After a 24-0 loss, everything is going to be questioned. But those questions aren’t supposed to be coming from within your own locker room.
That appeared to be the case for the Indianapolis Colts when safety Julian Blackmon shared his feelings about cornerback Isaiah Rodgers’ lack of snaps to begin the 2022 season.
“He needs to be on the field,” Blackmon told Colts reporter Nate Atkins of The Indianapolis Star. “That’s as blatant and as simple as it is.”
Rodgers played nearly half of Indianapolis’ defensive snaps in 2021, but under new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, he’s played zero in the first 2 games despite being on the active roster.
Rodgers’ only action in 2022 has come on special teams, where he’s played 34 snaps in 2 games.
Blackmon’s Public Plea to Bradley
It’s a bit shocking to hear an NFL player so candidly say that one of his teammates is not playing enough snaps. With Blackmon’s plea to his defensive coordinator coming so early in the season and just days after a blowout loss, it’s safe to assume Blackmon’s frustration was boiling over when he spoke to the media.
Blackmon might not be the only one frustrated, either. Atkins tweeted on September 24 that “the temperature is rising on the Colts defense.”
The safety also had more to say on why Rodgers should be on the field.
“We play the Chiefs this week, and if we pull up something like that, they’re going to run up 50,” Blackmon said. “At the end of the day, we need to come out and play the correct technique, whatever the coaches need us to do, all right. But at the same time, they have to take coaching from us, too, on what we see.
“As players, we need to be heard as well.”
Rodgers played 525 defensive snaps (48%) last season under previous defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. He only made 1 start, but Rodgers played in all 17 games, posting 49 combined tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 7 pass defenses and 3 interceptions.
Rodgers performed well during the preseason as well. He received limited playing time during August because of injury, but in only 9 preseason snaps, he recorded an interception and forced fumble.
This also isn’t the first or second time he’s been a playmaker on defense. Rodgers had 11 interceptions and 9.5 tackles for loss during his career at UMass.
Clearly, Blackmon would like to see if Rodgers can translate that success to the NFL on a more regular basis.
Rodgers Says He’ll “Be Ready”
Hearing Blackmon’s comments has to instill Rodgers with quite a bit of confidence. But it has to be a little frustrating as well to not have any opportunities through 2 games.
Rodgers, though, is taking it all in stride.
“Whatever happens happens, man,” Rodgers Sr. told Atkins. “I’ll be ready when it’s time. If it comes down to it, I’ll be making plays because that’s what I do.
“Until then, I’ll just be waiting.”
Bradley answered a question about Rodgers’ playing time on September 20. The Colts defensive coordinator spoke highly of the 24-year-old cornerback but said nothing about trying to get him on the field for defensive snaps.
“We’ll see how it plays out but he’s doing a good job in practice and if he was playing, we wouldn’t blink,” Bradley said. “Sometimes when those opportunities present themselves, you have to be ready and that’s a challenge for him.”
The Colts defense will face the difficult task of trying to stop Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on September 25.