For the third straight week, Anderson was practicing in his comeback from a November 2015 ACL injury. Pagano said on Monday that the Colts are preparing not to have Anderson when the Colts and Lions meet on Sunday.
  • CB-Darius Butler (ankle): Pagano said he is hopeful to have Butler back to practice on Wednesday. Butler was not present at Monday's practice.
  • CB-Vontae Davis (ankle): Davis was not out on the practice field when the media was watching on Monday.
  • S-Clayton Geathers (foot): Geathers is out of his walking boot and did go through warmups on Monday. Pagano said Geathers is doing some fieldwork/change of direction drills. Geathers injured his foot in early July and has not practiced since.
  • OT-Joe Haeg (ankle): Pagano isn't sure if Haeg will be ready to play in Week One of the regular season. Haeg did go through warmups on Monday and the head coach is expecting to have the versatile lineman back to practice Wednesday/Thursday.
  • DE-Kendall Langford (knee): Will Langford miss his first ever NFL game on Sunday? Chuck Pagano doesn't think so. Langford is expected to be back to practice on Wednesday. Pagano said he would be "shocked" if Langford wasn't on the field come Sunday afternoon. Langford, who has played in an NFL-best 128 straigt games among defensive linemen, had his knee scoped back in early August.
  • OLB-Robert Mathis (knee/rest): Mathis was at practice on Monday, but did not have his helmet.
  • OG-Jack Mewhort (knee): Sunday will mark the two-week window for a knee injury that was supposed to sideline Mewhort for anywhere from two-to-four weeks. Mewhort was not at practice on Monday.
  • ILB-Sio Moore (hamstring): Moore remains out with the hamstring injury he suffered in the team's preseason opener on Aug. 13.
  • OT-Joe Reitz (back): Reitz was practicing on Monday after a back injury had sidelined him for the past week and a half.
  • CB-Patrick Robinson (groin): Robison was back to practice on Monday, an obvious good sign for the cornerback position.

Also, NT-David Parry was back to practice on Monday after missing some time last week.

Chuck Pagano on parting ways with inside linebacker Nate Irving over the weekend:

"It was a tough call.

"When it comes down to it, it not only involves just defense, but you've got to have special teams value."

Bowen's Analysis:* *With Nate Irving gone and Sio Moore having yet to practice in nearly a month, the Colts have an open starting spot next to D'Qwell Jackson. The Colts have always felt good about their young depth at inside linebacker and the special teams ability of guys like Antonio Morrison, Josh McNary and Edwin Jackson sounds like it played a big role in cutting Irving.

On Monday, Pagano once again was raving about Morrison. Pagano said Morrison is one of the smartest players on the defensive side of the ball---high praise with the likes of Robert Mathis, Mike Adams and D'Qwell Jackson on that unit. This staff has never shied away from expressing how they feel about Morrison. Will that lead to a starting opportunity on Sunday? McNary has started five games in his NFL career.

Chuck Pagano on the offensive line group going into the regular season:

"I feel that room is in good shape.

"We have a few guys nicked up that we have to get back, but that's a good room."

Bowen's Analysis: What will this group look like on Sunday? It should have four expected starters out there. At left guard, Jonotthan Harrison continues to be the first name Chuck Pagano mentions with Jack Mewhort and Joe Haeg banged up.

Pagano did say that both Mewhort and Haeg are progressing and neither is expected to be out much longer. The offensive line will see one of the game's most disruptive edge rushers in Ezekiel Ansah this weekend.

Chuck Pagano on starting the regular season:

"We all know what's at stake.

"They are going to start putting the (tally) marks on one side of the (win/loss) column or the other."

Bowen's Analysis: Yes, things are now very real for the Indianapolis Colts, and the rest of the NFL. The Colts will get things underway on Sunday afternoon and Chuck Pagano has made it clear that a fast start this year is atop the priority list, after going 0-2 to start the last two seasons.

Despite ample regular season success over the last handful of seasons, the Colts have actually lost five of their past six openers (with all five of those losses coming on the road). The Colts will see former head coach Jim Caldwell on the visiting sideline this weekend.**


On Monday morning, the Colts swapped out cornerbacks. The Colts signed Darryl Morris and waived Frankie Williams.

Morris, 5-10 and 188 pounds, has played in 36 career games (one start). The Jets waived Morris on Saturday.

Williams was a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Purdue. He had a very strong preseason for the Colts and initially made the team's 53-man roster over the weekend.

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