Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts guard Joe Reitz (76) against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Lost in the Indianapolis Colts’ shuffle this week is that the team will have a new starter on their offensive line. According to ESPN’s Mike Wells, the Indianapolis Colts will start Joe Reitz at right guard per a team source. With Hugh Thornton out because of a sprained MCL and officially “week-to-week”, Reitz will take over his starting position in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
It will be the third start for Reitz on the season, as he most recently started last weekend’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at right tackle in place of then-injured starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus (shoulder). Only this time, Reitz will be filling in at guard. It’s worth noting that he has previously started at guard this season in Week 6 against the Houston Texans.
For some Colts’ faithful, it’s a move that has been called for, for quite a while. The 4-year veteran has quietly been one of the Colts’ best interior offensive lineman when given the opportunity. As you may recall, Reitz had 3 starts for the Colts in 2013. In those aforementioned starts, ProFootballFocus gave him a positive overall grade of +5.5, the highest grade any Colts’ offensive guard received during all of last season.
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In his one start at guard this season against the Houston Texans in Week 6, Reitz had a positive overall grade of +3.8, playing in all 87 of the offense’s snaps that week, as he filled in for then injured starting left guard Jack Mewhort. His +3.8 grade overall has him once again as the highest graded guard on the team this season. Perhaps, most impressive though, is that this was accomplished while occasionally lining up against All-Pro Texans’ defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
If Reitz plays well on Sunday, you’d have to think that he has a strong chance of keeping his job. While Hugh Thornton, as a former 2013 3rd round pick, has shown some promise, he’s been wildly inconsistent and has struggled in recent weeks. Reitz could really help solidify the interior of the offensive line, which has had some major issues in recent weeks.