The Indianapolis Colts needed to do something to get fans happy again after a 38-8 blowout by the St. Louis Rams over the Colts in Indy. While this doesn't remove any of the sting from that loss, the Colts made a roster move tonight that is sure to be popular amongst the fans.
The Colts waived-injured safety Larry Asante, who was injured in Sunday's loss, and they replaced his spot on the roster by promoting rookie wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers from the practice squad.
At 6-3, 215 pounds, Rogers is the tallest receiver on the Colts roster and is an elite talent. In three seasons (36 games played) in college (at the University of Tennessee and then at Tennessee Tech), Rogers caught 139 passes for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns. He played two seasons at the University of Tennessee and in 2011 (his sophomore season) he was named AP first team All-SEC. He was dismissed from the school due to his maturity issues and off-field problems and he subsequently transferred to Tennessee Tech, where he played one season. He was given a high draft grade (second to third round was normal) based on talent, but based on his maturity and off-field issues he was untouched in the draft and only afterwards did the Buffalo Bills sign him as an undrafted free agent. When the Bills released him earlier this year, the Colts signed him. He spent one game on the active roster (the win over the 49ers) but was then released and quickly signed back to their practice squad.
Asante is a second year safety who has appeared in five games this year for the Colts. He was injured on Sunday and if he goes unclaimed on waivers he will revert to the team's injured reserve.
Additionally, the Colts signed rookie receiver Josh Lenz to their practice squad, further highlighting the obvious wide receiver problem that they have. Lenz is a rookie out of Iowa State who was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Bears before being released in preseason and then was later signed by the Seattle Seahawks' to their practice squad, where he spent about a month before being released last week. In his college career (47 games played) he caught 96 passes for 1,213 yards and 10 touchdowns.
As are many Colts fans, I am a fan of Rogers and am very intrigued by this move. Early on he will likely be on the roster for just depth and special teams purposes, although he is likely not to be used as a returner. I wouldn't expect to see Rogers on the field with Andrew Luck and the offense much on Thursday night, but with a ten day break in between games after that it would be a great time to get Rogers acclimated and used to working with Luck and the starters.
It's no secret to anyone that the Colts desperately need help at receiver since they are now without Reggie Wayne and that T.Y. Hilton, for as incredible as he is, can't do it all by himself. Darrius Heyward-Bey struggles to get open and struggles to catch the ball (not exactly the perfect receiver mold there...). Griff Whalen struggles to get open and isn't a game changer. LaVon Brazill hasn't been used much at all this season but while he does have potential is still raw. David Reed is, well, David Reed, and the less he sees the field the better.
So that leaves Da'Rick Rogers as the sixth active receiver on the Colts roster right now, and the guys ahead of him aren't all that impressive outside of Hilton. And honestly, Rogers' potential is greater than all of those guys except maybe Hilton. If he truly is past his drug issues and truly has matured, then this could be a home-run move by general manager Ryan Grigson. He is a raw talent right now as well, but the talent is absolutely there. With Andrew Luck in desperate need of someone else to throw to, Rogers could begin to see more and more snaps. It's worth a try, at least - Rogers can't really do worse than some of the other guys have been.
Like you, I don't know what role Rogers will play this year for the Colts. It is telling that he was on a practice squad for this long despite having no (known) off-field issues recently. That should serve to remind us that he still is a raw receiver and that he still needs work. But with the Colts, he might have a chance to get invaluable playing time and get acclimated faster than he would on a practice squad. And he's talented enough that the payoff could be huge.
I wouldn't expect too much from Rogers, especially early on. But like most others, this move really intrigues me. Because like most others, I'm saying "what do the Colts have to lose in playing Rogers?"