The Indianapolis Colts will be without starting right tackle Braden Smith against arguably the best defense in football in the Dallas Cowboys, and it isn’t clear how the team will proceed in replacing him.
Smith will miss the game due to an illness he picked up late in the week. Interim head coach Jeff Saturday was asked how they will replace the starting right tackle, but he declined to give an answer.
“Right now with right tackle, I’m going to kind of keep that to myself. I’d like for us to keep it. But yeah man, obviously losing Braden (Smith) is huge,” Saturday told reporters. “He’s a fantastic player for us, very consistent. So, whatever we go in there, we’ll be confident with it, but I’d like to hold that one until we kick it off.”
There are two likely options the Colts can go in replacing smith. Veteran Dennis Kelly would be the logical option. He’s been working as the backup right tackle over the last few weeks and has the most experience in that role.
The other would be Matt Pryor, which would come much to the chagrin of Colts fans. After failing to secure the starting left tackle and right guard spots, Pryor shouldn’t be on the field in a starting capacity. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this regime forced him onto the field as they did for the majority of the first half of the season.
It may not truly matter who is replacing Smith at right tackle. The Colts offensive line has performed as one of the worst in the NFL while the Cowboys have one of the best defensive lines in all of football, led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons.
We’ll see what happens when the Colts begin warmups before Sunday night’s game, but the team will play this close to the vest as much as they can.