Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts center A.Q. Shipley (63) and center Khaled Holmes (62) against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s play a game: name the Colts starting center from 2014.
Can’t do it, can you?
This was easily the most frustrating facet of the Colts this season (outside of the insistence on playing Trent Richardson). The front office even admitted to not liking all the shuffling along the line, but continued to rotate players in and out especially at center.
2015 Contract: $512,500
PFF Grade: -12.8
Harrison was at times a decent run blocker, but he was awful in terms of pass protection. The Colts viewed him as the team’s center of the future and basically handed him the job in Week Five. He started 10 games but didn’t play in the playoffs.
Its not clear what the team liked so much about Harrison. He even struggled with the basics and gained a -3.5 in penalties. He would frequently forget the snap count or deliver a bad snap.
He’ll be back because he’s very cheap and has the physical tools to be good at the position. Hopefully he improves during the offseason.
2015 Contract: Restricted Free Agent
PFF Grade: +5.7
Shipley started at center for the first four games of the season and was outstanding. Then, for some unknown reason, he was benched in favor of Harrison. He played well in every appearance and while he wasn’t a completely dominant center, he was better than every other option at the position.
The Colts should offer him a contract if only because he is a veteran and offers the team solid experience at the center position. He is also a solid utility player and can play at either guard spot as well.
Perhaps the Colts will manage the line better next season, but I won’t hold my breath.
2015 Contract: $690,027
PFF Grade: -4.8
Holmes had the position in the preseason, but a high ankle sprain kept him on the sideline for a good portion of the season. When he did finally return, Holmes played a few backup snaps at center in garbage time against Washington in Week 13.
Holmes started from Week 16 through the playoffs and was awful. His PFF grade is only for the regular season, otherwise it would be a low of -13.2 including the playoffs. Ironically his best game came against the Patriots.
Its tough to tell what sort of player Holmes will develop in to. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy but looked very good in camp and the preseason prior to his ankle injury. He’ll be on the roster in 2015 heading into training camp, because like Harrison, he’s cheap.