-- — ANDERSON — The good vibes permeating central Indiana in the wake of the
Colts’ 38-3 preseason victory against the St. Louis Rams were tempered Monday afternoon by a burst of bad news.
Inside linebacker Pat Angerer, Indianapolis’ defensive play caller and last year’s leading tackler, is expected to undergo surgery for a fractured foot and miss up to six weeks.
Angerer was injured on the Colts’ first defensive series Sunday and left Lucas Oil Stadium with his foot stabilized in a boot. Indianapolis has three remaining preseason games before the regular season opener on Sept. 9, and the team’s bye week falls in Week 4 this season.
So if Angerer’s surgery and rehab go well, he could miss as few as three regular season games. But head coach Chuck Pagano said the third-year linebacker’s loss will be significant regardless of how much time he misses.
“He’s the signal caller,” Pagano said. “He’s the guy that stands in front of the huddle. He has the respect of all those guys in the huddle. So when you lose your signal caller, you lose your middle backer, for an extended period of time, it means a lot. The guy’s productive, he’s a playmaker, he’s a warrior, he’s a Colt. He’s got all the Colt traits that you’re looking for, you know. So now it’ll be up to somebody else to step up and fill that void until we get him back.”
There’s a laundry list of candidates for that role, including the two former Philadelphia Eagles linebackers general manager Ryan Grigson acquired in a trade for cornerback Kevin Thomas during the first week of training camp.
Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd each have impressed coaches with their willingness to be physical, and each recorded three tackles Sunday against the Rams.
Former Canadian Football League star Jerrell Freeman had been playing extensively in the Colts’ nickel package and replaced Angerer in the base defense against the Rams. He has been impressive throughout training camp and tallied four tackles against St. Louis.
Pagano said Mario Harvey, who had two tackles as an outside linebacker Sunday, also could shift inside and join the mix.
“It’s going to be kind of by committee,” Pagano said. “We’ll continue to\ look at the waiver wire and see what happens there and see if there’s somebody on the street that we’ve had some history with and see if we can bring somebody in.”
That somebody is unlikely to be former Colts defensive captain Gary Brackett.
An undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2003, Brackett played nine seasons in the Circle City and compiled 707 tackles. He had a career-high 127 tackles in his first year as a starter in 2005 and was named captain for the first time during Indianapolis’ Super Bowl XLI championship season of 2006.
Brackett became a popular figure both with fans and in the locker room, but injuries the past two seasons helped lead to his release on March 9.
He’s reportedly in good health, but hasn’t found a team willing to take a chance on a 32-year-old middle linebacker.
All of Brackett’s NFL success came in the Colts’ old Cover 2 defensive scheme. At 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds, his size is not a good fit for Pagano’s aggressive hybrid 3-4 attack.
“Gary’s one of those guys that obviously has played a ton of football here and played at a high level, you know,” Pagano said. “He wouldn’t be a guy just because of familiarity, obviously it makes all the sense in the world. But you still got to, again, every decision that we make is based on what’s best for this team moving forward and winning. If that’s something that we want to look into, then we can always check that out.”
The Colts also announced Monday that inside linebacker Scott Lutrus has an ACL injury that will require surgery and end his season. Running backs Mewelde Moore and Delone Carter also are nursing rib injuries, and left guard Mike McGlynn has a high ankle sprain.
Indianapolis returns to practice today at Anderson University with a closed walk-through at 11 a.m. The public afternoon practice begins at 3 p.m.
Training camp wraps at AU on Friday.