By Tyler Berry
I’m not one to play into media hype when it comes to my hometown teams. In professional sports, one mistake, one injury, one massive brawl in Detroit, and the season is ruined. That’s why it is truly scary for me to have to listen to the media calling the Indianapolis Colts favorites to win Super Bowl 50.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s also very exciting. For the first year in this decade, it truly feels like the boys in blue have a shot to win it all. But in no way will I sit here and write that the Colts are going to breeze their way through the NFL and hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Santa Clara.
It’s going to take a lot of work and it all starts with the offensive line.
The O-line has got to shape up. Good Lord, watching that line try to run block is like watching a bunch of frightened horses try to run block. They flail everywhere, letting defenses run right through them and can’t create any kind of holes for running backs. In the preseason, (yes, I know, preseason) the Colts averaged only 3.3 yards per carry, which is even worse than last year’s paltry 3.9 YPC. If we want this championship, the line has to help establish the run and give Frank Gore a chance to make something happen on the ground.
Does our run game really matter with Andrew Luck under center though? He does have the most passing yards ever for a quarterback in his first three seasons. And he threw for 40 TDs. And he’s got a great offensive coordinator in Pep Hamilton calling the right plays for him. Well, if the Colts want a better record than 11-5 and a shot at a title, some of the pressure needs to come off of Luck because teams know our modus operandi at this point. We throw. And we throw A LOT.
I’ll say it again. It all starts with the offensive line.
Luck’s interceptions were down considerably last year, which is fantastic. 40 TDs to 16 INTs is something I can live with. The problem lies in the 12 fumbles. That’s entirely too many for a QB and a lot of it lies in the pressure he faces from the pass rush. Defenses rush Luck a heck of a lot because they know our offensive line can be suspect. There have been flashes of greatness on the line but injuries forced the team to have 15 different starting line combinations. And it didn’t help that rookie Jack Mewhort had to switch positions multiple times instead of only concentrating on the right tackle spot.
If the starters can stay healthy and stay in their respective spots, our line has a chance to be solid. Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Khaled Holmes under center, veteran Todd Herremans giving us a needed upgrade at guard, and a more experienced Mewhort, all give Luck necessary protection and, hopefully, will give us the confidence to run Frank Gore and open up the offense more. Because let’s be honest, at this point, no defense is falling for the play action.