According to Pro Football Focus, the Indianapolis Colts have the league’s 22nd best rated offensive line following 10 weeks of this year’s regular season:
"22. Indianapolis Colts (68.0)The Colts have allowed the most total pressures in the entire league, at 159, in 409 pass-blocking snaps. Only two lines have been asked to pass protect on more snaps (Green Bay and Jacksonville), but that still is the worst rate in the league, and a total that would be one of the worst we have seen over the past decade. The issue, though, is that Andrew Luck holds the ball longer than any QB in the league outside of Tyrod Taylor, averaging 2.75 seconds per attempt, so this line is pass blocking longer than nearly any other unit. The starting five is less of an issue than the depth, but any time they have been forced to the bench, things have been ugly. Jack Mewhort has yet to allow a single sack or hit across 298 pass-blocking snaps at guard."
It’s worth noting that the Colts only surrendered 2.0 sacks against the Green Bay Packers in their Week 9 win; however, there’s clearly still work to be done.
Despite the exorbitant amount of pass pressures, the starting offensive line–when actually fully healthy is probably still the best unit that the Colts have had in the Andrew Luck era of the franchise’s football from a talent perspective.
Rookie 1st rounder Ryan Kelly‘s addition alone has made this true, as the Colts left tackle to center portion of their offensive line with Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort, and Kelly should theoretically be one of the better combinations of an offensive line in football.
It’s largely on the right side where the Colts have had their fair share of problems–shuffling through the likes of young offensive lineman such as Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg, as well as veteran Joe Reitz continuously because of injuries.
One thing that has consistently given the Colts offensive line problems per offensive line coach Joe Philbin is the opposing pass rush’s ‘twists’:
"“Certainly we’ve done some good things against the twist game, but that’s an area we’ve identified in these couple of days when we’ve taken a harder look at ourselves,” said Philbin via Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen. “I’ve certainly studied the hits, the sacks, looked at them all and in (the twists) scenario we have to get better.”"
That being said, it’s not all on the Colts offensive line.
Luck has admittedly said that he has held onto the football too long at times–looking for the big play, instead of just checking down or throwing the football away.
Some of that is the play-calling by offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who’d rather emphasize deeper routes than quicker, shorter throws at times.
Certainly not helping matters is the fact that the Colts closest thing to a possession wide receiver, Donte Moncrief, missed 5 games of the regular season which presumably forced Luck to defer more to his deep threats such as T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett–thus holding onto the football for longer.
Whatever the case may be, the Colts collectively have room for improvement as it relates to their offensive line.
They’ll have their work clearly cut out for them this weekend as they play a Tennessee Titans front-seven that has the 4th most sacks in the NFL with 28 total sacks.