Dec 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and Indianapolis Colts center Khaled Holmes (62) celebrate a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Colts beat the Browns 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
“Next man up!” is no longer just a catchy saying for the Indianapolis Colts. Rather, with 3 weeks to go in the regular season, it’s suddenly become a way of life for the boys in horseshoe blue. Battered and beaten up with injuries, a common theme in the NFL this time of year, the Colts have suddenly found themselves limping a bit to the finish line. Khaled Holmes found himself as the recurring motto’s latest posterboy, when in the 2nd half on Sunday, he was thrusted into the starting offense line to fill in for injured starting right guard Joe Reitz (ankle).
In truth, the 2nd-year Holmes is more of a natural center than guard, as he’s formally the 3rd-string center on the Colts’ official depth chart. The once projected opening day starting center has found himself buried on the depth chart after suffering a severely sprained ankle in preseason action. However, as the only remaining available healthy offensive lineman on the roster Sunday, he found himself suddenly playing right guard, “Next man up!”
The Colts saw starting center Khaled Holmes leave Thursday night’s preseason game against the Jets with an ankle injury before the end of their first possession, but initial fears of a lengthy absence have subsided. Image Courtesy of GettyImages.
While he played some guard previously at USC, Holmes had to find a way to shake off all the rust. Afterall, the 2013 4th round pick of the Colts has scarcely played, appearing in only 5 career games in a limited capacity during the past 2 seasons with the team.
He was just fine on Sunday, playing in 38 of the offense’s 83 snaps (45.8%). It’s always a high compliment if an offense lineman doesn’t get noticed because that means he’s doing his job. Count me in as not noticing Holmes, as the offensive line didn’t skip a beat.
The advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus (subscription) re-echoed this sentiment, as Holmes had an -0.2 overall grade. While that isn’t an exceptional mark by any means, it means that Holmes was close to average, which isn’t bad for a seldom-used 3rd-string center that unexpectedly became the offense’s starting right guard.
While the Colts may look to bring in another body with both Jonotthan Harrison and Joe Reitz’s status up in the air for next weekend with injuries, it is a bit comforting to know that the team can call upon the young Holmes to do his job in the interior of their offensive line. However, this “Next Man Up!” may not want to sit down just yet.