Has the Colts offensive line finally turned the corner?
Through the first two weeks, the Colts offensive line, a group that was among the worst in the NFL last season, has finally seemed to become at least somewhat solid, key word “seemed”.
In just two games this season, against tough front 7s like Washington and Cincinnati, the Colts’ offensive line has allowed just 3 sacks on 84 pass attempts. That number is very encouraging to a group that allowed a much discussed league-leading 56 last season.
Just looking at the sack numbers may be misleading though, because Luck has been hit 16 times, good for third in the NFL. The difference between QB hits and sacks may be that this season under Frank Reich, Luck is getting rid of the ball much quicker, but opposing players are still getting to him.
Inexperience may to blame for this. The Colts offensive line starters have just 177 combined starts, ranking in the bottom 5 of the league. As the season progresses, young players like Quenton Nelson, Joe Haeg, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith will most likely improve.
Also key for this group is the return of stalwart left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who has been the best Colts’ offensive lineman by quite some time now (soon to be dethroned by Nelson).
The Colts’ struggles also translate to the running game, where Castonzo was one of the top run blocking tackles last season. Thus far, the rushing offense ranks in the bottom 5 in YPC with a measly 3.6 average and also scored a lone rushing touchdown (Nyheim Hines against Washington).
The encouraging sign for the line, is that besides all the numbers and statistics, the group has played better. Luck is getting more time in the pocket than ever before and rushing lanes are opening up. With time this group will establish themselves into at least a middle of the pack offensive line, with potential of being Top 10.