Blindside Bookend: Colts Castonzo Anchors O-line


Often overlooked, but certainly never underappreciated, the Indianapolis Colts Anthony Castonzo continues to be the anchor of the team’s offensive line at left tackle. Having started in all 16 games for the team this season (the only Colts’ offensive lineman to do so), Castonzo has played in all 1,344 of the offense’s snaps this season.

Oct 26, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (74) prepares to block at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 51-34. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, durability is nothing new to Castonzo, who hasn’t missed a start in his last 3 seasons for the Colts. That’s right, Castonzo has made all 16 starts in his last 3 years with the team, an anomaly in today’s NFL where offensive lineman are perhaps the most subjected to potential injury and wear-and-tear in the trenches.

Since being drafted by the Colts as a first round pick in 2011 under what became the final year of the Bill Polian regime, Castonzo has quietly become a blindside bookend for the team’s offensive line. The former Boston College Eagle has been one of the most effective left tackles in the game, in addition to his exceptional durability and long hair.

Per ProFootballFocus (subscription), Castonzo is the 12th highest rated offensive tackle in all of football with a +15.2 overall grade. If keeping Andrew Luck upright is the primary goal, it’s one that Castonzo truly excels at, as he’s the 6th best tackle in pass blocking overall with a +14.4 grade on the season.

In fact, one could make a strong case that in regards to the Colts offensive line with all of the injuries, fluctuation, and lack of depth at offensive tackle, that’s he’s one of the most indispensable players on the team. Sure, Andrew Luck is the undisputed No. 1 most important player, but behind him, there’s likely some order of Vontae Davis, T.Y. Hilton, and Anthony Castonzo rounding out the team’s “Final Four” or rather, Top 4 essential players.

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Still only age 26, Anthony Castonzo will enter the final year of his rookie contract next season, which is set to pay him $7.43MM. Following 2015, the team would be smart to lock him up to a lucractive long-term contract extension. Quite frankly, he’s earned it, as the Colts cannot afford to lose him.

In the mean time, Colts fans can take great solace that he’ll once again be protecting Luck’s blindside in this weekend’s AFC Championship game. While he figures to have his hands full with the likes of talented Patriots’ pass rushers such as Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, Castonzo has proven this season that he’s among the best left tackles in the game and should fare just fine.

If nothing else, he provided one of the best touchdown dances of this year’s NFL regular season (“Ode to Dhalsim from Street Fighter II”) in their last matchup: