The Colts have one of the most talented offensive lines in the league. But last season they struggled with consistency, and they need to fix that going into 2020.
There’s no doubt that the Colts’ offensive line is much better than it was a few years ago. They have much more talent and continuity than they had. 2018 was the first year where it felt like the team could consistently protect the quarterback without too many issues.
Last season though, they weren’t quite as connected. In 2018 they allowed a league-low 18 sacks. But in 2019, that number increased to 32, which was just 10th best in the league. There are several reasons for that number increasing.
One of the biggest reasons is the change in quarterback from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett. Brissett holds the ball more than Luck did, so he is apt to take more sacks. That is something that can be taught and can be fixed with some more reps.
Another reason though is the regression of Braden Smith. Smith was a gem of the 2018 draft class and was thrust into the starting lineup because of injuries at right tackle. He is a guard by trade so it is hard to learn another position, especially at the NFL level.
Smith looked overmatched at times this season. He was slow getting off the snap and let the speed of defensive ends bother him more than it did as a rookie. He is still a young player and still is very good. Smith should be just fine in his career, but needs to fix some things this offseason.
While they weren’t as good protecting the passer, they were still very good in run blocking. Marlon Mack had an excellent year, and the offensive line is a big reason for that. Once they get that pass blocking better, this offense will be hard to stop.