1. Offensive line isn’t holding up for Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have had one of the best offensive lines in football for some time. However, this season they are starting to look like quite the opposite. Despite paying starting left guard and right tackle Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith handsomely, the team has allowed Ryan to be sacked 12 times this season. Indy let a few linemen walk in free agency feeling that they had guys that could step up and play just as well. That isn’t looking to be the case.
The biggest problem in the game against the Chiefs was communication. At times Ryan Kelly was calling out something that was maybe different from what Matt Ryan was seeing. Other times the line thought that the running back would pick up the block and then they didn’t. At 37 years old, you don’t want to see your quarterback taking hits like that. Although this may be easy to fix and attributable to growing pains as Ryan learns a new offense, Indianapolis has to make this a priority or will suffer the consequences.
They also need to review their options at certain positions on the line. I’d say the only safe linemen are Kelly and Nelson. Everyone else should play like it is their last game starting. Smith has been destroyed on the right side several times already this season. Danny Pinter being at right guard has forced Kelly to help with blocks and double-teams leaving a wide-open gap up the middle to the quarterback. Then Matt Pryor has shown his weaknesses a time or two on the blind side. He is the one that has the most to lose as Bernhard Raimann is right behind him waiting to take his spot.
It’s not as easy to add new players to the offensive line since communication and chemistry are what make a good line work, but something may have to change. Removing Pinter from the line may be the solution if the Colts had better backups outside of rookies or unproven players. They would really have to shake up the line to get their five best linemen on the field together.
Regardless they have to put an emphasis on communication. Going up against the Titans they will face some strong pressure from Jeffery Simmons and a familiar face in Denico Autry. Plus, Tennessee’s secondary has improved which may force Ryan to have to hold on to the ball a little longer allowing the line to break down that much more.
This is the biggest area of concern entering Week 4 for the Indianapolis Colts. With hopes for a Super Bowl still on the horizon, Indy has to protect their star quarterback if they want to get there.