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When Eric Foster went down with what will likely be a season-ending ankle injury, players like undrafted rookie defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu and second-year defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews certainly took notice. The likelihood that one of those players will be activated to the active roster is very high — especially with Fili Moala nursing an injury of his own.
Mathews has completely redesigned himself — added a lot of weight — in order to compete against NFL level competition. Ogbu is a disruptive player who brought size with him from Penn State and may be more like Foster. If Drake Nevis has lingering back issues that keep him out of games, Mathews would also make sense as he can play the nose tackle role.
Injuries to offensive tackles Anthony Castonzo and Benjamin Ijalana could be more complicated. Mike Tepper was already activated from the practice squad in preparation for the trip to Tampa Bay and he is joined only by Jeff Linkenbach and starting left guard Joe Reitz are the only other healthy tackles on the roster — should either rookie need to miss time.
Although not injury-related, it is noteworthy that second-year defensive end Jerry Hughes collected his first sack against the Bucs. His impact on the team has been disappointing to this point, as a 2010 first round draft pick. If he can build on that play as the year continues, it could have an impact on Indy’s decision to sign Robert Mathis to a future contract.
I think Mathis should be re-signed regardless of Hughes’ development — as the team has always been looking for a third edge rusher. In either case, it should build confidence in the second-year defensive end who showed a lot of emotion and heart during the game — emotion and heart he lacked previously.