According to longtime Indianapolis Colts publisher Phillip B. Wilson of Scout.com, the Indianapolis Colts will reportedly have yet another change along their offensive line. Per Wilson, who was on the Dan Dakich Radio Show on 1070 the Fan during Friday afternoon, the Colts will start Lance Louis at right guard and may have back-up center/guard A.Q. Shipley inactive:
"“Phillip B. Wilson: “You really want to know? Well, it’s my understanding…and I can’t tell you how I know, but I know that Harrison is still the starting center and Lance Louis will be the starting right guard. And Holmes will back-up Louis at right guard. Dan Dakich: Then Shipley backs up Harrison?Phillip B. Wilson: Uhhhhh, I’ve been led to believe that Shipley may be inactive.Dan Dakich: Really?Phillip B. Wilson: Yeah.Dan Dakich: That is unbelievable.Phillip B. Wilson: I couldn’t believe it when I heard it.“"
Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts guard Lance Louis (60) against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a peculiar move to say the least. With starting right guard Hugh Thornton “out” (knee) and his primary back-up Joe Reitz also “out” (ankle), it’s not surprising to see a new name starting at right guard. However, it’s surprising that it’s Lance Louis of all the back-up interior offensive lineman.
Both A.Q. Shipley and Khaled Holmes played well last weekend once both Jonotthan Harrison at center and Joe Reitz at right guard were knocked out of Sunday’s game against Cleveland with injuries. That’s why it’s even more surprising that Shipley might be inactive (i.e. “a healthy stratch”).
The 5th-year veteran in Lance Louis has made 4 starts this season for the Colts, including in Week 6 previously against the Houston Texans. However, after his 1st two starts, he began to struggle and has been relegated to the bench since then.
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It’s worth noting that when Louis started against the Texans in Week 6, it was actually his worst start among his 4 starts, as he had a -4.7 grade overall (ProFootballFocus
). Not exactly a ringing endorsement for an interior offensive lineman that will be called upon at times to block the Texans’ All-Pro defensive lineman,J.J. Watt
,who is a different animal
It’s unclear what exactly Shipley has done to warrant being a healthy scratch. He’s a hardworking offensive lineman, who always seems to perform well in his limited opportunities, but somehow continuously gets overlooked for other alternatives. He started the first 4 games of the season for the Colts at center before being benched for Harrison, despite playing well in that 4 game span.
As an undrafted rookie, the starting center who replaced him, Jonotthan Harrison, has struggled as of late after showing some intitial promise in his first couple of starts. It’s led many to question why Shipley was benched in the first place. The offensive line oftentimes seems to have better cohesion with Shipley under center, and he makes less mistakes. Him being declared inactive is puzzling because of the fact that he’s played so well in his limited opportunities: