INDIANAPOLIS – A punitive Colts racing game added another hammer, a blunt force tool to blow open holes in front of Marlon Mack, the first Indianapolis to back up to cross the 1,000-meter barrier since Frank Gore in 2016.
Colts sign former Steelers Roosevelt Nix backside, league source told IndyStar, bringing back an element of the 2018 offense that wasn’t as prevalent in 2019.
Nix, a college defenseman who spent a season in the Arena Football League before earning a permanent spot in Pittsburgh, is part of a rare breed in the NFL these days: a back who does most of his blocking work .
The 5-11, 248 pound Nix spent five seasons in Pittsburgh and played 575 offensive snaps for the Steelers, but rarely touched the ball, carrying the ball only four times and making 12 receptions, never more than four in a season.
But there is a precedent for a head blocker like this in Frank Reich’s offensive. Back in 2018, the Colts signed with former Bengals lineman Ryan Hewitt after the final lineup cuts and used him primarily as a rear. Hewitt played 182 snaps for the Colts’ offense that season and only touched the ball once, a 1 yard touchdown in the regular season final.
The rest of the time, Hewitt was a grader.
Without a player like Hewitt on the roster last season, Indianapolis used the fullback position less, even if a Mack-led racing game became the first Colts team to rush more than 2,000 yards per season. since 1994. Without “fullback” “on the list, the tight final position managed the role and received 1612 offensive shots in 2018; the number fell to 1,513 in 2019 despite the Colts’ involvement in the racing game.
Nix opens up some of these options, adding a Hewitt-type player to the offense, provided the former Steelers back is healthy after missing most of the season due to a knee injury last year . Nix was named to return from the injured reserve in late December, indicating that he was in good health at the end of the season.
As talented as a blocker is Nix, he is also an important addition to the kicking game.
Nix has been a special key player throughout his career with the Steelers, playing 1,078 shots in the kicking game, and was finally recognized as captain of the Pittsburgh special teams last season. In his four full seasons with Pittsburgh from 2015 to 2018, Nix made 34 tackles on special teams, forced two fumbles and blocked a punt.
In other words, the Colts have added a hammer that can be used for more than one job next season.