The Indianapolis Colts have a new running back, and as a result, have cut a former Pro Bowler from their practice squad.
The Colts announced on November 10 that they have signed running back Jake Funk to the practice squad. In a corresponding move, Indianapolis also released Phillip Lindsay.
Lindsay was a Pro Bowler, rushing for 1,037 yards as a rookie in 2018 with the Denver Broncos. He also tallied a 1,000-yard rushing campaign in 2019, but he was never able to repeat that success again.
Last season, Lindsay averaged only 2.8 yards per carry with the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins.
He spent the offseason with the Colts and started the season on the team’s practice squad. He’s provided depth this year with Jonathan Taylor dealing with an ankle injury. Colts backup running back Nyheim Hines also missed a game and was then traded on November 1.
But Lindsay didn’t produce all that much with his opportunities in Indianapolis. Lindsay posted 49 rushing yards on 15 carries, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. He also had 6 receptions for 19 yards in 3 games.
What Funk Brings to the Colts Practice Squad
Funk doesn’t have the same experience as Lindsay, but he’s younger and more versatile than the former Pro Bowl back.
In addition to playing running back, Funk can return kickoffs and play coverage on special teams. During the 5 games he played with the Los Angeles Rams this season, Funk lined up for 61% of their special teams snaps. Last year, he had 2 combined tackles on special teams.
Also in his 15 career NFL games, Funk has returned 4 kickoffs for an average of 22 yards per return.
Hines didn’t have any kickoff returns this season for the Colts, but that was a role he was used in during previously seasons. He also returned punts with Indianapolis.
Not that Funk is a direct replacement for Hines, but adding Funk to the roster gives Indianapolis another running back who can do similar things that Hines used to.
Funk had 2 carries with the Rams and rushed for 5 yards last year. He also had 2 attempts for 5 yards during the 2022 playoffs.
Impact Adding Funk Could Have on Colts Running Backs in Week 10
If the Colts dropped Lindsay for a practice squad player at another position, that would have been a clear indication that Indianapolis is pretty confident that Taylor is going to play in Week 10. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, with the Colts still dedicating Lindsay’s spot to another back.
But Taylor returned to practice on November 9, which was a positive development. So is the fact that Funk is more of a option on special teams than Lindsay.
Adding Funk isn’t a clear indication, but it can be viewed as a sign the Colts will likely have back Taylor in Week 10.
That would be a huge lift for Indianapolis as they prepare to visit the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders are ranked 14th in run defense this season, but they have allowed 100 rushing yards in each of the last 4 games. Las Vegas also just yielded a season-high 168 rushing yards to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9.
If the Colts are going to break their 3-game losing streak, they will likely have to have a big day on the ground.