While the top priority for the Indianapolis Colts before the start of the season should be trying to figure out if either Jacob Eason or Sam Ehlinger will start over an injured Carson Wentz at quarterback, Frank Reich needs to figure out if Will Holden, Julién Davenport, or Sam Tevi will start at left tackle.
With Anthony Castonzo having retired and Eric Fisher on the mend to start the season, one of those three will end up protecting either Eason or Ehlinger in Week 1. Considering how things went in their preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, fans have every right to be a bit nervous about the current situation.
All three players fighting for the starting spot experienced some struggles against Carolina, and despite the fact that the coaching staff is doing everything that they can to let one of these players earn the starting gig, the results have been mixed.
Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that despite the fact that Holden, Tevi, and Davenport all got some first-team reps at left tackle, all three of them had noticeable struggles, especially when it came to pass protection.
For a team that wants to air it out, that is exactly what they didn’t want to hear.
The Colts still have no idea who will start at left tackle. Cool.
Tevi started for large chunks of last season with the Chargers, but Los Angeles dumped him for Rashawn Slater as soon as they were able to. Davenport has bounced around the league for a few years, and there is a reason why he hasn’t been able to stick with a franchise for a significant chunk of time.
Holden is listed as the starter on the depth chart, and he was on the field for plenty of first-team reps with Eason against Carolina, but he was beaten up by the Panthers.
After all, it was Holden who infamously allowed Eason to be leveled for a strip-sack that gave Carolina the ball deep in Indianapolis territory.
Even when Fisher comes back from injury, there is a chance that he never reaches the same level he was at in Kansas City. After years of stability thanks to Castonzo, Indianapolis is now bailing water at the most important non-quarterback position on offense.
The Colts did end up winning their preseason game, and they should be in for a solid season, but this was an egregious miscalculation on the part of Chris Ballard, as he is now trying to patch together an offensive line for either a rookie in Ehlinger or second-year player with zero career pass attempts in Eason.