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Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Colts defensive depth already called on

By Paul Kuharsky

The Indianapolis Colts' defense made a strong showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night without linebacker Gary Brackett and safety Melvin Bullitt.

Any further strong efforts will also have to come without the two starters, as the team put them both on injured-reserve Wednesday with their shoulder injuries.

One of the roster spots made room for quarterback Dan Orlovsky. The other was used for A.J. Edds, who was signed off the New England Patriots' practice squad. Edds played in the Patriots’ first two games before he was cut and signed to the practice squad.

The Colts are better equipped to deal with the loss of Brackett than Bullitt, even as Bullitt was not off to a good start.

Pat Angerer slid from the strong side to the middle with Brackett out since the opener, and Angerer made 20 tackles from the spot against Pittsburgh Sunday while Philip Wheeler stepped in as the third linebacker.

But David Caldwell, who replaced Bullitt in the starting lineup in Week 3 for his first NFL start, was not as good.

The Colts were depleted at the strong safety spot opposite free safety Antoine Bethea in the center of the defensive backfield last season when Bob Sanders and Bullitt were both lost to injuries. Ultimately they turned to Aaron Francisco, who wasn’t even on the opening day roster.

They released Sanders after the season, and he’s now in San Diego. They re-signed Bullitt, an unrestricted free agent, and now will turn to Caldwell or another player they didn’t draft, rookie Joe Lefeged.

Defensive depth has taken a serious hit just three weeks in. And with Peyton Manning, Brackett and Bullitt all out of action, they’ve got some big dollars out of the lineup.

UPDATE: Ironically, San Diego put Sanders (knee) on IR Wednesday as well.