Colts Offensive Line Coach Likes His Unit

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 28: Running back Vick Ballard
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 28: Running back Vick Ballard /

The offensive line has been an issue for the Colts for many years now, but O-Line coach Joe Philbin is excited about what this unit can do in 2017.

The Colts have failed to provide adequate protection for Andrew Luck since they drafted him first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

However, they’ve begun to invest in rebuilding that offensive line and have hit big on a few acquisitions.

Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort are already very solid players, and Ryan Kelly showed that he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl center in his rookie season.

There are two major question marks at the other two positions along the offensive line, but Joe Philbin says that he’s confident that this will be an improved unit in 2017.

"“I’m confident that we’re going to have a good offensive line, no doubt about it,” offensive line coach Joe Philbin said. “We still have a long way to go. … It’s a quality group both from an athletic standpoint [and] we have guys that understand the game well, who care about the game and each other and the Colts. We have to get them to finish better and play better. That’s my job, really.”"

Castonzo, Mewhort and Kelly formed an above-average group on the left side of the line, but they’re making some moves in an attempt to provide some balance.

Mewhort has been moved to right guard during the early part of training camp and Joe Haeg is getting first-team reps at left guard.

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The Colts will likely still have two weaknesses along their line, but at least they won’t both be on the same side of the unit.

"“Right now, we’ve got a bunch of guys that have played a bunch of spots,” coach Chuck Pagano said. “Flexibility is huge. Versatility is huge. … We’ve got to be able to have flexibility there and we’re fortunate enough to have guys that can do that.”"

The Colts were the sixth-worst offensive line in the league in terms of sack percentage last season.

However, there are many factors that contribute to high sack totals.

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The Colts employ a deep passing game that makes their line protect for longer than most offensive systems, and Andrew Luck has been criticized for holding on to the ball too long at times.

The Colts have some established players to combine with young potential on this offensive line, but they’ll need to put it all together quickly if they want to keep Luck upright and improve from their back-to-back 8-8 seasons.