Although it is only OTA’s for the Indianapolis Colts, every practice rep is important for inside linebackers Nate Irving and Sio Moore, who are battling for a starting spot.
The Indianapolis Colts lost starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman in free agency and did not make any moves to replace him. As a result, there is now a vacancy at his spot. The Colts believe that either Irving or Moore can become Freeman’s replacement.
Head coach Chuck Pagano and the defensive coaching staff will monitor this position battle very closely throughout the summer. In an interview after a practice, Pagano gave some insight on what the Colts are doing with both players.
"“With those guys being in the program another year…it’s a great competition… We are cross training guys, so guys are getting work in at both the MIKE and WILL position.”"
Irving and Moore are entering their second seasons as Indianapolis Colts. Both were productive players for their previous teams.
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Irving played four seasons with the Denver Broncos. After being primarily a backup player, he started 12 games in his final two seasons with the team and accumulated 87 combined tackles during that same time span. Unfortunately, his 2014 season was cut short due to tearing his ACL.
On the other side, Moore started his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders. In two seasons, he started 22 games and accumulated 140 combined tackles. He also earned 7.5 sacks during that time span. The Colts traded for Moore during the final week of the preseason.
Considering how productive they were with their previous teams, it is fair to say Irving and Moore underperformed in 2015. However, their lack of production was understandable.
Irving was still recovering from his knee injury during the 2015 offseason. As a result, he did not get a lot of practice time and came into the 2015 season somewhat unprepared.
Meanwhile, Moore did not have enough time to dissect the Colts’ defensive playbook because he joined the team during the final week of the preseason. As a result, he did not play a lot because he did not have a full understanding of the Colts’ defensive scheme.
The Colts hope that Moore or Irving emerges as a clear-cut starter for them. They do not have to worry about the other starting spot because D’Qwell Jackson currently occupies it.
Competition between players is always nice to have. It will serve as motivation for Irving and Moore to improve every day throughout the summer. It is still too early to name a definitive starter, but this position battle during OTA’s will the Indianapolis Colts better in the long run.