Colts Hugh Thornton Hoping that Being Trimmer Leads to Better Blocking
According to Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen, Indianapolis Colts offensive guard Hugh Thornton has ‘slimmed and trimmed’ down this offseason, as he’s shed his weight from 324 to 315 pounds:
"“Thornton, a guy has previously been listed at 336 and 324 pounds with the Colts, dropped all the way down to the 300-pound mark earlier this offseason. He says he’s around 315 pounds now,” writes Bowen. “This is probably the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Thornton says. “Going back to college, high school, probably just the most well-rounded—physically, mentally, spiritually. I’m just in a great place and I’m excited to see how this transformation is going to take place on the field.”“In dropping the weight, Thornton decided earlier this offseason such a change was necessary,” added Bowen. “Slim and trim,” is how Thornton describes his new look in 2016."
If nothing else, the Colts offensive line’s physique just got collectively better if ESPN ever decides to take another shoot for their “body magazine” again (*shudders*, but somewhere Jack Mewhort is smiling).
Jokes aside, the former 2013 3rd round pick has looked as good as he ever has in a Colts uniform–or sleeveless “T” for that matter these days:
There’s no question that Thornton has been plagued by both injuries and inconsistency in 3 seasons with the Colts in which he’s made 32 career starts. While he has at times shown flashes of his potential, it simply hasn’t been consistent or often enough.
With his starting right guard job up for grabs and entering the last year of his Colts contract, it makes sense that Thornton is entering this offseason in the best shape of his professional career.
Simply put, this could be a make-or-break year for the 4th-year veteran and ultimately decide whether he’ll remain a Colt or be forced to pursue his professional career elsewhere.
While Thornton has his fair share of critics, he still apparently has strong support in Colts owner Jim Irsay, who apparently believes that the young offensive lineman can still become a high end starting guard for the team:
"“(Hugh) Thornton has all the capabilities of being an outstanding guard in this league, but he has to stay healthy and he has to mentally make sure that he does everything to prepare himself and avoid penalties on the field,” said Irsay earlier this offseason via the IndyStar’s Stephen Holder."
One thing that Thornton still does have going for him is youth, as he’ll turn 25 years old in June and theoretically may have time for further development.
Perhaps under the tutelage of new offensive line coach Joe Philbin, who’s been highly regarded for his teaching methods, Thornton can finally reach his full potential:
"“Just being in meetings with him and obviously Phase 2 started this week, having the chance to see how he coaches and the style and the passion that he brings to the field I think is going to be great for us,” said Thornton recently regarding Philbin."
Maybe even the Colts scheme change to more of a zone-blocking system will serve the young offensive guard well, who should be noticeably lighter on his feet.
There’s talent there after all that once made Thornton such an early round selection by the Colts.
For Thornton’s sake, time is of the essence to tap it however.
The Colts brought in four new offensive lineman in this year’s NFL Draft and already cut ties with another early round underachieving offensive lineman, Khaled Holmes (their 2013 4th round pick), recently this offseason.
With last year’s starting center Jonotthan Harrison potentially transitioning to the right guard position and a new batch of rookie bodies (as well as perhaps holdover Joe Reitz) in the mix, and there appears to be much more competition than ever before at Thornton’s starting right guard position.
Certainly much more than departed veteran offensive guards Lance Louis or Todd Herremans ever provided for Thornton in recent seasons.
That being said, a “trimmer and slimmer” Thornton is clearly taking this offseason seriously and putting himself in the best position he can to maintain his starting right guard job in what is shaping up to be a pretty healthy competition this offseason.