Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis was suspended the first four games of the NFL season for PED usage.
He claims it was for a fertility drug he was using at the end of last season. While, the NFL denies that this is true.
Regardless of what really happened, we know that Mathis will not be playing the first four games of the season, and that is not good news for Colts fans.
The question is: who will replace Mathis’ pass rushing prowess?
The potential replacements include Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Jonathan Newsome, Andy Studebaker, Cam Johnson, Justin Hickman, Josh McNary and Daniel Adongo.
We will talk about these guys more in depth as the off-season progresses, but for now we will take a quick glance at the group.
I recall Hickman spending some time at inside linebacker last pre-season before getting hurt, but he is listed as an outside linebacker by the Indianapolis Colts, resulting in him being a potential replacement.
McNary is actually an inside linebacker, but he spent his college career as a rush linebacker and was used as a blitzer often at the end of last season.
Adongo is a former rugby player making a transition to the game of football, and may not be the most likely of replacements.
Johnson was obtained from the San Francisco 49ers in a pre-season trade, but didn’t do much last season. He is a big guy and could possibly provide a boost in the sack numbers.
Studebaker is a former player for the Kansas City Chiefs and contributed mainly on special teams.
Newsome is a 2014 5th rounder who has been compared to Robert Mathis by Bill Polian. But we’ll have to wait and see what he can do, especially in his rookie season
Werner is heading into his second season after an okay rookie season, where he missed some time with injury. Werner will be starting in place of Mathis and will have the biggest burden trying to fill his shoes.
Walden was a starter last year, but he’s there to set the edge and help in coverage. He’s not the answer to the Colts pass rushing issues by any means.
It is, simply put, an extremely unproven group. A lot of question marks going into the 2014 season and the biggest one is who will replace Mathis? Let’s hope these guys can wreak havoc on some quarterbacks. Go Colts!