The Indianapolis Colts received some unsettling news before their Christmas matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Pro Bowl offensive guard Quenton Nelson tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). He’s the Colts’ best offensive lineman, and his absence could have major implications for Jonathan Taylor’s NFL MVP quest, good or bad.
Colts placed Quenton Nelson on reserve/COVID-19 list
Per ESPN, the Indianapolis Colts announced that they placed offensive guard Quenton Nelson on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Nelson tested positive for coronavirus and will miss the team’s Christmas Day tilt against the Arizona Cardinals as a result. The 3-time All-Pro also tested positive in September, causing him to miss some time.
Nelson was previously unvaccinated. If he’s still unvaccinated, he could miss an extended amount of time. The Notre Dame product will also miss the Week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders if that’s the case. Under the league’s protocols, unvaccinated players must isolate from the team for 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.
Head coach Frank Reich announced that Indianapolis was also placing right guard Mark Glowinski, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, and defensive end Kemoko Turay on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Jonathan Taylor could face an uphill battle against the Cardinals
The Indianapolis Colts bring plenty of momentum into the Week 16 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. However, like many other NFL teams, coronavirus has hit their locker room.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, it will be missing multiple key pieces on its offensive line. Guards Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Center Ryan Kelly will also miss the game following the sudden death of his infant daughter.
Down three starting interior offensive linemen, the Colts will face an uphill battle trying to run the football. Pro Bowler Jonathan Taylor has been on a tear lately, so the rubber will meet the road on Christmas.
Indianapolis boasts the NFL’s third-ranked offense, but the potent rushing attack leads the charge. Taylor has developed into a true workhorse back for the Colts in 2021.
The former Wisconsin standout will need another big game for the Colts to improve to 9-6 and inch one step closer to the AFC playoffs. It won’t be easy with so many moving parts, though.
Another monster performance would further solidify the Indianapolis RB’s MVP case
When debating which player deserves to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2021, you must include Jonathan Taylor’s name.
The second-year running back has been unstoppable. He’s rushed for 1,518 yards and 17 touchdowns on 270 carries. Taylor leads the league in rush attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns.
The Colts superstar’s MVP chances enjoyed a significant boost after a dominant Week 15 performance against the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick’s top-two unit planned all week to slow Taylor down. However, he gashed New England for 170 yards and one touchdown.
Even without Quenton Nelson and the crew on the offensive line, Taylor still has an opportunity to put up big numbers against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals’ defense ranks 17th against the run, which puts Arizona at a disadvantage against Indianapolis’ run-centric offense.
Chris Reed, Matt Pryor, and Danny Pinter undoubtedly have massive shoes to fill up front. Still, Jonathan Taylor may be able to cover the difference.
Taylor should’ve already passed Tom Brady, but another monster game against a quality opponent could narrow the gap between himself and Aaron Rodgers.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference