Will Xavier Rhodes play in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks?

Xavier Rhodes as a member of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2019
Xavier Rhodes as a member of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2019

The Indianapolis Colts need to be as healthy as possible for their Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks. Xavier Rhodes is no exception as the team's number one cornerback. Rhodes was a tremendous man-to-man cornerback in 2017. But his career fell off in 2018 and 2019.

In 2020, the Colts brought him in on a one-year "prove-it" contract. Rhodes proved he was worth the investment and had one of the best seasons of his career. The switch to a zone scheme did wonders for Xavier Rhodes. But this season, Rhodes is nursing a calf injury that could cost him in Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Will Xavier Rhodes play in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks?

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, things aren't looking good for the 31-year old. The calf injury he's been battling hasn't been talked about much by his coaches or the media. The injury could've been sustained as recently as August 19 when Rhodes had an unspecified injury.

Xavier Rhodes was held out of pre-season action entirely. It's possible they kept the injury under wraps until they knew more about it. Whenever Xavier Rhodes does return, he might have some rust to work off.

How this impacts the Colts in Week 1

The Seahawks have a pair of elite wide receivers, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Both are incredibly fast and hard players to run with. They had 1,303 and 1,054 yards respectively a year ago. Metcalf is one of the league's most imposing athletes regardless of position. Not having their most physical cornerback Xavier Rhodes could allow the pair to have a field day.

The Colts have a top-10 projected defense despite a lack of depth in the secondary. But losing one player makes everyone's job harder.

Who will the Colts replace him with?

Xavier Rhodes had a grade of 77.5 in coverage in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus. The first man up will be Kenny Moore II, who's been solid, albeit not spectacular. Moore is capable of keeping up speed with Lockett but lacks the physicality needed to guard Metcalf.

The cornerback who will be tasked with guarding Metcalf is Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin had a coverage grade of 48.2 in 2020 and was more inconsistent than he was as a rookie. He offers physicality at least but will have a large task ahead of him.

T.J. Carrie is their fourth cornerback on the roster but will have to play due to Rhodes' absence. The Colts play a zone scheme that will help mask the loss of Rhodes slightly. Safeties Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis will be tasked with helping with deep-pass coverage. Darius Leonard is good enough on his own to help in the short passing game.

The bottom line is that without Xavier Rhodes, the Colts are thin in the secondary. They can scheme up coverage to assist their cornerbacks. But Russell Wilson is one of the smartest players in the NFL. He and Pete Carroll will use the loss of Rhodes to their advantage. The Colts need to hope Rhodes gets healthy for Week 2. They'll have another tough matchup that week against the Los Angeles Rams.

Quick Links